ATLANTA (CBS News) — President Biden in Atlanta on Tuesday announced his support for getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate to get legislation passed that will overhaul the nation’s voting access laws and counter a raft of new changes pushed by Republicans at the state level.

It’s a moment progressives have been waiting for, even though the president has no technical power to change Senate rules to allow for the voting bills to pass by a simple majority. Speaking from the Atlanta University Center Consortium on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Mr. Biden urged lawmakers to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, which would establish national election standards, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would reinstate a core provision of the Voting Rights Act gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013 that required states with a history of racial discrimination to seek Justice Department approval before changing their election rules.

“Sadly, the United States Senate, designed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body, has been rendered a shell of its former self,” Mr. Biden said. “It gives me no satisfaction in saying that, as an institutionalist, as a man who was honored to serve in the Senate. But as an institutionalist, I believe the threat to democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills, debate them, vote, let the majority prevail,” Mr. Biden said. “And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”