President Joe Biden has tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with dealing with what the Biden-Harris administration calls a “push for voting rights legislation.”
“Every American has a right to have their voice heard at the ballot box, and no American should be kept from voting early, voting by mail, or voting at all,” Harris said in a Tuesday news release. “Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and it is weaker when people are left out.”
In the release, Harris said that Biden asked her to help lead the Biden-Harris administration’s “effort to protect the fundamental right to vote for all Americans.”
In the upcoming weeks, Harris said, she would work along with “voting rights organizations, community organizations, and the private sector to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide.”
She also seeks to work with Congress to pass two bills she claims will protect the right to vote. The bills she names are ‘The For the People Act,” which she claims would “provide all Americans with fair and accessible voting options, ” and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which, according to Harris, “would prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures.”
Harris stated that, since the November election, over 380 bills were introduced nationwide to allegedly make voting difficult for Americans.
Today, Texas legislators advanced a bill attacking the right to vote. It’s yet another assault on our democracy. Congress needs to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
We need to make it easier for eligible voters to vote. Not harder.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 30, 2021
The bills, Harris stated, seek “to restrict the options that make voting more convenient and accessible, including early voting and vote by mail.”
Harris said the Biden-Harris administration will “not stand by” in the face of such legislation, according to the news release.
The 380 bills she refers to include legislation Republican lawmakers introduced to reduce election fraud. Democrats claim such legislation disenfranchises Americans by making it hard for them to vote.
Republicans, however, argue that such regulations ensure the integrity of the electoral system, protecting it from any manipulation.
In a Tuesday speech, Biden called upon the Senate to pass the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, saying he’d “fight like heck” to get the legislation passed, Politico reported.
However, Harris and the Democrats face hurdles in their quest to get both Acts passed by the Senate, according to the outlet. Not all Senate Democrats support the For The People Act, notably Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, according to Politico.
Even if Machin were to support the bill, Democrats would not be able to gather the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, Politico reported.
The Senate is currently tied between 50 Republican senators and 50 senators who are either Democrats or vote with Democrats. As vice president, Harris would cast a deciding vote.
Biden acknowledged the barriers to passing the legislation in his speech.
“I hear all of the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?’ Well, because Biden only has the majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate. With two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends,” Biden said, according to Politico, taking a shot at Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Before appointing Harris to deal with “voting rights legislation,” Biden had assigned her to deal with the crisis of illegal immigration on the southern border.
Despite taking on that role in March, Harris has not visited the border herself. Neither has the crisis subsided.
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, issued a disaster declaration for 34 Texas counties on or near the border, according to the New York Post.