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Senate Republican leaders are bracing for a fight over voting rights and the filibuster as President Joe Biden has traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to speak about changing Senate rules that have stalled voting rights legislation.
Watch the news briefing in the player above.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has set next Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a deadline to either pass voting legislation or consider revising the rules around the chamber’s filibuster blocking device,
Biden is seen as evoking the memories of the U.S. Capitol riot a year ago in more forcefully aligning himself with the voting rights effort.
Senate Republicans say it would be a terrible mistake to eliminate the filibuster.
“This is a place America does not want to go,” said Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We’re ready to have this vote,” he said. “We think it’s time for those who want to break the Senate to stand up and try to break the Senate, and let’s see where everybody stands.”
Current rules require 60 votes to advance most legislation — a threshold that Senate Democrats can’t meet alone because they only have a 50-50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. Republicans unanimously oppose the voting rights measures.
“This is a purely and simply a power grab,” said Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.
“This is an excuse,” he said. “It is nothing more, nothing less and nothing else than that, to try and break the United States Senate, and to create an atmosphere where in a very partisan way, they can move their agenda with just Democrat votes,” Thune said.
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