Despite a self-made “policy” not to weigh in on “day-to-day scrum” in Washington, D.C., former President Barack Obama said Monday that Congress should work to pass federal election takeover legislation, claiming “democracy long-term” could be at risk.
“We can’t wait until the next election because if we have the same kinds of shenanigans that brought about Jan. 6, if we have that for a couple more election cycles, we’re going to have real problems in terms of our democracy long-term,” Obama said on a phone call with grassroots supporters and former Attorney General Eric Holder, according to The Hill.
Obama also stated that he felt he needed to speak out about the legislation, known as the For the People Act, despite having created for himself a “policy” not to weigh in on political matters in the nation’s capital.
“Since I left office I’ve tried to make a policy not to weigh in on the day-to-day scrum in Washington,” Obama claimed. “But what’s happening this week is more than just a partisan bill coming up or not coming up to a vote.”
The legislation passed in a vote through the U.S. House of Representatives in March and is set to be discussed this week in the U.S. Senate. No Republican senator has currently stated they will support the legislation and it does not have enough support to survive a filibuster, which would mean ten GOP senators would have to offer support.
Changes have been made to the bill at the request of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a man Obama considers “the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, or maybe in Congress — Joe Manchin of West Virginia.” According to Obama, Manchin had “come up with common sense reforms that a majority of Americans agree with, that Democrats and Republicans can agree with.”
Holder, now chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, also offered hope for the legislation during the phone call, saying he believes “there is a path forward for this bill to get passed.”
Regarding the filibuster, Obama said it “allows a determined minority of senators to block legislation supported by the vast majority of Americans.”