WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris said the United States may lose its standing as a role model for the world – and democracy itself would be put at risk – if voting rights legislation is not passed.
Harris, who has taken the lead on voting rights, said during a wide-ranging interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” that people around the world are watching the United States “because we have held ourselves out to be a model of … the ability of a democracy to coexist with an economic strength and power.”
But Harris warned that if lawmakers don’t pass legislation to preserve voting rights, the United States’ standing could be in jeopardy.
“We have been a role model saying, you can see this and aspire to this and reject autocracies and autocratic leadership,” Harris said. “Right now, we’re about to take ourselves off the map as a role model, if we let people destroy one of the most important pillars of a democracy, which is free and fair elections."
Harris recognized the issue isn’t a top concern for many Americans, but said it should be.
Video: Biden, Harris highlight voting rights, racial justice at MLK Memorial “Given the daily grind that people are facing, this may not feel like an immediate or urgent matter, when in fact it is,” the vice president said. “And the more we have the opportunity to talk about it, the more I think people will see, ‘yeah, I don’t want an America of the future for my kids to be in an America where we … are suppressing the right of the American people to vote.’”
In recent weeks, President Joe Biden and Democrats have put voting rights legislation at the top of the priority list as the Build Back Better Act , the president’s signature domestic policy bill, has stalled. Harris has also been under extreme pressure by voting rights activists to help pass legislation.