The Democrats’ expansive elections and voting bill is all but certain to be rejected in a key test vote in the Senate, providing a dramatic example of Republicans’ use of the filibuster to block legislation and forcing hard questions for Democrats over next steps. The far-reaching proposal, at nearly 900 pages, is viewed as the civil rights issue of the era by backers, legislation that is suddenly of the highest priority after the 2020 election as states impose restrictive new laws that could make it more difficult to vote.
In the evenly split Senate, Republicans are united in opposition, seeing the bill as federal overreach and denying Democrats the 60 votes that would be needed to overcome the filibuster and begin debate. “Are you afraid to debate?” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday ahead of the vote. “We’re about to find out.”
Months in the making, Tuesday’s showdown over the For the People Act, as it is called, is hardly the end of the road but the start of long campaign ahead. President Joe Biden has vowed what the White House calls the “fight of his presidency” over ensuring Americans’ access to the polls.