H.R. 1/S.1 is Dead: Long Live the Filibuster

Drew Angerer/Pool via AP

It’s over, and we are thankful.

It was a 50-50 procedural vote along party lines, but H.R. 1/S.1, the supposed “For the People Act” has been blocked by Senate Republicans. Sixty votes were needed in order to open debate on this legislation before entering into a vote on the actual bill. Because the Republicans were able to successfully filibuster, that 60 vote threshold was not met. The legislation is now dead on the Senate floor.

Any way you slice it, if H.R. 1/S.1 had passed, it would have been a wholesale takeover of elections by Federal fiat. Democrats and the Left have been alarmed at the election integrity measures that state legislatures have moved to implement in the aftermath of the 2020 Election, and H.R. 1/S.1 was their effort to kill these measures.

My colleague Shipwreckcrew rightly called it the “Permanent Democrat Rule Act”:

HR1 is a collection of election law “reforms” meant to dictate to states the manner by which all states shall conduct their elections in the future, mandating certain voting practices be followed while making other voting practices illegal.

You can fit the classifications into two categories:  1) changes in voting processes and procedures that are designed to increase the gross total of votes cast in each election; and 2) changes in voting practices and procedures designed to eliminate any effort to improve or protect ballot integrity.  Here is a general summary of the key provisions with regard to voting procedures mandated and prohibited:

Mandated:

“No excuse” mail-in voting for all voters in all states.

15 days of early voting for any election including federal offices.

Automatic voter registration — unless the individual opts out — upon the submission of personal information (name, address) to any state agency for any purpose.

Online voter registration up to and including on election day.

Automatic restoration of voting rights to felons.

Allowing “ballot harvesting” by third parties.

Counting of illegal aliens among state populations fo purpose of determining number of congressional districts in each state.

Public financing by creating “$6 to $1” match of federal funds against small-donor campaign contributions of $200 or less.

Prohibited:

No voter ID requirements.

No purging of voter rolls.

No signature matching for mail-in ballots.

No redistricting by legislative bodies in the States — only by non-partisan commissions.

No disqualification of ballots for “out of precinct” voting.

Or even shorter, “We can cheat with impunity, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

In an evenly divided Senate, this defeat would not have been possible without the filibuster, and the Democrats knew this. The removal of the filibuster was a scorching topic of debate preceding this Senate vote. Democrat Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ Badass) and Joe Manchin (WV Shifty) held the line against nuking the filibuster, although Manchin made noises about it needing to be reformed. While both Senators voted with their party on the procedural vote, we owe them a debt for Republicans being able to maintain and use the filibuster.