- President Joe Biden has given Vice President Kamala Harris another assignment as she’ll be leading the administration’s effort to protect voting rights
- ‘With her leadership, and your support, we’re going to overcome again, I promise you,’ he told an audience Tuesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Biden brought up the GOP’s ‘un-American’ bills that restrict voting during a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre
- He said the Senate would be taking up H.R. 1, the For the People Act, but voiced concerns about the narrow Democratic majority in the upper chamber
- He pointed to ‘two members of the Senate that vote more with my Republican friends,’ a slight jab at Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema
- Harris is also the point person on the Northern Triangle, broadband internet and space and has been criticized for not doing more to help India’s COVID response
President Joe Biden has given Vice President Kamala Harris another assignment, announcing during a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma Tuesday that she would be leading the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights.
‘I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts and lead them, among her many other responsibilities,’ Biden said at an event marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre. ‘With her leadership, and your support, we’re going to overcome again, I promise you. But it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work.’
Harris reiterated the assignment in a statement: ‘President Joe Biden asked me to help lead our Administration’s effort to protect the fundamental right to vote for all Americans.’
‘In the days and weeks ahead, I will engage the American people, and I will work with voting rights organizations, community organizations, and the private sector to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide,’ Harris continued.
‘And we will also work with members of Congress to help advance these bills,’ the vice president said.
That means Harris will be back at her old stomping grounds – the U.S. Senate – as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already pledged to give the House-passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a vote when Congress returns from its Memorial Day break later this month.
‘And June should be a month of action on Capitol Hill,’ the president said, before laying out his political reality.
‘I hear all the folks on TV saying, “Why doesn’t Biden get this done?” Well, because Biden only has the majority of affectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate that vote more with my Republican friends,’ Biden said, a slight jab at Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
Both Manchin and Sinema have been resistant to change the Senate’s filibuster rules, allowing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican senators to hold up any piece of legislation that doesn’t have 60 votes.
Last week that meant a likely end to a House-passed bill that would have created a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack.
Democrats were unable to find four additional Republicans to vote in its favor and break the GOP’s filibuster.
Biden vowed that the For the People Act wouldn’t meet the same fate.
‘I’m going to fight like heck with every tool at my disposal for its passage,’ Biden said.
Biden also called out state-level laws that aim to make voting more difficult, calling them ‘simply un-American.’
‘It’s not however, sadly, unprecedented,’ the president added.
The vice president’s fresh task comes less than a week before she’s due to make her first trip abroad to deal with another aspect of her portfolio – point person to the Northern Triangle counties to deal with the ‘root’ causes of the migration flow.
Harris will travel to both Guatemala and to Mexico next Monday and Tuesday.
Critics of Harris have pointed out she hasn’t made a trek to the southern border, which has seen unprecedented crossings due to the typical seasonal rise, but also a pandemic unbottling.
Harris also has in her portfolio broadband internet and space.
Harris was also criticized recently for not doing enough to help India, her mother’s birth country, as it has seen a massive COVID-19 spike.