Biden prioritizing abortion legislation ahead of midterms

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will promise Tuesday that the first bill he sends to Capitol Hill next year will be one that codifies Roe v. Wade — if Democrats control enough seats in Congress for Biden to sign abortion protections into law.

It’s the first time Biden has prioritized abortion legislation in this way ahead of the November midterms. Republicans are widely projected to gain control of at least the House. Abortion rights have been a key motivating factor for Democrats this year, although the economy and inflation still rank as chief concern for most voters.

Biden plans to make the remarks at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington. A Democratic official says the president will also make a contrast between his party and Republicans who are calling for a federal abortion ban that would punish doctors for performing the procedure.

The official previewed Biden’s remarks on condition of anonymity.

For the White House, it won’t be enough just to keep control of both chambers of Congress, already an uphill battle, to be able to enshrine the protections of the landmark 1973 ruling into law. The Senate would need to abolish the filibuster, the legislative rule that requires 60 votes for most bills to advance in the chamber, in order to pass an abortion measure with a simple majority of senators.

Two moderate Democrats — Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, Ariz., and Joe Manchin, W.Va. — support keeping the filibuster.

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