Biden is paying tribute to civil rights victories past by visiting Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. Martin Luther King Jr. used to stand from the pulpit and place a wreath at King's crypt with his wife Coretta Scott King.
Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), has set next Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a deadline to pass voting legislation or reconsider the rules surrounding the chamber's filibuster blocking device. Biden is expected recall the U.S. Capitol riot of a year ago and to align himself more strongly with the voting rights campaign.
Biden will tell his audience that the next few days when these bills are up for a vote will be a turning point in America.
"Will you choose democracy over autocracy? Light over shadow? Justice over injustice?" I know exactly where I stand. I won't give up. He'll state, in prepared remarks, that he won't flinch. "I will defend your vote and our democracy from all enemies domestic and foreign." The question now is, "Where will the United States Senate stand?"
An official from the White House said that Biden would support changing Senate filibuster rules so long as the right to vote is protected. This strategy has been embraced by some Democrats. To advance most legislation, including voting rights, the current rules require 60 votes. This threshold is impossible for Senate Democrats to meet because they have only a 50-50 majority. Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties. The voting rights measures are opposed unanimously by Republicans.
Biden has been more cautious in the past when he was involved in the debate. Biden is an ex-senator who has stood by the existing rules for a long time, but is now under immense political pressure to make a breakthrough. It's unclear what effect his pressure can have on practical matters.
Some Democrats may not be supportive of changing the filibuster rules. Even if the Democrats remove all obstacles to the passage of voting rights laws, it may be too late to reverse widespread voting restrictions in 19 states that were passed after former president Donald Trump's defeat in 2020 and his lies about voter fraud.
Some voting rights advocates had planned to boycott Biden’s speech. Georgia Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams was also reserving her place at the event. She is well-known for her tireless work on voting rights. The White House sent out a long list of people to the speech, which was unusually long. Although Abrams' aides claimed she had a conflict, they didn't elaborate further. However, Abrams tweeted her support for the president.
Biden stated that before his trip, the two had a scheduling mishap but had spoken and were now "all on the same page."
When asked about the political risk of speaking out when there isn't enough support to change the rules, he replied that he didn't want to say what he believed. This is what I'm willing to take. This is one such defining moment. It is. It is going to be judged by where they were before and after the vote. Our history is going to judge us."
Georgian voting rights advocates are growing anxious about the future of 2022 and beyond. The changes in many states are seen as subtler forms of the voting restrictions, such literacy tests and poll taxes that were once used to disenfranchise Black voters. This is a crucial Democratic constituency.
"We are beyond the realm of speeches. Federal legislation is what we want at this point," LaTosha Brown (co-founder of Black Votes Matter) said. She said that it cannot be done soon enough.
Republicans who support Trump's election misinformation are supporting efforts to influence future elections separately by supporting efforts to influence future election by installing sympathetic leaders at local election posts and backing those who were involved in the riot at U.S. Capitol last year.
Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of the church Biden visits, stated ahead of his speech that "anything possible that will continue shining a bright spotlight on the urgency of the issue is important."
Warnock was one of the senators who traveled with Biden aboard Air Force One to Georgia. He stated that he believes Biden is aware that democracy is being threatened by the all-out assault by state legislatures across the country. This is a moral moment. Everyone must be there."
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, dismissed complaints by activists that Biden wasn't a strong advocate.
"We are aware of the frustration felt by many advocates that this has not been passed into law yet. She said that he would have loved to have signed it into law.
Georgia, one of the most important battleground states for the 2020 elections, is at the heart of it all. Trump said that he wanted a high-ranking state election official to "find enough votes" to reverse his loss. Despite the state's votes going to Biden, both its Senate seats went to Democrats.
However, last year's Republican governor signed a major rewrite to election rules. This gives the State Election Board, among other powers, new powers to interfere in county election offices, and to replace or remove local election officials. That has led to concerns that the Republican-controlled state board could exert more influence over the administration of elections, including the certification of county results.
The voting legislation was written by the Congressional Democrats. It would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. election in a generation.
This package would establish national election standards, which would override state-level GOP laws. It would also allow the Justice Department to re-authorize its ability to enforce election laws in states that have a history discriminatory.
The Democrats claim that in order to pass the legislation, which Republicans have outright rejected, they need to change Senate rules that allow a minority of 41 senators block a bill.