The Democrats’ controversial attempt to completely overhaul U.S. elections was defeated in the Senate Tuesday, blocked by a filibuster wall of Republican opposition.
The vote leaves the Democrats with no clear path forward, though President Joe Biden declared, “This fight is far from over.”
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The bill, known as the For the People Act, would touch on virtually every aspect of how elections are conducted. Many in the GOP say the measure represented a breathtaking federal infringement on states’ authority to conduct their own elections without fraud — and is meant to ultimately benefit Democrats.
It failed on a 50-50 vote after Republicans, some of whom derided the bill as the “Screw the People Act,” denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to begin debate under Senate rules. Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the chamber as the bill failed to break past that filibuster barrier.
She was visibly upset by the defeat. Critics said her voice was filled with “pain and anger.”
“The ‘Yeas’ are 50, the ‘Nays’ are 50,” Harris announced on the Senate floor. “With 3/5th of Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to.”
Later video shows her visibly upset at the defeat. It was “about the fundamental right to vote in our country,” she said. “And I think it is clear, certainly, for the American people that when we’re talking about the right to vote, it is not a Republican concern or a Democratic concern.”
“It is an American concern. This is about the American people’s right to vote, unfettered,” Harris claimed. “It is about their access to the right to vote in a meaningful way. Nobody is debating … whether all Americans have the right to vote.”
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“The issue here is, ‘Is there actual access to the voting process. Or is that being impeded.’ The bottom line is that the president and I are very clear: We support S1, we support the John Lewis Rights Act…”
“And the fight is not over,” she promised.
VP HARRIS: "The bottom line is that the president and I are very clear. We support S.1., we support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and the fight is not over." pic.twitter.com/qk3VxqkxU4
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 22, 2021
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The Associated Press contributed to this article