Joe Biden’s administration pedalled election reform policy on a historical civil rights leader’s remembrance day.
Kamala Harris demanded new voting rights legislation on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. public holiday. The vice president urged the U.S. Senate to “do its job” and pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
“We must not give up and we must not give in. To truly honor the legacy of the man we celebrate … we must continue to fight for the freedom to vote, for freedom for all,” she said in a statement.
“This bill represents the first real opportunity to secure the freedom to vote since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act nearly a decade ago, and the Senate must pass this bill now,” she added.
Her remarks came after fellow Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) refused to support the measure. The proposed legislation eliminates the so-called Senate filibuster through allowing a simple majority vote to end legislative debates. The existing 60-vote threshold would no longer apply.
Such a reform would help the Biden administration enact the Build Back Better plan and voting reforms.
Harris used Martin Luther King Jr. message and life history to motivate senators to reach consensus within the Democratic Party’s ranks.
“Dr. King pushed even as his character was maligned; he pushed even as his family’s life was threatened,” she said.
“He pushed even as his own life was in jeopardy; he pushed for racial justice, for economic justice, and for the freedom that unlocks all others: the freedom to vote,” she added.