Biden vows to work with Congress to 'refine' voting rights bill

Biden vows to work with Congress to 'refine' voting rights bill
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President BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE early Thursday praised the House for passing a sprawling election reform and voting rights bill and said he will work with Congress to “refine and advance it,” a tacit acknowledgement of the uphill climb the legislation faces in the Senate. 

Biden in a statement touted the legislation, which mandates states to offer mail-in ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting, calls for online and same-day voter registration and provide more federal funding to prevent foreign meddling in elections. However, it passed the House late Wednesday with no Republican support, a grave sign for its chances in an evenly split Senate where it will need to reach a 60-vote threshold.

“The right to vote is sacred and fundamental — it is the right from which all of our other rights as Americans spring. This landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect that right, to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen our democracy,” Biden said.

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“I look forward to working with Congress to refine and advance this important bill. And I look forward to signing it into law after it has passed through the legislative process, so that together we can strengthen and restore American democracy for the next election and all those to come.”

The For The People Act, better known as H.R. 1, has been a top priority for Democrats since the party retook the House in 2019. A version of the bill passed in 2020 by a 234-193 vote, though no Republicans supported it in the lower chamber and the legislation died in the Senate, which was then controlled by Republicans.

Democrats were vocal about their eagerness to pass it again, saying it was crucial to try to move it forward with complete control in Washington and after former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE’s repeated assertions that the election was “stolen” from him.

“In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy; a coordinated attempt to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the American people never before seen in our history; and a new wave of aggressive attacks on voting rights taking place in states across the country, I applaud Speaker Pelosi and the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021,” said Biden on Thursday.

Republicans have lambasted the bill as a Democratic power grab, warning that the expansion of voting access could open the door to fraud.

“H.R. 1 would weaken the security of our elections and make it harder to protect against voter fraud,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJuan Williams: Trump is killing American democracy Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Cheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member MORE (R-Calif.) said Wednesday. “Voting is a right, not a mandate.”