World News The US president openly backs abolishing the Senate 60-vote rule to force passage of Democrats’ two “voting rights” bills
Biden: “The threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills. Debate them, vote, let the majority prevail, and if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster” pic.twitter.com/fobdzWGoQe
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 11, 2022
While Democrats have a nine-vote majority in the House of Representatives, the Senate is split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaker. While this 51-vote majority has been used to approve Biden’s nominations, the long-standing filibuster rule requiring at least 60 votes to pass bills stands in the way of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both have been proposed by Democrats as a way of imposing a federal standard on US elections in response to what they called “voter suppression” bills passed by Republican state legislatures after the controversial 2020 vote.Repeating that accusation on Tuesday, Biden argued that “history has never been kind to those who sided with voter suppression over voter rights,” and compared anyone opposed to the bills to racists and segregationists.
Joe Biden said during this speech that people who disagree with his bill to federalize elections are “domestic enemies” and are on the side of George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis.What you see here is truly the soul of nation being restored. pic.twitter.com/P2gZi5K0nS
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 11, 2022
Though Biden had spent 36 years in the Senate and repeatedly defended the filibuster when Democrats were in the minority, on Tuesday, he argued that “the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills.”Last week, on the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot, Biden called the 2020 election “the greatest demonstration of democracy in the history of this country.” Officially, Biden won the highest number of votes in US history.His predecessor, Donald Trump, has claimed that the vote in several states – including Georgia – had been “rigged” and riddled with irregularities, pointing to things such as widespread mail-in voting introduced on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amid the controversy over Georgia’s presidential vote totals, Democrats won both runoff elections for the state’s Senate seats. While the state’s Republican government rejected Trump’s complaints about the vote, it also passed a “voting integrity” law last March, addressing some of the former president’s objections. A number of other GOP-run states followed suit.Last summer, Biden called these state laws an “assault” on America and democracy itself. In June, his DOJ sued Georgia, alleging the law had a racist intent to somehow “suppress” the black vote and thereby hurt Democrats.The refusal of two prominent Senate Democrats – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – to break the filibuster has already derailed Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ economic agenda. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has said the two election bills could come up for a vote as early as Wednesday.