Washington, D.C. — Today, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus unanimously voted to begin debate on legislation to strengthen U.S. democracy. Known as the For the People Act, this transformative reform package would strengthen voting rights, stop partisan gerrymandering, reduce dark money in politics, and impose stronger ethics restrictions on public officials.
Despite unified Democratic support to begin debate on this legislation, Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block this popular bill that contains scores of bipartisan policies. Not one Republican senator voted to even begin debate on this vitally important set of people-powered reforms.
Republican senators’ opposition to strengthening U.S. democracy is consistent with the more than 400 voter suppression bills filed by Republican state legislators around the country. Anti-voter laws have already been enacted in states such as Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, and likely soon in Texas. These measures, built on the lie of widespread election fraud that led to the January 6 insurrection, are aimed largely at Black and brown communities that have long been kept from fully participating in U.S. democracy.
For several years, the Center for American Progress has advocated for pro-voter and anti-corruption policies and has been a leading member of the Declaration for American Democracy—a diverse coalition of more than 220 organizations representing tens of millions of Americans in demanding strong, clear solutions to make U.S. democracy more representative of everyday Americans. Only when Congress passes democracy reforms can elected leaders finally unblock progress on policies that Americans care about, such as well-paying jobs, clean air and water, and racial justice.
Ben Olinsky, senior vice president for policy and strategy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement after the Senate vote:
Senate Republicans are using the filibuster to block debate on this bill at a time when state legislatures across the nation are restricting voting rights—especially for communities of color—and giving power to partisan politicians to overturn valid election results. Senators of both parties swore an oath to defend the Constitution and therefore to protect Americans’ fundamental right to vote. That means that Senate Republicans should put their nation before party. The right to vote provides the very basis for the legitimacy of our democracy. Make no mistake: Today’s vote is only one step on a much longer path toward passage of landmark pro-democracy legislation. The unity of Senate Democrats is a clear sign that momentum has shifted in favor of fortifying our democracy.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at gro.ssergorpnacirema@lenanahs or 202-478-6327.