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Audio: Sen. Tim Kaine Says There Could Be “some twists and turns, possibly some surprises” in Voting Rights Legislation; Also Says “I think we’ll get there” on Build Back Better

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Sen. Tim Kaine was on WAMU’s “The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi” (and Tom Sherwood) a bit earlier today, and had some interesting things to say about the filibuster, voting rights legislation, etc.  Click here to listen to the entire interview, and also check out the following short clips and highlights.

  • In the first clip, Sen. Kaine says: “Being able to discuss a [voting rights] bill finally is quite a relief, and I think we’re going to discuss it with some intensity during a week when we were normally going to be on recess. I hope we’re not just going to debate it, but entertain amendments to it. We still don’t have a guaranteed path to get this bill passed. There are a couple potential options for passing it, but one might involve potential changes to the Senate rules. And thus far, neither Senators Manchin nor Sinema have been willing to agree to Senate rules changes to pass this bill that they cosponsor. But there are a couple different options out there, and we’re going to instead of a recess next week, we will go home for Martin Luther King Day weekend, and come back and be vigorously engaged in a debate about voting rights for the first time in many many years.”

  • In the next clip, Sen. Kaine says the Republican Party used to be a “superb, pro-voting rights party” which has done a “180-degree turn in the last 15 years, which is tragic, even on something like support for the Voting Rights Act.” But, Kaine adds: “their unwillingness to help does not absolve the Democrats of a responsibility, particularly in the aftermath of the January 6th attack, which at its root was an effort to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and disenfranchise the 80 million people who had voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We have to respond to that…We have to protect the democracy, and if Republicans won’t join us, we still have to do it. Right now, we don’t have everybody on board with the path to final passage. We do have them on board on the content. We have found a way to get by the Republican gag rule and actually get on this bill. And I think there’s going to be some twists and turns, possibly some surprises; the Las Vegas odds are against us, it’s an uphill battle, but Democrats like underdogs and Democrats like uphill battles and we’re going to go into a big one on Tuesday.”

  • Finally, check out this clip, in which Sen. Kaine says that both Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are “bothered by” Republican attacks on the voting process, “and again…they are cosponsors of the bills that would prevent it.” Sen. Kaine adds that “to the extent I have a disagreement with them, it’s a disagreement over the urgency of the moment, the history of Senate rules, the intentions of our colleagues, and the right balance between protecting democracy and adhering to Senate rules…which have changed dramatically over time…I think we should choose rules that enable us to protect democracy rather than feel barred from protecting democracy by adherence to rules that have frequently changed.” Also, on “Build Back Better,” Sen. Kaine says “this is not done, and in fact, focusing on voting rights for the next…couple weeks might really help Build Back Better proceed…it has to be right sized and put into the right format but I think we’ll get there.”

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