Despite the fact that the Freedom to Vote Act could have passed with a majority vote, it has failed because of the filibuster. We cannot allow this arbitrary, archaic rule to stop major progress, from protecting the right to vote to preventing gun violence. The Senate must end the filibuster.
Washington, D.C., October 20, 2021 - Following a vote in the Senate in which the Freedom to Vote Act did not receive 60 votes to invoke cloture and stop debate on this bill from even occurring, Brady calls on the Senate majority and Senate Majority Leader to end the filibuster to pass this important legislation. As recently as 1975 the Senate has altered its institutional rules regarding cloture and the filibuster, it must do so again to pass important legislation such as the Freedom to Vote Act and overwhelmingly popular policies like common-sense gun violence prevention. An outmoded institutional rule cannot stand in the way of our democracy’s health and progress.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“If a bill to safeguard the right to vote cannot pass with a majority vote in the Senate, then the Senate’s rules are broken. The Senate cannot be the only institution in the country where popular and common-sense policies die due to entrenched politicization. Despite the fact that the Freedom to Vote Act could have passed with a majority vote, it has failed because of the filibuster. We cannot allow this arbitrary rule to stop progress.
The Senate has changed the rules around the filibuster in the recent past. It can do so again. Just as we have emphasized in regards to life-saving gun violence prevention legislation, the Senate cannot allow the filibuster to hold the country’s progress and the will of the people hostage. It is clear that the Senate must eliminate or amend the filibuster at once.”
About the Freedom to Vote Act
Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), the Freedom to Vote Act includes three sections, each intended to protect the right to vote and strengthen our democracy. The policies included in these sections, Voter Access and Election Administration, Election Integrity, and, Civic Participation and Empowerment, will help expand and protect access to the ballot, while safeguarding the rights of all Americans to participate in our democratic processes and simultaneously reducing the influence of dark money and special interests in that process.
About the Intersection of Democracy Issues and Gun Violence Prevention
Something is amiss when overwhelming, bipartisan majorities of Americans support common-sense gun violence prevention solutions such as universal background checks, but our government is unable to enact these policies. When our government does not represent the totality of its citizens, it is not responsive to their needs.
When it comes to gun violence prevention, it is not hyperbole to say that this is a matter of life and death. Nearly 40,000 Americans die from gun violence a year and we know that communities who are continuously shut out of our democratic processes bear a disproportionate amount of that burden. Ensuring that all citizens who want to exercise their right to vote are able to do so freely and easily is vital to enacting common-sense gun laws.
About How #TheFilbusterIsKillingUs
Gun violence in America is a national emergency. The only thing standing in the way of saving lives is the filibuster. If the Senate were to take up legislation to prevent gun violence tomorrow its fate could be sealed before a single vote is cast because even though 51 Senators make up a majority, the current rules require that 60 Senators agree to even vote on a bill. This arcane rule is known as the “procedural filibuster” and it has been used to block critical progress throughout American history, from civil rights to life-saving gun violence prevention policies.
Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for young people in America, and the leading cause of death for Black children and teens. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans are needlessly killed because of Congress’ inability to pass meaningful laws to prevent gun violence. NRA-backed members of Congress continue to use the procedural filibuster to block solutions to end bloodshed — like universal background checks on gun sales, a federal ban on assault weapons, funding for community-based violence intervention programs, and more. These are common-sense solutions supported by the majority of Americans, including gun owners.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.