Democrats in the Senate have been pushing to change Senate rules in order to pass a controversial bill that would add some federal regulations to how states run their elections.
The bill will expand voting access by eliminating voter ID laws, widening the scope of mail-in and absentee voting, and would require states to allow for same-day voter registration.
All of this has been a platform of the bill that Democrats say expands the right to vote in the U.S.
“I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed, to prevent a minority of senators from blocking actions on voting rights,” President Biden said in a speech in Atlanta. “Let the majority prevail! If that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option then to change Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
The filibuster is the Senate’s 60 vote threshold that legislation of a non-budgetary matter must pass through in order to advance out of debate before a final vote is taken.
The Senate is split 50-50 at the moment, meaning Democrats need some Republican help in passing the bill under the current rules.
Every Republican has come out against the bill.
The same afternoon as the president’s address in Georgia, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) railed against the president’s line of thinking. In a speech on the Senate floor, young said the filibuster is a vital part of the democratic process.
“Abandoning the 60 vote threshold in order to seize control of America’s election is not only short-sighted, it’s clueless,” Young said. “(Democrats’) proposal to federalize and politicize America’s elections has been a tough sell. The so-called legislative filibuster is not a threat to our democracy. Ending it is.”
Young reminded Democrats that the federal government is not and never has been a “direct democracy”, but a “republican democracy” with emphasis on the small “r”.
“It forces majorities to find ways to compromise,” he added. “It incentivizes bipartisan collaboration among senators representing diverse parts of our nation.”
Young said having to re-write rules when things don’t go the way of the majority means that lawmakers are failing at their jobs.