Warnock: Senate should address voting rights with same urgency as raising the debt ceiling

Senator Raphael Warnock says U.S. Senate should address voting rights with the same urgency as raising the debt ceiling
File photo of Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) Photo credit Getty Images

Following a change in Senate rules to raise the debt ceiling Senator Raphael Warnock calls on Senate Democrats to act immediately to explore rules changes to pass federal voting rights legislation.

Warnock told his Senate colleagues that the chamber changed the filibuster rules to protect the economy and should do the same for democracy. The rule requires 60 votes for bills to move forward. It was changed to allow Democrats in the Senate to raise the borrowing limit despite Republican opposition.

The pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta pointed to Georgia's new voting law which some find minimizes minority voting rights by limiting access to the ballot. Advocates say federal laws need to be passed in order to guarantee everyone's right to vote.

In his speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday, Warnock told his colleagues “Some of my Democratic colleagues are saying well, what about bipartisanship? Isn't that important? I say of course it is. But here's the thing we must remember: slavery was bipartisan. Jim Crow segregation was bipartisan. The refusal of women suffrage was bipartisan. The denial of the basic dignity of members of the LGBTQ community has long been bipartisan. The Three-Fifths Compromise was the creation of a punitive national unity at the expense of black people's basic humanity. So when colleagues in this chamber talk to me about bipartisanship – which I believe in – I just have to ask, at whose expense? Who is being asked to foot the bill for this bipartisanship? 

Early Wednesday morning the House approved a bill raising the debt limit by two and-a-half trillion dollars into 2023 avoiding a federal default.