Biden Refuses To Budge As Voting Rights Debate Intensifies

In News
Voting rights

The US president favors changing Senate filibuster rules to pass legislation protecting voting rights. Voting rights groups and a few Democratic politicians have urged the US Senate to amend its rules to allow voting rights legislation to pass. In addition, some US states have enacted voting restrictions in anticipation of the 2024 elections.

In Summary

• Joe Biden has backed a proposal to amend Senate rules to expedite the passage of voting rights legislation. The measure, he explained, would be intended to safeguard the “heart and soul” of American democracy.

• However, not all Democrats support amending the filibuster rules. Voting rights activists and a few Democratic politicians have been increasingly calling for a change in the Senate’s rules.

• Democrats back two federal bills that would significantly shake the US electoral system in a generation.

• Some activists for voting rights have faulted the Biden administration for dragging its feet to prioritize domestic voting rights.

Voting rights
Rep John Coryn of Texas

Biden backs change of rules, thus striking down hurdles to voting rights.

President Joe Biden of the United States has stated his support for a move to amend Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation, saying that the action will defend the “heart and soul” of the country’s democracy.

In a speech in Atlanta, Georgia, Biden stated that he has been having discreet discussions with US senators for months about the two legislation currently being debated, which have stuck because of a lack of Republican votes to overcome the filibuster.

While banging the podium, Biden passionately stated that he’s fed up with staying silent and would not yield nor flinch.

Biden added that if no agreement can be reached on the legislation, Senate lawmakers should “change the rules, including abolishing the filibuster.

To safeguard democracy, the president favors changing the Senate rules in whatever way necessary.

Currently, most legislation requires 60 votes to proceed – a threshold that Senate Democrats cannot satisfy alone, as they only have a 50-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker.

Republicans oppose the voting rights reforms uniformly, and not all Democrats support changing the filibuster rules. Conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin held the notion on Tuesday, stating that a sizable Republican majority should back any changes.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn declared that the Democrats’ move would not succeed. To him, this is another instance of President Biden and his party promising too much and delivering too little.

And even if Democrats overcome the remaining obstacles to enacting voting rights legislation, it may be too late to pass widespread voting restrictions enacted in 19 states in recent months.

These restrictions were in response to former President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election and his baseless allegations — backed by many Republican leaders — that the campaign was marred by widespread voting fraud.

Voting rights
NAACP President Derrick Johnson

Activists deride The Biden administration as dragging its feet over voting rights.

In response to the state voting legislation, voting rights advocates and several Democratic legislators have actively pursued change to the Senate rules.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), wrote on Twitter that the American democracy is at a crossroads not unless President Biden applies the same level of urgency to voting rights as he did to the BBB [Build Back Better Act] and infrastructure, America may become unrecognizable within a generation.

Meanwhile, Democrats support two federal bills that would represent the most significant overhaul of US elections in a generation by eliminating barriers to voting enacted in the name of election security, reducing big money’s influence in politics, and limiting partisan influence over congressional legislation drawing.

The bill would establish national election standards that would supersede state-level legislation. Additionally, it would restore the US Department of Justice’s authority to enforce election laws in states with a history of discrimination.

Simultaneously, some voting rights advocates continue to fault the Biden administration for moving too slowly to prioritize domestic voting rights.

For example, Stacey Abrams, a prominent Georgia Democrat, voting rights advocate, and former legislator, opted out of Biden’s events in the state.

When asked if he felt snubbed by Abrams, Biden cited a scheduling discord and depicted the question as “insulting.” “This morning, I spoke with Stacey,” Biden stated. “Our relationship is great… All of us are on the same page.”

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