Schumer Fails At Failing

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Set Up June For A Series Of Votes On Partisan Designed-To-Fail Legislation, Hoping To Weaken Support For Minority Rights In The Senate, But ‘Instead Saw Moderate Dem Senators Harden In Their Vows To Protect The 60-Vote Threshold’


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “As the Senate headed into the June work period, the Democratic Leader laid out an agenda that was transparently designed to fail: a string of far-left proposals that were not intended to become law or make a difference in the lives of the American people. They were designed to fail and provide political theater for liberal activists. And sure enough – the Senate did reject Democrats’ brazen attempt to rewrite the rules of American elections permanently to their own advantage. We did reject their bid to exploit the cause of paycheck fairness to fill the pockets of the trial bar. And other radical proposals, like the one to impose crushing legal penalties on organizations that fail to conform to left-wing social preferences, didn’t even make it to the floor. But let’s remember: this was never just about policy. If our colleagues actually believed that the substance of their plans was viable, they would have submitted more of it to scrutiny in committee. We know how things work in this body when a narrow majority actually wants to make law. That’s not what we’ve seen. … Senate Democrats weren’t out to pass any legislation this month. Their designed-to-fail agenda was supposed to indicate that the institution of the Senate itself was somehow broken. And on this count, our friends across the aisle failed spectacularly.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/24/2021)

  • SEN. McCONNELL: “See, the framers designed this upper chamber to be a proving ground. A place where good ideas would rise to meet high standards, and bad ones would fall flat. So, this month, our Democratic colleagues proved that the Senate is working quite well. We turned away an underhanded attempt to open American employers to a new form of unlimited predatory liability, and a hostile takeover of our election system. And the whole time, productive work continued on bipartisan proposals that actually are intended to become law. From infrastructure to agriculture, many of our colleagues have been hard at work demonstrating the right way to go about legislating. In the Commerce and EPW committees, they’ve approved smart legislation with wide, bipartisan votes. This morning on the floor, we considered another bill from Senator Braun that more than half of our colleagues cosponsored. So as we head back to our home states and take time to celebrate our nation’s founding, let’s double down on efforts like these and leave designed-to-fail partisan antics in June.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/24/2021)

“Democrats took a big L [this week], no way around it. They failed to pass a key part of their agenda, a sweeping elections reform bill, which lacked any GOP support and even prompted doubts for some Dems. Not only that, but Democrats who hoped that they would make inroads towards gutting the filibuster if S1 failed instead saw moderate Dem senators harden in their vows to protect the 60-vote threshold.” (“The Big Tech Battle Forging Unlikely Allies,” Politico’s Huddle, 6/23/2021)


Senate Democrat Leaders Set Up June ‘Hop[ing] That They Would Make Inroads Towards Gutting The Filibuster’ ‘But Democratic Moderates’ Support Of The Filibuster Has Only Hardened’

“After months of build-up, Democrats are boxed in on their party’s signature election reform plan. And there’s no apparent escape route. Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ sweeping ethics and elections legislation on Tuesday, a filibuster that many in President Joe Biden’s party hoped would turbocharge the demise of the chamber’s 60-vote threshold for most bills. But Democratic moderates’ support of the filibuster has only hardened in recent days, culminating in an emphatic defense of the supermajority requirement by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on the eve of Tuesday’s vote…. In today’s 50-50 Senate, Democrats would need every single one of their members to vote in favor of any changes to the rules, and there is no sign that’s close to happening.” (“Democrats Confront Failure On Elections Strategy,” Politico, 6/22/2021)

SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): “It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018. If anyone expected me to reverse my position because my party now controls the Senate, they should know that my approach to legislating in Congress is the same whether in the minority or majority. Once in a majority, it is tempting to believe you will stay in the majority. But a Democratic Senate minority used the 60-vote threshold just last year to filibuster a police reform proposal and a covid-relief bill that many Democrats viewed as inadequate. Those filibusters were mounted not as attempts to block progress, but to force continued negotiations toward better solutions.” (Sen. Sinema, Op-Ed, “Kyrsten Sinema: We have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster,” The Washington Post, 6/21/2021)

  • SEN. SINEMA: “This question is less about the immediate results from any of these Democratic or Republican goals — it is the likelihood of repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government. And to those who fear that Senate rules will change anyway as soon as the Senate majority changes: I will not support an action that damages our democracy because someone else did so previously or might do so in the future. I do not accept a new standard by which important legislation can only pass on party-line votes — and when my party is again in the Senate minority, I will work just as hard to preserve the right to shape legislation.” (Sen. Sinema, Op-Ed, “Kyrsten Sinema: We have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster,” The Washington Post, 6/21/2021)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “With that in mind, some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past. As a reminder, just four short years ago, in 2017 when Republicans held control of the White House and Congress, President Donald Trump was publicly urging Senate Republicans to eliminate the filibuster. Then, it was Senate Democrats who were proudly defending the filibuster. Thirty-three Senate Democrats penned a letter to Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warning of the perils of eliminating the filibuster. … I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.” (Sen. Manchin, Op-Ed, “Why I’m voting against the For the People Act,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 6/03/2021)

“And it isn’t just Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who oppose rewriting the rules of the Senate. The two moderates have been the most vocal, but it’s the worst-kept secret in Washington that they are not alone. Several other Democrats have indicated in interviews that they are reluctant to kill the filibuster or that they prefer to make ‘reforms’ — Washington-speak for maintaining a supermajority to pass bills, even if changed a bit from the current filibuster rules.” (“Democrats Face Filibuster Stress Test On Key Voting Bill. It’s Not Just Manchin And Sinema.” NBC News, 6/21/2021)


Both Democrats’ Partisan Election Takeover And Their Giveaway To Trial Lawyers Failed To Get A Single Republican Vote

“The Democrats’ sweeping attempt to rewrite U.S. election and voting law suffered a major setback in the Senate Tuesday, blocked by a filibuster wall of Republican opposition to what would be the largest overhaul of the electoral system in a generation. The vote leaves the Democrats with no clear path forward … The bill, known as the For the People Act, would touch on virtually every aspect of how elections are conducted … But many in the GOP say the measure represents instead 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.” (The Associated Press, 6/23/2021)

“Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill that would impose tougher standards and bigger penalties on companies over claims of pay discrimination based on sex. The bill, H.R. 7, failed to advance on a 49-50 vote that was well short of the 60 needed.” (“Senate GOP Blocks Bill to Stiffen Pay Discrimination Rules,” Bloomberg News, 6/08/2021)

  • “The Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed, 49 to 50, was never going to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and bring it to the Senate floor under existing rules. The bill, which passed the House in April, has been on the Democratic wish list since 1997. Among other legal provisions, it would require employers to prove that pay disparities between men and women are job related and would strengthen the hand of plaintiffs filing class-action lawsuits that challenge pay discrimination. Republicans have long said it was an unnecessary measure that would primarily benefit trial lawyers …” (“Republican Filibuster Blocks Pay Equity Bill in the Senate,” The New York Times, 6/08/2021)


FLASHBACK: Schumer Boasted That June Would Feature A Series Of Big Bold Votes On Partisan Democratic Bills, But Didn’t Even Bring All Of Them To The Floor

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Looking ahead, the June work period will be extremely challenging. I want to be clear that the next few weeks will be hard and will test our resolve as a Congress and a conference. When the Senate reconvenes on June 7th, we will seek to pass H.R.7, the Paycheck Fairness Act... We may also consider gun safety and LGBTQ equality legislation during the June work period. And finally, in the last week of the June work period, the Senate will vote on S.1, the For the People Act…” (Sen. Schumer, Dear Colleague Letter, 5/28/2021)

SCHUMER: “So looking ahead, when the Senate reconvenes on June 7th, we’ll force a vote on H.R.7. That’s called the Paycheck Fairness Act, it’s equal pay for women. It’s a long overdue piece of legislation. It’s supported by all 50 Democrats. … It’s a commonsense legislation, and I have promised it will receive a vote in the Senate. And in a couple of weeks, it will…. The Senate may also--I may also ask the Senate to consider gun legislation and LBGTQ equality legislation during the June work period. And finally, in the last week of the June work period, the week of June 21st, the Senate will vote on S.1, The For The People… So I repeat, the Senate will vote on S.1 the For The People Act the week of June 21st. In addition, the Senate Democratic majority will continue to make progress on President Biden’s Build Back Better eco--economic agenda.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 5/28/2021)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats