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Biden elevates voting rights as 2022 Democratic rallying cry

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Joe Biden
Posted at 8:24 AM, Jul 14, 2021

(NBC News)- When it comes to passing voting-rights legislation,President Joe Biden can’t wave a magic wand and change the mathematical reality of a 50-50 Senate.

Nor can he eliminate the filibuster and the unified GOP opposition.

But he can make voting rights — as well as Donald Trump’s actions — a central issue in the 2022 midterm elections, especially with key races next year in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

That’s maybe our biggest takeaway from Biden’s voting-rights speech on Tuesday.

“We’re going to face another test in 2022: a new wave of unprecedented voter suppression, and raw and sustained election subversion. We have to prepare now,” Biden said in Philadelphia yesterday.

“We’ll engage in an all-out effort to educate voters about the changing laws, register them to vote, and then get the vote out,” he continued, adding: “We will be asking my Republican friends — in Congress, in states, in cities, in counties — to stand up, for God’s sake, and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our elections and the sacred right to vote.”

And he put Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, as well as the memories of Jan. 6, front and center.

“In America, if you lose, you accept the results. You follow the Constitution. You try again. You don’t call facts ‘fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy,” Biden said.

“That’s not statesmanship; that’s selfishness.”

Yes, Biden in his speech called for Congress to pass legislation protecting voting rights.

But the real thrust of his remarks was elevating the issue for the upcoming midterms.

Moving on to infrastructure and reconciliation

If Tuesday was about voting rights, Wednesday is about infrastructure and reconciliation.

After Senate Democrats announced an agreement to move a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package (that includes expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing costs, and as 22 bipartisan senators work on their $579 billion infrastructure bill, Biden turns his attention to those issues.

The president heads to Capitol Hill to have lunch with the Senate Democratic caucus to discuss those dual legislative tracks.

And then at 3:00 p.m. ET, he meets at the White House with Democratic and GOP governors and mayors to promote the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

$3.5 trillion: The price tag on a new Senate Democratic plan, announced last night, to significantly expand the economic safety net, including funding for a Medicare expansion and green energy.

$579 billion: The cost of the bipartisan infrastructure plan, which a group of 22 senators continued work on last night as well.

18: The number of states that have legalized pot for recreational use, as Democratic senators unveil a new bill to end federal prohibitions on marijuana.

34,041,013: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 28,144 more than yesterday morning.)

611,102: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 573 more since yesterday morning.)

334,942,236: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC.

48.1 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

58.9 percent: The share of all American adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

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Joe Biden has nominated Jeff Flake to be ambassador to Turkey.

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