The vehicle for this is unique: HR1, the For the People Act of 2021, and its companion in the Senate, page 1. The House of Representatives bill, first passed in 2019 and subsequently ignored by McConnell, would bring about significant and groundbreaking electoral reforms. It would remove existing barriers to voting, secure the electoral process to ensure the integrity of the vote, expand public funding to combat harmful entrenched and monetary interests, and prohibit walking in Congress for equal and fair representation in the Ensure House of Representatives. It would also begin to reduce the imbalance of representation in the Senate – where states like Wyoming have a fraction of the population of the country’s largest cities – by giving statehood to the District of Columbia.
This bill will not pass the Senate if the filibuster stops, nor is it on President Joe Biden’s agenda. Senate Republicans made this clear from Biden’s first day in office, and even before that. When the Senate passed into Democratic hands with the Georgia runoff results on January 5, McConnell began and refused to take the Senate off hiatus until January 19. (This also established his apology for not condemning Donald Trump’s impeachment – he could then say twice that a former president could not be convicted.) McConnell spent three weeks denying Biden the formation of a full cabinet by passing an organizational resolution Blocked for the Senate, for which the necessary business was. B. the examination of the related laws and the processing of the Biden candidates.
McConnell insisted – with the tacit support of 49 Republican senators – that all of this be done in the name of “unity,” just as Biden wanted it to be. His point of view was that Democrats had to prove they wanted unity by surrendering to his demand that they promise not to get rid of the filibuster and keep him blocking Biden’s agenda and his candidates. In Schumer’s favor, he did not understand that. They agreed with McConnell on Joe Manchin’s and Kyrsten Sinema’s disapproval. Sinema actually continued to do this.
Sinema insists that it opposes a $ 1.9 trillion minimum wage increase in the COVID-19 bill, which the Democrats are pushing through through the budget vote, a limited instrument that does not follow the 60-vote majority rule is subject to and therefore cannot be filibustered. In addition, Sinema says: “I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the work of the Senate.” That would mean giving McConnell a veto on any Biden candidate – possibly even before the Supreme Court.
Sinema is undoubtedly trying to hedge their bets just in case the Republicans retake the Senate in 2022 and are trying to work their way into their graces. As if McConnell and his team were rewarding a Democrat for anything. As if it were not betrayal of their own voters who support an increase in the minimum wage. As if it wasn’t a betrayal of the LBGTQ community in which Sinema is claiming membership. She has expressed her willingness to assist Republicans with the filibuster of the Equality Act, which outlaws discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. She says she will reintroduce the 60-vote threshold to block Biden’s equality judges after Trump appointed so many anti-equality judges who only need 51 votes.
She kind of believes this can be put in the hands of the Senate Republicans, only seven of whom voted to condemn the man who instigated and directed a riot against her, a mob literally prepared for their blood – and almost got it. So, sure, these will be the people who will be casting the 10 votes it takes to help Biden save the nation from COVID-19, care for everyone after this pandemic, and eventually implement major immigration reform in order to Border states like to help Arizona.
That brings us back to the For the People Act. The January 6 events and the Senate acquittal of the Republicans underscore the importance of the Democrats reacting vigorously and quickly to crush the radicalized Republican Party and end its ability to maintain an oversized power and, at the same time, the minority To represent the nation’s population. It means, especially for people like Manchin and Sinema, realizing that the Republicans they hang out with every day are not their friends. That they might mourn their deaths from a violent mob, but they will not act to prevent it. It means ending the filibuster.
The For the People Act is the means to do just that because it would improve the playing field for Democrats. In addition, this would allow for an actual majority rule – so that the majority of voters can enforce their will. Universally accessible and affordable healthcare. To have an economic system that is not weighted against them. Not to let their families live in fear of separation. To have a government that deals with the climate changes that make life in their home regions impossible.
None of this happens without a profound change in our voting system, and HR1 / S.1 would start that process. It is also the place where Sinema and Manchin can dare to thwart the will of the majorities who have elected them, to dare them to join the white supremacist Republican Party, which is fighting to keep entire color communities disenfranchised.