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tv   Washington Journal Open Phones  CSPAN  January 19, 2022 11:47am-12:00pm EST

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streams of the house and senate floors, to white house events and supreme court oral arguments, even our live interactive morning program, "washington journal," where we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. >> president biden held a news conference on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at, or watch full coverage on our new video app c-span now. facebook, facebook.c. you can start calling in now on this question of conducting elections in this country. a topic we will be hearing more from the president of the united states about at his press conference scheduled for 4 p.m. eastern today. timing that will give the president something of a last word to senators before they had for their vote on this voting
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rights legislation expected to take place sometime in the 6:00 p.m. hour this evening. yesterday chuck schumer spoke to reporters and fellow democrats about the strategy and message headed into today's voting rights showdown. [video clip] >> if the senate cannot protect the right to vote, the senate rules must be reformed. must be reformed. if the republicans block cloture on the legislation before us, i will put forward a proposal to change the rules to allow for a talking filibuster on this legislation as recommended by a number of our colleagues who have been working on this reform for a long time. historically, changes to the senate rules [indiscernible] just that, address voting rights in a timely fashion, there is an
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opportunity to do exactly that, change the rules to promote public debate that is restoring of the senate possible long-standing speech limit. we feel very simply that on something as important as voting rights if senate republicans are going to oppose it, they should not be allowed to sit in their office. they got to come down on the floor to defend their opposition to voting rights, the wellspring of our democracy. there is broad, strong feeling in the caucus about that. once members of the minority party have exhausted their speaking rights and resented their position on the senate floor the debate will have brought its course and the senate will move on final passage at a majority threshold, always the threshold for final passage. host: that was senate majority leader chuck schumer yesterday afternoon. the vote is expected to take place today sometime in the 6
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p.m. hour. for more on that action we bring in stephen dennis, friend of this program. i have heard you say over the years that the number one rule in politics is that when you have the votes, you vote. so as chuck schumer goes into the showdown over voting rights and the filibuster, does he have the votes? guest: he definitely does not and isn't likely to get them in the next few hours. you know, for more than a year joe manchin and chris -- kyrsten sinema have been crystal clear that they would not unilaterally as a democratic party support changing the 60 vote threshold to allow passage of a whole host of democratic priorities. not just voting rights. so, they have both reiterated
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their opposition to changing that threshold and it looks like we are going to get a lot of political theater today culminating with maybe some kind of prime time debate and vote that looks like it will be 52-48, maybe one or two more democrats might join them on whether to have the rules change that would effectively carve out a simple majority threshold for this one big voting elections bill. host: can you explain briefly what a talking filibuster is? guest: yeah, so right now the filibuster looks nothing like the jimmy stewart filibuster from "mr. smith goes to washington." a senator puts in a call to the cloakroom and says they object to a bill and that can force
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very long delays in even getting to what is called a cloture vote to end the filibuster. so, you don't even have to come to the floor and speak. you can, but most times if you are staring at the senate floor on c-span, you see empty floors. the idea here is that at least on this bill, if you wanted to stop a final vote, you would have to be on the senate floor talking. each senator is given to opportunities to talk on a russian and you would have potentially one hundred speeches from 50 republican senators trying to hold up the bill and eventually at the end of that you could have an up-or-down vote at some point in the future. the thing is if the final vote, if you don't have 51 on the final vote, it is kind of like a lot of talking with no endpoint. that is what schumer is trying
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to get done here, have an endpoint. the reality is, it's almost certain that he is not going to get to that endpoint. this is almost certainly going to fail today. the question now is, what next for the democrats? their entire agenda is stalled at this point. their economic agenda was torpedoed by joe manchin in december and they are trying to cobble together a smaller package and most of their social agenda is opposed by republicans. everything from a big minimum wage increase to this voting package. minimum wage changes. there's a lot of things democrats want to do and the opposition from kyrsten sinema and joe manchin in these cases currently has them sort of chasing their own tail instead of what they want to be doing, which is getting ready for the
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election, uniting, having accomplishments to sell to the voters and so on. you have got the president having a press conference this afternoon and he is, he's got a tough job, to, because he has got slumping poll ratings, people worried about inflation and his own party trying to figure out what they are going to do next. so, there is a lot going on. host: our final minute, here, can you just explain the calendar here and how it plays into the democrat agenda, this being an election year. how much time do democrats have to turn to something else and what are the options for them to turn to before members start focusing just on reelection? guest: i think they have some opportunities here. they have to pass an omnibus
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spending package with a february deadline for other shutdown fights and negotiations on having a bipartisan package there. there is talk between the parties on a china competition bill with semi conductor factory subsidies. there are other things that are sort of smaller ball that could happen but the one sort of must do, almost a governing exercise at this point is this build back better package. the president's signature agenda . the democrats have worked on it for a year and i think they just, they have no choice but to keep on working on it until they get joe manchin and kyrsten sinema to yes and whatever that is, they have to go and sell it to the public. i think, you know, the other issues that keep bubbling up,
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whether it be the border situation or prescription drugs and all these other things, there are opportunities to potentially do some of those things outside of build back better with republicans, but they are not particularly interested in cutting a bunch of bipartisan deals before the midterm elections. they are pointing to the polls and talking enthusiastically about taking back congress next year and, you know, usually in that situation you are not falling all over yourself to help the other team pass some accomplishments they can run on. host: stephen dennis, his twitter -- @stephentdennisl always a good place for interesting zillah postings. [laughter] appreciate your time. guest: thank you.
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host: what are you most concerned about? access to polling? election integrity? that is what we are asking. melissa, cleveland, tennessee, good morning, you are up first. caller: i'm more interested in access to voting. the government, or a certain political party that apparently cannot win fairly, are interested in denying access to the vote to people like me. they are going to try to restrict people like me, the kind of people who cannot wait in line for hours on end to vote. they cannot win fairly, so they are trying to retaliate by telling people like me that i'm going to, if i try to vote by mail, i'm some sort of criminal. if i try to be a human being and offer someone waiting in line a
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bottled water, without indicating any kind of political affiliation, somehow i'm a criminal. in tennessee, it's not a misdemeanor but in georgia you can go to jail for offering someone water, apparently. i can't even imagine what it would be like if my skin was not white. dropbox is not within 10 miles of where you live. waiting for hours? are we going back to the days of poll taxes and intelligence tests? host: melissa, tennessee. doug, california, what's more important to you? caller: i disagree with the
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previous caller. in my state, california, the governor has decreed that ballots be mailed out to everybody. in my case i'm a permanent absentee voter. not a problem at all, but the fact of the matter is that what the democrats are trying to do is federalize elections so that it can be controlled by their party so that the republicans will never, ever be able to be the majority again. that's kind of it in a nutshell. host: >> you can watch the rest of this "washington journal" segment on the c-span now video app or at right now as part of our more than 40-year commitment to live gavel-to-gavel congress. the congressional gold medal will be given to


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