Biden Supports Filibuster Changes to Advance Voting Law in Atlanta Speech | WATCH LIVE

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will use a speech in Georgia to support changing Senate rules that have stalled the suffrage law and says it is time to vote for “democracy over autocracy.” But some civil rights groups will not be there in protest of what they believe to be the government’s inaction.

As he moves on to his current challenge, Biden also pays tribute to past civil rights battles on Tuesday – he visits the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood from the pulpit, and lays a wreath on it Crypt of King and his wife Coretta Scott King.

As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. sets Martin Luther King Jr. Day next Monday as the deadline for passing voting laws or revising the chamber’s filibuster interlock rules next Monday, is expected that Biden had the memories of the riots in the US Capitol a year ago when he became more vigorous in the voting effort.

Biden plans to tell his audience, “The next few days, when these bills are voted on, will be a turning point in this nation.”

“Will we prefer democracy to autocracy, light to shadow, justice to injustice? I know where I am I will not give in. I will not shrink back, ”he will say out loud in prepared comments. “I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies at home and abroad. So the question is, where will the US Senate institution be? “

A White House official who previewed the speech on condition of anonymity said Biden would only support the Senate filibuster rule change to ensure that voting rights are defended – a strategy some Democrats use expected from the president. The current rules require 60 votes to advance most laws, including voting rights – a threshold that Senate Democrats cannot reach on their own given that they only have a 50-50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris to sever ties . The Republicans unanimously reject the voting rights measures.

Biden has entered the debate more cautiously in the past. He is a former long-time senator who largely adheres to existing rules, but is also under enormous political pressure to make a breakthrough. Despite its pressure, it is not clear what practical implications it can have.

Not all Democrats are happy to see the filibuster rules change. And, should Democrats remove the barriers to passing voting laws, it may be too late to tackle widespread electoral restrictions imposed in 19 states following the loss of former President Donald Trump in 2020 and his lies – those of many in the GOP were believed – that the elections decided was stolen by electoral fraud.

Some suffrage advocates planned to boycott Biden’s speech. Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, known for her tireless suffrage work, also skipped the event. The White House meanwhile sent an unusually long list of participants for the speech. Aides said Abrams had a conflict but did not elaborate, despite tweeting support for the president.

Before his trip, Biden said that the two had mixed up the dates, but talked and were “all on the same page”.

When asked what he is risking politically by speaking out when there are not enough votes to change the rules, he said, “I risk not saying what I believe. I risk that. This is one of those crucial moments. It’s really. People are judged by where they were before and after the vote. History will judge us. “

Voting rights advocates in Georgia and across the country are increasingly concerned about what could happen in 2022 and beyond. They view the changes in many states as a more subtle form of electoral restrictions such as literacy tests and election taxes that were once used to withdraw black voters, a key democratic electorate.

“We are beyond talking. What we need and demand right now is federal legislation, ”said LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Votes Matter. And it can’t happen soon enough, she said.

Republicans lining up behind Trump’s electoral misinformation are separately promoting efforts to influence future elections by installing compassionate leaders in local election posts and supporting some of those who participated in the US Capitol riot a year ago into electoral offices.

Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the church Biden will attend and who made history as the first black senator elected in Georgia, said before speaking that “anything that can happen will continue to shine a bright light “. the urgency of this issue is important. “

Warnock is one of the Senators who escorted Biden to Georgia aboard Air Force One. He said he believes Biden understands that “democracy itself is being jeopardized by this widespread attack we have seen from state lawmakers across the country, and this is a moral moment. Everyone has to show up. “

White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed some activists’ complaints that Biden was not strong enough.

“We understand the frustration of many proponents that this is not yet legal. He would have liked to have signed this himself, ”she said.

Georgia takes center stage, one of the major battlefield states in the 2020 elections. After the votes were counted and re-counted, Trump told a senior election official that he wanted the official to “find” enough votes to undo his loss. The state’s votes still went to Biden, and his two Senate seats also went to the Democrats.

Last year, however, the Republican governor signed a major revision of the electoral rules, including giving the State Election Board new powers to intervene in the county’s electoral offices and remove and replace local electoral officials. This has raised concerns that the Republican-controlled state board may have more leverage over the conduct of elections, including certification of county results.

For their part, Democrats in Congress have enacted electoral law that would usher in the biggest overhaul of the US election in a generation, removing voting security, reducing the influence of big money in politics, and the influence of parties is restricted by the drawing of the congress districts.

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

But in order to pass the bill – which Republicans completely rejected – the Democrats must change Senate rules that allow a minority of 41 senators to block a bill.


Amy got in touch from Atlanta. AP Congress Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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