President Biden warned that democracy in the U.S. is in a state of decline in remarks at the Summit For Democracy on Thursday.
The President began his remarks by making clear that democracy in the U.S. “requires a constant effort.”
“American democracy is an ongoing struggle to live up to our highest ideals and to heal our divisions; to recommit ourselves to the founding idea of our nation captured in our Declaration of Independence, not unlike many of your documents,” Biden told an assembled group of world leaders.
After saying that democracy doesn’t “happen by accident” but needs to be “renewed” with each generation, Biden pointed to a recent report from the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance that found that more than half of all democracies have experienced a decline in at least one aspect of their democracy over the last 10 years, a group that includes the U.S.
The President then nodded to late Rep. John Lewis’ (D-GA) championing of voting rights, before going on to urge the passage of both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — both of which Senate Republicans have blocked.
“We should be making it easy for people to vote, not harder,” Biden said. “And that’s going to remain a priority for my administration until we get it done. Inaction is not an option.”
The Biden administration has been criticized by voting rights groups for not pushing harder to find a way in which voting rights legislation can circumvent the filibuster.
In stressing his administration’s priority to make it easier for Americans to register to vote, the President pointed to actions the executive branch has taken, including the Justice Department’s expansion of its voting rights unit. The DOJ is doubling the number of attorneys defending and enforcing voting rights laws, the President said.
The President’s remarks come almost a year after the deadly Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 on the day of the joint session of Congress certifying Biden’s electoral victory. Former President Trump and his allies have since continued to push the Big Lie of a “stolen” 2020 presidential election, with the former president vowing the endorsement of challengers against GOP lawmakers who refused to play along with his election fraud falsehoods.