- Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer slammed Republicans on Tuesday for blocking a voting rights bill.
- He compared their views to those of senators opposed to civil rights reforms in the 1960s.
- The bill was designed to protect voting rights amid a campaign to suppress voters by Republicans.
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In an attack on Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer compared his Republican counterpart’s opposition to a bill to protect the voting rights of senators who fought against rights reforms civics in the 1960s.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday rolled out the filibuster rule to block a high-profile bill Democrats say is needed to protect voting rights amid a push from state legislatures controlled by the Senate. GOP to restrict access to the ballot.
McConnell set out his opposition to the bill in a speech, saying its measures were too broad and violated states’ rights to decide how elections are to be conducted. He condemned the bill as “transparent partisan”.
—The Hill (@thehill) June 23, 2021
In his response, Schumer compared McConnell’s position to that of senators in the 1960s who opposed federal legislation designed to protect the civil rights and suffrage of black Americans.
“The Republican leader has categorically said that no matter what states do to undermine our democracy, voter suppression laws, bogus audits, partisan takeovers of local election commissions, the Senate should not act,” he said. Schumer said.
“My colleagues, my colleagues, if senators had argued 60 years ago that the federal government should never intervene to protect voting rights, this body would never have passed the Voting Rights Act. Republican leader uses language and the logic of southern senators in the 1960s who stood up for state rights, and that’s an indefensible position for any senator, any senator, let alone the leader of the minority. ”
The 1965 Voting Rights Acts and the 1964 Civil Rights Act were landmark pieces of legislation passed during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, designed to overcome racist state laws that targeted black communities.
Republican-led legislatures in states like Georgia and Arizona have introduced a series of measures restricting access to the vote as part of what they say are reforms designed to protect against voter fraud. Some Republicans have cited President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that last year’s election was stolen from him to defend the reforms.
But Democrats say the voting restrictions are a thinly veiled attempt to suppress votes, especially from black communities that traditionally lean towards Democrats.
President Joe Biden compared the restrictive voting laws to the “Jim Crow” laws that imposed racial segregation in the South.
In his speech, Schumer said the GOP remains in the grip of Trump’s conspiracy theories.
“Donald Trump’s big lie has spread like cancer and threatens to envelop one of America’s major political parties,” he said.
The obstruction of the voting rights bill means the way forward for Democrats is unclear. Some party progressives have called on Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster rule, under which at least 60 votes are needed for a bill to progress in the face of unified GOP opposition (the Senate is currently split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.)
But some moderate Democrats, including Se. Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposes the removal of the filibuster, which they say is necessary to ensure bipartisan dialogue.