Warnock on push for voting rights and infrastructure plan: ‘We can walk and chew gum at the same time’
(CNN) — President Joe Biden and other Democrats could tackle both voting rights and infrastructure legislation at the same time, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock insisted Sunday, while White House shifts its focus to the country’s infrastructure as his home state of Georgia has enacted a strict new voting law.
“We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’ve got to work on the infrastructure of our country — our roads and our bridges — and we’ve got to work on the infrastructure of our democracy,” the Georgia senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked whether Biden should prioritize voting rights over infrastructure.
“I think the President is engaged on this issue,” he added, referring to voting rights. “And when I’ve talked to him, he’s agreed that voting rights are foundational — that this is the work we have to do.”
The comments from Warnock come three days after Georgia’s Republican governor enacted into law a sweeping elections bill that imposes tight new voting restrictions, which the senator called an “assault” on democracy. Republican lawmakers in other states are also moving to pass bills with voting restrictions, something congressional Democrats have seized on in their push to take federal action on voting rights.
But as Republicans in statehouses push to restrict voting access, the White House is shifting its focus to Biden’s next key initiative after he signed the latest coronavirus stimulus package, with advisers prepping a two-part, $3 trillion proposal that would focus on jobs, infrastructure and clean energy, as well as what’s being termed the “care economy” that zeroes in on key domestic economic issues.
Asked by Bash what his message would be on Sunday, Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, invoked a Biblical story to describe the GOP efforts to roll back voting rights.
“It’s Palm Sunday and Jesus confronts the powers and we all have a decision to make. There was a governor that he confronts in that moment named Pilate. And the governor has a decision to make,” he said, tacitly referring to Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s recent signing of the election law. “I think that all of us has a decision to make: are we going to stand on the side of truth and righteousness and justice? Are we going to stand up on the right side of history? This is a defining moment in the American nation and all of us have a role to play.”
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