Former first lady Michelle Obama hit out at Republicans in the Senate who are trying to “make it harder for people with every right to vote to cast a ballot,” in a statement released on Twitter.
Ms Obama took to social media on Wednesday to celebrate the passing of the For the People Act in the House, saying that she is “thrilled” and would “urge the Senate to follow suit.”
“Nothing is more important to our democracy than safeguarding our right to vote,” she wrote.
The act provides sweeping reforms to protect and expand voters’ rights and reform campaign finance laws, including requiring states to offer mail-in-ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting.
The House passed the bill with 220 votes to 210, with Republicans voting against it and one Democrat joining them.
Ms Obama, without naming anyone specifically, took aim at lawmakers who voted against the bill, labelling it an unpatriotic act.
“Our democracy remains under attack by the partisan and unpatriotic actions of those at the state level who are doing everything they can to curtail access to the voting box,” she wrote.
“Make no mistake – the idea that we cannot both hold secure elections and ensure that eligible voters can make their voices heard is a false choice.”
Ms Obama called on the Senate to follow the House’s suit and advance the act, which aims at a complete overhaul of the current electoral system and is a reboot of the 2019 bill that was passed in the House but could not pass in the Senate. This time again, the filibuster could stand in the way of the passage of the law.
Apart from the former first lady, President Biden also praised the House action in a statement on Thursday morning, saying it comes in “the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy.”
He added that the right to vote is “sacred and fundamental” and said “this landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect that right, to safeguard the integrity of our elections and to repair and strengthen our democracy.”