A Republican filibuster has blocked an attempt by Democratic lawmakers to rewrite U.S. election and voting laws in the country.
"The fight is far from over," President Joe Biden said after the vote came in at 50-50, the Associated Press reports.
The bill needs 60 votes to begin debate under Senate rules.
"Once again, the Senate Republican minority has launched a partisan blockade of a pressing issue," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. He also said the debate was not over.
"Are we going to let reactionary state legislatures drag us back into the muck of voter suppression?" he said. "Are we going to let the most dishonest president in history continue to poison our democracy from the inside? Or will we stand up to defend what generations of Americans have organized, marched, fought and died for – the sacred, sacred right to vote?"
The For the People Act would approve penalties for those who threaten or intimidate election workers. The act would also create a "buffer zone" between election workers and poll watchers.
Republicans, however, say the bill infringes on states' authority to conduct their own elections. Some critics are calling the bill the "Screw the People Act."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) said it was "designed to keep elected Democrats in office." Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the measure a "solution looking for a problem" and said he would "put an end to it."
"They've made it abundantly clear that the real driving force behind S1 is a desire to rig the rules of American elections permanently, permanently in Democrat's favor," McConnell added.
The proposal comes after former President Donald Trump criticized the 2020 presidential election and alleged wrongdoing in the election. In response, several state legislatures passed their own laws on voting access.
According to a tally from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, legislators in 48 states have introduced more than 380 bills with restrictions on voting.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Padraic Spencer/EyeEm
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.