Washington, D.C. — Senate Republicans blocked the U.S. Senate from voting to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, a historic and broadly popular measure that would specifically counter state laws aimed at suppressing voter turnout, help stop election sabotage by partisan state officials, stop partisan gerrymandering, and reduce political corruption. Then Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), voted against commonsense filibuster reform that would have led to eventual passage of this seminal legislation on a majority vote.
In response, Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
This is a troubling day for all Americans who support the fundamental right to vote freely in every state of our nation. As elected Republicans at the federal and state level continue their aggressive and targeted passage and defense of legislation to suppress access to the ballot for millions, Democrats in the U.S. Senate had it within their reach to reform the filibuster to protect the integrity of our democracy. Tragically, two senators put this arcane and historically problematic tool ahead of our responsibility to the most vulnerable voters.
Sens. Manchin and Sinema have expressed the lofty and commendable desire to maintain comity and unity in our legislative bodies. The filibuster is not a means of achieving this goal and bears the weight of decades of weaponization as a means to blunt progress on civil rights.
CAP joins President Joe Biden and voting rights activists in the determination to push onward with a resolve that we won’t be turned around as we fight these regressive laws state by state.