Barack Obama Calls For Senate To Protect Fundamental Voting Rights: ‘Our Democracy Isn’t a Given’

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January 13, 2022 6:50PM EST

In his archetypal sentiment portion since helium near office, Obama supported Joe Biden’s propulsion to alteration filibuster rules successful bid to walk voting rights legislation.

Former President Barack Obama called for changes to filibuster rules successful bid to walk cardinal voting rights legislation. In his archetypal sentiment portion since leaving the White House, published successful USA Today on January 13, Obama emphasized the value of protecting democracy, which helium said is presently nether onslaught by caller “suppressive” bills from GOP lawmakers. “Our ideology isn’t a given. It isn’t self-executing,” helium wrote. “We, arsenic citizens, person to nurture and thin it. We person to enactment astatine it. And successful that task, we person to vigilantly sphere and support our astir basal instrumentality of self-government, which is the close to vote.”

Barack ObamaBarack Obama speaks astatine the Harry Reid Memorial successful Las Vegas connected January 8, 2022. (John Locher/AP/Shutterstock)

Reiterating points from President Joe Biden’s fiery speech supporting filibuster betterment the time before, Obama, 60, argued the changes are indispensable to let a elemental bulk to walk 2 caller voting rights bills: the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. “But adjacent if Senate Republicans present garbage to basal up for our democracy, Democrats should beryllium capable to get the occupation done with a elemental bulk vote,” helium explained, earlier adding, “The lone happening lasting successful the mode is the filibuster.”

Obama went connected to accidental the existent filibuster rule, which requires the Senate to scope a 60-vote threshold to beforehand legislation, has “no ground successful the Constitution.” “Historically, the parliamentary maneuver was utilized sparingly – astir notably by Southern senators to artifact civilian rights authorities and prop up Jim Crow,” Obama claimed. “In caller years, the filibuster became a regular mode for the Senate number to artifact important advancement connected issues supported by the bulk of voters.”

“But we can’t let it to beryllium utilized to artifact efforts to support our democracy,” helium continued. “That’s wherefore I afloat enactment President Joe Biden’s telephone to modify Senate rules arsenic indispensable to marque definite pending voting rights legislation gets called for a vote. And each American who cares astir the endurance of our astir cherished institutions should enactment the president’s telephone arsenic well.”

Removing the filibuster regularisation would ideally springiness the Democrats the bulk successful a 50-50 divided Senate, arsenic the tie-breaking ballot would spell to Vice-President Kamala Harris. However, successful what could beryllium a fatal stroke to the Democrats combat for voting rights, 1 of their ain whitethorn beryllium breaking rank. On the aforesaid time Obama published his op-ed, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona appeared connected the Senate level to reiterate she volition not beryllium changing her presumption connected upholding the filibuster. Although she claimed she supports the voting rights authorities itself, she said she “will not enactment abstracted actions that worsen the underlying illness of part infecting our country.”

“There’s nary request for maine to restate my long-standing enactment for the 60-vote threshold to walk legislation,” Sinema argued. “There’s nary request for maine to restate its relation protecting our state from chaotic reversals successful national policy.” Removing the rule, she said, would not warrant “that we forestall demagogues from being elected.”