Monday, January 17, 2022

Top Senate Republicans blast Biden’s ‘rant’ on voter rights, vow to oppose bill

WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Top US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell pushed for President Joe Biden’s voting-rights bill on Wednesday, citing the difficulty facing Biden’s Democrats in trying to drive the law through a Congress. underlined, which they control narrowly.

Biden has called on Democrats to dismantle the chamber’s long-standing “filibuster” rule that requires 60 of 100 senators to agree to most of the legislation going forward, a move that McConnell called Said that the Senate would be irreparably damaged.

“The president’s statement yesterday was inconsistent, inaccurate, and down to his office,” McConnell said Tuesday, referring to Biden’s speech in Atlanta.

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McConnell accused the president of “deliberately delivering divisive speech that was designed to further tear our country apart.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the administration was disappointed with McConnell’s opposition to the bill.

“It is even more disappointing that anyone who has supported and supported voting rights in the past … is now on the other side of this argument,” Saki said.

Biden plans to make a personal plea to Senate Democrats on Thursday, urging them to agree to replace or eliminate the filibuster so that they can pass the voting rights bill.

Former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud prompted a wave of new restrictions on voting in Republican-controlled states last year.

Democrats see their voting rights bills as their last chance to counter those ahead of the November 8 election, when they run the risk of losing their very slim majority in at least one chamber of Congress.

Since Trump’s defeat, Republican lawmakers in 19 states have passed dozens of laws that make it harder to vote. Critics say these measures target minorities, who vote with a greater proportion for Democrats.

The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act together would make Election Day a holiday, expand access to mail-in voting, and strengthen the U.S. Department of Justice’s oversight of local election jurisdictions with a history of discrimination .

“Twelve months ago the president said that politics shouldn’t be like a fire destroying everything that gets in its way,” McConnell said. “But yesterday he put a huge can of gasoline on the fire.”

US President Joe Biden visits a neighborhood in Louisville, Colorado, USA on January 7, 2022. Reuters / Evelyn Hawkstein

Republicans argue that the bills proposed by Democrats are a violation of states’ rights to run their own elections. They come as Trump supporters who have admitted their false claims of election fraud are running for offices that could see them eyeing local elections. Democrats and election analysts have raised concerns that they may use those positions to influence election results.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday outlined a strategy to ensure a debate on the Senate floor over voting rights was stalled last year by three separate attempts by Republicans.

Under the plan, outlined in a Schumer memo to fellow Democrats that was seen by Reuters, the House of Representatives would soon regroup the two election-related bills into one and pass it. It will then go to the Senate through a special process that prevents Republicans from stalling the debate.

“We will finally have the opportunity to debate the voting rights legislation – something that Republicans have so far denied,” Schumer wrote in the memo.

But if Republicans remain united in the opposition, that bill too will not pass the Senate unless all Democrats agree to replace the filibuster, he said.

Centrist Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Cinema opposed the idea, saying it would create turmoil in Washington with every change of control.

Schumer has set a deadline for voting on election reforms by the January 17 holiday in honor of slain civil rights hero Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

FILIBUSTER. erosion of

For at least a decade, concerns about atrophy in the Senate have led to calls to modify or eliminate Filbuster, which allows minorities to block bills.

In 2013, Democrats, fed up with sluggishness among Republican filibusters of then-President Barack Obama’s candidates, eroded the 60-vote majority needed to confirm most federal judges and administration appointments. Four years later, Republicans eliminated the filibuster for the Supreme Court nomination, clearing the way for three conservative justices to be installed during Trump’s presidency.

That 6-3 conservative court has agreed this year to take major cases on the hot-button issues of abortion and guns that could dramatically change American lives.

Biden has previously opposed changing the filibuster rule, but has recently argued that voting rights reforms were urgently needed, even if it meant undermining that process.

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Reporting by Richard Cowan, Jeff Mason and Moira Warburton; Written by Doina Chiaku; Editing by Scott Malone, Franklin Paul, Aurora Ellis and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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