Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is urging Democrats to back a stalled voting rights bill days after he pledged to take up filibuster changes by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, The Hill reports.
''I believe the Senate needs to be restored to its rightful status as the world's greatest deliberative body. ... If Republicans continue to hijack the rules of the chamber to protect us from protecting our democracy, then the Senate will debate and consider changes to the rules on or before Jan. 17,'' Schumer said in a lengthy floor speech Friday.
''If Senate Republicans continue to abuse the filibuster to prevent this body from acting, then I would plead with the Senate — particularly my colleagues on this side of the aisle — to adapt. And we must adapt for the sake of our democracy,'' he said.
Schumer last week said he planned to push ahead with debate and consideration of changing the Senate's filibuster rules by MLK Day if voting rights legislation continues to be blocked.
''We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same,'' he wrote in a ''Dear Colleague'' letter.
''We must adapt. The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before,'' Schumer wrote.
But Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are not on board with getting rid of the 60-vote threshold to proceed with legislation, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Wednesday endorsed pursuing changes to the 1887 law allowing members of Congress to dispute election results, a suggestion blasted by Schumer.
''Let me take this opportunity to make clear that that plan — the McConnell plan, that's what it is — is unacceptably insufficient, and even offensive,'' Schumer said while speaking from the Senate floor on Thursday.
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