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WATCH: Biden pledges battle for voting rights, police reform in SC speech

WATCH: Biden pledges battle for voting rights, police reform in SC speech

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — President Joe Biden pledged Friday to battle for stalled voting rights and police reform laws, addressing graduates of South Carolina State College amid the cruel actuality that months of talks with lawmakers have failed to maneuver the measures nearer to turning into regulation.

The occasion is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET. Watch within the participant above

Biden spoke on the traditionally Black faculty a day after conceding that his practically $2 trillion social and environmental invoice was unlikely to change into regulation this 12 months, as he had hoped, resulting from continued disagreement amongst fellow Democrats. Republicans unanimously oppose the spending.

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Sporting a black robe as he delivered the December graduation tackle, the president bemoaned GOP opposition preserving voting rights payments from advancing within the 50-50 Senate following passage by the Democratic-controlled Home. He blamed “that different workforce, which was once known as the Republican Occasion,” for refusing to even enable the payments to be debated.

“However this battle’s not over,” Biden mentioned. “We’re going to maintain up the battle till we get it executed.”

Biden’s vow to maintain pushing to guard what he known as “the sacred proper to vote” because the NAACP and related teams have grown pissed off with the White Home over the dearth of progress on the difficulty. Voting rights is a precedence for Democrats heading into subsequent 12 months’s midterm elections after Republican-controlled legislatures handed a wave of restrictive new voting legal guidelines.

Biden pledged related advocacy for police reform, one other situation vital to the Black neighborhood after a sequence of killings of Black males by police, together with George Floyd’s loss of life final 12 months after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for about 9 minutes.

The Home handed a sweeping police reform measure earlier this 12 months in response to Floyd’s killing, however months of negotiations amongst a bipartisan group of senators failed to provide a invoice.

Biden vowed to maintain urgent for police reform, too.

“The battle’s not over,” he mentioned on the alma mater of Home Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black member of Congress and South Carolina’s solely Democrat within the delegation. Clyburn, who sat on stage with Biden, accepted his diploma from the president, a longtime buddy.

Half rah-rah speech for the graduates as they put together to enterprise out into the world, Biden at instances sounded extra like a candidate as he used the looks earlier than a predominantly Black viewers to emphasize how his administration is working to enhance their financial and academic standing, from elevated funding for traditionally Black schools and universities to preventing housing discrimination.

Black voters, in South Carolina and different states, had been an important a part of the coalition that helped Biden win election as president.

He additionally touched on the infrastructure invoice he just lately signed into regulation, together with the promise of 1000’s of recent jobs, however averted discussing his centerpiece social welfare and environmental invoice. That measure stays bottled up within the Senate, largely resulting from opposition from a fellow Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and going through an unsure destiny subsequent 12 months, when

Democrats want accomplishments to indicate as they marketing campaign for reelection within the November.

Biden additionally pledged to assist stamp out hate and racism, referenced the Jan. 6 revolt on the Capitol, carried out in hopes of subverting his election, and talked about his appreciation for traditionally Black schools and universities. He famous that key members of his workforce had graduated from traditionally Black colleges, together with Vice President Kamala Harris, a Howard College alum.

“You may defeat hate, however you possibly can’t eradicate it,” Biden mentioned. “It simply slides again beneath a rock and, when given oxygen by political leaders, it comes out ugly and imply because it was earlier than. We will’t give it any oxygen. We now have to step on it.”

He didn’t focus on legislative technique, together with how he would flip laborious Democratic opposition to the $2 trillion plan into assist. All he provided was the promise to maintain preventing — the identical recommendation he gave the graduates.

Biden informed them their “secret energy” is the power to grasp the injustices and issues of the world, with the enduring legacies of racism leaving Black People at a drawback in residence possession and financial mobility.

There have been no December ceremonies when Clyburn graduated in 1961, so he obtained his diploma by mail. As a substitute of addressing this 12 months’s graduates, as had been deliberate, Clyburn joined the procession of scholars on stage to obtain his diploma from Biden, whom he invited to ship the graduation tackle.

The president visited at a fraught time for his agenda, with the way forward for his $2 trillion social and environmental spending bundle unsure. Whereas Democrats had hoped to make progress on the invoice earlier than Christmas, continued disagreements amongst lawmakers have all however halted negotiations, and Biden himself has signaled Democrats ought to shift their focus to passing a voting rights invoice — one other heavy raise within the evenly divided Senate.

Biden and Clyburn had been planning a gathering in South Carolina, Clyburn informed reporters this week, and so they figured Friday’s ceremony would suffice. The meetup is important for each, in that it’s Biden’s first time as president in South Carolina, the place Clyburn’s public assist is credited with boosting Biden to the Democratic presidential nomination.

On the cusp of South Carolina’s first-in-the-South major, after struggling via less-than-stellar performances in different early-voting contests, Biden secured a public endorsement from Clyburn, an awaited sign for a lot of Black voters that Biden could be the candidate to face up for his or her pursuits.

Biden subsequently bested chief rival Bernie Sanders on Tremendous Tuesday and claimed the nomination earlier than defeating Republican incumbent Donald Trump within the basic election.

Biden’s roots within the state run deeper than his 2020 marketing campaign. Typically coming to Kiawah Island close to Charleston for household holidays, Biden additionally spent a long time as desk mate to Fritz Hollings, South Carolina’s longtime Democratic senator. Biden eulogized Hollings at his 2019 funeral, a job he beforehand carried out for an additional South Carolina senator, Republican Strom Thurmond.

Superville reported from Washington.

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