Impatience Grows With Democrats’ Progress On Voting Rights Bills
The Biden administration is seeking to expand voting rights, but the legislative progress on the issue has been slow, to the frustration of many progressives.
Democrats hope to impose safeguards to ensure greater ease of voting prior to the midterm elections, in defiance of the approximately 20 legislatures, led by Republicans, to restrict voting ability. However, progress in this regard remains stymied by the Senate filibuster, and by the resistance of representatives like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) to changing the filibuster.
Many people feel that the Biden administration has not prioritized the protection of voting rights enough and that it should be doing more to advance the cause.
“Voting rights may be the only thing we have to at least halt the trek away from democracy,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri).
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“I want to see Biden start running people in and out of the White House,” urged Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland). “I want to start by seeing the president using the full leverage of his office. It’s a crisis in democracy and the president needs to address it.”
In July, Biden delivered a passionate speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and issued a series of executive orders. However, critics say that little else has occurred, to the disappointment of an increasing number of people.
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton has cautioned against continued procrastination on voting issues. One consequence, he warned, is discouraging black voters. He stated, “An inaction at this point would lead to an inaction of black voters. People are saying, ‘If they don’t do this, I’m not voting.’ People are saying they feel betrayed.”
According to Sharpton, many activists are looking at Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an unofficial deadline to see progress on voting rights expansion. If sufficient progress fails to occur by the mid-January date, Sharpton and other like-minded activists will increase their criticism of Democrats for their ineffectiveness, which can harm politicians in the midterm elections.
This pressure is mounting as the U.S. approaches the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection on the nation’s Capitol. The House committee investigating the insurrection has recently released documents shedding more light on the riot and its surrounding circumstances. These documents illustrate the large extent to which Republican lawmakers may have been involved in trying to undermine Biden’s win.
“The time is now,” said Rev. Sharpton. “The urgency could not be more palpable than it is now.”
“I don’t want it to be constrained by trying to do it before the end of the year,” stated Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) in an interview. “I don’t know that you have to do it before the end of the year. I just want us to get a bill done that will help preserve this democracy because if we don’t, I think we’ve lost this democracy.”
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