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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) attempt to pass Democrats' signature voting rights package — a revised version of the "For the People Act" — in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: The sweeping federal elections overhaul is intended to combat a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican-led states, but has no chance of winning the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.

  • Schumer attempted to pass the bill via unanimous consent, which requires just one senator to object in order to kill the vote.
  • Senate Republicans filibustered the "For the People Act" for the first time in June. Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has also voiced his opposition to some elements of the package.

Driving the news: Immediately after the Senate passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution at 4 a.m. ET, after 15 hours of amendment votes, Schumer attempted to pass the voting rights package via unanimous consent.

  • Cruz immediately objected, saying: "This bill would constitute a federal government takeover of elections. It would constitute a massive power grab by Democrats."
  • "We have reached a point in this chamber where Republicans appear to oppose any measure no matter how common sense to protect voting rights and strengthen our democracy," Schumer responded.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also denounced the Democrats' attempt to bring up the voting legislation.
  • "Here in the dead of night, they also want to start tearing up the ground rules of our democracy and writing new ones of course on a purely partisan basis," McConnell said.

Worth noting: Cruz also blocked Senate Democrats' attempts to confirm a number of President Biden's foreign policy nominees, attacking Biden's decision to allow the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline to move forward.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Manchin's red lines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has told the White House the child tax credit must include a firm work requirement and family income cap in the $60,000 range, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: While Manchin’s demands would dramatically weaken one of President Biden’s signature programs to help working families, they also would reduce the package’s overall costs.

20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.