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The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted along party lines to approve legislation designed to allow the Senate Democrats to begin debate on a package of voting rights and election reforms that could lead on a path to change the 60-vote filibuster rule.
Watch the debate in the player above.
The House on Thursday amended an unrelated bill that had already approved both chambers of Congress, combining Democrats two separate voting bills into one.
The legislation passed in the House with a 220-203 party-line vote to approve the bill.
Democrats combined the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act into a single text and placed it into previously passed legislation extending NASA’s authority to lease its facilities.
Now that the House has passed that bill, the Senate can debate the measure with a simple majority, bypassing a filibuster. But they Senate Republicans can still block them from holding a final vote.
During the floor debate, House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said: “I hope they change the rules. I am an opponent of the filibuster. It is undemocratic and as Hamilton said, it poisons democracy.”
Rep. Mike Johnson, (R-LA) debated on the floor that “The court reason that requiring states to preclear election law changes today based on conduct a half century ago was an unconstitutional invasion of state sovereignty.”
President Joe Biden is set to meet privately with Senate Democrats at the Capitol, a visit intended to deliver a jolt to the party’s long-stalled voting and elections legislation.
Biden will discuss potential changes to Senate rules on Thursday that will be needed to overcome repeated Republican filibusters.
And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is using Senate procedural rules to bypass a filibuster and force the legislation to the floor for a debate.
But they still lack the support within their own party to overhaul filibuster rules that would allow them to overcome Republican opposition and pass the bill with a simple majority.
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