Today so far
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Joe Biden delivered a passionate speech defending voting rights and condemning the “big lie” of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Criticizing Donald Trump and his allies for failing to accept the results of a fair election, Biden said in Philadelphia, “The big lie is just that: a big lie.” The president also emphasized the need to take immediate action to protect access to the ballot box, as Republicans across the country attempt to enact severe voting restrictions. “Make no mistake, bullies and merchants of fear, peddlers of lies are threatening the very foundation of our country,” Biden warned.
- But Biden did not address the biggest hurdle to passing national voting rights legislation: the Senate filibuster. The president’s speech did not include a single mention of the filibuster, even as high-ranking Democrats, including House majority whip Jim Clyburn, call on him to endorse a voting rights exception to the filibuster. With the filibuster in place, Senate Republicans have been able to block Democrats’ two major voting rights bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act.
- Kamala Harris is meeting with the Texas legislators who fled the state to block Republican voting restrictions. The Democratic state legislators left Austin yesterday to break quorum on a special session, preventing Republicans from advancing their voting bill. Speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill this morning, Texas state representative Rafael Anchía said, “We are not going to buckle to the ‘big lie’ in the state of Texas.”
- US consumer prices rose by 0.9% last month, the labor department said in its latest report. The June data indicates that prices have increased by 5.4% over the past year, marking the largest 12-month increase since 2008. The Biden administration attempted to downplay the report, noting that most of the increase was attributable to cars, auto parts and car rentals. But Republicans insisted the report was the latest indication of how Biden’s economic policies are causing prices to rise, hurting American families.
- Biden has nominated Jeff Flake to serve as the US ambassador to Turkey. The former Republican senator, who endorsed Biden’s presidential bid in 2020, has been one of Trump’s most consistent critics within the GOP, which could complicate his Senate confirmation.
Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Democratic senator Chris Coons praised Joe Biden’s nomination of Jeff Flake to serve as the US ambassador to Turkey.
“President Biden has nominated former Senator Flake for a very important and demanding post, one where his abilities will be greatly needed to navigate difficult issues, and one where his service will reinforce the importance of bipartisanship in our foreign policy,” Coons said in a statement.
Coons, a member of the Senate foreign relations committee, noted that he and Flake served on the panel together for six years, traveling to more than a dozen countries together.
“From meetings with NATO allies to meetings with African leaders, I was always impressed with his insights, his character, his skills, and his thoughtfulness,” Coons said. “I am confident Jeff will serve our nation well and I look forward to supporting his nomination.”
But it’s unclear whether other Democrats will have misgivings about nominating Flake, a former Republican senator, to such an important diplomatic post.
Many Republicans will also likely raise objections, given Flake’s past criticism of Donald Trump and his endorsement of Biden in the 2020 election.
Biden nominates Jeff Flake to serve as ambassador to Turkey
Joe Biden has nominated former Republican senator Jeff Flake to serve as US ambassador to Turkey.
Flake confirmed his nomination in a statement posted to Medium, saying, “I am honored and humbled by the trust President Biden has placed in me with this ambassadorial nomination. This is a pivotal post at an important time for both of our countries.”
In 2017, Flake announced he would not seek reelection to the Senate, after his repeated criticisms of Donald Trump had left him vulnerable to a primary challenge.
Three years later, Flake endorsed Biden’s presidential bid, arguing that Trump needed to be defeated in order to “stop the chaos and reverse the damage” of the previous four years.
That record should make for a rather interesting Senate confirmation process, as Flake seeks to convince his former colleagues to allow him to represent the US in Ankara.
“If confirmed by the Senate, I will be pleased to join a strong, experienced and capable team representing U.S. interests abroad,” Flake said in his statement.
“Having served in both the U.S. House and Senate, I understand and appreciate the role Congress plays in U.S. foreign policy, and I look forward to that partnership.”
After wrapping up his speech in Philadelphia, Joe Biden worked the ropeline for about 38 minutes, according to the latest White House pool report.
As the president prepared to depart the National Constitution Center, reporters shouted questions at him about his thoughts on the Senate filibuster.
“I’m not filibustering now,” Biden replied.
Some Democrats, including House majority whip Jim Clyburn, are calling on Biden to endorse a carveout to the Senate filibuster to make it easier to pass voting rights bills.
The president’s speech did not address the possibility of a filibuster carveout, and he apparently didn’t want to answer any questions about the matter either.
Rev Al Sharpton, who attended Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, told the AP that he was “very happy” the president directly addressed the issue of race in his remarks.
The civil rights leader said he spoke to Biden after the speech, and he told the president that he was still waiting to hear his latest position on the filibuster.
According to Sharpton, Biden was “noncommittal” when pressed on whether the filibuster should be amended to ease the passage of voting rights bills.
“We’re still working on our position on that,” Biden said, per Sharpton.
As Joe Biden delivered his speech in Philadelphia, NPR published its interview with Kamala Harris, who is taking the lead on the White House’s campaign to strengthen voting rights.
The vice-president told NPR that she is “having conversations” with lawmakers about the possibility of creating a voting rights exception to the Senate filibuster.
“I don’t mean this in any offense, but I’m not going to negotiate this way,” Harris said. “But I’m certainly having conversations with folks.”
House majority whip Jim Clyburn has proposed such a voting rights carveout to the filibuster, but Biden has not indicated whether he supports the idea. The president did not even mention filibuster reform in his speech this afternoon.
Harris also emphasized the importance of prioritizing voting rights in Congress, telling NPR, “I believe that of all of the issues that the United States Congress can take up, the right to vote is the right that unlocks all the other rights.”
Biden deflects questions over the filibuster in voting rights speech
Joe Biden delivered a passionate speech in defense of voting rights and American democracy this afternoon, but he did not address the significant hurdles that voting rights bills face in the Senate.
Thanks to the Senate filibuster, Republicans have been able to block the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act from being passed. With the filibuster in place, Democrats need 60 votes to advance legislation, rather than a simple majority of 51 votes. And they have been unable to convince 10 Republicans to join them in supporting those two bills.
Senate Democrats do not currently have the votes to amend the filibuster, as moderates like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remain opposed to such proposals.
Some high-ranking Democrats, including House majority whip Jim Clyburn, have called for creating a filibuster carveout to allow voting rights bills to pass. But Biden did not mention in his speech whether he supports a carveout.
So, to sum up: despite Biden’s fiery words, the path forward for voting rights remains very unclear.
Biden delivers dire warning: ‘Peddlers of lies are threatening the very foundation of our country’
Joe Biden issued a passionate wake-up call to the American people, warning that there is an “unfolding assault” taking place against voting rights and election systems in the US.
“Make no mistake, bullies and merchants of fear, peddlers of lies are threatening the very foundation of our country,” Biden said. “I’m not saying this to alarm you; I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”
The president described Republican efforts to enact voting restrictions and discredit the 2020 election results as “the most significant test to our democracy since the Civil War”.
“The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol, as the insurrectionists did on January the 6th,” Biden said.
But the president concluded his speech on a positive note, promising his administration will act to protect access to the ballot box, even as voting rights legislation remains stalled in the Senate.
“Here and now, we the people will not give up. We will not give in. We will overcome,” Biden said. “We must act, and we will act.”
Joe Biden warned that the world is watching to see what America will do to protect its election systems and its democracy as Donald Trump and his allies spread lies about fraud in the 2020 election.
Condemning Republicans’ widespread efforts to enact voting restrictions in dozens of states, Biden said, “The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real. It’s unrelenting. And we’re going to challenge it vigorously.”
The president also promised to sign the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act as soon as they reach his desk.
However, Senate Democrats currently have no path to passing those two voting rights bills because Republicans have been able to filibuster them. Biden has not yet mentioned filibuster reform in his speech.
Biden condemns Trump’s claims of voter fraud: ‘The big lie is just that, a big lie’
Joe Biden condemned the “big lie” of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, spread by Donald Trump and his supporters.
The president argued the 2020 election was “the most scrutinized” ever, with multiple recounts confirming his victories in crucial battleground states like Georgia.
“The big lie is just that: a big lie,” Biden said. That line was greeted with loud applause in Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center.
Biden went on to sharply criticize Trump and his allies for denying the facts of the presidential election because they were unhappy with the results.
“That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness,” Biden said.
Biden condemns Trump’s claim of voter fraud: ‘The big lie is just that, a big lie’ – live
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