Biden Stresses Urgency Of Voting Rights Legislation While Marking MLK Day

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: U.S. President Joe Biden (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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President Joe Biden honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with a speech that tied the civil rights icon’s legacy to the importance of passing Democrats’ sweeping voting rights reform, which currently endangered by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) refusing to change the filibuster.

In prerecorded remarks to the National Action Network’s annual breakfast released by the White House, Biden asserted that it’s “not just enough” to praise King on the holiday.

“We must commit to his unfinished work to deliver jobs and justice, to protect the sacred right to vote, the right from which all other rights flow,” the President said.

“The attack on our democracy is real, from the January 6th insurrection to the onslaught of Republicans’ anti-voting laws in a number of states,” he added. “It’s no longer about who doesn’t get to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all.”

Biden’s remarks on Monday echoed his speech on the voting rights legislation last week in Atlanta, Georgia, particularly the moment when the President indirectly called on Manchin and Sinema to decide which “side” they want to be on as state Republicans slap restriction after restriction on voting access.

“I know where I stand. And it’s time for every elected official in America to make it clear where they stand,” Biden said on Monday.

The President’s latest push comes on the eve of a looming battle in the Senate over both the legislation and rule changes to the filibuster, which in its current form makes it impossible for Democrats to pass the voting rights package without GOP obstruction.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to bring the legislation and the proposed filibuster rule change to a vote this week after the Senate reconvenes on Tuesday even in the face of Manchin and Sinema’s refusal to budge.

Watch Biden’s MLK Day speech below:

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