Politics

Harris says Biden took ‘courageous step’ in voting rights speech

Despite an unclear path for voting legislation on Capitol Hill, Harris said in an interview with NBC News that the Biden administration "will not give up."

WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris, in an interview with NBC News that aired Thursday morning, pushed back against Republican criticism that President Joe Biden’s speech in Atlanta on voting rights was too divisive.

Asked to respond to comments from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who on Wednesday said that Biden was “going down the same tragic path that President Trump took, calling into question the reliability of American elections,” Harris said. that the president took the “correct and courageous step in saying that Senate rules should not get in the way of protecting the American people’s access to the ballot.”

“And she compared this moment to an earlier moment in our history, which is apt for comparison,” Harris said in the interview Wednesday.

In his speech Tuesday, Biden framed the decision on voting rights legislation as a choice between “Dr. King or George Wallace.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., told fellow Democrats in a letter Wednesday that he will force a procedural vote on the Freedom to Vote Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act. John Lewis. Republicans have remained united in their opposition to the two voting rights bills, and once they are blocked, “we will have to change the rules of the Senate as has been done many times before,” Schumer said in the letter, obtained by NBC News. .

But Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have expressed an unwillingness to change the filibuster. Without their votes, Democrats would not be able to change the Senate’s rules to get past the 60-vote threshold.

“I don’t think anyone should be absolved of the responsibility to preserve and protect our democracy, especially when they are sworn to protect and defend our Constitution,” Harris told NBC News when asked about Manchin and Sinema.

Pressed on whether the party leadership could get Democrats on board by Monday, the deadline Schumer had initially set for moving the legislation forward, Harris said “it’s not over.”

“And we don’t give up. We don’t give up and we won’t give up,” he said.

Biden is scheduled to meet with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss voting rights.

In the NBC interview, Harris also said that the 500 million at-home Covid tests the Biden administration said it would make available for free could be shipped directly to homes “by next week.” The White House later clarified that the tests would be shipped at the end of this month, not next week.

Asked if she and Biden would run on the same ticket again in 2024, Harris said, “We’re thinking about today.”

He said he hadn’t read a recent column arguing Biden should pick Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, for a bipartisan presidential bid in 2024, saying, “I really care less about upper-class gossip on these issues.” “.

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