US President Joe Biden has called for Senate rules to be changed to allow passage of minority voting rights legislation, especially in states controlled by Republican officials.
Biden stressed – in a speech in Atlanta, Georgia – the need to find a way to pass a bill to protect the right to vote in the Senate, after the House voted on it last August.
“For two months, I have been in secret talks with members of Congress, I will not be silent anymore” about the Republican opposition’s blocking of two key bills protecting the right of minorities to vote, he said.
Biden, 79, chose Georgia – a southern slave state symbolic of the civil rights struggle in the past and political differences today – to champion the reform.
He added that he believes that the threat to American democracy is very serious, “and we have to find a way to pass the voting right bill and discuss it, and let democracy win.”
Biden described this parliamentary battle as “a turning point in American history,” stressing that “history will judge every member of the Senate” to any party he belongs to.
The reform relates to legislation on the conditions that must be enjoyed in order to exercise the right to vote, ranging from registration in electoral lists to vote counting, passing through voting by mail or verifying the identity of voters.
Several Republican states in the South have pledged to amend these terms, in practice complicating access to the polls for African Americans and minorities in general.
To get around these measures, Biden wants Congress to establish a federal legislative framework, and asserts that the enactment of the “Advanced Voting Rights for John Lewis” and “Freedom to Vote” laws, which date back to the 1960s, would protect the achievements of the struggle for civil rights and against racial discrimination. .
Current Senate rules state that 60 votes are required to pass most legislation, which is the limit Democrats cannot meet; Because they have a majority of 50 members, with Kamala Harris, the vice president, who has the deciding vote.
“We have 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans in the Senate, which means we have 51 presidents, you think I’m kidding, when that number makes the job difficult, and any member can change the outcome,” Biden said.
But now Biden is in favor of Democrats going beyond that tradition and passing laws by simple majority.
Observers believe that the US president, who suffers from a significant decline in his popularity, decided to risk all his political credit to pass this broad reform of “voting rights”, thus continuing his campaign after an exciting speech for democracy last week in the Capitol Building.
The president began his visit to Atlanta with a meeting with the children of Martin Luther King, before visiting the grave of their father, the symbol of the struggle for civil rights.
Biden then went with Vice President Kamala Harris to a Baptist church that Martin Luther King was in charge of before his assassination in 1968.