Schumer refuses to influence how Democrats approach voting rights after scheduled vote failure today

People storm the Capitol on January 6 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama on Monday invoked the Jan.6 insurgency on Capitol Hill to argue for the For the People Act, the voting rights bill that faces its first procedural vote in the Senate today. hui.

Obama, on a popular conference call for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the insurgency has proven Americans cannot “take our democracy for granted,” arguing that the United States could become one of the many countries around the world that were “once vibrant democracies”. but who went into “reverse” because of anti-democratic decisions.

“The violence on the United States Capitol on January 6, just a few months ago, should remind us that we cannot take our democracy for granted. All over the world we have seen once vibrant democracies back down, locking a small group of powerful autocrats and business interests into power and excluding dissidents, protesters and opposition parties and voices from the political process. ordinary people. It’s happening elsewhere in the world and those impulses have crept into the United States. We are not immune to some of these efforts to weaken our democracy, ”Obama said.

The former president went on to say that “our own history” should remind Americans of the importance of fighting for democracy, adding that recent attempts to pass restrictive voting laws mean “we will have to be vigilant to push back against them. attempts by a few to silence the greatest number, and that is why what happens in the Senate is so important.

Obama opened the call by noting that since leaving office in 2017, he has tried “not to weigh in on the daily fray in Washington.” But that the vote due this week “is more than just a bill whether or not to come to a vote,” calling the For The People Act a “product of compromise.”

Obama specifically referred to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s name when he spoke of compromise, calling the group bill “common sense reforms” that most Americans agree with.

Obama has made it clear that the bill under consideration does not contain “everything I would like to see” in a package of voting rights, but said it was an important step in ensuring that future elections are fair. The former president, who was joined by former attorney general Eric Holder on the call, criticized Republicans for considering using filibuster to stop consideration of the measure.

“At least for now, Republicans in the Senate are lining up to try to use filibuster to even prevent debate on the For the People Act,” Obama said.

“Think about this: in the aftermath of an insurgency, with our democracy at stake, and many of those same Republican senators accepting the idea that there were somehow some irregularities and legitimate problems. in our last election. They are suddenly afraid to talk about these problems and find solutions on the Senate floor. They don’t even want to talk about voting. And that is not acceptable, ”he said.

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