WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden arrived on Capitol Hill on Thursday to make a direct appeal to Senate Democrats to follow through on his administration’s push for voting rights legislation. But the effort may be futile as a key Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, made clear she won't vote to gut the filibuster rule to enable passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Sinema said she supports the two bills but continues to favor the 60-vote rule, which Democrats have no hope of clearing due to overwhelming Republican opposition to the bills. Her remarks signaled that the aggressive efforts to persuade her to change Senate rules have failed. "There's no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation," Sinema said on the Senate floor in a speech about "the disease of division" in the United States. "It is the view I continue to hold." Sinema's position means the two voting bills have no viable path to passage. Biden met behind closed doors with Senate Democrats during their regular caucus lunch. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that the president would “make the strong case” to lawmakers that he made publicly in his speech in Atlanta on Monday, in which he called for an end to the filibuster to allow for passage of federal voting rights bills. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will also both be “working the phones” to put pressure on reluctant lawmakers, Psaki said. Prior to Biden's arrival Thursday, the House voted 220-203 along party lines to pass the two voting rights bills in one package. The Senate will receive it as a “message,” enabling Democrats to open debate on the package with a simple majority, without Republican votes. But they're guaranteed to hit a roadblock when they need 60 votes to break a filibuster and end debate in the 50-50 Senate. The Freedom to Vote Act has no Republican support. The John Lewis bill has one GOP backer: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Adding to the complications, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Thursday that he tested positive for Covid earlier this week and is isolating at home, which means with . . . read the full article here.