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Biden Blasts New GOP Election Laws as Battle Over Ballot Box Heats Up

President Joe Biden delivers a speech on voting rights at the National Constitution Center, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden delivers a speech on voting rights at the National Constitution Center, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden is slamming GOP lawmakers over their ongoing effort to enact laws tightening voting procedures across the country, calling the move “un-American” during a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday. 

The president accused Republicans of trying to silence democracy and suppress the vote.

"The denial of full and free and fair elections is the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine, the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic and, sadly, not unprecedented,” he said. 

Seventeen mostly GOP-led states have enacted such measures. Republicans say the laws are needed for greater election security following the 2020 presidential election. Democrats contend they're designed to deter minorities from voting.

"The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real, unrelenting, and we're going to challenge it vigorously,” said Biden.

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Overnight in Texas, the state Senate passed their version of a voting bill. It calls for a ban on 24-hour polling locations and drive-thru voting. 

In a desperate move to stop the bill, more than 50 Democrats from the Texas House fled the state for the nation’s capital Monday, claiming the bill would make it harder for minorities to vote.

"I'm not up here to take a vacation in Washington, DC,” said Rep. Senfronia Thompson. “When I look at the African American Museum, I thought about the struggle of my people in this country to get the right to vote."

The Texas Senate passed the election reform bill, but the measure is stalled until Democrats return to the state. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot warned there's a price to pay for their rogue behavior.

“As soon as they come back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested they will be cabined inside the Texas capitol until they get their job done,” he said. 

Democrats say federal legislation is needed to protect the vote, but they don’t have enough support in the US Senate don't have enough support to pass it. 

SR1, also knowns as the For The People Act, aims to make election day a national holiday. It would also mandate that states allow 15 days of early voting, require them to send absentee ballots to all eligible voters, and ban partisan gerrymandering. But Republicans argue the measure goes too far because it federalizes elections and the Constitution gives that right to states. 

"In my view, SR1 is the biggest power grab in the history of the country,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- SC). "It mandates ballot harvesting. No voter ID. It does away with states being able to redistrict when you have population shifts.”

CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody also weighed in on the issue.

“They (Republicans) think that this should be mandated by the states which oh, by the way, is pretty much in the Constitution,” he said on CBN’s Faith Nation program. “They believe in essence that the states should control it, not the federal government and that's the bottom line. That's why it's a power grab. It's interesting to hear the Democrats and the media call it ‘voter suppression,' the Republicans call it ‘election integrity’… and that's the big battle."

Even some moderate Democrats have reservations about the For The People Act in its present form. The only way for it to pass is to get rid of the filibuster – something the president does not endorse. 

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