WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While the majority of Democrats are applauding President Joe Biden’s more urgent tone during his speech Tuesday, many civil rights organizations are saying the address comes too little too late.
Civil rights activists say they want to see how the president turns his demands into reality and gets the votes to pass federal voter protections.
Biden delivered his strongest plea for federal voting rights legislation while in Georgia on Tuesday. He demanded Democratic lawmakers change the rules of the Senate to get two sweeping election bills passed.
“I’m tired of being quiet,” said Biden. “I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies.”
On Capitol Hill, delivering on the president’s promise is easier said than done.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, says while he supports protecting voter access, he objects to changing the filibuster rule that would allow Democrats to bypass Republicans to pass the bills on their own.
“The filibuster is what makes the Senate work when it’s supposed to work,” said Manchin.
Before the president’s speech, Republican senators railed against the effort to remove the filibuster. Republicans argue the rule change damages democracy and insist the voting bills on the table are designed to give Democrats an advantage at the polls.
“This is purely and simply a power grab,” said Sen. John Thune, R-SD.
Democrats argue the bills are necessary to stop a Republican grab in dozens of states.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vows to vote on the rule change as early as this week. The votes aren’t there. Despite this, he says he wants a vote by Martin Luther King Jr. Day.