Pence says both Capitol riot and nixing filibuster are a ‘power grab’

Former Vice President Mike Pence made the case against Democrats’ push to nix the legislative filibuster in order to pass sweeping voting legislation. 

In an op-ed published by The Washington Post Friday, Pence stated that both the Capitol riot that took place on Jan. 6, 2021, and the Democrats’ attempt to change Senate rules amounted to a “power grab.”

Democrats, including President Biden, have voiced their full-throated support to change the 60-vote filibuster in order to pass their voting legislation that they argue would bolster the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The bills have come in response to a wave of GOP-passed state legislation that tightens voting restrictions in key states like Georgia, which Biden won in 2020 by a razor-thin margin over former President Trump. 

Republicans have argued that this legislation shores up elections against fraud following Trump and his allies’ claims that the 2020 race was tainted by widespread voter fraud. 

However, Democrats have run into opposition from members of their own party to change the rules. In particular, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — moderate Democrats — have continually voiced their opposition to changing the Senate rules. Sinema made a speech this week on the Senate floor yet again voicing her opposition to the change, citing ongoing political division on the country. 

In a 50-50 Senate, Democrats need all of their party’s votes to enact change. 

Pence, in his op-ed, recalled the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in which rioters chanted to hang him after the former president tweeted that Pence had the authority to overturn the Electoral College results.

Pence at the time resisted the calls to intervene in the certification. 

Despite this steady progress of state-based reforms, now come President Biden and Senate Democrats with plans to use the memory of Jan. 6 to attempt another federal power grab over our state elections and drive a wedge further into our divided nation,” Pence said Friday.

Pence argued that the founders of the United States purposely made it so states had large control over how their elections were run, and the Democrats attempt to take that power away is similar to the mindset of Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol.

“Their plan to end the filibuster to allow Democrats to pass a bill nationalizing our elections would offend the Founders’ intention that states conduct elections just as much as what some of our most ardent supporters would have had me do one year ago,” Pence said. 

Under the Constitution, elections are largely determined at the state level, not by Congress — a principle I upheld on Jan. 6 without compromise. The only role of Congress with respect to the electoral college is to ‘open, present and record’ votes submitted and certified by the states. No more, no less,” Pence said. 

“The notion that Congress would break the filibuster rule to pass a law equaling a wholesale takeover of elections by the federal government is inconsistent with our nation’s history and an affront to our Constitution’s structure,” he added.

Pence said the Democrats’ bill would allow voter fraud to “explode.”

“With this [Jan. 6] anniversary passed, I call on my former colleagues in the Senate to do as you did before: Uphold the right of states to conduct and certify elections. Reject this latest attempt to give Washington the power to decide how the United States’ elections are run. And keep the oath you made before God and the American people to support and defend the Constitution,” Pence concluded.

Elections officials at the state and federal level have repeatedly stated that there was no substantial evidence of widespread voter fraud. 

Tags Donald Trump Filibuster in the United States Senate Joe Biden Joe Manchin Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Kyrsten Sinema Mike Pence United States Capitol attack voting rights legislation

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