The bill’s failure to advance is set to underscore how Democrats are severely limited in what they can achieve with their narrow Senate majority even as the party faces enormous pressure to take action on abortion rights amid fears that Roe v. Wade will soon be struck down. But holding the vote will give Democrats a chance to spotlight the issue and criticize Republican resistance to passage of the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the vote one of the “most important” senators will take, “not only this session, but in this century.”
“This is not an abstract exercise, it’s as real and as urgent as it gets,” Schumer said at a news conference on Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats for forcing a vote this week codifying the Roe v. Wade decision, arguing that “it would attack Americans’ conscience rights and religious freedoms.”
“It would overturn modest and overwhelmingly popular safeguards like waiting periods, informed consent laws and possibly even parental notification,” McConnell said of Democrats’ bill in remarks on the Senate floor on Monday.
So far, Manchin has not said how he plans to vote on the Democratic bill when it comes up for a vote this week. On Tuesday, he indicated he is still considering how to vote. “We got some information. We’re going to have counsel sit down,” Manchin told reporters in the Capitol.
Asked at a news conference on Friday why he won’t instead bring the Collins and Murkowski bill to the floor, which could receive bipartisan support, Schumer said, “We are not looking to compromise something as vital as this.”
Earlier this week, more than a dozen abortion rights groups wrote a letter strongly opposing Murkowski and Collins’ bill, arguing it “would not protect the right to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overruled.”
Democrats have sounded the alarm and reacted with outrage in response to a recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealing plans to strike down Roe v. Wade after roughly five decades.
Republicans, despite many opposing abortion rights, have focused their response instead on the bombshell leak of the Supreme Court opinion, arguing that the leak itself represents a significant threat to judicial independence and freedom from outside interference.
CNN’s Ted Barrett and Manu Raju contributed.