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Politics Harris talking with GOP senators about voting rights legislation

04:56  21 july  2021
04:56  21 july  2021 Source:   cbsnews.com

Heirs to late civil rights icon John Lewis' vow to make 'good trouble' in fight over election laws

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Vice President Kamala Harris says she is speaking with Republican senators on a key piece of voting legislation. During a phone interview with CBS News, the vice president said there is "no bright line" defining whom she speaks to about voting rights legislation. She said it's "a non-partisan issue" and "should be approached that way."

Kamala Harris et al. that are sitting on a table: Vice President Harris Meets With Black Women's Roundtable On Voting Rights © Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images Vice President Harris Meets With Black Women's Roundtable On Voting Rights

In response to a question about whether she had spoken with any GOP senators about S. 1, the sweeping voting rights bill that has been blocked in the Senate, she replied, "I have spoken to Republican senators — both elected Republicans and Republican leaders," Harris said, and she identified one GOP senator.

Biden to make much-anticipated voting rights speech Tuesday in Philadelphia

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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. 6 as a Domestic Terrorist, GOP Senator Exposes Security Footage That Tells a Much Different Story. 'The video directly contradicts what government prosecutors allege in a complaint filed January 8 against Chansley.'

With GOP -led legislatures advancing new voting laws and Congress deadlocked over proposed legislation , President Joe Biden will deliver a major speech on voting rights in Philadelphia on Tuesday as his administration wades more aggressively into the fight over ballot access at the urging of civil Biden will again call for legislation to be passed, praising Democrats while blasting Republican obstruction of the For the People Act. The president will also call for a new coalition of advocates, activists, students, faith leaders, labor leaders, and business executives to help with voter education

"I've talked with [Senator Lisa] Murkowski about this issue," Harris said.

Harris' office later clarified that the two had discussed infrastructure, not voting rights. A spokesperson for Murkowski did not respond to a request for comment.

S. 1 is not a bill that Murkowski favors — she has previously called the For the People Act a "partisan, federal takeover of the election system."

The Alaska senator is the co-sponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would essentially restore a portion of the act struck down by the Supreme Court. This bill also faces GOP opposition and has not yet been introduced, but the White House has expressed support for this legislation, too.

The S. 1 bill proposes the biggest overhaul of election laws in a generation and would revamp campaign finance laws, ensure automatic voter registration and expand access to early and absentee voting. Voting rights advocates hope it could supersede some of the restrictive voting measures enacted by GOP-led state legislatures.

Trump threatens further disruptions inside both parties: The Note

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Vice President Kamala # Harris on Monday spoke with #Guatemala's president about working together on mitigating the #migration surge. YouTube is deleting our videos. Sign up now to get censorship-free.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday dismissed the GOP plan as inadequate as his Democratic Party warns that failure to spend now will cause more pain in coming years. Biden "is grateful that Congress is prepared to begin action" on his rescue bill, she added. Biden has left the door open to passing a bill without Republicans if he cannot reach a deal with GOP lawmakers. "I support passing Covid relief with support from Republicans if we can get it," he told reporters Friday.

Last week, President Biden delivered remarks in Philadelphia denouncing the more restrictive measures being considered and passed by state GOP-led legislatures, calling them a "21st century Jim Crow assault" on voting access.

But Democrats suffered a major blow at the end of June when Senate Republicans blocked a vote to begin debate on the bill. Harris told CBS News that despite that setback, the For the People Act is still a "key piece of what we need to do to fight for the right to vote."

The failed vote in the Senate also renewed calls from some progressives to do away with the filibuster or weaken it. One possibility that has been floated recently is a carveout for voting legislation. Cliff Albright, executive director of the Black Voters Matter Fund, said in a phone call, "Even as it appears that the call for a voting rights [filibuster] carveout is gaining momentum, we're still not hearing anything from the White House."

MSNBC's Joy Reid Calls Out Kyrsten Sinema Over Voting Rights Act After John Lewis Tweet

  MSNBC's Joy Reid Calls Out Kyrsten Sinema Over Voting Rights Act After John Lewis Tweet The MSNBC host said Sinema shouldn't "allow" the late congressman's work to "die."Lewis died on July 17, 2020 at the age of 80 while still serving in the House of Representatives. As a young man, Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was first elected to Congress in 1987, and was passionate about expanding access to voting and combating systemic racism in American society.

A Senate hearing on Monday highlighted the fact that Democratic concerns about new voting laws are rapidly shifting to potential post-election meddling by state legislatures . He expressed support for the For the People Act, the major voting rights legislation spearheaded by Democrats for the past several months, which seeks to make voting more accessible and political spending more transparent. But Mitchell reserved his real alarm for laws that could allow for post-election shenanigans — an issue that has not received anywhere near the same amount of attention from the press or from Democrats in

On Monday, Texas House Democrats left the state seeking to block controversial GOP legislation which critics have slammed as voter suppression. This is the Democrats’ second high-profile attempt to break quorum and halt votes on both election bills. The legislation also seeks to give more authority to partisan poll watches at voting sites. The new bill would increase criminal penalties for voting mistakes. Vice President Kamala Harris commended the Texas Democrats saying they were showing "extraordinary courage and commitment" during a voting rights "listening session" Monday in Detroit.

In the interview, Harris twice refused to support filibuster reform of any type, but echoed the president in saying that "there is a national imperative to pass the voting rights legislation, and that is the test of our time." Pressed further on filibuster reform, she added, "Any changes to the filibuster is going to require all Senate Democrats to support those changes."

It was a tacit acknowledgement that the Senate seems to lack the votes to change the filibuster. In the 50-50 Senate, two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have said they won't support dropping the filibuster. Also, Manchin has indicated that he would only support bipartisan voting legislation, so even if there were changes to the filibuster, S. 1 would not have the votes to pass.

For Harris' part, she has engaged with voting rights advocates and organizers in her ceremonial office in Washington, D.C., and across the country. Last week, Harris met with the Texas legislators who broke quorum to block a controversial GOP- led bill by traveling to Washington, D.C., and held a listening session with Black women leaders on the issue.

Voting rights advocates eager for Biden to use bully pulpit

  Voting rights advocates eager for Biden to use bully pulpit President Biden has mostly worked behind closed doors as the White House maps out its next steps on voting rights, but advocates are growing impatient as they warn time is running out to spotlight the issue before restrictive state laws and new maps are imposed for the 2022 midterms.The president pledged last month he would use the bully pulpit to directly address GOP-led efforts at the state level to make it more difficult for some groups to vote. After making weekly trips to promote his infrastructure package, Biden on Tuesday will travel for the first time to speak on voting rights.

She told CBS News that she also plans to meet with Native American and Alaskan native leaders next week to discuss voting rights.  On Tuesday, Harris met with some members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to discuss get-out-the-vote efforts, while the Super Bowl champions visited the White House.

In a joint statement after they met with President Biden and Harris last month, civil rights leaders from organizations including the NAACP, National Urban League and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund urged the White House to "do even more in pushing Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act."

Since May, at least 14 states have enacted 22 new laws that would restrict voting access, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, including Florida, Georgia and Iowa. The Justice Department is suing Georgia over the voting law it passed in April, alleging that the bill is intended to restrict ballot access to Black voters.

"There is a lot of work to be done. There is no question about that." Harris said. "I join the chorus in saying that everyone has to approach this issue with a sense of urgency and a sense of deep-seated commitment to fighting against these efforts to suppress the vote."

Texas Democrats vs. Gov. Greg Abbott: Who will blink first? Abbott may have the upper hand .
Texas Democrats will probably "blink first" in standoff over Texas voting bill, analysts said, because Abbot has more political advantages at this stage.The more than 50 state House Democrats made a political bet when they flew to Washington, D.C., earlier this week, hinging their hopes on Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation while stalling the state Legislature back in Austin, part of an effort to halt a restrictive voting measure.

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