ARIZONA NEWS

Biden apparently calls out Sen. Sinema of Arizona for lack of support

Jun 1, 2021, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2021, 8:50 am
President Joe Biden speaks as he commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, at ...

President Joe Biden speaks as he commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, at the Greenwood Cultural Center, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden called out two fellow Democrats on Tuesday in explaining why he hasn’t enacted some of the most ambitious elements of his agenda, noting that slim majorities in the House and evenly divided Senate have hamstrung legislative negotiations around key issues like voting rights.

Biden, speaking during an event marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, responded to critics who question why he hasn’t been able to get a wide-reaching voting rights bill passed.

“Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House, and a tie in the Senate — with two members of the Senate who voted more with my Republican friends,” he lamented.

It appeared to be a veiled reference to Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both of whom have frustrated Democrats with their defense of the filibuster — the rule requiring most legislation to win 60 votes to pass, making many of Democrats’ biggest priorities like voting rights and gun control bills dead on arrival in the 50-50 Senate. While Sinema is a sponsor of the voting rights bill that passed the House, known as the For the People Act, Manchin has refused to sign on, calling the measure “too broad.”

But in fact, it’s not just Manchin and Sinema who oppose doing away with the filibuster — as many as 10 Democratic senators are reluctant to change the rules even for must-pass legislation like the voting rights bill. Biden himself has not said he wants to end the filibuster.

What’s unclear is whether Biden’s comments will changes senators’ views. The president’s remarks come as senators are facing tough choices ahead as pressure mounts for changes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told colleagues he would be bringing the voting rights bill to a vote the week of June 21, in effect testing where senators stand. Schumer warned in a letter to colleagues last week to brace for the month ahead. “The June work period will be extremely challenging,” Schumer told them. He said it would “test our resolve” as Congress.

Despite the logjam in Congress, Biden promised further action to address what he described as “a tireless assault on the right to vote,” comments that came in response to the latest effort by a state legislature to pass a law restricting voting access, this time in Texas. He said he would “fight like heck, with every tool at my disposal” to ensure the passage of the For the People Act when the Senate takes it up this month. He tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with leading the administration’s efforts to defend voting rights.

In a statement, Harris said she plans to work with voting rights groups, community organizations and the private sector to strengthen voting rights, as well as push for passage of voting rights legislation on Capitol Hill.

“The work ahead of us is to make voting accessible to all American voters, and to make sure every vote is counted through a free, fair, and transparent process. This is the work of democracy,” she said in the statement.

Biden also called on voting rights groups to “redouble” their efforts to register and educate voters and said June should be a “month of action” on Capitol Hill.

___

AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.


              Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a crucial 50th vote for Democrats on President Joe Biden's proposals, walks with reporters as senators go to the chamber for votes ahead of the approaching Memorial Day recess, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 27, 2021. Senate Republicans are ready to deploy the filibuster to block a commission on the Jan. 6 insurrection, shattering chances for a bipartisan probe of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol and reviving pressure to do away with the procedural tactic that critics say has lost its purpose. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
            FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2021, file photo Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., right, arrive at the Capitol in Washington. President Joe Biden called out two fellow Democrats on Tuesday in explaining why he hasn't enacted some of the most ambitious elements of his agenda, noting that slim majorities in the House and evenly divided Senate have hamstrung legislative negotiations around key issues like voting rights. It appeared to be a veiled reference to Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Sinema, both of whom have frustrated Democrats with their defense of the filibuster  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Arizona News

(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)...
Associated Press

Should federal grants be in favor of highway repair over expansion?

Advocates for highway construction are concerned their projects are getting shortchanged in the competition for grant money under the new infrastructure law.
22 hours ago
(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 27-29

Arizona Republicans elected Jeff DeWit as their new party chair and an arrest was made in the Scottsdale Molotav cocktail incidents. Here are the weekend's biggest stories.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Man dies nearly a month after allegedly being shot by teenager near Phoenix bus stop

Authorities said 51-year-old Shawn Hall died from his injuries nearly a month after he was shot by a teenager near a bus stop in Phoenix.
22 hours ago
A rain cloud hangs over Lake Powell on June 24, 2021 in Page, Arizona. As severe drought grips part...
Alex Weiner

Recent precipitation aids Arizona’s short-term drought, long-term issues persist

Arizona has experienced more rain and snow than normal this winter, which weather experts say has improved the state's short-term drought. 
22 hours ago
The Colorado River flows by the historic Navajo Bridge on June 23, 2021 in Marble Canyon, Arizona. ...
Associated Press

Emails reveal serious tensions in Colorado River talks

Competing priorities, outsized demands and the federal government's retreat from a threatened deadline stymied a deal last summer on how to drastically reduce water use from the parched Colorado River.
22 hours ago
(Silver Sky Development Photo)...
KTAR.com

Developer plans new luxury home community in Paradise Valley

A local luxury home developer is planning to build a new community in Paradise Valley at the base of Mummy Mountain.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Biden apparently calls out Sen. Sinema of Arizona for lack of support