The votes were barely tabulated and announced this morning before Mondaire Jones didn't let his Westchester and Rockland County constituents know that House Democrats had passed a big package of reforms to protect voter access, including his own Right To Vote Act, which codifies the right to vote for the first time in U.S. history and ensures that courts respect the right to vote as a fundamental right. Jones’ bill also "provides crucial protection against election subversion, by expressly protecting the right to have one’s vote counted and included in the certified total."
His office's e-mail to his constituents pointed out that "The House-passed Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act also contains key text from the Inclusive Elections Act, which Rep. Jones introduced with Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) in July to restore Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court gutted it in its’ Brnovich decision. 'With our democracy in crisis and the right to vote under its greatest assault since Jim Crow, nothing is more important than passing democracy-saving legislation,' said Congressman Jones. 'As a leader in the fight to defend our democracy from voter suppression and election subversion, I’m proud to have authored key provisions of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act that would guard against those competing threats. Now it goes to the Senate, where the only path forward is clear: Democratic Senators must make an exception to the filibuster to pass this bill. Time is running out.'"
It passed 220--203, every Democrat voting to protect voting rights and every Republican-- even pretend "moderates" and anti-Trumpers like John Katko, David Valadao, Jaime Herrera Buetler, Fred Upton, Adam Kinzinger, Don Bacon, Tom Reed, Nancy Mace, Brian Fitzpatrick, Chris Smith, Rodney Davis, Brian Mast, Anthony Gonzales, Peter Meijer, Vern Buchanan and, of course, Thomas Friedman's girl Liz-- voting to switch our governmental system from democracy to fascism.
This package is meant to establish federal standards for voting access, such as allowing for same-day voter registration, making Election Day a legal public holiday, requiring states to allow a minimum number of days for early voting, allowing people to vote absentee by mail for any reason and restoring the provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required states with histories of voting rights violations to obtain pre-clearance from the Justice Department before implementing new election restrictions.
After the vote today, Steve Holden, the Central New York progressive Democrat challenging Katko, who tries to pass himself off as a mainstream Republican, told me that Katko used to loudly claim that John Lewis was his friend and that he respected the work that he did. "Well," said Holden, "John Katko voted against the bill that memorialized the Representative’s life work. Katko, like other Republicans, did not vote for any voting rights legislation. Why is that?Because John Katko wants to be the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. He calls any voting rights legislation 'a Democratic wishlist' and has been on Fox News defending his positions. He has gone further rightward since he received three primary challengers, all of whom are competing for the attention of Donald Trump."
Meanwhile, Psycho-Sinema, jealous of all the attention Manchin has been getting for blocking everything, did her bat out of hell routine this morning to announce she's a worse monster than he is. Carl Hulse wrote soon after the House passed the bill that "Biden’s drive to push new voting rights protections through Congress hit a major obstacle on Thursday when Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, declared that she would not support undermining the Senate filibuster to enact new laws under any circumstances. Pre-empting a presidential visit to the Capitol to meet privately with Democrats, Sinema took to the floor to say that while she 'backed' two new voting rights measures and was alarmed about new voting restrictions in some states, she believed that a unilateral Democratic move to weaken the filibuster would only foster growing political division. 'These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease, but they do not fully address the disease itself,' Sinema said. 'And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.'"
I spoke with the chief of staff of a top-ranking Senate Democrat who had just put down Hulse's Times story and told me that Sinema herself is the disease and that there are a dozen Republicans he would rather work with than her. "It's just a matter of time before she joins the GOP anyway." I asked him who's more hated among Senate Democrats, her or Manchin. He laughed and said that people actually like Manchin but offered that he thinks more "fewer people hate Sinema than Ted Cruz but it's close."
Hulse noted that "her comments were a major setback for Biden, who delivered a speech in Atlanta two days earlier calling for a change in Senate rules if necessary. Sinema has been under pressure from her colleagues to drop her opposition to a rules change, but her refusal to reverse course appeared to doom the bills in the Senate... Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said the Senate would begin debate on the House-passed bill as quickly as possible. It will be the Senate’s fifth attempt to consider such legislation after Republicans have used the filibuster four times to prevent the bills from even reaching the floor. 'The Senate will finally hold a debate on the voting rights legislation for the first time in this Congress,' Schumer said on Thursday. 'Every senator will be faced with the choice of whether or not to pass this legislation to protect our democracy.'"
Schumer handpicked Sinema for the Senate when she had the single most Republican voting record of any Democrat in the House and was chair of the Blue Dogs-- and after he was expressly warned that she is toxic and that he'd be sorry for what he was doing. He then proceeded to clear the field of other potential nominees and turned over his list of crooked Wall Street campaign contributors to her. There is no one more responsible than Chuck Schumer for Sinema's election to the Senate (and her ability to destroy America's democracy). If he were a man he would go to the Senate floor and commit seppuku. But he's not and he won't.