ATLANTA (AP) — Pounding his hand for emphasis, President Joe Biden challenged senators to change Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation that Republicans are blocking from debate and votes. Biden told a crowd in Atlanta gathered on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University that he’d been having quiet conversations with senators […]
Biden targets Republicans, supports Senate rule change for Democrat voting laws
ATLANTA (AP) — Pounding his hand for emphasis, President Joe Biden challenged senators to change Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation that Republicans are blocking from debate and votes.
Biden told a crowd in Atlanta gathered on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University that he’d been having quiet conversations with senators for months over the two bills — a lack of progress that has brought him criticism from activists in his own party.
“I’m tired of being quiet!” he shouted to cheers from the crowd.
Biden’s speech was forceful, blunt and explicit, but it’s not clear what impact his newfound fire will have.
Current rules require 60 votes to advance most legislation — a threshold that Senate Democrats can’t meet alone because they have just a 50-50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. Republicans unanimously oppose the voting rights measures.
There also aren’t enough Democratic votes to change the Senate rule. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin threw more cold water on the idea Tuesday, saying he believes any changes should be made with substantial Republican buy-in. And there aren’t any Republican senators willing to sign on.
Republicans say the changes are not aimed at fairness but at giving Democrats an advantage in elections.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky accused Biden of invoking “the brutal racial hatred of Jim Crow Segregation to smear states’” new voting laws.
And it is coming from “a sitting president of the United States who pledged to lower the temperature and unite America,” McConnell said.
Even if Democrats clear the obstacles to passing the legislation, it could be too late to counter voter integrity laws passed in 19 states following Trump’s 2020 loss.
Meantime, the Heritage Foundation is very pointed in its criticism of Democrat so called voting rights legislation. The conservative think tank writes: “Unfortunately, the left would rather turn this principle on its head and sacrifice one of our most cherished and hard-fought rights in order to gain more political power. HR 4 is a leftist election takeover designed to remove fundamental election safeguards and open opportunities for cheaters to manipulate election results in their favor. The bill would essentially require every state to get the approval of partisan attorneys in the Biden administration before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices. HR 1 would go even further in eroding and eliminating basic security protocols that states have in place; and interfere with the ability of states and their citizens to determine the qualifications and eligibility of voters, ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls, secure the fairness and integrity of elections, and participate and speak freely in the political process.”