(PresidentialInsider.com)- Next week, the White House plans to restart its push for voting rights legislation to be passed on the federal level.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will both travel to Georgia next week, where they’ll discuss the importance of passing voting rights legislation to protect the voting rights of Americans across the country.
Georgia has been the epicenter of the debate over voting rights since the 2020 presidential election. In addition to claims of voter fraud by former President Donald Trump, the Republican-led state government there passed new voting laws that many Democrats believe threaten the rights of citizens.
That’s why Biden is dragging along Harris for the ride next week, as she’s been deemed the White House’s point person on all things voting rights.
According to the White House, the two will “speak to the American people about the urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote and the integrity of our elections from corrupt attempts to strip law-abiding citizens of their fundamental freedoms and allow partisan state officials to undermine vote counting processes.”
The Democrat-led House has already passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as well as the Freedom to Vote Act, but both have faced enormous pressure in the Senate.
Democrats can’t avoid the filibuster with these bills, meaning they’d need the support of 60 Senators for the bills to pass and that is unlikely to happen. Not only will it be hard to get 10 Republican senators to support the bills as is, but even some moderate Democratic senators are weary of them.
Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he plans to forge forward with bringing the bills to the Senate floor for debate. And, if nothing bipartisan can get done with them, he said he would consider making changes to the Senate voting rules to allow Democrats to pass the bills unilaterally.
As Schumer wrote in a letter to his Democratic colleagues earlier this week:
“We must adapt. The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before. As former Senator Robert Byrd famously said, Senate Rules ‘must be changed to reflect changed circumstances.’ Put more plainly by Senator Byrd, ‘Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past.'”
Biden has only dipped his toes in the debate over voting rights thus far. He has said the Senate should send him a bill that protects “the sacred right to vote.”
That being said, he’s also a former long-time senator who has continued to support the rules of the upper chamber, saying in the past that he would be against doing away with the filibuster rule.
Still, it seems the president could change his mind on that when it comes to voting rights. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, indicated this week that Biden would support a change in rules if it would help to uphold the right to vote in America.
“This is reflective of the fact that while he is a creature of the Senate and somebody who respects the history of the Senate, he wants the Senate to function and he wants to move towards and is open to rules changes that will help the Senate function.”