WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats say their top priority this new year is passing national voting legislation. With Republicans still united against the effort, they say they will now attempt to pass their bills alone.
“We have to keep moving forward,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “Democrats for months have tried to bring Republicans to the table but every single time Republicans use the rules of the Senate to prevent even debate.”
Schumer says this new year Democrats will take historic steps to pass federal voter protections without Republican support. On Tuesday, he announced Democrats will hold a vote to try and change Senate rules by Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17.
Right now more than 100 mayors are pressuring senators to act, including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat.
“We are absolutely up against the clock,” Lucas said. “We have a chance to say as a country that you can not pass any bill in states that are going to eliminate the amount of voices to be heard.”
The challenge for Senate Democrats is not everyone in their party is onboard.
“I’m not agreeing to any of this… I want to talk and see all the options,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said.
Manchin says that he’d rather find bipartisan solution to protecting voter access.
Meanwhile Republicans are railing against the proposed change to Senate rules.
“It’s called the nuclear option for a reason,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said. “It would ensure that in the future every Senate that comes in will reverse what the previous Senate has done.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he remains in close contact with Manchin and believes he will not fold under pressure.