US President, Joe Biden has accused Republicans of defending voter suppression efforts that amounted to “a Jim Crow era in the 21st Century” in a scathing statement Tuesday after Republican senators blocked debate on a sweeping Democrat-backed election overhaul.
Senate lawmakers voted 50-50 on whether to open debate on the bill known as the “For the People Act,” leaving Democrats short of the 60 votes required to overcome a GOP filibuster.
The vote marked a major setback for a controversial legislation that Biden and other prominent Democrats have prepared for months in response to the passage of election security bills in Republican-led states.
Georgia and other states moved to tighten election laws following a contentious 2020 election cycle rife with claims from Donald Trump of voter fraud.
If enacted, the Biden-backed bill would make sweeping changes to U.S. elections. The legislation would put nonpartisan commissions in charge of gerrymandering rather than party-controlled state legislatures, expand early and absentee voting, and overhaul the campaign finance system, among other changes.
Republican lawmakers say the legislation would allow the federal government to infringe on the rights of individual states to dictate their own election rules. The GOP has also argued the bill is meant to unduly benefit Democrats and help them win elections in Republican controlled states.
Biden has now reacted to the bill’s failure.
“Today, Democrats in Congress unanimously came together to protect the sacred right to vote. In supporting the For the People Act and defending the rights of voters, they stood united for democracy,” Biden said on Tuesday.
“They stood against the ongoing assault of voter suppression that represents a Jim Crow era in the 21st Century.
“Unfortunately, a Democratic stand to protect our democracy met a solid Republican wall of opposition. Senate Republicans opposed even a debate—even considering—legislation to protect the right to vote and our democracy. It was the suppression of a bill to end voter suppression—another attack on voting rights that is sadly not unprecedented,” he added.
In the statement Tuesday June 22, Biden added that he would have “more to say” on the fight over the “For The People Act” next week.
“But let me be clear. This fight is far from over—far from over. I’ve been engaged in this work my whole career, and we are going to be ramping up our efforts to overcome again—for the people, for our very democracy,” he added.