President Joe Biden is calling out a pair of moderate Democratic senators as he faces emboldened opposition to key pieces of his agenda.
Touting the need to pass legislation on voting rights, Biden dismissed criticism over Democrats’ inability thus far to move certain bills forward, noting that Republicans remain nearly universally opposed to the pieces of legislation and are joined by two Democrats the president declined to name.
“I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?'” said the president. “Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.”
The comment appeared to be aimed at Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who have opposed ending the filibuster, an undemocratic procedure Republicans use to stop Democrats from passing legislation in the Senate.
While both lawmakers do vote more frequently with Democrats than Republicans, Manchin has pressed the White House and his Senate colleagues to focus their efforts on strengthening the 1965 Voting Rights Act rather than passing a more expansive bill.
Sinema supports the broader legislation, which seeks to prohibit states from restricting the ability to vote by mail, press states to use independent redistricting commissions to draw their congressional lines and limit the influence of money in politics, but has insisted that it gets bipartisan votes.
The comments come as Democrats tout the need for federal voting rights legislation as GOP-led states across the country pass a slate of bills restricting access to the ballot box.
Unless Democrats enact voting reforms, Republicans could cheat their way back into power in the 2024 midterm elections.