McConnell: Schumer 'hellbent to try to break the Senate'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday accused his counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.), of being “hellbent” on trying “to break the Senate” by gutting the chamber’s filibuster rule.

McConnell warned Democrats that creating a carve-out of the filibuster rule to pass election reform legislation would mean the death of the legislative filibuster and forever change the Senate as an institution.

“It appears as if the majority leader is hellbent to try to break the Senate. His argument is that somehow state legislatures across the country are busily at work trying to make it more difficult for people to vote. Of course that’s not happening anywhere in America,” he said.

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McConnell argued that 94 percent of Americans believe it’s easy to vote and there was record turnout in the 2020 presidential election, the biggest since 1900.

He also noted that “it’s already against the law to prevent people from voting based on race” and “the Voting Rights Act is still intact.”

“So it’s appropriate to ask the question, ‘What’s going on here?’” he mused. “I think this this is an excuse to try to break the Senate.”

He said changing the filibuster rule to allow voting rights legislation to pass with a simple majority vote would quickly lead to the Senate rules unraveling completely.

“We anticipate based on what the majority leader has said is that he’s going to try to break the Senate, break the legislative filibuster to make some kind of narrow exception. There’s no such thing as a narrow exception,” he said.

“This, in my view, is genuine radicalism,” he charged.

Schumer on Tuesday reiterated his threat to attempt to corral 50 Democratic votes to change the filibuster rule if Republicans again block voting rights legislation, as they did at least four times last year.

“If Republicans continue to hijack the rules of the chamber to prevent action on something as critical as protecting our democracy, then the Senate will debate and consider changes to the rules on or before Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” he said, repeating what he wrote in a “Dear Colleague” on Monday.