Schumer unloads on GOP over elections bill
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday stepped up efforts to squeeze Republicans ahead of a key test vote on a sweeping election reform bill, railing against new voting rules in GOP-led states and former President Trump’s efforts to cast doubt on the election.
Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, tied Tuesday’s test vote to Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen,” even though his legal team lost dozens of legal challenges and election experts dismissed claims of widespread voter fraud.
“He lied over and over and over again … poisoning our democracy, lighting a fire between Republican state legislatures who immediately launched the most sweeping voter suppression effort in at least 80 years. Just a note, how despicable a man is Donald Trump?” Schumer asked.
“He lost an election legitimately. He can’t face that, that it was his failure and he creates a lie, a big lie,” Schumer added.
Schumer then read some of the ideas that have been introduced, debated and in some cases passed in GOP-controlled state legislatures including limiting mail-in voting, access to drop boxes and more stringent voter ID requirements.
Republicans have defended the laws by noting that states expanded access last year during the coronavirus pandemic and are now rolling that back as the country moves out of the pandemic.
“Does that sound like Jim Crow, my Republican colleagues? It sure does to a lot of us,” Schumer said.
“The big lie that started with Donald Trump is infecting them,” Schumer added about GOP senators.
The Senate will hold a vote Tuesday on whether to advance the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that in addition to setting national voting standards also changes the composition of the Federal Election Commission, overhauls campaign finance, places new rules on congressional redistricting and new ethics guidelines for presidents and vice presidents.
The bill will fail to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a legislative filibuster, with Republicans lined up in unified opposition to the legislation.
“They made it abundantly clear that the real driving force behind S. 1 is the desire to rig the rules of the American elections permanently. … That’s why the Senate will give this disastrous proposal no quarter,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday about the Democratic bill.
But Schumer argued Monday that the vote was not about the For the People Act but instead about whether the chamber should debate voting rights at all.
“It’s a vote on whether the Senate should simply debate the issue about voting rights,” he said.