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tv   Katy Tur Reports  MSNBC  July 13, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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good to be with you. i'm jeff bennett coming to you live from outside independence hall in philadelphia where we are awaiting the arrival of president biden at any moment. later this hour, we are expecting the president to deliver what could be one of the defining speeches of his term about what the white house calls the moral case for voting rights. our mike memoli reports the president plans to blast what
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he'll call the most egregious attempts to harm the integrity of our democracy since the civil war. and under intense pressure from civil rights leaders, the plt plans to link new voting rights laws to some of the more egregious efforts including poll taxes, literacy tests. it's democrats sounding the alarm as republican-controlled state legislatures across the country move swiftly to restrict access to the ballot with new laws already proposed or passed. texas democrats leaving the state to deny republicans a quorum and delay votes on new voting restrictions. right now they're in washington, d.c. pleading with democrats in congress to act now. >> they claimed this is about election integrity. no, no.
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it's about them letting the people they want to vote vote. not just about texas. we are merely the next domino that extreme republicans are attempting to fall in each state to fall in line with this big lie and keeping people from having their true voices heard. >> the cold hard truth for democrats is that short of blowing up the filibuster and passing new voting rights legislation with 50 votes, the supreme court has made it far more difficult, if not impossible, for the white house or the department of justice to stop what republicans are doing. joining us to start this hour, here in philadelphia with us is nbc news white house correspondent mike memoli. we also have anna palmer, the cofounder of "punchbowl news." and joyce vance, who is a law professor at the university of alabama and an msnbc contributor. mike, the president is going to dial up the rhetoric today. beyond the rhetoric, there's not much that he can do
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legislatively as long as the filibuster remains and as long as there aren't ten republicans willing to support voting rights legislation. president biden talks all the time about how politics is the art of the possible. but right now, mike, what's possible? >> reporter: well, jeff, i have to say the last time i was in this room covering joe biden, he was a candidate fpresident. it was a little over a year ago. he was celebrating some primary night victories. at the time what the biden campaign thought was their formula for success was separating issues that have a very loud and vocal following among a very narrow slice of the electorate and separating it from the issues of importance to a much wider swath of the electorate. in the case of voting rights, you couldn't have a more white hot issue of importance to both the party's bases at the moment. what the president is trying to do today is make the art of the possible possible here. he's trying to elevate this issue of voting rights to the middle of the country who maybe
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hasn't been as engaged in that process throughout. there are a lot of critics of this president in his own party who think he hasn't been showing the kind of urgency required for this moment, especially a few weeks ago when the senate was debating s-1. the speech today, white house advisors tell me, is about beginning to build a broader coalition to show republicans there will be political consequences for the kind of attacks on the right to vote they are engaged in at the moment. the president will call the kinds of gop-led voting restrictions being passed across the country anti-democratic, anti-american and unpatriotic. he will really try to also speak to his party by focusing on the things he has already done administratively, primarily through the justice department to challenge some of these in court. ultimately this is a white house that is building for a campaign both in the state and local races that will happen this year, but especially for those midterm elections next year to try to make sure they have the
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numbers in the congress ultimately to do things like the for the people act, do things like the john lewis voting rights act, which the white house does insist they do think is also still possible this year. it's all about making that case. that's what the president will begin to do later this anna, as biden disembarking air force one here in philadelphia, he's set to speak at 2:50 p.m. eastern time. we'll see how close to 2:50 the president sticks to the beginning of his remarks. give us a sense of the state of play in congress right now with voting rights. mike mentioned s-1, he mentioned the john lewis voting rights act which, as i understand it, isn't even fully written yet. >> this issue has come right to the fore here in washington, the texas democrats flying here talking to members, set to meet
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with chuck schumer, joe manchin later this week as well as vice president kamala harris. as much as they put this into focus as a real-life issue, the reality is that right now there are not the votes in the senate for any vote rights legislation. they would need to get ten republicans, unless they blow up the filibuster. so far democrats have been unwilling to say that the voting issue in this country is going to be that existential crisis that we need the filibuster to go. while this is certainly going to be a speech that advocates will be looking at, a speech that certainly people in state legislatures are going to be looking at, there's not a lot of tools in the toolbox for the president unless congress finds a way forward. >> anna, short of blowing up the filibuster, is there an appetite right now among senate democrats to change it? you have congressman jim clyburn who told mike memoli that there should be a carveout for voting
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rights legislation. our team asked senator manchin if he supports it and manchin wouldn't engage on the issue. what's the state of play around that? >> there's a lot of democrats trying to find different creative ways like that carveout. other people are going to think there should be a carveout for a lot of other different issues. my money would strongly be on the fact that democrats are not going to change the nature of the filibuster. there does not seem to be an appetite for it. i actually think while we always are talking about joe manchin for the most part, sometimes kyrsten sinema, there's more than the two of them who are very wary to making any changes to the filibuster at all. >> i want to bring into the conversation democratic pennsylvania state representative malcolm kenyatta. he's running for the u.s. senate
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also. pennsylvania, as you know, is a state where both parties are competitive statewide. how do you deal with the fact that there are millions of republicans across the country who believe the lies and false information about the 2020 election? >> a big part of how we stop people believing the lie is that the folks telling the lies have to stop telling the lies. i would say to my republican colleagues, what is the point of winning a primary election and being a part of the dissolution of the country and the party you raise your hand and swear to protect. we have the candidate for republican governor who is so full of it, it's coming out of his pores. we had a free and fair election here in pennsylvania. i do believe the biggest threat to our democracy is the lies and
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it's incumbent on republicans to stop telling them. >> pennsylvania republicans also want to do an arizona-style audit of the last election. what's the response going to be from pennsylvania democrats? >> listen, we're not going to participate in any sham audit. the governor has already directed the secretary of state which has given a directive to counties to that the participate in this fraudit. it is all nonsense. it's all garbage. let's been clear about why this is happening. republicans don't have good ideas for the issues facing the american people. in lieu of having good ideas that they feel like they can win campaigns on, they want to talk about lies. they want to talk about distractions. they want to talk about audits. what the american people and pennsylvanians want to talk about is their families, climate change. that's the thing democrats have to talk about as well and continue to push back on the
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lies. you know, i am the chair of the subcommittee on campaign finance and elections. we'll continue to push back every single time they tell lies on this. i'm excited to hear the president today talk about the importance of securing our democracy, because we need to get these bills passed if we have any hope of ensuring a good election in 2022 and that the election results are respected in 2024. >> democratic state represent malcolm kenyatta in the room where it's about to happen. joining us via iphone, which you're holding and have done a great job. appreciate your time. joyce vance, give us a sense of how the recent supreme court rulings have complicated things here for democrats who want action on voting rights. there was the shelby decision in 2013 and the more recent
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bernovic ruling. >> the landscape for folks, whether they're justice department lawyers or civil rights litigators in private practice who seek to push back against these new state legislative moves that are an overreach, that cut into folks' rights to vote is very bleak because of what the supreme court has done. in 2013 in shelby county versus holder, the supreme court gutted a procedure called preclearance. preclearance was a requirement that the justice department or three judges in the district of columbia reviewed challenged new provisions in state legislatures and make sure they weren't discriminatory before they could go into effect. the supreme court gutted that and ended preclearance, which is really why we have the bernovic case this term. typically section two of the voting rights act, pretty much all that's left, wasn't used to deal with these sort of state legislative moves. but in arizona two statutes that
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were viewed as being discriminatory by the dnc were challenged. the challenge was based on the notion which the lower courts accepted that the laws had a discriminatory impact on voters who were native americans or who were blacks. the supreme court said, no, discriminatory impact alone is not enough. you actually have to establish that the state legislature intended to discriminate against people when it enacted these new laws. that's a very, very high bar for folks to meet in litigating. the terrain is very bleak for future legal challenges. >> the biden doj last month opened a new front in the fight to protect voting rights. they filed that lawsuit challenging that georgia election law and then you had the attorney general say the civil rights division would be staffing up to aid enforcement efforts. is that a solution that is commensurate with the
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articulated threat? president biden says this is an existential threat. are the doj actions enough? >> this is doj doing the best it can with the tools that it's been given. president biden did a really remarkable job at doj of putting in folks who are some of the leaders in voting rights litigation in this country in place, folks like kristen clark, the leader of the civil rights division who will push the laws as they are currently structured as far as they can. but they can only go so far. the georgia lawsuit is interesting, because they were careful to challenge that georgia law based on intent to discriminate by the georgia legislature. there was a unique timeline that let them make those arguments. it's not clear yet whether they'll be successful. ultimately they want what the country needs, which is hr-1, an act that will strengthen laws around registration and make it
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easier for folks to exercise their right to vote, as well as hr-4, the john lewis voting rights act which would restore essentially what shelby county took away, restoring preclearance and making it more difficult for people to discriminate against folks who are just trying to exercise their right to vote. >> mike memoli, we learned last hour via a white house official that vice president harris is going to be meeting with that group of texas democrats who left the state to block those republican-backed voting restrictions. president biden has made voting rights part of her portfolio. what can you tell us about that meeting and what the white house hopes to get out of it? >> reporter: the vice president has, in fact, already met with a group of texas legislators as they're engaged in realtime for a fight for voting rights in their state. we're interested to learn more, potentially if the president might also have a meeting with
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them. as the president is giving this larger framing speech about voting rights, it is important to look back at what the vice president did last thursday when she delivered her own speech on voting rights at howard university announcing an investment of $25 million early in this process to try to make sure the democratic party is prepared in the face of these new voting restrictions to educate voters and help turn them out and help litigate some of these as well. most of her work has been in every city she goes to, she's meeting with local advocates and activists. >> mike memoli, anna palmer and joyce vance, thanks to the three of we'll talk to someone
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welcome back to philadelphia, where president biden will soon make remarks on voting rights. in less than an hour in washington, texas democrats are set to huddle with senate majority leader chuck schumer after they left their home state to try to stop republicans from passing a new round of voting restrictions. they'll also meet with vice president harris at some point this week. at least 51 lawmakers plan to stay in the nation's capitol for weeks to prevent a quorum in their home state. the walkout is the furthest
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they've gone in this fight. this morning the remaining lawmakers in the texas house voted for the sergeant at arms to track the missing members down. the state's republican governor has vowed to have them arrested once they're back in the state. >> once they step back into the state of texas, they will be arrested and brought to the texas capitol and we will be conducting business. >> let's go to nbc's priscilla thompson at the texas state capitol in austin. walk us through the latest. practically do the democrats avoid any risk of arrest as long as they stay out of texas? >> reporter: as long as they are not here, they do not return while this legislature is still in session, they would not be arrested potentially. to give you a little bit of context on what happened today, the house did convene. they did not have that quorum, at which point the request was made to go ahead and take the
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procedural vote that would give the sergeant at arms permission to send for those members absent without an excuse. 76 republicans voted in favor, 4 democrats voted against that. so now the sergeant of arms does have that power. he can also call on any other officers in the state to do that. of course, that jurisdiction ends at the state line. so when this last happened in 2003, lawmakers fled to new mexico and oklahoma. texas officials did reach out to those attorneys general and say do we have permission to come in and get those lawmakers and those attorneys general did not give that permission. it seems unlikely that the attorney general in washington, d.c. would give that permission in this case as well. jeff. >> joining us now from capitol hill is texas democratic congressman who represents parts of dallas and tarrant counties in washington, d.c.
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and texas state representative chris turner, chairman of the texas house democratic caucus, who is one of the lawmakers who left the state last night. representative turner, you're meeting with chuck schumer next hour and also senator joe manchin. what's your message? are you hopeful you plan to meet with president biden at some point? >> good afternoon. thanks for having me. our message here on capitol hill to our friends in the u.s. senate is simply that the time is now. we urgently need the u.s. senate to pass hr-1, the for the people act, and we need hr-4, the john lewis voting rights act, to also be enacted. the assault on voting rights in texas and across the country is only going to continue unless the u.s. senate does what it has to do to pass strong federal voting rights legislation. that's why we're here and we look forward to the meetings we have today and the week ahead.
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>> is there a meeting with president biden on the books yet? >> no, not at this time. we're looking forward to hearing what the president says in philadelphia today. >> what's your reaction, i guess, to the criticism that, one, this is a political stunt and, two, that this group of texas democrats are delaying the inevitable? back in 2003, as priscilla mentioned, democrats protested that gop redistricting plan, but republicans eventually passed that redistricting plan. when you go back to texas at some point, you'll go back to a legislature run by republicans who are intent on passing these restrictive voting laws. >> look, all that is exactly right. that is a key part of our message here. we have a finite amount of time to pass strong federal voting rights legislation to stop what's going to happen in texas if there's not federal laws in place.
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you're right, we can't hold this back forever. we've been very clear about that. this is a finite amount of time we're dealing with. our house members are committed to staying out and killing this bill this legislative session but that ends on august 7th. we have about 3 1/2 weeks to get something done for the entire country. that's why we're here. >> congressman, your colleague james clyburn told us he supports amending the filibuster to have a carveout for voting rights legislation in much the same way there's a carveout for judges and supreme court nominees. those folks only need 51 votes to get confirmed. have you seen any signs of support among the folks who need convincing? >> i want to echo what majority whip clyburn spoke about when he said we need a carveout. we absolutely do. one of the points i made this morning when we were speaking in the triangle is mitch mcconnell went against his own rules and
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created a carveout for amy coney barrett. we don't need to do this for partisan gain. we need to do this for the black and hispanic voters in states like texas, arizona, florida, georgia and north carolina that are about to be discriminated against in a way that we've never seen before, not sense the 1960s, if we do not get some sort of protection put into place. we obviously need to pass hr-1 and of course hr-4, the john lewis voting rights act, because for southern states and states that were previously under section 5, it reinstates that and gives us protection we need against these racist voting rights bills but also the reapportionment that is going to happen soon that is going to be some of the worst since the
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voting rights act was passed if we do not put something in its place in those key stated that i talked about. >> absent a congressional legislation, the white house strategy seems to be trying to win the messaging war. the president's speech later this hour, one imagines, is part of that. they're going to play up what they see as republican overreach and try to win on this issue in the 2022 midterms and in the 2024 presidential race. is that a viable strategy? >> you know, first of all, i'm glad that president biden is speaking on voting rights. he has a long track record on voting rights. i'm glad that he's addressing the nation on this. look, we have to keep our eyes on the prize on this. this is obviously going to be something that is going to continue to play out over the coming weeks and days. time is of the essence.
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we need to help those legislators here in washington, d.c. that are advocating for voters of color, not just in, the texas but this is symbolic of what's happening around the country. the white house and everybody understands the importance of getting this done so we can help protect voters. >> representative turner, are you and your texas democratic colleagues prepared to stay in washington without your families, away from your jobs for three weeks? and do you take governor abbott's arrest threats seriously? >> we're prepared to stay out and kill this bill this legislative session. that means staying outside the state of texas, absolutely. our members are making a tremendous sacrifice in terms of their family and their jobs back home and otherwise, but that is the commitment we've made to one another and the people of texas. governor abbott doesn't know what he's talking about. he doesn't have the power to
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arrest us. the house of representatives this morning did authorize the issuance of warrants. that is within the power of the house, which is why we are not in the state any longer, but that has nothing to do with the governor. the governor doesn't have that power, so he's just talking big like he usually does, but he's completely off base about that. >> appreciate the both of you. coming up, the latest out of cuba, where there's a social media blackout following massive anti-government demonstrations. first, the debate over booster shots. israel has started giving a third dose of the vaccine to at-risk adults. what u.s. officials say, next. at-risk adults what u.s. officials say, next.
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covid cases are rising steadily in states where vaccination rates are slowing. in many of the states seeing the biggest increases have less than 40% of their populations fully vaccinated. it's not just that the cases are up, some of these states are seeing an uptick in hospitalizations too. joining us is nbc news correspondent steve patterson. nevada, as i understand it, is one of the states with a lower vaccination rate seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. how is the state expanding efforts to get more shots into people's arms? >> reporter: it's serious here. another 1600 cases over the weekend, hospitalizations unlike we've seen since february, a positivity rate now nearing 10%.
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this is expected to continue as we move forward with the vaccination rate now sub 40% in the state. officials are painfully aware of the numbers. they're painfully aware of what this variant is doing. they've been focusing on trying to get as much messaging as possible, but they're also relying on help from the federal government. fema is putting surge teams on the ground as early as today. the las vegas review journal reporting that's an 85-member strong team. they're going to be doing canvassing, phone banks and popup vaccinations so people can get an opportunity to put a shot in their arm. as we've been learning on the ground, and we've been here for quite a while now in these communities that are thought of as underserved that's where the focus has to be. there is rampant misinformation in these communities. often they're native american,
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latino american and black american, so they're more vulnerable. one of the cornerstones of these communities is the barbershop. i spoke to robert taylor, who said he's opened up his shot to discussion to try to get people mentally in the right state to get a vaccination to help. listen to this. >> the barbershop is a place of truth, transparency, brotherhood and debates. that being said, i have no problem with anybody who wants to talk. let's talk about it. let's talk about the numbers. let's talk about history. we can do all that in the barber shop because it's a great place for information. it's a trusted place. >> reporter: he's also done the physical work. he's opened up his shot to providing vaccines in the shop. he vaccinated 12 people last time. there's another vaccination drive coming up this weekend. >> steve patterson, thanks as
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always. u.s. health officials are doubling down. vaccinated americans don't need booster shots, at least not yet, they say. that guidance comes as after regulators met with a team from pfizer to look at preliminary data from their drug trials on boosters. meantime the fda is adding a warning label to the johnson & johnson vaccine after 100 people who got the shot developed a rare neurological disorder. the fda and cdc are investigating those cases. let's bring in dr. peter hotez from texas children's hospital and dean of the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine. what do you make of all this talk about a booster shot? is it too soon, or should the u.s. be more aggressive here? >> i think it's a complicated picture, but it goes something like this, jeff. we will likely at some point
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need a third immunization of the vaccination, a third mrna vaccine, yet another boost. that may be it for a while. the reason is because as good a job as we're doing overall in the u.s., we've done a terrible job in africa and latin america and southeast asia and given new variants an opportunity to arise and emerge. so by giving that third immunization we'll have higher levels of virus neutralizing antibody. i've been saying for all of 2021 so far we'll likely need a third immunization i would imagine next year. that's point one. the confusion, i think, is the press release from pfizer that says we need that third immunization because of the delta variant. that's not necessarily so. it looks like the two immunizations for most people
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are quite rbust against the variant. over 99% are actually unvaccinated individuals. i think the one exception potentially are certain classes of individuals, extremely older americans in the late 80s, 90s, potentially don't respond quite as well, and people who are immuno compromised. that's where i think we could move a little faster on a third immunization. i was a little surprised that wasn't specifically mentioned. i think that's what we might look to in the coming weeks. >> dr. fauci just spoke to my colleague andrea mitchell about this pfizer booster. let's listen. >> when they hear that you might need a boost, they may get the impression that the vaccine is not effective. the requirement or not for a
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boost for a fully-vaccinated person has absolutely nothing at all to do with the effectiveness of the vaccine. it has to do with the durability of the effectiveness. >> so do they need to explain this better to make sure the public has a better understanding of what's happening and has more confidence in the vaccines? >> i think now they have to because pfizer sent out that press release which is very disruptive. they didn't need to do that. now we've got to do some damage control. dr. fauci is right. right now it looks like, except for those two populations i mentioned, the vaccine is highly effective against the delta variant. yes, a third immunization might be necessary down the line to give both more durability and better protection against some
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variants to come. but the american people need to be prepared for that. i've been talking about it but i think it's got to be discussed. the point is, there's no urgency, and people should understand if they get fully immunized with the two doses, unless you're on immuno suppressive therapy, you're going to do very well against the delta variant. >> thanks for that context and clarity. as parts of california and the west continue to deal with triple-digit temperatures, california's governor is pleading with residents to conservative energy. how the prolonged heat wave and a wildfire is putting the state's electric grid at risk. in just a few minutes, we expect president biden to give that speech on voting rights right here in philadelphia. vots right here in philadelphia ♪ ♪ when technology is easier to use...
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extreme temperatures and out of control wildfires on the west coast are threatening california's power grid. the so-called bootleg fire in oregon is burning dangerously close to electric lines that transmit power to the california grid. the beckworth fire in california is now the largest fire in the state, burning over 90,000 acres. now, high temperatures and dry conditions are fuelling the flames. already dozens of homes in northeastern california in the town of doyle have been lost to the quickly-spreading flames. joining us is nbc's jacob ward. officials are desperate to contain the fires, but the current weather conditions seem to be making things worse. what have they told you and how are they trying to protect the power grid there? >> reporter: that's right, jeff. just north of where we are standing is a pair of fires, one of which is burning out of control inside california and
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then the bootleg fire in oregon threatening the electrical supply to california. that is because of a linkage that forms sort of a central nervous system of infrastructure up and down the west coast. it begins in oregon and runs all the way down toward southern california. it's called the california/oregon interchange. it is a sort of interdependent arrangement. it is absolutely under threat by fire at the moment. when you listen to officials describe the kind of flames they're seeing, it's pretty disturbing. >> the difference here is the super drought. so fire is doing erratic behavior and really just extreme fire behavior. normally we see fire behavior like this in these big fires not until august or september. you know, here we are beginning of july.
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so that's a rarity. >> reporter: jeff, at this point we're looking at an incredible amount of climate change right in front of us. >> jacob, forgive me for interrupting. we're going to take our viewers inside the constitution center here for president biden's address on voting rights. >> but thank you all for being here. i truly appreciate it. governor, it's above and beyond the call. mr. mayor, i thought you were a great mayor, still think you are, but your judgment in fiancees is even stronger. but all of you. good friend bobby braid brady. al sharpton, good to see you. i'm going to get in trouble here because i'm going to recognize my congresswoman from the state of delaware. lisa rochester and her sister,
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who used to run my office. stand up. folks, good afternoon. there's a serious subject i'd like to talk about today. i'm here in philadelphia at the national constitution center, the city and the place where the story of we the people began. it's a story that's neither simple nor straightforward. that's because the story is the sum of our parts, and all those parts are fundamentally human. to be human is to be imperfect, driven by appetite and ambition as much as by goodness and grace. some things in america should be simple and straightforward. perhaps the most important of those things, the most fundamental of those things is the right to vote. the right to vote freely. [ applause ]
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>> the right to vote freely, the right to vote fairly, the right to have your vote counted. the democratic threshold is liberty. with it, anything's possible. without it, nothing, nothing. and for our democracy and the work to deliver our work and our people, it's up to all of us to protect that right. this is a test of our time, what i'm here to talk about today. just think about the past election. 102-year-old woman in arkansas, who voted for the first time on the very spot she once picked cotton. a 94-year-old woman in michigan voted early and in person in her 72nd consecutive election. you know what she said? she said this election was,
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quote, the most important vote that we ever had. the daughter who voted in memory of her dad, who died of covid-19 so others wouldn't have the experience of pain and darkness and loss that she is going through. the patients out there and the parents, the parents who voted for school. for school young people, just turning 18 and everyone who for the first time in their lives thought they could truly make a difference. america, america and americans of every background voted. they voted for good jobs and higher wages they voted for racial equity and they voted to make health care a right and not a privilege, and the than americans went to vote and the lengthns this is went t vote thisth past election were e
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extraordinary. in fact, the fact that so many election officials across the country made easier and safer to make them vote in a pandemic is remarkable. as a result, in 2020, more people voted in america than ever, ever in the history of america in the middle of a once in adl century pandemic. all told, more than 150 americans exercised their vote to voechlt they voted early, absentee, in person, in mail, drop box. and then they got their families and friends to go out and vote. election officials, the entire electoral system, was stood
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unrelenting political attacks, physical threats, intimidation and pressure. they did so with unyielding courage and faitho in our democracy. with recount after recount after recount, courtt case off court case, the 2020 election was the most scrutinized election ever inle american history. challenge after challenge brought to local, state and election officials, state legislators, state and federal to the united states supreme court not once but twice.bu more than 80 judges including those appointed by my predecessor heard the argument parguments in every case. neither cause or evidences with found for the at chiefment in the historic election in the face of such extraordinary challenges.io
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audits, recounts were conducted. and in arizona, wisconsin, in georgia it was recounted three times. it's clear for those who challenge the results and question the integrity of the he no other election has ever been held under such scrutiny and such high standards. the big lie is just that. a big lie. >> 2020 election. it's not just hyperbole. it's the will of the people of this nation. this should bee celebrated. an example of america at its best.
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but instead we continue to see an example of human nature at its worst, something darker and more sinister. in america, if you lose, you accept the results. you follow the constitution. you c try again. you don't call facts fake and then try toca bring down the american experiment just because you're unhappy. that's not statesmanship. that's selfishness. that is the denial of the right to vote. it see presses, it subjugates free and fair elections the most unamerican thing that any of us can imagine.ng the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic. yet sadly, not unprecedented.
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from denying people full citizenship until the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments after the civil war, denying women the vote to vote until the 19th amendment. the poll taxes and literacy test and the ku klux klan campaign that lasted in the 50s and 60s. to the supreme court decision in 2013 and then again just two weeks ago, a decision that weakened the landmark voting rights act. just got back from europe with. g-7 and nato. they wondered. they asked me, is it going to be
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okay? is it going to be okay? time and again we weathered threats to the right to vote free and fair elections. and each time we found a way to overcome.r that's what we must do today. i asked vice president hair tois lead to bring people together tn protect the right to vote in our democracy and it starts with continuing the fight to pass hr-1, the for the people act. that bill -- that bill would help end voter suppression in the states. get dark money out of politics, give voice to the people at the grassroots level. create a fair district maps and
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end partisan political gerrymandering. last month republicans opposed even debating even considering for the people's act. we must pass the for the people act. it's a national imperative. we must also invite for the joho lewis advancement act to restore and expand. explore and expand voting protections and prevent voter te suppression. all the congresswomen and men here who are a bunch of, you knew john many of you. just weeks ago supreme court yet again weakened the voting rights act and upheld what justice
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kagan calledst a significant ra based disparity in voting opportunities. as hard as this decision, is it doesn't limit the congress's ability to threpair the damage done. that is the important point. it puts the burden on congress to restore its to the intended strength. as soon as congress passes its for the people act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act, i will sign it and want the whole world to see it.e that will be an important moment. and the world is wondering -- the world is wondering -- you know what i'm talking about. for real. you know the world is wondering
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what is america going to do? we also have to be clear eyed about the obstruction we face. legislation is one tool but not the only tool. and it's not the only measure of our obligation to defend democracy today.of for example, attorney general merrick garland announced the united states department of justice is going to be using its authorities to challenge the onslaught of state laws aw undermining voting rights in old and new ways. folk us is on dismantling racially discriminatory laws like the recent challenge to georgia's vicious anti-voting law. the department of justice will do so with a voting rights division at my request is doubling its size and enforcement status. civil rights groups -- civil
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rights groups and other organizations announcedup their plans tono stay vigilant and challenge these odious laws in the courts. in texas, for example, republican led statefo legislate wants to allow partisan poll watchers to intimidate voters and impartial poll workers. they want voters to dive further and be able to be in a position where they wonder who is watching them. to drive a long way to get to vote. they want to make it so hard ana convenient that they hope people don't vote at all. that's what this is about. this year alone 17 state enacted, not just proposed, enacted 28 new laws to make it harder for americanse to vote. not to mention, get this, nearly 400 additional r

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