Hunger strikers in Washington refusing to eat until Democrats pass election reform legislation blocked a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, leading Capitol Police to arrest 23 protesters after three warnings.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, a progressive Democrat, was among those arrested.
"Congressman Jamaal Bowman joined a voting rights non-violent direct action at the North Barricade of the U.S. Capitol Building and was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police," Bowman's director of communications, Marcus Frias, told The Washington Post.
The hunger strikers were dealt a setback Wednesday night as Democrats lost a 51-49 vote, falling 11 votes short of breaking the filibuster to proceed to a vote on the voting reform bills. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., originally voted with Democrats before siding with Republicans and moving toward breaking the filibuster.
But Schumer also failed there, as centrist Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., voted with Republicans in a 52-48 vote to keep the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation — effectively killing both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Frias praised Bowman after his arrest, responding to the Post's report on it.
"To have @JamaalBowmanNY as a boss is to have a fighter in your corner, always," Frias tweeted. "Honored every day to be in the fight with him."
President Joe Biden and other Democrats have been calling Republicans' duly passed election laws in Georgia and Texas an attack on minority voters. Biden called it "Jim Crow 2.0" along with the rebuke of the filibuster he once staunchly defended.
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