Gallego says it's 'past time' Sinema, Senate protect voting rights

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Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) leaves the House Chamber following a series of votes regarding veterans on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) leaves the House Chamber following a series of votes regarding veterans on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.


Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a potential future primary challenger to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), said Thursday it was "past time" for Sinema and her Senate colleagues to act to protect voting rights.

Gallego, who hasn't ruled out challenging Sinema in 2024, delivered a speech on the House floor targeting the senator over her refusal to abolish the upper chamber's 60-vote threshold to advance most legislation.

"We won't shrink from protecting our democracy and the voting rights of all Americans," Gallego said Thursday. "It's past time for the U.S. Senate and Senator Sinema to do the same."

President Biden's voting rights push is on rocky ground, with moderate Democrats such as Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) saying they won't abolish the filibuster. Biden met with the pair on Thursday night at the White House to discuss voting rights.

Sinema reiterated earlier Thursday in a speech that she will not support changes to the Senate filibuster rule. The chamber currently requires 60 votes to end debate on most legislation.

"I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country," Sinema told the Senate. "Eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy."

The pushback from Sinema and Manchin has scuttled the White House's hopes for filibuster reform, with Biden admitting there are doubts the voting rights legislation can pass.

"The honest-to-God answer is I don't know whether we can get this done," Biden stated Thursday.

Democrats have focused on the legislation since some Republican-led states have changed their voting rules following the 2020 presidential election.

Gallego has not ruled out running in 2024 for Sinema's seat, with some Democrats frustrated with her more moderate positions in the Senate.

"I never say no to the future and the most important thing I always care about is having the majorities we need - the working majorities we need to accomplish good programs to actually help Americans get into the middle class and prosper," he continued," Gallego told Hill.TV in November.

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