President Joe Biden, flanked by banners calling to “RESTORE ROE,” promised Tuesday to sign legislation codifying abortion rights first thing in January if Democrats win enough seats to pass it.
“Here’s the promise I make to you and the American people,” he said at a Democratic National Committee event at Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. “The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade. And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”
He also promised to quash Republicans’ plans to pass a nationwide abortion ban.
“If such a bill were to pass in the next several years,” he said, lowering his voice to a whisper, “I’ll veto it.”
Biden went on to list other legislative accomplishments from his first two years, in some cases, promising to build on them. After touting the gun reform bill passed in June, he vowed to go further.
“If you give me a Democratic Congress, we’re gonna ban assault weapons again,” he said to cheers. “I did it once, I’ll do it again.”
He also slipped in some news, regarding the student loan debt forgiveness application that the administration officially unveiled on Monday.
“Just since yesterday, four million more people applied,” he said.
In the final weeks before the all-important midterms, with voting already underway in some states, many Democrats are making abortion rights a central part of their messaging. It’s a new twist on a decades-old dynamic where Republicans turned their base out on the promise that controlling the White House and Senate would result in Supreme Court justices who’d overturn Roe.
Biden concluded his remarks asking everyone in the crowd to remember how they felt on the day the Supreme Court decided Dobbs and knocked down the 50-year-old precedent that enshrined a constitutional right to an abortion.
“The final say does not rest in the Court now, it does not rest with extremist Republicans in Congress,” he said. “If you do your part and vote, Democratic leaders in Congress, I promise, we’ll do our part, I’ll do my part, and with your support, I’ll sign a law codifying Roe in January.”
“Together, let’s remember who we are — we are the United States of America and there’s nothing beyond our capacity,” he added. “So vote, vote, vote.”