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"Have you no shame?"
In a passionate speech, U.S. President Joe Biden Tuesday assailed Republican efforts to restrict access to voting in a number of U.S. states and declared it was a “national imperative" to pass sweeping voting rights legislation that has stalled in Congress amid strong Republican opposition.
“So hear me clearly: there's an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free election.”
But Biden offered no path forward to get the legislation back on track in Congress… which is meant to counter new laws moving through Republican-controlled states to restrict voting, a push encouraged by Biden's Republican predecessor Donald Trump. During his speech in Philadelphia, Biden, without naming him, took aim at Trump and his supporters for false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from the Republican former president through widespread voting fraud.
“For those to challenge the results and question the integrity of the election. No other election has ever been held under such scrutiny, and such high standards. The ‘big lie’ is just that: A big lie… That's not statesmanship. That's selfishness. That's not democracy – it’s the denial of the right to vote. It suppresses it. It subjugates it. The denial of free and fair elections is the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine. The most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic and sadly not unprecedented.”
Biden also made a searing critique of what he called efforts to undermine voting rights, likening them to past laws that prevented Black people and women from voting in the United States.
“The twenty-first century Jim Crow assault is real. It's unrelenting.”
The voting rights legislation faces an uphill battle in Congress, where Biden's fellow Democrats have been stymied by Senate Republicans who blocked it even from being debated. Biden's focus on the subject, even if the legislation fails, enables him to rally Democratic voters as his party works to maintain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.