With less than 10 months to go before the 2022 midterm elections, President Joe Biden travels to Georgia on Tuesday to campaign for national voting rights bills and discuss possible rule changes. Senate on filibuster if that helps put legislation on its desk.
Echoing his impassioned speech on the anniversary of the January 6 uprising when he criticized former President Donald Trump and his supporters for holding a “dagger in the throat of democracy”, Biden’s remarks in Atlanta should be a “strong” call to action to protect voting rights.
“The president will advocate forcefully to protect America’s most basic rights: the right to vote and to have your voice heard in free, fair and secure elections that are not tainted … by partisan manipulation,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki briefing Tuesday.
“He will clarify in former district of late Congressman John Lewis that the only way to do it is (sic) for the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the Advancement of Voting Rights Act. by John Lewis. “
Georgia is one of 19 states that have passed new restrictive election laws since the 2020 election.
There have been 34 new laws in total across the country, according to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice, and most of them in Republican-controlled states.
Many new laws, fueled by false allegations of widespread electoral fraud by the former president, target postal voting, implement stricter voter identification requirements, allow fewer early voting days and limit ballot boxes .
The Brennan Center calculates that 13 more restrictive laws are in the works, including one in Georgia that would ban the use of ballot boxes altogether.
Biden will speak alongside Vice President Kamala Harris from the grounds of Clark University Atlanta and Morehouse College, but the trip has been criticized by some voting groups who warned in a statement to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal that “nothing less” than the finalized plan for the passage of the voting rights in the House and the Senate is insufficient and intrusive. “
On Monday afternoon, the Asian American Advocacy Fund, the Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council, the Black Voters Matter Fund, the GALEO Impact Fund and the New Georgia Project Action Fund all said they would not participate in the ‘event and asked Biden and Harris to stay in Washington.
“We don’t need another speech,” said Cliff Albright, executive director of the Black Voters Matter Fund. “What we need is action – what we need is a plan.”
Biden’s speech will be his third on the issue of voting rights. It comes after the president signaled in an interview with ABC’s “World News Tonight” presenter David Muir that he would be willing to change the Senate rule just once for filibuster that would allow a majority simple to pass new voting laws.
Psaki said the president would directly address the filibuster issue.
“The President has spoken to this issue a number of times, as I have said before, including no later than December where he said that ‘if this is the way we do it, I am open to that, ”Psaki said. noted.
The president’s message, according to Psaki, will include a call to “ensure that January 6 does not mark the end of democracy, but the beginning of a renaissance for our democracy, where we stand up for the right to vote and that this vote is counted. fairly, not undermined by supporters.
In his briefing, Psaki rebuffed criticism from the president, stressing that Tuesday’s speech was all about progression.
“We understand the frustration of many defenders that this has yet to be enacted. He would have loved to have signed it himself. But tomorrow is a chance to talk about what the way forward is to defend. – to get it moving in the Senate. “
While Biden has signaled his openness to the granting of voting rights with a filibuster exclusion, he would still need the support of the 50 Democratic senators to do so – which could prove difficult with the Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
“Listen, I think everyone is going to have to take a close look at where they want to be at this point in history as we take a look at efforts across the country to prevent people from being able to exercise their basic rights,” said Psaki when asked about Sinema’s opposition.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged a vote on voting rights legislation soon and warned that if Republicans obstructed the effort, he would force another Martin Luther King Jr. Day vote. .
The White House insists Biden will “work closely” with Schumer to advance a vote, but take it “day to day.”
Republicans oppose proposed federal election laws as a government hype, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats were promoting a “false story,” a “false story.” scandal “and a” false hysteria “on the voting rights” ginned by supporters “.
Harris was appointed by the president in June to lead the administration’s efforts on voting rights reforms. Psaki said the vice president had worked to “help create a wave of support” and had met with a number of supporters of the issue.
ABC News’s Meg Cunningham contributed to this report.