Published:  12:03 AM, 14 January 2022

Top US Republican McConnell lashes out at Biden

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at President Joe Biden on Wednesday, accusing him of widening the US political divide with his push for voting rights reform and call to change the Senate rules.

"We have a sitting president - a sitting president - invoking the Civil War, shouting about totalitarianism and labeling millions of Americans his domestic enemies?" McConnell said in an unusually vitriolic speech on the Senate floor. "Yesterday, he poured a giant can of gasoline on the fire." Biden, in a speech in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, called for a break in the Senate's supermajority rule so Democrats can override Republican opposition to voting rights reforms that he called crucial to saving US democracy. Biden said Republicans are passing local laws "designed to suppress your vote, to subvert our elections." "History has never been kind to those who sided with voter suppression over voter rights," the Democratic president said. "I ask every elected official in America: how do you want to be remembered?"

Biden is to meet with Senate Democrats on Thursday to discuss voting rights and changing the rules of the Senate to sidestep Reublican opposition. Biden will attend the Senate Democratic Caucus lunch to discuss the "urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote," the White House said. In his speech, Biden challenged Democrats in the Senate to back two bills already passed by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives.

 that would expand access to the polls and prevent practices that he said are being used to suppress Black and other Democratic-leaning voters. The 50 Democrats in the 100-member Senate support the two bills but under the current supermajority requirement, 60 votes are needed to bring them to the floor.

-- AFP, Washington

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