The U.S. Congress is pausing today to honor the first legislative giant to emerge in the 21st century, former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda Wednesday. He is only the 33rd person to have that honor in the nation’s history. After the morning service, the Senate will get down to the business promised by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: voting rights and election reforms.
The promised filibuster showdown is probably not going to happen as early as Wednesday, which Schumer teased Tuesday. Republicans have blocked the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement acts from even proceeding to a floor debate several times over the past year. They won’t even let the bills move forward to debate, requiring a majority of 60 votes to get it done. That filibuster could be broken with a simple majority vote if it weren’t for the two pesky Democrats who refuse to do so.
To that end, Schumer and a group of nine Democrats met with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin Wednesday morning and planned an afternoon meeting with Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema. That’s following “serious, long and intense meetings” with the two yesterday, Schumer said Wednesday morning. As for today, “I met with Sen. Manchin for an hour and we are trying to come to a place. We’re not there yet,” Schumer told reporters after the meeting.