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President Biden On Tuesday, lawmakers who oppose the Democratic-led effort to overhaul the way the country runs the elections are choosing to side with historic villains such as Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Biden, in an unusually vitriolic speech by a president who presents himself as uniting the nation and healing his wounds, suggested that Republicans who oppose Democratic-backed electoral changes oppose democracy itself.
“So I ask all the elected Americans, how do you want to be remembered? Biden said during the remarks of the University Center of Atlanta Consortium, on the campus of Clark University in Atlanta and Morehouse College. “Do you want to be on Dr. King’s side or George Wallace’s side?” Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? “
Biden’s remarks come as President and Vice President Kamala Harris have started pushing through the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Advancement Act, two laws directed by Democrats to overhaul the US electoral system.
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He highlighted previous Republican support for extensions to the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited racial discrimination in election laws, lamenting that some of the same Republicans are now opposing the new legislation.
The president argued that the legislation was vital to “defend our democracy”, describing the vote on the bills as a defining moment in the country’s history.
But Republicans have fiercely opposed both laws, arguing that they are designed to favor Democrats and would deprive states of their constitutional right to dictate how they conduct elections.
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Fierce opposition has led Republicans to block four attempts to vote on voting rights legislation in 2021, prompting some Democrats to call for an end to legislative filibustering in the government. Senate.
Although Biden has previously resisted efforts to end legislative filibuster in the Senate, he used the speech to endorse the idea of suspending filibuster in order to hold a vote on the right to law bills. vote.
“I support changing the Senate rules the way they are to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking voting rights action,” Biden said. “When it comes to protecting majority rule in America, the majority should rule in the United States Senate.”
But Republicans have argued that such a move would effectively kill the filibuster, as both sides suspend the rule when they have a majority to advance important parts of their agenda.
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Republicans also threatened to introduce bills that would force hard votes for vulnerable Democrats ahead of the midterm elections if only 51 votes were needed to move the legislation forward, noting that some centrist Democrats support various Republican proposals such as the resurrection of the Keystone XL pipeline.