Without any help from Republicans in passing voting rights bills in the Senate, Democrats would need to change filibuster rules, allowing a simple majority vote. It is feasible with the tie-breaker vote of VP Kamala Harris to ensure a majority vote to change the filibuster and one to advance the voting law.
The problem of course is that the Democrats apparently don’t have unity, with both Senators Manchin and Sinema expressing various levels of opposition.
Most Senators have already voted to change filibuster rules at some point in their careers– in order to advance their own voices.
Of the current 100 U.S. Senators, 74 have already voted at least once to change the filibuster rule.
Those votes primarily happened on two occasions, once in 2013, and once in 2017.
In 2013, it was Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) lining up his caucus to allow appointees to be confirmed on a majority vote. In 2017, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lined up Republicans to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Of the senators now serving, 35 joined Reid’s push in 2013, and 39 joined McConnell’s. That’s nearly three-quarters of current members who at one point opted to change filibuster rules so that their own votes could contribute to a simple majority.
Of current members, only 20 were not around for either of those votes. About two-thirds of current members were around for both.
There is one exception: Joe Manchin.
In 2017, he opposed Mitch McConnell and Republicans in their effort to change the filibuster — no suprise.
But in 2013, Manchin joined two other Democrats in opposing Harry Reid’s rule change. Manchin argued the change “went too far.”
“I firmly believe that the filibuster is a vital protection of the minority views and exactly why the Framers of our Constitution made the Senate the ‘cooling saucer,’” Manchin said in a statement.
Democrats have no room for any defections to a filibuster rule change. Zero. Including Joe Manchin.
More on filibustering and the “nuclear option” here at CNN