The Labor Department announced on Wednesday that inflation jumped at its fastest rate in nearly 40 years in December, representing a 7 percent increase from last year (The Associated Press). Hours later, a poll showed Biden’s already plummeting approval rating at a new low of 33 percent (The Hill).
Exacerbating those issues is the president’s inability to further an agenda on Capitol Hill. His latest push to reform voting rights appears to have hit a brick wall within his own party, becoming yet another example of frustration at the White House as the year begins.
Biden and Democratic leaders are nonetheless attempting to create legislative momentum. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday laid out the party’s roadmap for bringing up election reform and voting rights legislation and, ultimately, to try to scrap the legislative filibuster to do so.
As The Hill’s Jordain Carney details, the Democratic leader is planning to use Senate procedure to bypass the 60-vote prerequisite needed to start debate by considering the bill as a “message,” a loophole that lets them bypass how many times they need to break a filibuster. While the GOP can still block it, it gives Democrats a chance to spark debate on the voting rights proposals.
“With this procedure, we will finally have an opportunity to debate voting rights legislation — something that Republicans have thus far denied,” Schumer wrote. “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.”
The move will take place after the House passes a consolidated package on Thursday in order to allow the upper chamber to give it “urgent consideration,” according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (The Hill). Schumer has promised a vote on the bills by Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Ultimately, the process is expected to be fruitless legislatively for the majority party, which has been unable to win the support of at least two Democrats — Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — to create a filibuster “carveout” to deal with the issue.