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Capitol Hill Politics

Congress resumes full session with the goal of passing voting laws

The solemn Jan. 6 anniversary has revived President Joe Biden and other Democrats’ to pass voting rights legislation, which they claim will defend future elections and democratic institutions in the United States.

Biden is set to make a speech on voting rights in Georgia on Tuesday, a typically Republican state where he won by a razor-thin margin in 2020. According to the White House, he plans on making a “passionate case” for voting rights and also to “restore” the Senate’s functionality.

According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Biden will also emphasise the “urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote and the integrity of our elections.” “He’ll get into the details.”

In an interview with ABC News last month, Biden stated his support for modifying Senate filibuster rules. He said he’ll “support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster” — or “do whatever it takes” — to get important legislation to a vote in the Senate.

 

What are the Democrats doing in Congress?

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has pledged a vote on two important election bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both aimed at strengthening voting rights and ensuring the count. The bills have enough votes to pass, but not enough to overcome a filibuster.

 

What effect would the bills have?

The Freedom to Vote Act would provide a set of assurances throughout all states, such as automatic voter registration, universal access to mail-in voting, and declaring Election Day a holiday, all while shielding election officials from party interference.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would compel states with a history of discrimination to pre-clear changes to their voting rules with the Justice Department on a rolling 25-year basis.

 

Republicans on the issue

The Freedom to Vote Act is opposed by all 50 Republicans in the Senate. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has termed it a federal election takeover and suggested that Congress should leave the decision to the states.

Lisa Murkowski from Alaska seems to be the sole Republican who favors the John Lewis bill.

 

 Is a bipartisan bill possible?

The parties are very far apart on voting rights.

Last week, however, there was a glimpse of hope that perhaps the Senate may agree on a restricted bill to protect election results processing and certification. Several Republicans, including McConnell, have stated that they are interested in changing the 1887 Electoral Count Act, or are at least open to doing so.

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