WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Wednesday called President Joe Biden‘s speech on changing the filibuster to ease passage of voting rights bills “profoundly unpresidential.”
“I have known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “I did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday.”
In a long-awaited speech on voting rights, Biden on Tuesday framed the voting rights issue as one that has historically received bipartisan support, accusing Senate Republicans of lacking the “courage to stand up to a defeated president to protect the right to vote.”
Republican obstruction, he said, has left Democrats with “no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
McConnell called Biden’s speech a “rant” that was “incoherent, incorrect, and beneath his office.”
“Unfortunately, President Biden has rejected the better angels of our nature. So it is the Senate’s responsibility to protect the country,” McConnell said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday that the Senate would vote on the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The bills have majority support to pass but lack 60 votes to defeat a filibuster.
After both bills fail, Democrats will consider changing Senate rules, Schumer said.
Schumer has told colleagues to expect a vote on a change to the filibuster rule to allow the two bills to come up on a majority-vote basis, on or before Jan. 17.