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Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said that current debate over the filibuster is "much too puny" to "talk about something as vital ... as voting rights," while on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Democrats' sweeping voting rights package is unlikely to receive Republican support in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to advance past a filibuster. Some Democrats hope they can use the fight to reform the filibuster.

The big picture: Warnock and Stacey Abrams have decried dozens of bills introduced by Georgia Republicans that generally restrict voter access in the state as a modern version of Jim Crow laws. At least 12 bills are still being considered, per AJC.

What he's saying: Warnock was did not give a clear answer when asked if he has discussed filibuster workarounds with his moderate colleagues, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

  • "We have to pass voting rights no matter what, and it's a contradiction to insist on minority rights in the Senate, while refusing to stand up for minority rights in the society," Warnock said.
  • "I'm going to do everything in my power to convince my colleagues to support voting rights."

Flashback: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) earlier this month urged his Democratic colleagues to find a way to work around the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

Go deeper

13 mins ago - World

Biden: "Israel has a right to defend itself"

President Biden during a news conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden told reporters Wednesday it's his "expectation and hope" that there will soon be an end to fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has killed scores of Palestinians and several Israelis.

Details: Biden, after speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that he hoped the conflict would be "closing down sooner than later," despite Israel's government announcing plans to scale up its military offensive.

The states ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits early

Protesters demand senators support the continuation of unemployment benefits on July 16, 2020 in Miami Springs, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At least 13 Republican-led states have announced they are terminating their involvement in federal pandemic-related unemployment programs early.

Driving the news: Many of the states' governors cited worker shortages. But some experts say it's the job climate, including pandemic-era factors, and not unemployment benefits that is determining when and how people return to work.

Elon Musk suspends Tesla purchases with bitcoin

Elon Musk. Photo: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Consumers can no longer buy Tesla vehicles with bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Wednesday.

What he's saying: Musk cited the environmental concerns associated with bitcoin — the cryptocurrency has a massive carbon footprint — as his reasoning behind Wednesday's decision.