Democrats in the Senate have started the debate on the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which sets up the GOP to filibuster.
Our Pals at Electoral-Vote tell us what Chuck can do about it: And they look to recent Harry Reid history to find a way –
Even if [Manchin & Sinema] stick to their guns, as is likely, and thus decide that the filibuster is more important to democracy than, you know, democracy is, this story isn’t necessarily at its end. Last week, we wrote about a series of parliamentary maneuvers that would allow Chuck Schumer to force a talking filibuster. You can click on the link for the detailed version, but the short version is that it would require Schumer to recess the Senate rather than adjourning (thus keeping the Senate in the same “legislative day”) and to give the Republicans their full allotment of debate opportunities (two per senator per legislative day, meaning the GOP conference could deliver up to 100 sets of remarks, with time limited only by how long they’re able to remain on the Senate floor without eating/going to the bathroom/falling asleep).
Reportedly, Schumer & Co. are now considering this option as a backup, if all else fails. This exact sort of backdoor talking filibuster hasn’t been attempted in a long time, and so the details of exactly how it would unfold are hazy and would probably require input from Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough. However, it’s clearly legal; then-majority leader Harry Reid used a version of the trick less than 10 years ago. Given that the Democrats, and arguably the American democracy, face an existential crisis right now, Schumer & Co. really have no choice but to give it a try. And, if that is what it comes to, we would be surprised if they don’t do so.
So look for news of recess (and not adjournment), check VP Harris’ schedule to see if she’s staying in DC to be a tie breaker. We might be witnessing history again.