Biden to deliver remarks on voting access next week

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President Biden will deliver remarks next week on expanding access to voting, amid uncertainty about how Democrats can advance their voting rights agenda after Senate Republicans blocked a sweeping election reform bill.

“This is a continuation of his efforts to use the bully pulpit to elevate this issue, just as he did last week when he marked Juneteenth and also as he did in Tulsa, Oklahoma, just a week before that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.

“What you should expect to hear from him is that there are many ways to work across the country with activists, with states, with legislators, using every lever at our disposal to expand access, improve access to voting across the country,” Psaki continued. “He’ll talk about some of the ways he wants to continue to do that. He’ll also reiterate that it’s his view that it’s a fundamental right and that people across the country should be able to exercise that.”

It’s unclear in what format Biden will deliver his remarks on voting rights or what day next week they will be scheduled for. 

In a statement rebuking Senate Republicans for blocking the sweeping For the People Act Tuesday evening, Biden said he would have “more to say” on the issue next week and insisted that the fight is “far from over.”

Biden has drawn ire from progressives who argued that the White House did not do enough to prioritize the For the People Act. The future of election reform legislation is in limbo following the developments Tuesday, when Republicans voted in unison to prevent Democrats from overcoming the filibuster to advance the bill. 

The White House has signaled that it will work to try to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act when it is introduced later this year. Psaki said Wednesday that both Biden and Vice President Harris will continue to fight for federal legislation. 

“We will see what that looks like, but we’re still assessing that in the coming days,” Psaki said, noting that Biden’s remarks next week will also touch on what the federal government can do to increase access to voting. 

Biden has tapped Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to bolster voting rights. Harris has held a handful of meetings on the issue with advocates and political leaders, including a virtual meeting Wednesday with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams as well as leaders of the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, the Center for American Progress, Black Lives Matter, and the American Federation of Teachers.

Tags election reform For the People Act Jen Psaki Joe Biden John Lewis voting rights
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