On June 22, 2021, the leadership of the U.S. Senate brought the For the People Act to the floor for a vote on whether to begin debate – an event that marked just the beginning of the battle to pass the bill in the Senate.
Although there were 50 votes in favor yesterday, with the vice president on hand to break the tie and provide the 51st vote, current Senate rules require a supermajority of 60 votes to end the Republican filibuster and begin debate.
While opening debate on the bill was therefore blocked yesterday, Rules Chairwoman Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced a series of hearings on critical voting, campaign finance and ethics reforms, which will demonstrate the need for this critical legislation.
Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted in favor of beginning debate on the House-passed For the People Act, had previously stated he would not support the House bill as written but would support many crucial elements of it and wanted to work with Republicans to find bipartisan support for amendments.
No Republicans voted with him to start the debate and amendment process yesterday.
The Senate should pass this legislation, which enjoys 83% support among Americans – including 74% of Republican voters and 73% of Independent voters.
The fight has just begun to pass needed election reform. The basis for a compromise has to maintain the key features of the For the People Act, as Sen. Manchin and Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Schumer have stated.
Inaction is not an option when it comes to protecting Americans’ fundamental freedom to vote. The need for action on this landmark legislation becomes clearer each day, especially in light of the For the People Act being blocked from receiving an up or down vote.
Not only will this bill ensure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone’s vote is counted by creating national standards for voter accessibility, it will shine a light on dark money to prevent billionaires and foreign actors from secretly buying elections and guarantees that congressional districts will be drawn to give fair representation for all.
We all deserve a government that is responsive and accountable to voters.
The popularity of reforms contained within the For the People Act cannot be ignored. A resounding majority of voters across the political spectrum support this legislation because it puts voters before politicians. Additionally, according to a CLC analysis, this bill draws on provisions that have long garnered the support of Democrats and Republicans.
The Senate must hear from constituents about the importance of the For the People Act so we have the momentum needed to pass this bill and combat the crisis of confidence in our government.