House Passes Voting Rights Bill HR 1, 220-210

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) pose for photographs after delivering a televised response to President Donald Trump's national address about border...

By a final vote of 220-210 on Wednesday night, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 1, a Democratic voter rights reform bill aimed at reducing gerrymandering, adding transparency requirements for political advertisements and creating an automatic national voter registration system.

The House also passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in a vote of 220-212, a bill that bans choke-holds, no-knock warrants for drug arrests and streamlining ways to pursue legal claims against police officers.

George Floyd‘s family was in the Capitol building on Wednesday night for the debate and final passage of the bill named after the man murdered by a police officer choking him with his knee for more than nine minutes. Family attorneys for the Floyd family Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and L. Chris Stewart said the bill “represents a major step forward to reform the relationship between police officers and communities of color and impose accountability on law enforcement officers whose conscious decisions preserve the life or cause the death of Americans, including so many people of color … Now we urge the Senate to follow suit and send this important legislation to President [Joe] Biden.”

The Justice in Policing Act’s vote was moved from Thursday to Wednesday night due to security concerns announced in a joint statement from the F.B.I. and D.H.S. warning that fir-right extremists may target the session.

H.R. 1 and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act face a tough path in the Senate. The bills will require ten Republican Senators to side the with the progressive bill. “If Mitch McConnell is not willing to provide 10 Republicans to support this landmark reform, I think Democrats are going to step back and reevaluate the situation,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland), the author of HR 1, told Vox. “There’s all manner of ways you could redesign the filibuster so [the bill] would have a path forward.”

Because Democrats hold a slim 51-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tiebreaker, some Senate Democrats have floated the idea of filibuster reform. “We’ll go to the floor; that’s when we see where we are,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) said of the future of H.R. 1 and the Justice in Policing Act. “There is there filibuster reform that could be done generally or specifically.”