Castro Uses Texas Democrats’ Defiance To Re-Up Call To Kill Filibuster

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MAY 08: Julian Castro speaks during the "Texans Rally For Our Voting Rights" event at the Texas Capitol Building on May 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
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May 31, 2021 12:02 p.m.

Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary and presidential candidate, used Texas Democrats’ dramatic eleventh-hour walkout Sunday night to re-up calls for the Senate to kill the legislative filibuster and pass voting rights safeguards.

Texas Democrats pulled the gambit to block sweeping voting legislation that would, among other things, shorten early voting hours and add barriers to voting by mail.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last week that he’d bring S1, the For the People Act, to the floor the week of June 21st. The bill faces slim chances of passing currently, with the 60-vote threshold in place and seemingly no Republican support for the legislation.

Manchin, the only Senate Democrat not currently publicly supporting S1, has advocated for narrower voting rights legislation — though his recent proposal to restore key components of the Voting Rights Act attracted immediate Republican suspicion.

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Manchin, and his fellow public filibuster disciple Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), came to their first real test last week when Republicans carried out a filibuster to block a bipartisan bill to establish a January 6 commission.

The two put out a joint statement “imploring” their Republican peers to vote for the commission, and Manchin insisted that there could be 10 Republican yes votes. There, predictably, were not: only six Republicans joined Democrats to try to break the filibuster and advance the bill to the floor for debate.

Sinema didn’t vote at all — she’d already left for the holiday break.

The voting rights push, which Democrats have characterized as critical to safeguard democracy as GOP legislatures launch state-level assaults, is expected to be the next big pressure point for the Democratic filibuster holdouts.

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