Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) said in a statement on Wednesday that he would support changes to break the filibuster to pass two voting rights reform bills.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Tuesday that the Democrat-led Senate will move to strike the 60-vote threshold to advance legislation and instead replace it with a “talking filibuster.” The taking filibuster would require senators to continuously speak on the Senate floor to avoid ending debate on proposed bills. At the end of debate, the bill would require only 51 votes to pass through Congress’s upper chamber.
Kelly, who is up for reelection in 2022 in the battleground state of Arizona, said he would back the proposed reforms.
If campaign finance and voting rights reforms are blocked again this week, I will support the proposed changes to pass them with a majority vote. Protecting the vote-by-mail system used by a majority of Arizonans and getting dark money out of elections is too important to let fall victim to Washington dysfunction.
If NASA functioned like the United States Senate, they would never get the rocket off the launchpad.
— Senator Mark Kelly (@SenMarkKelly) January 19, 2022
This marks a significant move for the battleground Democrat, as he has typically served as a backbencher. Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) have decried Kelly as “missing in action” in the Senate and slammed his lack of leadership.
Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action, swiftly chastised Kelly in a statement to Breitbart News. She said:
Senator Mark Kelly wants to nuke the filibuster to accomplish one goal: more power. This isn’t filibuster reform—this is a full-blown attack that will nuke the filibuster and take a voice away from millions of Americans.
Americans did not give Washington a mandate to usher in a radical agenda that spends trillions of dollars on the Green New Deal, an election takeover, and other far-Left policies. We will not stand idly by while power-hungry liberals blow up a Senate rule that protects Americans from their socialist vision for our country.
The NRSC noted on Wednesday that Kelly has dodged the question as to if he would abolish the filibuster 16 times.
NRSC press secretary Katherine Cooksey said in a statement on Wednesday, “Coward Mark Kelly has finally admitted that he would rather appease progressive activists and Democrat leadership in Washington than stand up for Arizonans.”
She added, “Kelly is no moderate. He is a far-left senator who will do whatever Joe Biden and Washington Democrat leadership tell him in order to pass radically liberal agenda.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.