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Biden pushes ‘voting rights’ legislation in MLK speech – Reuters

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Biden pushes ‘voting rights’ legislation in MLK speech – Reuters

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President asks Americans to pick a ‘side’ on holiday in honor of civil rights hero who preached unity

US President Joe Biden marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a speech linking the civil rights leader’s efforts to unite Americans to his own party’s suffrage legislation, dismissing anyone who opposes it as racists.

Biden called on Americans to ” engage yourself to [King’s] unfinished work » Monday, describing this work as “to provide jobs and justice” and “to protect the sacred right to vote, the right from which all other rights flow.”

In the pre-recorded speech, he attempted to tie King’s accomplishments to the voting rights legislative package that Democrats struggled to pass in the face of opposition from Republicans and two of their own senators.

Those who were not prepared to support the party’s legislative package were accused of not supporting “an America in which everyone is guaranteed the full protection and full promise of this nation”, Biden said, demanding to know ” Where are we ? Which side are we on? Are we going to oppose voter suppression, yes or no? Are we going to oppose electoral subversion, yes or no?

The proposals in question would expand access to mail-in voting, impose federal oversight on states with “history of racial discrimination” and tightening campaign finance rules, all supposedly in response to recently passed laws in Republican-led states that are said to make it harder for poor, non-white Americans to vote.

Biden pushes ‘voting rights’ legislation in MLK speech – Reuters

 |  Latest News Headlines

However, it is unclear how or by whom the racial discrimination mentioned in the bill would be assessed or punished, and opponents have denounced the legislation as a blatant giveaway to the Democratic Party. A Senate vote on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday, though the two Democratic hardliners — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — remain opposed to passing it as of Monday.

“The attack on our democracy is real, from the January 6 insurrection to the Republican assault on anti-vote laws in a number of states,” Biden said in MLK’s speech.

During his lifetime, King identified with neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties, accusing them both of betraying his people. As the civil rights movement began to achieve some of its goals regarding racial equality, King spoke more openly about the need to unite the poor and working classes of all races, views which some believe led to his assassination in 1968.

New poll shows how ‘frustrated’ Americans are with Biden a year on

Last week, Biden hinted that he was arrested during a civil rights protest in the 1960s, further embellishing a fictional history of involvement in the movement. Even the typically pro-Biden Washington Post assessed the president’s claim. “four Pinocchios,” its most severe fact-checking rating.

Biden had previously been forced to backtrack on another false claim regarding his alleged anti-apartheid activism in South Africa, where he insisted he was arrested while trying to meet imprisoned activist leader Nelson Mandela .

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Biden pushes ‘voting rights’ legislation in MLK speech – Reuters

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