President Joe Biden flew to Atlanta this afternoon to give a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church and used the opportunity to voice his backing for a filibuster rule change in the Senate to allow voting rights legislation to be considered. The voting rights legislation proposes measures that make voting easier and more accessible, and in states like Georgia, combat rules that have made it difficult for some people to vote – like a new state law that does not allow people from giving food and water to voters in line.

“Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand. I will not yield. I will not flinch,” Biden said. “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?”

The Democrats have been waiting for Biden to support a change to the Senate filibuster rules. Currently, 60 votes are needed to advance proposals, and that number is difficult for the Democrats to get to with their slim 50-50 majority (Vice President Kamala Harris is the deciding vote if there’s an even split). None of the Republican senators are in support of changing filibuster rules. They are joined by a handful of left-wing senators as well. Biden says that if the filibuster rules are changed, they would only be changed to ensure the right to vote is defended.

“We’re beyond speeches. At this point, what we need, what we are demanding, is federal legislation,” co-founder of Black Votes Matter La Tosha Brown said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has set MLK Day, which is next Monday, as the deadline to advance the voting rights legislation or change the 60-vote filibuster rule.

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