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Biden urges Senate to eliminate filibuster to clear way for Democrats’ election reforms
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Written by Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- President Joe Biden delivered a speech in Georgia on Tuesday to encourage senators Democrats to eliminate their chamber’s legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation, and thereby clear the path for Democrats’ latest election reform proposal.
- During his speech in Georgia, Biden called out former President Donald Trump on several occasions, saying that the “defeated former president and his supporters use the Big Lie about the 2020 election to fuel torrent and torment and anti-voting laws ― new laws designed to suppress your vote, to subvert our elections.”
- Biden said that Democrats’ proposed reforms to federal elections laws are needed to stave off state-level election reforms he compared to the “Jim Crow” laws that segregated blacks from whites in the South and largely deprived them of the right to vote from the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction until the 1960s:
“Jim Crow 2.0 is about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion. It’s no longer about who gets to vote; it’s about making it harder to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all. It’s not hyperbole; this is a fact.”
- President Biden said that he “will defend the right to vote, our democracy against all enemies ― foreign and, yes, domestic.” He said that the “goal of the former president and his allies is to disenfranchise anyone who votes against them.” Biden then asked rhetorically how senators want to be remembered, likening opponents of his stance to segregationists and Civil War-era secessionists:
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? 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? This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.”
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday and criticized Biden for “rhetoric unbecoming of a President of the United States.” McConnell cited those remarks as a reason for preserving the Senate’s legislative filibuster:
“In less than a year, ‘restoring the soul of America’ has become: agree with me, or you’re a bigot. From lowering the temperature to invoking totalitarian states and the Civil War. This inflammatory rhetoric was not an attempt to persuade skeptical Democratic or Republican senators. In fact, you could not invent a better advertisement for the legislative filibuster than a president abandoning rational persuasion for pure demagoguery. A president shouting that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racist unless he gets whatever he wants is proving exactly why the Framers built the Senate to check his power. This whole display is the best possible argument for preserving the Senate rules that extend deliberation, force bipartisan compromise, and let cooler heads prevail.”
- The Senate is likely to take up a proposal to alter or eliminate the filibuster sometime before Monday, although the specifics of the plan and the timing of the vote is unclear. Whenever the vote occurs, it’s expected to fail given that at least two Democrats ― with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) the most vocal ― and all 50 Republicans support the legislative filibuster’s 60 vote threshold.
- While he didn’t address Biden’s references to him in the Georgia speech, former President Donald Trump did an interview with NPR on Tuesday in which he repeated his false claims that the 2020 presidential election was “corrupt” and “rigged” and that Biden didn’t get 80 million votes.
- Trump also lashed out at GOP Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), who said on Sunday that the 2020 presidential election was legitimate and that “there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would have altered the results of the election.” Trump said Rounds was “totally wrong” to suggest that making false claims about election fraud in 2020 would discourage GOP voters in the future. The former president insisted, “I think it’s an advantage, because otherwise they’re going to do it again in ‘22 and ‘24.”
- The statement Rounds released in response to Trump’s backlash defended the election results and noted:
“During the electoral certification process, we did our due diligence and looked at the challenges made by the former president’s lawyers. Over 90 senators agreed that there was not enough evidence to overturn the results and, therefore, certified the election as our Constitution calls for. Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence stood his ground, acknowledged President Biden’s victory and acted with integrity. It’s time the rest of us do the same.”
- Schumer Signals Vote on ‘Nuclear Option’ to Eliminate Senate’s Filibuster (1/11/22)
- Manchin Rejects Democrats’ ‘For the People Act’ & Reiterates Support for Preserving Senate’s Filibuster (6/7/21)
- Democrats Flip-Flop on the Filibuster After Winning the Senate Majority (3/30/21)
- Senate Nears Powersharing Deal After Moderate Dems Vow to Preserve Filibuster (1/29/21)
- Should Senate Democrats Eliminate the Legislative Filibuster? (1/25/21)
(Photo Credit: jlhervàs via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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