President Joe Biden slammed Republicans while highlighting the right to vote and the need to “defend democracy” during his speech Tuesday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Biden issued a stark view of election laws being enacted across the country, calling the ongoing fight a “test of our time.” Speaking at the National Constitution Center, the president spent time calling out Republicans, the Supreme Court decision on voting laws and the “assault on free and fair elections.”
“No other election has ever been held under such scrutiny, and such high standards. The ‘big lie’ is just that. A big lie,” Biden exclaimed, calling the 2020 election “the most scrutinized election ever in American history.”
“In America if you lose, you accept the results, you follow the Constitution,” he continued, targeting Republicans who have said the election was stolen. “You try again. You don’t call facts fake and try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. That’s not statesmanship. That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness. That’s not democracy. ”
The president focused part of his speech on the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, promising to “sign it and let the whole world see it” as soon as the bills are passed by Congress. Biden touted the For The People Act as one that would end voter suppression and called on Congress to pass it. The sweeping Democratic voting rights bill was killed in June when Senate Republicans voted unanimously against beginning a debate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the For The People Act “Democrats’ transparent plan to tilt every election in America permanently in their favor.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Republicans at the time, declaring “rot at the center” of the party.
The bill would omit voter ID requirements and expand mail-in voting, among other provisions. Republicans have pushed to reform election processes, with states like Georgia enacting stricter voting ID laws and limiting mail-in voting, causing Democrats to argue voter suppression.
“That bill would end voter suppression in states,” Biden declared Tuesday. “Get dark money out of politics. Give a voice to people. Create a fair district map and end partisan political gerrymandering. Last month, Republicans opposed even debating, even considering For The People Act. Senate Democrats stood united to protect our democracy and the sanctity of the vote.”
“We must pass the For The People Act. It’s national imperative. We must also fight for the John Lewis Voting rights Advancement Act to restore and expand voting protection. To prevent voter suppression,” he continued.
Biden also slammed the Supreme Court, which recently ruled to uphold Arizona’s voting law. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states can pass laws aimed at preventing voter fraud on July 1. Arizona’s voting law, condemned by Democrats and activist groups, places restrictions on out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting. (RELATED: Arizona Adopts Election Reform Bill That Stops Some Voters From Automatically Receiving Absentee Ballots)
The president said during his speech that this ruling “weakened the Voting Rights Act” and said the burden is now on Congress to restore it “to its intended strength.” He said democracy had been “put to the test” in 2020, highlighting “the violent and deadly insurrection on our Capitol” before predicting that the country will “face another test in 2022” in the form of “unprecedented voter suppression and raw and sustained election subversion.”
“We’ll be asking my Republican friends in Congress and state and cities and counties to stand up for God sake and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our election and the sacred right to vote!” Biden exclaimed. “Have you no shame? … We have to work together. Founders understood this.”
“We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War,” the president added, echoing a claim made Monday by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.