Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Biden backs Senate rules change to pass voting rights bills

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were on Tuesday in the southern state of Georgia to promote a voting rights law that would expand federal influence on elections.

The two bills are a top priority for many Democrats, but have stalled in the Senate due to Republican opposition.

“Today, we, the cradles of civil rights, come to Atlanta to clarify what must have come after that dreadful day when a dagger was literally placed in the throes of American democracy,” Biden said on January 6, 2021 at Siege Invoking said. Attempts by supporters of former President Donald Trump to reverse Biden’s victory in the 2020 election to the US Capitol.

With only 50 Democratic votes in the 100-seat Senate and no Republicans, Biden threw his support behind the so-called filibuster carve-out: a one-time change to filibuster rules to pass two voting rights bills.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in support of changing Senate filibuster rules that have blocked voting rights legislation, at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, on January 11, 2022, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University.

Filbuster is a Senate tradition that allows a minority party to prolong debate and delay or withhold a vote. Carving out a filibuster would allow Senate Democrats to pass legislation with a simple majority, with Harris as the tiebreaker.

Biden said, “Today I’m making it clear. To protect our democracy, I support changing the Senate’s rules the way they should to prevent a minority of senators from taking action on voting rights.” needs to be changed.”

FILE - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, December 7, 2021.

FILE – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, December 7, 2021.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would be forced to vote to change Senate rules on a day that commemorates the legacy of US civil rights activist Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

FILE - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol on September 28, 2021 in Washington.

FILE – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol on September 28, 2021 in Washington.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, condemned the move.

“Senate Democratic leaders are trying to get their own members to break their word, break the Senate, and silence the voices of millions of citizens. So that one political party can take our country’s elections from top to bottom,” he said. A statement Tuesday.

McConnell also criticized Biden’s rhetoric on voting rights.

“A current president of the United States, who promised to lower the temperature and unite America, now invokes the brutal racial hatred of Jim Crow segregation,” said McConnell, whose new voting laws compare to his home state of Delaware. more accessible.”

Republicans vs. Democrats on Voting Rights

In the US federal system, rules on who can vote, how, when and where they can vote and how votes are counted are set at the state level. In general, Democrats want to make it easier for everyone to vote because a larger pool of voters tends to receive more Democratic votes. Republicans favor higher barriers to voting, focusing on voter identification to protect against fraud.

Data from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School shows that in the past year at least 19 Republican-controlled states have passed 34 laws restricting access to voting.

Two bills Biden is advocating include the Freedom to Vote Act, which, among other provisions, would reduce the impact of Republican-controlled state-led efforts to restrict voting and prevent gerrymandering, In this process the state legislators redraw the districts in this way. Say in favor of a party or class. The second is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore some of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were weakened in a 2013 Supreme Court ruling.

The chances of the bill being passed are slim.

“It’s hard to say we’re going to standardize things across the country in a way that there’s really only one party,” said John Fortier, a senior fellow who focuses on elections at the American Enterprise Institute.

Republicans in Congress have similarly opposed the measures, arguing that each of the 50 US states should continue to set their own rules, including voting hours, the number of days before traditional election day, and early voting. should be allowed and to what extent mail-voting is permitted.

FILE - With the US Capitol dome visible, a voter drops a ballot into an early voting drop box at Union Market in Washington on October 28, 2020.

FILE – With the US Capitol dome visible, a voter drops a ballot into an early voting drop box at Union Market in Washington on October 28, 2020.

With Biden’s Build Back Better, a $2 trillion social spending and climate change bill still stuck in the Senate, Democrats and the White House say passing voting rights legislation is a top priority.

“Right now, Democrats are so concerned about the prospects of what could happen without essentially nationalizing voting rights issues that I think they’re looking at it as, ‘We have to do this, otherwise we would have done it. Everything is lost,” said David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University specializing in election law.

This may explain why Biden’s speech made heavy mentions of January 6 and “The Big Lie” — the unfounded claim that Trump won the 2020 election — as a powerful force to change filibuster rules and pass voting rights measures. as an argument.

Schultz said that think of the scenes at the Capitol that day as Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters being beaten up while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which were crucial to the passing of voting rights legislation in the 1960s, Schultz said.

“Biden needs an image to win over the public and Congress to support his legislation,” he said.

‘The Big Lie’

While Democrats regularly criticize Trump and his Republican allies, whom they characterize as “the Big Lies,” McConnell has attacked Democrats with what he calls the “big lie of the left” – the belief that ” There is some bad anti-voting conspiracy in America.”

In the 2020 election, Biden won some states that added polling days, extended polling hours and expanded mail-in balloting to reduce the need for voters to go to polling places amid the coronavirus pandemic. was done.

The law, pushed by Democrats, aims to codify many of those changes for future elections, including the 2022 election in November, when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and nearly a third of the Senate seats are up for grabs. Huh. Several Republican-controlled state legislatures over the past year have curtailed a number of changes implemented for the 2020 election, fearing that Democrats would gain a lasting electoral advantage if the rules were dropped.

At least two Democrats, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinemas of Arizona, are opposed to changing the legislative filibuster rule, even for voting rights measures.

“Unless they’ve changed their mind, unless the speech and other things change their mind, then it’s going to be nearly impossible to pass this set of legislation at the federal level,” Fortier said.

Biden, in his nearly 40 years in the Senate, has opposed change to filibuster, but he now believes change is necessary.

“The president is realizing right now that this is not the same Senate where he was 20, 30 years ago, where compromise was possible,” Schultz said.

VOA’s Anita Powell contributed to this report.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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