Unless Republicans change course and stop blocking voting rights legislation, the Senate will vote this month on changing filibuster rules, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday. In a letter to Democratic colleagues, Schumer said that if Republicans don't budge, "the Senate will debate and consider changes to rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections," the Washington Post reports. President Biden said last month that he would support "making an exception on voting rights for the filibuster" if the filibuster was the only thing standing in the way of voting rights legislation.
Schumer linked the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to this week's anniversary of the Capitol attack. "Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness—an effort to delegitimize our election process," he wrote, per the AP, "and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration—they will be the new norm." The Freedom to Vote Act got all 50 Democratic votes in the evenly split chamber in October after changes were made to accommodate Sen. Joe Manchin, though it's unclear whether Manchin and fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will support changing Senate rules, the Post notes.
Schumer warned that "much like the violent insurrectionists" of Jan. 6, "Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president’s Big Lie about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions." Martin Luther King III, who has called for this year's Martin Luther King Day to be a day of action instead of celebration, welcomed the announcement, the Guardian reports. "There is no better way to honor my father’s legacy than protecting the right to vote for all Americans," he said. (Read more filibuster stories.)