Senate Democrats are searching for an elusive plan C on elections and ethics reform after facing yet another setback Wednesday.
In a 49-51 vote, the Senate failed to move forward on Democrats’ latest elections reform bill, which amounted to an intra-party compromise between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a group of seven Democratic senators. While Manchin spent weeks seeking GOP input, in the end no Republicans voted to begin consideration of the legislation, effectively killing the bill in the Senate.
Democrats privately hoped that if they gave Manchin the time to reach out to Republicans and he received no buy-in, he might be more open to shifting from his dug-in position against nixing the legislative filibuster or creating an exception to the rule for voting rights. But so far, there’s no public evidence that the West Virginia Democrat will change his mind.
“The next steps are unclear, but the first step was to get the Democrats unified on the voting rights bill,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii.) “We are rapidly running out of time as gerrymandering and voter suppression is happening as we speak and as we dither. Unless we restore the Senate’s ability to make laws, this situation will be dire.”