Martin Luther King III spoke out on Monday against two Democratic senators who say they support voting rights reform but not the filibuster changes that would allow their party to move forward on the legislation without Republican support.
Democrats in Congress have been pushing for new voting rights legislation since they gained control of a split Senate — with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker — a year ago. While all 50 Democrats support the legislation, they lack the 60 votes required to move legislation forward or overcome a filibuster. Senate Democrats have explored a number of options to change filibuster rules, but they need support from their entire caucus. Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have said they would not support any rules changes.
“They support the bill but refuse to eliminate the filibuster to pass it. They think the real problem isn’t that our rights are being stolen, they think the real problem is a disease of division that can be cured with some optimism and conversation,” King said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on the federal holiday named for his father.
King said that while his father was a preacher who believed in healing divisions, he was also a realist and “no pollyanna."
“He knew when someone was denying you of your fundamental rights, conversation and optimism won’t get you very far," King said. “When states are engaging in lawless voter suppression, only the law can stop them.”
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