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Biden calls for “a new coalition” to defend voting rights

Biden’s speech on the right to vote at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday comes as the president faces increasing pressure from civil rights activists, progressives, and some in the party leadership to use new and aggressive tactics to combat Republican electoral laws.

While Biden’s speech may not give activists and a growing number of Democrats what they are desperate for – the approval of a draft bill specifically for their signature franchise laws – the president will set out how the Democrats plan to do what his whites House identified as the greatest threat to democracy since the civil war.

The president will also look back on the past history of voter suppression in the country, including KKK terror campaigns, election taxes and literacy tests, the White House official said. On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would also note that “the greatest irony of the Big Lie is that no election in our history of over 80 judges, including those appointed by his predecessor, is of such a high standard has met. remove all challenges out of the way. “

Biden will again call on Congress to pass the Democrats’ sweeping electoral system change bill and another that would restore key provisions of the 1965 Suffrage Act that were gutted by a 2013 Supreme Court decision. And he will say that the work to pass these laws is “just beginning,” the official said.

And the president will outline what his government is doing to protect voting, including an executive order to channel federal funds for voter education and access to ballot papers, in addition to expanding the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

But Biden is severely constrained, in part by the nature of the presidency, but also because of the makeup of Congress, in which Democrats have a slim majority in the House of Representatives and control an evenly split Senate.

These restrictions, however, are causing Democrats to consider new tactics, including changing the law filibuster – which sets a 60-vote threshold for most bills that must pass the Senate and allows Republicans to pass new suffrage laws along with other Democratic priorities to block. And a growing number of Democratic lawmakers are hoping for Biden to help make that happen.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), A long-time opponent of the filibuster, said he hoped to speak with the White House about the procedural rule and that more of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate will change their minds about a change.

“I’m sure that President Biden could be influential, but he has to make that decision,” said Blumenthal of Biden, who pushed for a change of the filibuster. “I hope he will do everything that is possible.”

Jim Clyburn (DS.C.), Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, told POLITICO last week that Biden should “advocate” a change in the filibuster and use his power to target Senate Democrats like centrist Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) harass those resistant to such change.

Biden could “pick up the phone and say to Joe Manchin, ‘Hey, we should carve out,'” said Clyburn. “I don’t care if he does it through a microphone or on the phone – just do it.”

When asked if voting laws could realistically reach Biden’s desk this year, Clyburn said, “I know it can be done. The question is whether or not it is likely. “

“The way is clear, developing the will is what needs to be done,” he said.

The White House opposed such action on Monday when asked about Clyburn’s comments.

“[A] The decision to make changes is made by members of the Senate, not this president or a president, frankly, to move forward, ”Psaki told reporters on Monday when asked about changes to the filibuster.

But pushed to the question of whether Biden sees a role for himself – much like former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s arm twisting of reluctant Democrats during the battle to get the voting bill passed – in the legislative process, the White House pointed to Biden’s rhetoric and current actions .

“If he waved a magic wand to any means whatsoever to get a voting bill on his desk, he would,” Psaki said, seeming to argue that Bden’s advocacy of filibusters would not change the math in the Senate would. “But it requires a majority of the Senate to support changes to the filibuster.”

“What he can do as President is to keep rising, rising, advocating, engaging, [and] Empowering people across the country, ”added Psaki. “That’s the most educational role he can play.”

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