Democrats look to renew push for voting rights protections bill – live

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will travel to Georgia to address ‘urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote’.


17:02 Martin Pengelly

The Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is the second sitting congressman to refuse a request for cooperation from the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack.

In a Sunday night letter to the committee chair, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Trump ally accused the panel of “an outrageous abuse” of its authority.

He also claimed “an unprecedented and inappropriate demand to examine the basis for a colleague’s decision on a particular matter pending before the House of Representatives”.

“This request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry,” he said, “violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who was also closely involved in Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat, has also refused to cooperate.

Related: Congressman Jim Jordan refuses to cooperate with 6 January committee


Some North Carolina voters are pushing for Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn to be barred from seeking reelection because of his involvement in the rally that culminated in the January 6 insurrection.

The AP reports:

Lawyers filed a candidacy challenge of the Republican on behalf of 11 voters with the State Board of Elections, which oversees a process by which a candidate’s qualifications are scrutinized. The voters contend that Cawthorn, who formally filed as a candidate for the 13th District seat last month, can’t run because he fails to comply with an amendment in the U.S. Constitution ratified shortly after the Civil War.

The 1868 amendment says no one can serve in Congress ‘who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.’

At the rally on January 6, Cawthorn addressed a crowd of Donald Trump’s supporters, praising their “courage” and criticizing Republicans who opposed efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans, hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice,” Cawthorn told the crowd. “Make no mistake about it, they do not want you to be heard.”


Symone Sanders, a former top adviser to Kamala Harris, is joining MSNBC as an anchor, the network announced this morning.

According to MSNBC’s press release, Sanders will host MSNBC on the weekends and anchor “The Choice” on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock.

“Sanders will bring her expertise, spirited rhetoric and sharp political insight to MSNBC’s multi-platform channels,” the press release says.

“Her program will explore issues at the intersection of politics, culture and race and break down how decisions made in Washington impact electorates, industries, and communities across the country. She will also interview law and policy makers, top government officials, scholars, and thought leaders.”

The announcement comes one month after news broke that Sanders was leaving the Biden administration, amid a broader staff shake-up in Harris’ office.

Sanders previously served as an adviser to Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign, and she was a spokesperson for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign.

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Sanders says Democratic party has ‘turned its back on the working class’

16:04 Steven Greenhouse

Senator Bernie Sanders has called on Democrats to make “a major course correction” that focuses on fighting for America’s working class and standing up to “powerful corporate interests” because the Democrats’ legislative agenda is stalled and their party faces tough prospects in this November’s elections.

The White House is likely to see his comments as a shot across the bow by the left wing of a party increasingly frustrated at how centrist Democrats have managed to scupper or delay huge chunks of Joe Biden’s domestic policy plans.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sanders called on Biden and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to push to hold votes on individual bills that would be a boon to working families, citing extending the child tax credit, cutting prescription drug prices and raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15.

“It is no great secret that the Republican party is winning more and more support from working people,” Sanders said.

“It’s not because the Republican party has anything to say to them. It’s because in too many ways the Democratic party has turned its back on the working class.”

Related: Bernie Sanders says Democrats are failing: ‘The party has turned its back on the working class’


15:53 Martin Pengelly

The Republican official who famously resisted Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat in Georgia has said he will run for re-election on a platform of “integrity and truth”, against an opponent who as a churchman “should know better” than to advance the former president’s lies.

Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, became a household name after he turned down Trump’s demand that he “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have [to get]” in order to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the southern state. It was the first victory by a Democrat in a presidential race in Georgia since 1992.

This year, Raffensperger will run for re-election against Jody Hice, a pastor, US congressman and Trump acolyte.

“Congressman Hice, he’s been in Congress for several years,” Raffensperger said on Sunday, on CBS’s Face the Nation. “He’s never done a single piece of election reform legislation.

Related: Georgia Republican who resisted Trump insists he stands for ‘integrity and truth’

Georgia DA moves toward decision in case over Trump pressuring election official

The Georgia prosecutor who is considering whether to charge Donald Trump for attempting to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state is looking to make a decision in the next few months.

“I believe in 2022 a decision will be made in that case,” said Fani Willis, Fulton county district attorney, to the AP last week. “I certainly think that in the first half of the year that decisions will be made.”

Willis and her team began their work after Trump pressured Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to hand him a victory, even though three recounts confirmed the former president lost the state to Biden.

The AP notes of Willis’ office:

She’s assembled a team of fewer than 10 people — lawyers, investigators and a legal assistant — who are focused primarily on this case and can consult outside lawyers with particular expertise in certain areas of law, she said. …

Willis declined to speak about the specifics, but she confirmed that the investigation’s scope includes — but is not limited to — a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a November 2020 phone call between U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger, the abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021, and comments made during December 2020 Georgia legislative committee hearings on the election.


Joe Biden has now arrived back at the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David.

The president did not take any questions from reporters upon his arrival, although one journalist took the inventive approach of writing her question on a sheet of paper and displaying it for the president to read.

Sadly, Biden did not take the bait.


Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are scheduled to deliver remarks tomorrow, as the president and the vice-president travel to Atlanta to address the urgent need to pass national voting rights legislation.

Biden selected Harris as the administration’s point person on voting rights last year, but Democrats have so far been unable to make substantial progress on the issue because of Senate Republicans’ filibustering.

“Our democracy is being threatened by an attack on voting rights,” Harris said in a tweet this morning. “We must fight to save our democracy by fighting for the right for all people, whoever they vote for, to vote.”

Democrats look to renew push for voting rights bill

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Democrats are looking to renew their efforts to pass a national voting rights bill, despite Republicans’ unified opposition to the proposal.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will both travel to Atlanta, Georgia, tomorrow to address “the urgent need to pass legislation to protect the constitutional right to vote and the integrity of our elections,” per the White House’s guidance on the trip.

Stacey Abrams speaks at a 2020 rally in Atlanta. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Reuters

© Provided by The Guardian
Stacey Abrams speaks at a 2020 rally in Atlanta. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Reuters

The state, which Biden narrowly won in 2020, has approved controversial voting restrictions since the election. Georgia will also be crucial for Democrats’ midterm efforts, as Senator Raphael Warnock seeks reelection and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams once again attempts to defeat Republican Brian Kemp.

Meanwhile, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has set a deadline of 17 January, Martin Luther King Jr Day, to vote on rule changes that would allow Democrats to pass voting rights bills.

But unless those proposed rule changes can attract the support of centrist senators like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, Republicans will once again be able to filibuster the bills, and Democrats will be right back where they started.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

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