House to vote on consolidated election bill Thursday, Pelosi says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) walks back to her office from the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol
Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The House plans to take up and advance a consolidated election and voting rights bill on Thursday in order to allow the Senate to give it “urgent consideration,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday evening.

“Under the steady leadership of Chairman Jim McGovern, the House Rules Committee will meet tonight to prepare legislation for the Floor that combines key provisions of two crucial bills: the Senate’s Freedom to Vote Act and the House’s John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Wednesday.

“After the meeting concludes, the House will convene tonight to pass the Rule for this legislation. Tomorrow, the House will pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and send it to the Senate for consideration,” she added.

Democratic leaders are pressing ahead in their quest to advance the voting legislation after President Biden delivered a speech in Georgia on Tuesday in which he sought to raise pressure on Senate Democrats to change the chamber’s rules in order to pass the bills.

Democrats do not have the 60 votes currently needed to advance the legislation and bypass the Senate filibuster. Two Democrats — Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — have broadly said they do not support getting rid of the legislative rule.

“President Biden made it crystal clear that the Senate must find a path forward to enshrine critical voting rights legislation into law. Tonight, to defend our democracy, House Democrats will take a step to send the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to the Senate for urgent consideration,” Pelosi said.

Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rejected an offer from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to hold two simple majority votes on both voting bills in exchange for allowing nearly 20 bills Republicans placed on the Senate calendar to have simple majority votes held.

Schumer told Senate Democrats in a memo on Wednesday that he would use a loophole from a Senate procedure to at least start debate on a bill that would contain aspects of both pieces of voting rights legislation. 

The legislation would still be subject to the 60-vote filibuster in order to pass, but the move would at least begin debate on the legislation.

Tags Charles Schumer Charles Schumer Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Voting rights bill
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