Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at President Joe Biden on Wednesday, accusing him of widening America’s political divide with his push for voting rights reform and his call to change the rules. of the Senate.
“Do we have an incumbent president, an incumbent president, invoking the Civil War, yelling about totalitarianism, and labeling millions of Americans as his domestic enemies?” McConnell said in an unusually virulent speech to the Senate floor. “Yesterday, he spilled a giant can of gasoline on the fire.”
Biden, in a speech in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, called for a break in the Senate’s qualified majority rule so Democrats can override Republican opposition to voting rights reforms he called crucial to saving American democracy. .
Biden said Republicans are passing local laws “designed to suppress your vote, to subvert our elections.”
“History has never been kind to those who sided with voter suppression over voter rights,” said the Democratic president. “I ask all elected officials in the United States: How do you want to be remembered?”
Biden will meet with Senate Democrats Thursday to discuss voting rights and change Senate rules to bypass Republican opposition.
Biden will attend the Senate Democratic Caucus luncheon to discuss the “urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote,” the White House said.
In his speech, Biden challenged Senate Democrats to endorse two bills already passed by the Democratic majority House of Representatives that would expand access to the polls and prevent practices that he said are being used to crack down on voters. Black and Democratic-leaning voters.
All 50 Democrats in the 100-member Senate support the two bills, but under the current qualified majority requirement, it takes 60 votes to bring them to plenary.
If Republicans don’t cooperate, then the qualified majority requirement, called obstructionism, should be waived in order to pass voting rights laws, Biden said.
“We have no choice but to change the Senate rules, including removing obstructionism for this,” he said.
Biden’s speech sparked a furious response from McConnell, the conservative Kentucky senator who served as Majority Leader until Republicans lost control of the Senate in the 2020 election.
“The president’s tirade yesterday was wrong, incoherent and under his office,” McConnell said, calling it “pure demagoguery.”
Biden delivered a “deliberately divisive speech that was designed to further separate our country,” he said.
“To demonize Americans who disagree with him, he compared … a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors,” McConnell said. “How deeply, deeply, not presidential.”
McConnell said he personally likes and respects Biden, who spent decades in the Senate, but “I didn’t recognize the man on the podium yesterday.”
When Biden was asked about McConnell’s comments, he said, “I like Mitch McConnell, he’s a friend.”
Soon after, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the criticism of Biden’s speech Tuesday “hilarious.”
“What is much more offensive is the effort to suppress the basic right of people to exercise … who they want to choose,” he said.
Former Democratic President Barack Obama also lent his support, writing in USA Today that “now is the time for the US Senate to do the right thing.”
Democrats accuse Republican state legislatures of enacting laws aimed at restricting minority voting rights and restricting early voting and voting by mail in an effort to suppress Democratic support.
Republicans warn that a supposedly one-size-fits-all move could open the floodgates to lift filibuster on all sorts of issues, thus ending any semblance of bipartisanship in the chamber.
The measure needs unanimous Democratic support for it to happen, and that is far from guaranteed, with at least two of the most conservative Democratic senators, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, clearly skeptical.
Manchin and Sinema will be the two senators Biden will seek to persuade at Thursday’s Senate luncheon.
The “Freedom to Vote Act” is designed to make it easier for Americans to cast their votes by expanding voting by mail and making Election Day an official holiday.
It also points to voting restrictions imposed in several Republican-led states following the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
The other bill, named for civil rights icon John Lewis, would restore nondiscrimination clauses from the Voting Rights Act removed by the Supreme Court in 2013.
Fifteen black elected officials emotionally urged the Senate on Wednesday to pass the electoral reform bills.
“It’s the most fundamental and sacred thing I can think of,” said Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus.
Source Credit: TheGuardian
Short Link: https://wp.me/pcj2iU-3GN3