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Schumer: 'The big lie is spreading like a cancer' among GOP

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) offered fiery criticism of Republicans on Tuesday for efforts around the country to tighten voter laws amid unproven claims made by former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE that the 2020 election was stolen.

Schumer, speaking at a Senate Rules Committee meeting on a sweeping elections overhaul bill, accused Republicans of trying to act upon the "big lie that the election was stolen" to "placate" and "please" Trump.

"Unfortunately, the big lie is spreading like a cancer among Republicans. It's enveloping and consuming the Republican Party, in both houses of Congress," Schumer said.

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Schumer pointed to the likely ousting of Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas McCarthy pushes back on Biden criticism of GOP at NATO Democrat Matt Putorti challenges Stefanik for NY House seat MORE (R-Wyo.) as House Republican Conference chair. Frustration with Cheney has boiled over among House Republicans after she's pushed back against Trump's false claim that the election was stolen.

"Liz Cheney spoke truth to power, and for that, she’s being fired," Schumer said.

Schumer also criticized Republicans for not pushing back against state laws that add restrictions on the ability to vote.

"Every Republican in this room knows Joe BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE won the election fair and square. Every Republican knows that Donald Trump perpetrated the big lie. But the price of admission in today’s Republican Party is silence in the face of provable lies," Schumer said.

The Senate Rules Committee is set to vote on a sweeping bill to overhaul elections that has divided Congress along party lines.

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The Senate standoff comes as numerous state legislatures across the country have introduced legislation to place restrictions on voting in the wake of the 2020 election, which Trump and his allies have falsely claimed was stolen. Dozens of challenges from Trump’s legal team were dismissed by the courts, however, and election experts have said there is no evidence of widespread fraud.

The Brennan Center for Justice found that as of March 24, legislatures have introduced 361 bills with “restrictive provisions” in 47 states.

"In democracy, when you lose an election, you try to persuade more voters to vote for you. You don't try to ban the other side from voting. That's what [Viktor] Orban does, that's what [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan does, that's what dictators do," Schumer said on Tuesday, referring to the leaders of Hungary and Turkey.

He added that the state laws "carry the stench of impression, the smell of bigotry."

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process on Wednesday | Four states emerge as test case for cutting off jobless benefits GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' McConnell presses for 'actual consequences' in disclosure of tax data MORE (R-Ky.), speaking at the Rules Committee  hearing, argued that the Democratic bill was "cooked up" after the 2016 election, when Trump defeated then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Hillary Clinton backs Manhattan DA candidate in first endorsement of year NSA leaker Reality Winner released from federal prison MORE.

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"The truth is quite simple: Our Democracy is not in crisis and we aren't going to let one party take over our democracy under the false pretense of saving it," McConnell said.

"None of the shifting made up rationales for this sweeping set of changes hold any water at all," McConnell added.

Updated at 11:42 a.m.