By ALEXANDRA JAFFE, COLLEEN LONG and JEFF AMY
ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden says that he supports changing Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation, declaring that changing the rules would be to protect the “heart and soul of our democracy.”
Biden told a crowd in Atlanta that he’d been having quiet conversations with Senators for months over the two bills up for debate, stalled because there aren’t enough Republican votes to move them past filibuster to votes.
“I’m tired of being quiet!” he said, emphatically pounding the podium. “I will not yield. I will not flinch,” in the effort to protect democracy.
Current rules require 60 votes to advance most legislation — a threshold that Senate Democrats can’t meet alone because they only have a 50-50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. Republicans unanimously oppose the voting rights measures.
Not all Democrats are on board with changing the filibuster rules. Conservative West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin threw cold water on the idea Tuesday, saying he believes any changes should be made with substantial Republican buy-in.
And even if Democrats clear the obstacles to passage of the voting rights laws, it could be too late to counter widespread voting restrictions passed in 19 states following former President Donald Trump’s 2020 loss and his lies — embraced by many in the GOP — that the election was stolen through voter fraud.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden will use a speech in Georgia to endorse changing Senate rules that have stalled voting rights legislation, saying it’s time to choose “democracy over autocracy.” But some civil rights groups won’t be there, in protest of what they say is administration inaction.
As he turns to his current challenge, Biden on Tuesday is also paying tribute to civil rights battles past — visiting Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once held forth from the pulpit. He also stood quietly as Martin Luther King III placed a wreath outside at the crypt of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
In remarks on the on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke before Biden Tuesday, warning that a barrage of laws making it tougher to vote means there is “a danger of becoming accustomed to these laws, a danger of adjusting to these laws as though they are normal.”
“There is nothing normal about a law that makes it illegal to pass out water or food to people standing in long voter laws,” she said, to cheers.
With Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., setting next Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a deadline to either pass voting legislation or consider revising the rules around the chamber’s filibuster blocking device, Biden is expected to evoke the memories of the U.S. Capitol riot a year ago in more forcefully aligning himself with the voting rights effort.
Biden plans to tell his audience, “The next few days, when …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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