Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Monday (January 3) to force a vote to change Senate rules on MLK Day if Republicans block voting rights legislation again.
"The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic," Schumer wrote in a letter to the Senate Democratic Caucus. "Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy."
"We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: fair and free elections," the letter continues.
In the past year, Republicans have used the 60-vote legislative filibuster to block key pieces of voting rights legislation. Schumer's announcement comes as the Senate gets back to work following its winter recess which kicked off without a plan forward on voting rights legislation.
Advocates –– including the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. –– have called on the Biden administration to do more to get voting rights protections in place ahead of the critical 2022 midterm election season.
According to The Hill, Democrats haven't narrowed in on an exact set of rules, but are discussing a variety of ideas including implementing a talking filibuster that would allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority.
To get the rules changed, Schumer needs all 50 Democrats' participation –– something that he hasn't yet gotten since taking over. Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema both said they support the 60-vote rule but seem open to the idea of carving out the filibuster for some bills and leaving it in place for others, The Hill reported.
For now, voting rights activists continue to prepare for upcoming elections under newly-imposed voting restriction laws.