When he takes the podium to deliver a voting rights speech in Atlanta, Ga. on Tuesday, President Biden is expected to make the case that the Senate must abandon its longstanding commitment to the filibuster or risk losing democracy.
Biden is expected to advocate a special voting rights “carve out” to the filibuster, a move that Republicans argue will effectively kill the rule as each party devises specific exceptions for its top legislative priorities when it comes to power.
“The next few days, when these bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation. Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand,” Biden will say, according to an excerpt of his statement published by the White House. “I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic. And so the question is where will the institution of United States Senate stand?”
It is strategic for the president to choose Georgia as the location of his address given that the state enacted a voting right bills of its own nearly a year ago, causing an uproar among Democrats, who claimed it was a restrictive measure that would suppress minorities’ right to vote and usher in a new era of “Jim Crow.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sparred with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor over the filibuster on Monday, vowing dire consequences if Schumer pushes filibuster changes over the line — a prospect that remains unlikely given the longstanding opposition of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
McConnell threatened to place a spate of Republican-backed bills on the legislative calendar to force Democrats to take tough votes ahead of the midterm elections.
“Since Sen. Schumer is hell-bent on trying to break the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action would have immediate consequences,” McConnell said in a statement on Monday.