Senator Schumer has announced that the Senate will consider changes to the chamber’s voting rules this week. The most talked-about potential change is to eliminate the filibuster – the 60-vote threshold required on most legislation to end debate and move to final passage.
The filibuster rule is unique to the Senate – the chamber known for its thorough deliberations and insistence on consensus. As Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said, ending the filibuster would “completely drain the Senate of comity and consent.”
Furthermore, the 60-vote requirement is the primary rule that prevents Democrats from passing the most radical legislation. Abortion and LGBT advocates (and other progressive forces) across the nation know this and they will continue to pressure the Senate intensely to make it easier to advance their agendas.
The filibuster has been around for generations, and was designed to protect the minority party and its viewpoint. But with a simple majority vote (achieved by all 50 Democrats voting in favor and Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie), Senate Democrats can “go nuclear” and remove this important safeguard, virtually eliminating minority rights in one fell swoop.
If you do not want to see minority voices silenced in the U.S. Senate, please urge your Senator to OPPOSE ending the filibuster rule by clicking on our Action Center here!
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate defeated a bill that would have outlawed abortions after 20 weeks, the point by which preborn children can feel horrific pain. A majority of senators (51) supported the bill, but 60 votes were required to overcome a Democrat filibuster.
As a result, the United States remains one of just seven countries, including North Korea and China, to allow abortions after 20 weeks.
While the bill is now defeated, it’s ramifications will continue to be felt throughout the 2018 elections, as was evidenced by the partisan divide in the vote. Only two Republicans (Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) voted against the bill, while only three Democrats voted in favor.
What is noteworthy about those three Democrats is that all of them – Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia – are in competitive re-election races in 2018. They all claim to be pro-life but have spotty records on life-related votes. Since 2012, Sen. Manchin has just a 50 percent voting record on life issues, while Senators Casey and Donnelly have voted pro-life a meager 23 percent, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
But while those three senators at least voted pro-life yesterday, other Democrats in pivotal races this year voted to in favor of late-term abortions. These include Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Jon Tester of Montana. Two other pro-abortion Democrats who are in potentially competitive races in 2018 – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Bill Nelson of Florida – did not vote.
Please click here to find out how your state’s 2 senators voted. Then call one or both of your senators and respectfully share your appreciation or disappointment. You can reach them at the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Feedback and accountability are critical to making continued progress on life, so make your voice heard today!
Senate Democrats are telling their Republican colleagues to “Do Your Job” and confirm a Supreme Court nominee.
In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard recalls how those very same lawmakers chose to do their job in 2006.
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