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Groups pressure Senate to end filibuster as relic of Jim Crow

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly 150 groups are calling on the Senate to clear the filibuster, claiming it is a relic from the Jim Crow era that can be used to block an upcoming government bill. right to vote and other priorities, and should be relegated to the “trash of history.” “

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer obtained by The Associated Press, the organizations said the issue takes on new urgency after Georgia’s new, more restrictive electoral law is passed.

The Senate is set to consider a broad package of Elections and Democrats’ ethics, the “For the People Act,” which would run counter to Georgian law and others as it emerges. in the states. But he is unlikely to break the expected obstruction of Republican opposition.

“We call on you to remove filibuster as a weapon that a minority of senators can use to overthrow the will of the majority,” said Fix our Senate and a list of leading progressive and advocacy groups. focused on gun control, climate change and immigration. and other issues.

“Senate Democrats will soon be faced with a choice: to protect our democracy and pass the law for the people, or to protect filibuster – an outdated and abused ‘Jim Crow relic’ that deserves to be tossed in the trash. the story.”

Pressure is mounting on Schumer and the Democrats as time flies on President Joe Biden’s priorities. With the Senate split evenly, 50-50, and Democrats holding only a slim majority in the House, it’s clear Republicans will be able to easily prevent bills from going through Congress, which they plan to do. make.

Any senator can prevent a bill from being voted on simply by signaling his intention to filibuster. Established as a means of allowing unlimited debate, the practice of filibuster has been sharpened over the years as a procedural weapon to curb action in the Senate.

To overcome a filibuster, it takes 60 votes, but some Democratic senators have proposed lowering that threshold to 51 votes, as was done to allow the approval of candidates for justice. But all Democrats would have to agree to change the rules, and centrists, including Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., disagree. Democrats in the Senate hold a slim majority because Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, throws the deciding vote.

The upcoming debate bears echoes of the civil rights era, when pro-segregation southerners blocked the franchise and other laws that sought to overturn Jim Crow’s restrictions on black Americans. They have often broken bills with obstructionists, including a 1957 record holder by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond.

The electoral legislation before the Senate offers a striking test case. Already approved by the House as HR 1, the broad federal package would expand access to voting by allowing universal registration, early voting by mail and other options, nullifying part of the new Georgian law.

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