President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are pushing to change the Senate filibuster rule so they can force their version of election reform through Congress.
Schumer is launching a debate on the legislation even though it might not come to a vote. And Biden is heading to Capitol Hill to rally Democrat support for changing the filibuster rule.
All 50 Republicans and two Senate Democrats – West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema – oppose the change.
It comes after Biden gave a fiery speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, supporting his election plan and accusing Republicans of being racists and "traitors."
The president compared opponents to Jim Crow-era politicians who blocked voting rights laws – and even to leaders of the Civil War Confederacy.
On Wednesday, the normally low-key Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY) took to the Senate floor to call out Biden for his harsh verbal attack.
McConnell said, "To demonize Americans who disagree with him, he compared – listen to this – a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors. How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential. Look, I've known liked and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at the podium."
McConnell said the president's "unpresidential" remarks are further proof of why the founders wanted a strong Senate to restrain presidential power-grabs.
"A president shouting that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racists unless he gets whatever he wants is proving exactly why the framers built the Senate to check his power," McConnell said.
Schumer had used extreme rhetoric to previously argue against overturning the Senate's filibuster rule.
When Republicans were in power, Schumer had warned that the Senate was standing on "the precipice of a constitutional crisis." He said, "We're about to step into the abyss" by considering eliminating Senate filibusters.
Schumer used phrases like "detonation of the nuclear option," with the "radioactive rhetoric of a small band of radicals" causing a "doomsday for democracy."
He had said ending the filibuster "will make this country into a banana republic where if you don't get your way you change the rules." Here's Schumer's entire speech, as reiterated by Cotton:
BREAKING: Chuck Schumer* speaks on the Senate floor in defense of the filibuster.
*Senator Cotton’s speech consisted entirely of Senator Schumer’s past statements. pic.twitter.com/zGfbpr7G5t
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 12, 2022
Meanwhile, Republicans warn that the election reform bill would take election authority away from the states. The measure is considered unlikely to pass because a few Democrats don't support changing Senate rules.