President Biden and congressional Democratic leaders, stymied by Republican opposition to their partisan voting-rights bills, agreed Friday to keep pushing for legislation “reflecting the priorities and values” of two stalled measures.
Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met at the White House Friday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer ahead of a month-long congressional recess. Their discussion focused on what to do about Democrats’ inability to advance the “For the People Act,” which would nationalize election standards including a prohibition on voter ID, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act.
Republicans oppose both measures, and the prospects of passing the evenly divided Senate are nil.
“Recognizing the challenges ahead, the four leaders agreed on the importance of advancing legislation reflecting the priorities and values of those two bills, having them pass the House of Representatives and the Senate, and withstand constitutional challenge,” the White House said late Friday.
The statement said they “agreed on the moral imperative of passing legislation to protect against voter suppression, electoral subversion, dark money, and partisan gerrymandering and will continue working together toward that goal urgently.
The White House and congressional Democrats are coming under heavy pressure from their progressive base to produce an answer to Republican-backed voting laws in multiple states that focus on “voter integrity” efforts such as voter ID and restricting mail-in ballots.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, “What was the point of busting our as*es getting Democrats elected if they can’t do a simple thing like protect voting rights? Biden should call for the Senate to delay its August 6th recess until enough votes can be mustered for the For the People Act.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat and chair of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, said earlier this month that Democrats could use the “reconciliation” process to advance financial incentives for states to adopt certain election measures. Democrats hope to use the procedural tool to pass Mr. Biden‘s $3.5 trillion social-welfare package without GOP support.