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Biden Will Endorse Changing Senate Rules to Pass Voting Rights Legislation

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The New York Times
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Anyone can read what you share.By Katie RogersWASHINGTON — President Biden will endorse changing Senate rules to pass new voting rights protections during a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, the most significant step he will have taken to pressure lawmakers to act on an issue he has called the biggest test of America’s democracy since the Civil War.Mr. Biden will not go so far as to call for full-scale elimination of the filibuster, a Senate tradition that allows the minority party to kill legislation that fails to garner 60 votes, according to a senior administration official who previewed the speech. Even with his new call for a filibuster carve-out, changing the Senate rules would require the support of all 50 Democrats and the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris to break a tie.Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both Democrats, have expressed strong public opposition to changing filibuster rules.Many Democrats say such a carve-out would apply only to issues grounded in constitutional rights such as voting, but Republicans and others say it would inevitably be extended to other legislation, diminishing the overall power of the filibuster.Aware of mounting frustrations among his allies who say he has not done enough as restrictive voting measures pass through Republican-led statehouses around the country, Mr. Biden’s advisers have promised that he will be forceful about his support for two voting rights bills that could beat back those efforts.One bill introduced by Democrats, the Freedom to Vote Act, would, among other provisions, take the teeth out of state-led efforts to restrict mail-in or absentee voting, make Election Day a holiday, and stop state legislators from redrawing districts in a way that advocates say denies representation to minority voters. Mr. Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate and sees himself as a consensus builder, has faced resistance from Republicans on voting rights legislation.Last week, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said Republicans could have until Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to drop their opposition to debate and votes on the issue, or face the prospect of overhauling filibuster rules.Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, promised a scorched-earth response should Democrats go that route: “Since Senator Schumer is hellbent on trying to break the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action would have immediate consequences,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement on Monday.Republicans have argued that Democrats are using the voting rights legislation to try to gain partisan advantage by seeking to impose their preferred rules on states that have long regulated their own elections. Voting rights groups in Georgia have already filed a federal lawsuit that accuses legislators of redrawing a congressional district to benefit Republican candidates and deny representation to Black voters.On Tuesday, Mr. Biden will lean on the power of symbolism when he travels to Georgia.

As said here by Katie Rogers