WaPo on the path to a potentially climactic showdown over the pending voting rights legislation. Step one: the House passes a megabill combining the FTVA and the JLVRAA (and also including some amendments to the previous versions of these bills). Step two: the Senate begins debate on the megabill (which it can do without overcoming a filibuster because a shell bill containing what’s now the megabill has already passed the Senate). Step three: either a lot of talking and a lot of failed cloture votes, or some reform that ultimately allows a majority vote on the megabill’s passage.
In the memo, Schumer announced his intention to use existing rules to jump-start debate on the voting bills by having the House amend an existing, unrelated bill dealing with NASA and sending it back to the Senate as soon as Wednesday night. Starting debate under those circumstances requires only a simple majority of 51 votes — not a 60-vote supermajority.
But the maneuver does not affect the 60-vote requirement for ending debate and moving to final passage of the Democratic bills. With at least two Democratic senators signaling that they are not willing to erode that provision, Schumer’s plan would set up a final confrontation when and if a motion to close debate is blocked. At that point, Schumer or another Democrat could move to establish a new, 51-vote precedent, subject to a simple majority vote. . . .
“With this procedure, we will finally have an opportunity to debate voting rights legislation — something that Republicans have thus far denied,” he said. “Of course, to ultimately end debate and pass the voting rights legislation, we will need 10 Republicans to join us — which we know from past experience will not happen — or we will need to change the Senate rules as has been done many times before.”