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Biden calls for changes to Senate filibuster to pass voting rights bills

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Biden put the U.S. Senate in the crosshairs in the debate over voting rights legislation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I believe that the threat to our democracy's so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills. Debate them. Vote. Let the majority prevail.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Woo.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.

(CHEERING)

MARTIN: He decided to make this announcement in Georgia, a state that swung for Biden and two Democratic senators in the last election cycle.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some Democratic leaders and organizers want more than Biden's call to change the filibuster. Ahead of yesterday's speech, a coalition of voting rights groups from Georgia wrote to the White House asking for a concrete plan for passing voting legislation.

Nse Ufot is the CEO of the New Georgia Project, which is one of those groups. And she says the speech was a step in the right direction.

NSE UFOT: How I feel? - like, welcome - finally. We want to see, obviously, the president come here, but not just for a speech. We need a path forward that gets us to the legislation that is required in order to stop these attacks on our elections infrastructure. I don't think that there is anything more important to how we self-govern - right? - our ability to make decisions about the kind of communities that we want to live in. There's nothing more important than our ability to participate in our elections to make sure that the will of the people is reflected in the results of our elections. And the president came with that energy today that we have been asking for for the entire year - and so, yes, finally. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.