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Biden to deliver strong voting rights push in Atlanta. Is it too little too late?

President Joe Biden walks to the Oval Office of the White House after stepping off Marine One on Jan. 10, 2022, in Washington. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
President Joe Biden walks to the Oval Office of the White House after stepping off Marine One on Jan. 10, 2022, in Washington. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

President Biden heads to Atlanta Tuesday to deliver what he hopes will be a powerful voting rights speech. He’s expected to urge support for two new national voting rights bills and to blast voting rights restrictions in Georgia and around the country.

It’s a pivot for Biden, whose first year in office has focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and his economic agenda, including infrastructure and the stalled $2 trillion Build Back Better bill.

But to pass the new voting legislation, the president would first have to weaken Senate filibuster rules — something Biden endorses — but seems unlikely with two Democratic holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

So how pivotal is this moment for the president and the country? And how did past presidents pass the voting rights laws that so many of us now take for granted?

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, joins us to discuss.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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