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Biden calls for changes to the Senate's filibuster to pass voting rights bills

President Joe Biden speaks in support of changing the Senate filibuster rules that have stalled voting rights legislation in Atlanta.
President Joe Biden speaks in support of changing the Senate filibuster rules that have stalled voting rights legislation in Atlanta.

President Biden will deliver remarks on Tuesday about the importance of election integrity, making a call for Congress to take up voting rights legislation currently languishing in the Senate.

Speaking alongside Vice President Harris, Biden is expected to call for sweeping election reform, as well as changes to the Senate filibuster, which has been used by Republicans to delay movement on Democrats' two legislative voting rights efforts.

The speech is scheduled for 3:50 p.m. ET. Watch it live here:

A White House official previewing the president's remarks said that Biden will describe this moment as "one of the rare moments in a country's history when time stops and the essential is immediately ripped away from the trivial," and that Americans "have to ensure January 6th doesn't mark the end of democracy but the beginning of a renaissance for our democracy."

Biden will deliver the speech in Atlanta, Ga., home to the civil rights legend, late-Rep. John Lewis, and one of many places where Republicans have introduced legislation to limit eligible Americans' voting rights. Those restrictions include limiting mail-in voting and eliminating same-day voter registration – measures that have been especially onerous on poor people and people of color, experts say.

The Democrats' two bills: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act – would set new minimum standards for early and mail-in voting, among other changes. The bills have widespread support among congressional Democrats, but Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to push them into legislative purgatory.

Biden has previously endorsed changing Senate rules by calling for a return to the talking filibuster. Others have proposed a "carve out" to allow for a simple majority vote on voting rights legislation. Biden, speaking last month to ABC News, said he would support doing "whatever it takes" to get voting rights legislation passed.

Changing Senate rules would require all Democrats to be on board. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have defended the current filibuster.

Despite the lack of consensus within his party, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday said he plans to hold a vote tied to voting rights next week. If the vote is blocked, as expected, Schumer is weighing two options — a return to the talking filibuster or a carve out specific to the voting rights legislation.

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