CHICAGO - Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition on Tuesday joined a rising chorus of progressive voices demanding changes in the US Senate’s filibuster rules. It’s what recently blocked Democrats from passing new, federal voting rights legislation.
"We must get rid of the filibuster now!" said Bishop Tavis Grant, National Field Director of Rainbow PUSH, at a South Side news conference.
He spoke after President Joe Biden delivered an at time passionate speech about election-related issues in Philadelphia. The president made no mention of the filibuster, but promised to campaign for a federal law that could overrule some voting rights changes Republicans are enacting in more than dozen different states. Biden suggested some are racially inspired.
"The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real," Biden said at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. "It’s unrelenting. And we’re going to challenge it vigorously."
The president also delivered his strongest defense yet of the legitimacy of his own election last year. Former President Donald Trump has recently ramped up his rhetoric claiming Democrats "stole" the 2020 election.
"The big lie is just that," Biden said. "A big lie!"
In Washington, Vice President Kamala Harris met with a group of Democratic state lawmakers from Texas. They fled their capitol in Austin to deny majority Republicans the legislative quorum needed to enact what Republicans call a ballot integrity measure. Democrats and the vice president say it’s intended to suppress voter turnout, especially among poor and minority voters.
"Defending the right of the American people to vote is as American as apple pie," said Harris.
Texas Republicans use similar language, saying their election law proposal would be less restrictive than current voting rules in the heavily Democratic state of New York.
"This is a bill about verification of signatures in the mail, and allowing people to mail in their ballots, to track their, their mail-in ballots," said Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
The voting rights fight is one of the big issues that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says may force the Senate to delay its usual summer break, set for August.