Biden to turn the heat up on Republicans over voting rights

Biden’s speech precedes an urge from Senate Democratic leaders to discuss changes to the Senate filibuster rules to create a legislative pathway for two bills – one to restore key sections of the 1965 Suffrage Act and a second to end the Access Extension on the ballot papers and make resources available to local election administrators to prevent their removal for political reasons, among other things. Some Senate Republicans are currently in talks with a small number of Senate Democrats about voter protection, including a modest amendment to electoral law that would deal solely with certification of competitions. The latter is a proposal that the White House alone has rejected as inadequate.

Speaking to the Atlanta University Center Consortium, Biden will make it clear on the grounds of two historically grown black colleges – Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College – that the only way to protect voting rights and ensure a secure electoral system is to do so to pass the two bills to a White House official.

His address comes days after he spoke to the nation on the anniversary of the January 6th uprising. During that address, Biden said that American democracy was still threatened as Trump and his allies continued to spread lies about electoral fraud and the insurrection itself. This speech has been described by White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond as just the beginning of Biden’s efforts to “mobilize the votes” for voting rights legislation.

The Atlanta speech is the second act. According to the White House official, Biden will remind Republicans that in the past, voting law was often passed by strong bipartisan majorities. But due to the current Republican opposition to the two bills, Biden will say he supports the Senate rule change and describes the current use of the filibuster as obnoxious.

Biden’s audience on Tuesday will include grassroots voters and local activists in Georgia as well as the Senate Democratic lawmakers. The president tries to convince the moderates in his party who are reluctant to change the rules of the Senate. Prior to Biden’s trip to Georgia, a number of Democrats appeared on the fence or unchanged from the president’s recent printing campaign.

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