Malinowski Reacts to Senate Blockade of Voting Rights Legislation


This evening, the Senate Minority blocked legislation that would have defended the right to vote and protected our democracy. Representative Tom Malinowski issued the below statement after the vote.

“Tonight, the Senate once again blocked voter protection legislation supported by the overwhelming majority of the American people. Defending the right to vote is basic patriotism and should not be partisan. Yet across the country, GOP legislatures are using narrow partisan majorities to pass laws that will make it harder for Americans to exercise their democratic franchise, while giving themselves the power to nullify any election that their side loses. Meanwhile, in Washington, they are using the filibuster to stop Congressional majorities from defending our democracy.

The modern filibuster has evolved into something unrooted in Senate tradition and contrary to our Constitutional framers’ intent. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a mere 40% of Senators should be able to block consideration of ordinary legislation without lifting a finger. For most of the years in which the filibuster was used, Senators at least had to speak on the floor to extend debate, and if they stopped speaking, the Senate could proceed to a majority threshold vote. The filibuster was thus used rarely, and only when the minority party felt strongly enough to make the enormous effort required.

The current automatic filibuster is one reason why common sense legislation backed by most Americans – whether to secure voting rights, lower the cost of prescription drugs, or protect children from gun violence – languishes in the Senate, even as Americans year after year elect representatives who promise action on those issues. The filibuster must be reformed in a way that encourages compromise but still allows progress. Confidence in our democracy, and perhaps its very survival, depends on this.”

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