Moderate Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. says GOP-led restrictive voting bills ‘are about white supremacy’

Bob Casey Jr.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania.

  • Sen. Bob Casey Jr. criticized the raft of GOP-led voting laws being pursued across the country.
  • “We’re at a point of no return,” he said after the Supreme Court upheld two restrictive Arizona laws.
  • Casey said the GOP has concluded that it “can only win by voter suppression bills.”
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Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania on Saturday blasted the Republican Party for endorsing restrictive voting bills across the country, describing the push for such legislation as forms of “white supremacy.”

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Velshi,” the moderate lawmaker issued a dire warning about the state of elections in the US, just days after the Supreme Court upheld two restrictive voting laws in Arizona that had been challenged for violating Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Casey expressed that the Senate would likely have to alter its rules to move voting rights legislation through the chamber with 51 votes.

“We’re at a point of no return,” he said. “We’re either going to preserve our democracy, and thereby protect voter rights to preserve the democracy, or we’re not. Democrats have to stand up and get something done. I think we can do that, because it’s apparent to me that Republicans are just going to endorse these voter suppression bills.”

He added: “At its core, we should just be blunt about this, these voter suppression bills are about white supremacy.”

Casey said Republicans seemed to be working as “a one-or two-issue agenda party where they seem to be only interested in stopping [President] Joe Biden’s programs, especially on these caregiving issues and supporting voter suppression bills.”

Read more: Meet 7 BidenWorld longtime consiglieres and a couple relative newcomers who have access to exclusive White House meetings

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 6-3 to keep in place Arizona laws that toss provisional ballots filed at the wrong voting precinct and prevent third-party groups from returning mail ballots.

The former Arizona law was previously struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in January, with the judge ruling that it disproportionately affected Black, Latino and Indigenous voters.

Last week, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a GOP-backed voting overhaul bill that would have changed election deadlines and strengthened voter identification requirements, among other measures.

During the MSNBC interview, Casey said that Republicans would continue to push similar pieces of legislation.

‘This is agenda item number one for the Republican Party,” he said. “This is going to be the norm, because Republicans have concluded that they can’t win by getting more votes. They can only win by voter suppression bills.”

Democrats have seen their legislative push for voting rights languish in recent months.

The For the People Act, the party’s marquee voting rights legislation, would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, establish national standards for voter registration, and blunt voter purges, among other things.

The bill would also mandate that states offer mail-in ballots and same-day voter registration, which Republicans have long resisted in many states.

In March, the House passed the legislation in a near party-line 220-210 vote.

However, late last month, an attempt to advance the legislation failed in the Senate, with all Republicans opposed to the bill.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, an elections bill which would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, also faces a difficult path forward, with GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky opposed to the legislation.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Democrats torch the 2-page GOP infrastructure blueprint as ‘a slap in the face’ and ‘a joke’

Ron Wyden
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

  • Democrats assailed the two-page GOP infrastructure blueprint, calling it too meager.
  • One Democratic senator said the GOP was “light years” away from their position.
  • The prospect of a short-term breakthrough on infrastructure appeared scant.
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Democrats had scathing assessments for the two-page Republican infrastructure outline released on Thursday, a sign that a bipartisan deal was not immediately in sight on one of President Joe Biden’s top economic priorities.

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia had unveiled the $568 billion infrastructure blueprint that was less a detailed plan than a two-page outline of principles. It amounted to about a quarter of Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion stimulus spending.

The GOP plan would spread out new spending over a five-year period, largely paid for with user-fees. It included no corporate tax hike, and set aside over half of its funding on to repair roads, highways, and bridges. Capito called it “a robust package” at a news conference.

But some Democrats sharply disagree – and they torched the plan as too meager to confront the dual crises of climate change and economic inequality.

“I think this Republican proposal is light years out of the ballpark in terms of being able to get a bipartisan compromise,” Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said on a press call. “They really dump it all on the backs of middle-class workers.”

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania pointed to the Republican plan slashing the $400 billion in-home elder care component of Biden’s infrastructure plan, calling it a “terrible insult” to average workers.

“When they eliminate every penny for that investment, that’s a slap in the face to not just older Americans and people with disabilities, millions of families would need this care over the next number of years,” he told reporters on the same press call.

Democratic opposition to the plan appeared to run deep, and aides said they were skeptical of Republican seriousness on cutting a deal. Insider granted anonymity to two aides so they could speak candidly.

“Having a two-pager with four bullets on four [revenue] raisers, I don’t think it’s very serious,” one Democratic aide said, referring to the GOP plan.

“It doesn’t do anything on climate, which is non-negotiable for our caucus,” the aide said. “We can’t let a decade go by without doing something more substantial on climate.”

“It’s a joke,” another Democratic aide said. “Their number is so low and achieves so few of the things even they agree are important. It’s not remotely in the ballpark of what is serious.”

Republicans recently defended the early plan, saying they sought to strike an agreement.

“Could we just kind of tone the rhetoric down here and really try to get something done?” Capito told Politico on Wednesday. “I understand disagreement, but I read that we’re trying to stall it out and not make it happen. Or being too cheap? We’re talking about a very robust package here.”

The plan set the stage for additional talks, though it was unclear how disagreements over revenue sources and the plan’s size would be bridged.

The White House said on Thursday it was ready to kick off negotiations with the group of Senate Republicans on an infrastructure plan. The GOP proposal drew Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approval earlier in the day.

“The president has said from the beginning he would welcome any good faith effort to find common ground because the only unacceptable step would be inaction,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Read the original article on Business Insider