Democrats Fail in Bid to Overturn Senate’s Legislative Filibuster

Senate Democrats failed in a bid to abrogate the chamber’s legislative filibuster late on Tuesday night, in a development boding poorly for President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined every member of the Republican caucus in voting against a proposition to suspend the filibuster in the case of two Democrat bills designed to enshrine federal control of state elections.

The filibuster requires a majority of 60 votes to pass legislation to the President’s desk, as opposed to a bare majority. Democrats have 50 Senators in addition to the Vice Presidency, a bare-bones majority sufficient for confirming judges but woefully insufficient for passing sweeping legislation to transform the United States into a country predicated on diversity, equity and social justice.

Both Sinema and Manchin had cited the hard-partisan extremism of the anti-filibuster push in their decisions to decline the measure. “These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease, but they do not fully address the disease itself. And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division affecting our country,” said Sinema of the now-failed project.

Allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel on the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart,” Manchin said of the idea. “Contrary to what some have said, protecting the role of the minority – Democrat or Republican – has protected us from the volatile political swings that we have endured over the last 233 years.

The development may all but drive a stake through President Joe Biden’s progressive agenda, with the President having failed to enact any major legislation other than modest infrastructure bills in the first year of his reign. The crippling inability of Biden’s government amounts to a reversal of his campaign promises to govern with an open hand to Republicans.

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