Republicans in the Senate have blocked reform of the electoral system fervently desired by US President Joe Biden. As a result, a proposal to adjust the so-called filibuster rule to get this revision through was also rejected.
That rule states that for many bills, 60 out of 100 senators must agree to end the debate before voting can take place at all.
As expected, Republicans blocked voting on legislation to improve voters’ rights through the filibuster rule. Then the Democrats introduced a proposal to get an exception to this rule for the electoral reform. A normal majority would suffice for that. But two Democrats voted against it, making the vote 48-52.
The Democrats have a wafer-thin majority in the Senate. They have fifty seats (they can count on the support of two independent candidates), so exactly half. In the event of a stalemate, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also ex-officio Senate President, has the casting vote. But since Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema voted against, it didn’t come to that.
One of the reform aims was to make it easier to vote in elections. It is one of the spearheads of Biden who will be in power for a year in the White House on Thursday. The Democrats accuse the Republicans of former US President Donald Trump of wanting to make voting more difficult, especially to the detriment of minorities.