Senate Republicans block debate on voting rights legislation

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
(Image credit: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked debate on the For the People Act, what would have been the most sweeping voting rights legislation in decades.

The vote was split 50-50, with 60 votes necessary to start debate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed the "partisan blockade" and said while "Republicans may want to avoid the topic, hoping that their party's efforts to suppress votes and defend the big lie will go unnoticed. Democrats will not allow it. Democrats will never let voter suppression get swept under the rug."

This is "not the finish line," Schumer said, and Democrats will "explore" every option available to advance legislation. "We have to," he added. "Voting rights are too important, too fundamental. This concerns the very core of our democracy and what we are about as a nation."

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Republicans vowed ahead of time to block the bill, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calling the For the People Act "a transparently partisan plan" and "a recipe for undermining confidence in our elections."

Since former President Donald Trump lost the November election, several Republican-led state legislatures have passed stricter voting laws that curb early voting, restrict access to mail-in ballots, and impose new voter ID requirements. The For the People Act would expand early voting and permit same-day and automatic voter registration.

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