Vice President Kamala Harris said Sunday that America will cease to be the “role model” of the world if Congress fails to pass an elections bill that Republicans believe will have the net effect of loosening voting standards.
Since moderate Democratic senator Joe Manchin abandoned his support of President Biden’s hallmark Build Back Better package after citing objections to its enormous size and scope, leaving it all but dead in the water, Democrats have pivoted the agenda to the voting bill.
“We have been a role model saying, ‘You can see this and aspire to this and reject autocracies and autocratic leadership,’” Harris said in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Right now, we’re about to take ourselves off the map as a role model if we let people destroy one of the most important pillars of a democracy, which is free and fair elections.”
She echoed Democratic lawmakers in elevating “voting rights” as an “urgent” issue that needs to be immediately addressed, now that Biden’s trillion-dollar social-spending plan has taken the back burner.
As the administration continues to harp on “voting rights,” it will become evident that some are “suppressing the right of the American people to vote,” Harris suggested.
As Harris and other Democrats invoke emergency action for the “voting rights” legislation, the filibuster, a procedural obstacle that allows the minority party in Congress to pump the brakes on legislation, has again become a target. Democrats have looked to Manchin and moderate senator Kyrsten Sinema to provide the votes to eliminate it, but they’ve both remained immovable on the issue.
Manchin has been asked about “reforming” the filibuster repeatedly, which he’s opposed each time. Earlier this month, Sinema doubled down on her defense of the filibuster, refusing to blow up the mechanism to help her colleagues advance the voting legislation.
The Arizona senator “continues to support the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, to protect the country from repeated radical reversals in federal policy which would cement uncertainty, deepen divisions, and further erode Americans’ confidence in our government,” Sinema’s spokesman John LaBombard told Politico recently.
He indicated that Sinema is open to other avenues to pass the bill that don’t involve destroying the institution of the filibuster.