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Senate GOP blocks For The People Act

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined from left by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., talks with reporters before a key test vote on the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that would overhaul the election system and voting rights, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. The bill is a top priority for Democrats seeking to ensure access to the polls and mail in ballots, but it is opposed by Republicans as a federal overreach. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined from left by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) talks with reporters before a key test vote on the For the People Act at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined from left by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) talks with reporters before a key test vote on the For the People Act at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 9:00 AM PT – Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) held nothing back in his description of the For The People Act. In an interview on Tuesday, Lee said the Senate’s move to strike down the bill was a “victory for the angels.” He also declared the bill the “Corrupt Politicians Act” and argued it was not written in response to the 2020 election, but was constructed years ago.

The motion to debate failed after the evenly split chamber voted along party lines. Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized his Republican colleagues for standing against the bill.

“Madame President, I want to be clear about what just happened on the Senate floor. Every single Senate Republican voted against starting debate,” he expressed. “Starting debate on legislation to protect American’s voting rights.”

Republicans in the upper chamber set up an effective roadblock against Democrats’ sweeping voting rights bill. On Tuesday, all GOP senators stuck to their side of the aisle when called on to vote to begin the debate for the For The People Act, also known as S.1.

“On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50,” Kamala Harris announced. “Three fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative. The motion is not agreed to.”

Schumer got a short boost in confidence shortly before the vote after convincing key swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to stick with Democrats. In return for his “yes” vote, Schumer offered to bring up Manchin’s more bipartisan voting rights bill. However, GOP senators stood firm in their stance that S.1 was unnecessary.

“There is nothing broken around the country. The system upheld very well during tense stress in the latter part of the previous Congress,” stated Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “There’s no rational basis for federalizing this election.”

Republicans hammered home the point that the bill was far reaching and would take the constitutional power to administer elections away from the states. They argued S.1 would establish a federal election system designed to benefit the Democratic National Committee by stacking the Federal Election Commission with a Democrat majority, expanding mail-in voting and allowing minors to vote.

In addition, Republicans believe S.1 would have uprooted recent legislature from several states to bolster election integrity by demanding voter ID’s and limiting mail-in voting.

“This is a huge win for the citizens of the United States. This is a huge win for Democracy and it’s a huge win for the integrity of our elections,” declared Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “The Corrupt Politicians Act is the most dangerous legislation we’ve considered in the Senate in the nine years I’ve served in this body.”

Meanwhile, top Democrats, including Schumer and Kamala Harris vow to continue pushing sweeping voting rights legislation. Although analysts warn there is no clear path for Democrats.

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