Biden says GOP state voting legislation makes 'makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle'

President was asked about GOP lawmakers in battleground states are pushing to tighten voting restrictions

President Biden said Republicans’ state voting legislation "makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle" during his first formal press conference on Thursday.

Biden, during the press conference, was asked about whether he worries that Republicans in states across the country proposing legislation to curb voting access could cost Democrats control of Congress during the 2022 midterms.

Biden’s comments come as Republican lawmakers in battleground states are pushing to tighten voting restrictions on mail-balloting and more in future elections.

"Deciding in some states that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote, deciding to end voting at 5 o'clock when working people are just getting off of work, deciding that there can be no absentee ballots under the most rigid circumstances," Biden said.

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"It is all designed -- I am going to spend my time doing three things. One, figuring out how to pass legislation that was passed by the House. Number two, educating the American public. The Republican voters I know find this despicable, Republican voters."

President Biden listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ((AP Photo/Evan Vucci))

The House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021 —  which Democrats claim will expand voting rights and "clean up corruption" in politics.

According to Democrats, the bill would "improve access to the ballot box" by creating an automatic voter registration across the country and by ensuring that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored. The bill will also expand early voting and enhance absentee voting by simplifying voting by mail.

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The legislation also "ensures that American elections are decided by American voters" by enhancing federal support for voting system security, specifically with regard to paper ballots, and also by increasing oversight of election system vendors and by requiring the "development of a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions."

"I’m convinced that we’ll be able to stop this, because it is the most pernicious thing—this makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle."

Biden added: "This is gigantic what they’re trying to do and it cannot be sustained."

Meanwhile, the Senate is considering S.1, which Democrats say is a critical civil rights bill needed to protect Americans' right to vote in the face of GOP-controlled state legislatures that have introduced bills to tighten voting restrictions. 

"Our move to equality, our move to fairness has been inexorable. But it didn't happen on its own, it took mighty movements and decades of fraught" political fights, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also making a rare committee appearance Wednesday, said. "I would like to ask my Republican colleagues, why are you so afraid of democracy?"

Schumer said S.1 would "combat all of these voter suppression efforts by restoring critical parts of the Voting Rights Act ... make it easier — not harder — to vote by automatically registering American voters when they get a driver's license ... [and] limit dark money and corruption in our politics, and much more."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a podcast released Tuesday, argued Democrats are trying to use the levers of power to give them a long-term political advantage despite the fact they hold the slimmest of majorities in both the House and Senate.  

McConnell spoke on the conservative "Ruthless" podcast, where he assailed Democrats over their planned bills on elections, H.R.1 and S.1; attempts to add new states to the Union; efforts to remove the legislative filibuster and more.

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"They want to change the system to benefit themselves and they want to have instead of a referee they want the FEC to be a prosecutor," McConnell, R-Ky., said, referencing HR.1 and S.1. 

"So this is not about anything other than trying to help the Democrats win elections in perpetuity," he added. 

Fox News' Tyler Olson and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.