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Martin Luther King Jr.’s family marks holiday with voting rights March

The nation's capital will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a march for suffrage led by the late civil rights leader's family, as Congress Democrats promise to move forward with suffrage legislation despite its expected failure.

The leaders of the march are urging people to urge Congress to pass amendments to the electoral law nationwide instead of celebrating the federal holiday dedicated to Dr. King's birthday.

The Senate is scheduled to begin the debate on voting legislation this week, but Republicans are expected to block the passage despite all Democrats being united. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., NY) will then likely attempt a parallel effort to change Senate rules to allow Democrats to pass legislation by a simple majority rather than a 60-vote threshold known as the legislative filibuster. Marchen's leaders support the initiative.

But that effort is also likely to fail after Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) And Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) reiterated last week that they would not support removing the 60-vote threshold. Without their votes, Democrats can make no changes to the filibuster. "The honest answer to God is that I do not know if we can get this done," President Biden said after meeting with Democrats Thursday. He promised to keep fighting.

The party needs 50 senators to agree to change Senate rules, which will allow Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the vote.

President Biden spoke in Atlanta on Tuesday in support of changing Senate filibuster rules as he sought the passage of federal voting laws that have been repeatedly blocked by Republicans. Photo: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Democrats have long pushed for voting measures, which include making election day a national holiday and expansive new requirements for letter-by-vote voting. However, a series of voting measures enacted in GOP-controlled state legislatures have given Democrats a new impetus to act. Republicans call the democratic measures an attempt to seize power from states and unfairly evil demands, such as voter ID, designed to strengthen electoral integrity.

Rep. James Clyburn (D., SC), the highest-ranking black lawmaker in Congress and a key ally of Mr Biden, said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that he had spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting on Dr. King's 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Prison".

"He said to us in that letter something that is very, very, I would call it consistent today. And it is this: Silence is consent. We have too much silence in light of what is going on around us today, Said Mr. Clyburn. Later he said that Mrs Sinema's argument for keeping the filibuster was wrong. He promised to keep fighting if the legislation fails this week.

"They may be on life support, but you know, John Lewis and others did not give up under the '64 Civil Rights Act. That's why he got the 65-vote law. So I want to tell everyone that we are not giving up," he said, referring to to the late Georgia congressman and the Civil Rights Icon.

Mrs Sinema has said she supports the legislation. "But I will not support separate actions that exacerbate the underlying disease with divisions that infect our country," the Senate Democrat said Thursday.

Despite the setback, the King family, along with other civil rights leaders and suffrage activists, will continue with their plans. The King family plans to lead the march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington on Monday around noon. 10 EST.

Late. Mitt Romney (R., Utah), one of a handful of centrists open to working with Democrats, told NBC News' "Meet the Press" that he had never received a call from the White House on voting laws , but was open. for a more limited overhaul. Still, he criticized the Democrats' current bill as a federal violation.

"They want a really dramatic change," he said. "They feel that instead of elections being held at the state level, they should really be governed and run at the federal level." He added: "The founders did not have that vision in mind."

Sir. Romney said there could be a possibility of bipartisanship in reforming the Electoral Count Act, a 1887 law on how Congress handles disputes over election results. He said a two-part group of senators discussing reforms now includes about 12 people.

The push comes as part of an attempt to stop a repeat of what happened after the 2020 election, when 147 Republicans voted against confirming the election result. President Trump and his allies had urged Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral vote, which he refused to do. That same day, the Capitol was overrun by a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the certification.

While Democrats are generally open to changes to the Census Act, they say it is a completely separate track from the election proposals they are pursuing.

Mr. Clyburn said on ABC "This Week" that he would support an amendment to the Electoral Count Act, but noted that such reforms would be focused on the presidential election and have nothing to do with going to the polls. "Let's stop trying to change topic here."

Write to Eliza Collins at

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