Schumer, Dems accept filibuster floor failure to fight ‘the good fight’ ahead of midterms
Democrats failed to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold on the first Senate vote they called Wednesday. And they lost their “nuclear option” effort to alter the filibuster 52-48 when Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., joined Republicans to back the Senate custom.
But R Street Institute senior fellow for governance James Wallner said it’s possible Schumer “doesn’t think he lost” those votes because they were in service of broader plans.
“Democrats clearly have a goal in mind and that is to pass Republicans as opposed to voting rights legislation, and then they hope to run on that in November,” Wallner said.
Wallner also said Wednesday’s votes appeared more about messaging than a “serious” effort to get something passed, because “they had options at their disposal that they didn’t use.”
Among them, Wallner said, would be to put the bill on the floor and try to push through the inevitable GOP floor filibuster, which would likely include amendments, lengthy speeches and procedural motions Democrats would have to defeat. But the Senate almost never goes through that process on legislation because of how unwieldy and time-consuming it is.
“All they have to do is protect the bill if they want to pass it, which means all they have to do is move to table any amendments that are offered,” and enforce the Senate’s two-speech rule on the bill itself, Wallner said.