No Republicans voted in favor of advancing the bill, known as the “For the People Act,” on Tuesday when the Senate split 50-50. Since 60 votes are needed to begin debate, the future of the bill is now in doubt.
Speaking from the Senate floor, Cruz called the bill’s defeat a “win” for the country and repeated Republican criticisms of the proposals, which would have seen a major overhaul of the U.S. voting system.
“I rise today to celebrate a win for the country,” Cruz said on Tuesday.
“Today, the United States rightly failed to advance the corrupt politicians act. Meaning that this bill will not come to the Senate floor for a final vote.
“This is a huge win for the citizens of the United States,” Cruz said. “This is a huge win for democracy and it’s a huge win for the integrity of our elections.”
The 800-page bill would have been the largest overhaul of U.S. elections in a generation, removing barriers to voting, reducing the influence of money in politics and limiting partisan involvement in drawing congressional districts.
Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote but Republicans were able to successfully filibuster the bill in the evenly divided chamber. It comes amid an ongoing debate on reform or abolition of the filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans for blocking the bill’s advancement but said that the vote was just the “starting gun” and voting rights issues would come up for debate again.
“Once again, the Senate Republican minority has launched a partisan blockade of a pressing issue,” Schumer said.
However, the future of the bill is now unclear as any further legislation on voting rights would also likely face Republican opposition and a filibuster.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated his opposition to the bill. “This is not a federal issue. It should be left to the states,” McConnell said.
“Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues refused to allow debate of this legislation despite the reasonable changes made to focus the bill on the core issues facing our democracy,” Manchin said in a statement.
Some Democrats may use H.R.1’s failure to again push for reform of the filibuster but the party remains divided on the issue. Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have expressed opposition to abolishing the controversial parliamentary procedure.
Newsweek has asked Senator Ted Cruz for comment.