Sunday, January 23, 2022

Biden on Voting Rights Passed: ‘I’m Tired of Being Quiet!’

ATLANTA – Raising his fist for thrust, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday challenged senators to “stand up against voter suppression”, urging them to change Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation , which Republicans are blocking from debate and vote.

Biden told a crowd in Atlanta that he had been in quiet talks with senators for months on two bills – a lack of progress that has drawn criticism from workers in his own party.

“I’m tired of being silent!” He shouted. “I will not bow down. I will not move.”

Current rules require 60 votes to pass most legislation – a threshold that Senate Democrats alone cannot meet because they have only a 50-50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. Republicans unanimously oppose voting rights measures.

Not all Democrats are on board with changing the filibuster rules. Conservative West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin threw cold water on the idea Tuesday, saying he believed any change should be made with enough Republican buyouts.

And even if Democrats remove obstacles to passing voting rights laws, it’s too late to counter the sweeping voting restrictions passed in 19 states after the 2020 loss of former President Donald Trump and his lies. It may have been – embraced by many in the GOP – that the election was plagiarized by fraud.

“It matters to all of us,” he insisted. “The goal of the former president and his allies is to deny the franchise to anyone who voted against him, which is simple.”

Biden spent decades in the Senate, and how much has changed for the worse, he called it “a shell of his former self.” I have no satisfaction in saying that as an institutionalist. He spoke of an era sometime back when an issue like the right to vote would never have been so viciously partisan.

He recalled working with notoriously separatist lawmakers in the Senate to pass legislation and have it signed into law by Republican presidents. But now, Filbuster has also been used extensively to stop the debate of certain laws.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with D.N.Y., set next Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the deadline for either passing voting legislation or revising the rules surrounding the chamber’s filibuster blocking devices. Considering doing, Biden is expected to evoke those memories of the US Capitol riot in aligning himself more strongly with the voting rights effort a year ago.

Biden told his audience: “The next few days, when these bills are voted on, will be a turning point in this country.”

“Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand. I will not bow. I will not move,” he declared. “I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign, yes and domestic! And so the question is, where will the institution of the United States Senate stand? ,

Biden paid tribute to the civil rights fight on Tuesday by visiting Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was once out of the pulpit. When Martin Luther King III laid a wreath at the tomb of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, he stood still. And he referred to the civil rights fight of the 1960s in his animated speech on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke before Biden on Tuesday, warned that a barrage of laws making voting difficult means there is a risk of “getting accustomed to these laws, at risk of adjusting these laws like that they are normal.”

“There is nothing out of the ordinary about a law that makes it illegal to give water or food to people standing in tall voter laws,” she said, to cheers.

Some voting rights advocates boycotted Biden’s speech. Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, known for her tireless voting rights work, was also skipping the event. Meanwhile, the White House sent an unusually long list of attendees to the speech. The aide said Abrams had a conflict, but did not explain further, although he did tweet in support of the president.

Biden said there was a scheduling mix-up between the two prior to their visit, but they had spoken and “everyone was on the same page.”

Asked what risk he was taking politically by speaking out if there weren’t enough votes to change the rules, he said: “I risk saying no to what I believe. That’s the risk I take. It’s those defined. One of the moments. It’s true. People will be judged on the basis of where they were before the vote and where they were after the vote. History will judge us.”

Voting rights advocates in Georgia and across the country are concerned about what could happen in 2022 and beyond. They see the changes in many states as a subtle form of ballot restrictions such as literacy tests and election taxes, which were once a major Democratic constituency, used to disenfranchise black voters.

Republicans who have fallen behind Trump’s election misinformation are trying to influence future elections by installing sympathetic leaders in local election positions and supporting alternative office to some of those who participated in the riots at the US Capitol a year ago. separately promoting the efforts of

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist and made history as the first black senator elected in Georgia, said that “whatever that may be is going to shine a bright light on the urgency of the issue.” Will continue is important.”

Georgia is at the center of it all, one of the major battleground states in the 2020 election. After the votes were counted and recounted, Trump told a top state election official that he wanted officials to “find” enough votes to make up for his loss. The state vote nonetheless went to Biden, and both Senate seats went to the Democrats as well.

Last year, the Republican governor signed a sweeping rewrite of election rules that, among other things, gives state election boards new powers to interfere with county election offices and remove and replace local election officials. This has given rise to concerns that the Republican-controlled state board could exert more influence over the administration of the election, including the certification of county results.

Congressional Democrats have written voting legislation that would herald the biggest change in US elections in a generation, by removing barriers to voting in the name of electoral security, reducing the influence of big money in politics and the partisan influence on Congress’s portrayal. will limit. districts.

The package would create national election standards that would trump state-level GOP laws. It would also restore the Justice Department’s ability to police election laws in states with a history of discrimination.

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Amy reported from Atlanta. AP Congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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