in a CNN Town Hall on Wednesday, President Joe Biden called for the wave of new laws restricting access to the vote “Jim Crow on steroids. “Despite that, he made it clear that he was not in favor of abolishing filibuster, a Jim Crow relic, to pass federal legislation that would counter Republican voter suppression efforts.
Biden said in Cincinnati that he would “throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will be done” if Senate Democrats remove the 60-vote requirement to pass voting rights bills. “I want to make sure we bring in not just all the Democrats; We bring Republicans, whom I know best. They know better than this. “
That stance does not sit well with advocates of the right to vote, who point out that all Senate Republicans voted last month to block debate on the Law For the People, the Democrats’ sweeping democratic reform bill. And only one Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Promotion Act, which would require states with a history of discrimination to once again approve their voting changes with the federal government.
“While we fully support the ideal of bipartisan cooperation on the right to vote, the partisan political agenda of some in the Senate cannot be allowed to block the passage of laws that have broad bipartisan support,” 150 led civil rights groups for the Leadership Conference on Civil Affairs and Human Rights wrote to Biden in a strongly worded letter Thursday. “And we certainly cannot allow an arcane Senate rule of procedure to derail the efforts that the majority of Americans support.”
While Biden called the passage of federal legislation to protect voting rights a “national imperative” in a highly touted speech in Philadelphia on July 13, he never mentioned obstructionism or presented a plan on how he planned to overcome Republican obstruction in the Senate.
This has led to an asymmetric warfare between the parties: Republicans in state legislatures have passed an unprecedented number of new laws this year designed to make it difficult for Democrats to cast votes over party line simple majority votes (30 new laws passed in 18 states so far this year), while Senate Democrats in Washington insist on the support of 10 Republicans to pass federal legislation to stop him, essentially giving Mitch McConnell veto power over protecting rights voting.
According to the New York TimesWhite House officials have told advocates of the right to vote that they believe Democrats can “Organize more voter suppression, “Which has similarly enraged civil rights groups.
“Only federal legislation can ensure that our elections are safe and free and fully protect the franchise,” said the letter from the Leadership Conference. “While we support the notion of a broad-based coalition of advocates, we cannot and should not have to organize to get out of the attacks and voting restrictions that legislators are passing and proposing at the state level.”
– The ReidOut (@thereidout) July 22, 2021
In fact, while Biden told CNN City Hall that “the American public, can’t stop them from voting,” pointing to a record turnout in 2020, many of the new voting restrictions passed by Republicans this year. reverse voting methods that led to increased turnout in the last elections, instituting measures such as prohibiting election officials from sending ballot request forms by mail, reducing the number of vote-by-mail boxes, repealing registration on Election Day, and cutting back early voting days.
Additionally, some states, such as Georgia, have passed new laws that could lead to Republican election officials overturning election results, a form of electoral subversion that cannot be overcome by grassroots organizing. And in a few weeks, the Census Bureau will release redistricting data that will allow GOP-controlled states like Georgia and Texas to draw new maps that will likely maintain one-party control of those states for the next decade and could cost Democrats their majority in the House of Representatives in 2022.
For that reason, civil rights groups are increasing pressure on Biden to get more involved in the Senate debate on voting rights, urging him to expend as much energy on this issue as his administration has done to push for a deal. infrastructure.
Last week, the Speaker of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) was arrested within the senate for demonstrating in favor of the right to vote. On Thursday, another group of voting rights advocates, including Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Were arrested outside the Senate Hart office building.
– Black voters matter (@BlackVotersMtr) July 22, 2021
Texas Democrats who fled their state to Washington to block a powerful Republican voter suppression bill made clear that if Congress does not pass federal legislation by August 6, when its special legislative session ends, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will immediately call a new one and arrest lawmakers when they return home, denying them the ability to lock it again.
“Part of what we’re doing here is expressing how terrible it is that we’re doing it,” Texas Democratic Rep. John Bucy III told me after his arrival in Washington. “There is a direct assault on voting rights in states across the country, and it is imperative that we have a federal solution to this problem.”