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Mike Lee says 'For the People' voting bill is 'as if written in hell by the devil himself'

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service | Biden urges people not to panic about gasoline shortages | EPA rescinds Trump-era cost-benefit rule Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday issued a harsh rebuke of the sweeping election reform bill passed by the House earlier this month that advocates and Democrats say is necessary in order to protect Americans’ voting rights. 

“I think I disagree with every single word in H.R. 1, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the,’” Lee said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday when pressed for his thoughts For The People Act, also known as H.R.1.

“Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. This is a bill as if written in hell by the devil himself,” he continued, saying he thinks the bill, if signed into law, would amount to an overreach by the federal government and take away “all sorts of decisions” away from states. 

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“That’s wrong. It’s really wrong. It’s bad policy,” he also said.

The White House has pushed strongly for the bill, which passed the House along party lines earlier this month, saying it is “urgently needed to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections” after what it referred to as “a newly aggressive attack on voting rights taking place right now all across the country.”

The legislation comes as dozens of bills to restrict voter access are making their way through state legislatures across the country. That includes a slew of Republican-backed bills in Georgia after the state saw record turnout among voters in November’s general election and the Senate runoffs earlier this year.

Republican legislators behind the measures in the Peach State have said the bills are aimed at bolstering election security and confidence after former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE pushed unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud to explain his loss in Georgia and other states.

Democrats and advocates, however, argue the bills would make it more difficult to vote and that the legislation is a response to the Democratic wins presidential election and the January U.S. Senate runoffs.

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In his appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, Lee suggested he thinks that H.R. 1, which awaits consideration in the Senate, is “apparently in an effort to ensure an institutional, revolutionary, Democratic party of sorts.” 

“One that can remain in power for many decades to come. It does this by taking away these decisions. Elections in America has always been conducted at the state and local level. They are completely flipping that principle on its head, so that these things can all be micromanaged from Washington,” he continued before going on to claim the measure is unconstitutional.

The provisions aimed at expanding voter access in the election reform bill include enabling automatic voter registration, adding Election Day to the government’s list of federal holidays, expanding vote by mail and affording more power to the Department of Justice to enforce voting rights.

Advocates have put pressure on Congress to quickly pass the bill, as well as the John LewisJohn LewisManchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization Schumer in bind over fight to overhaul elections Manchin breaking with Democrats on voting rights MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore a major provision of the Voting Rights Act thrown out by the Supreme Court in 2013.

“What they're responding to [with these bills] is a historic election, where the people that have been historically disenfranchised or disincentivized from participating in our elections because they thought that their vote didn't count, they participated and they participated in massive numbers this year,” Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan group that registered more than 50,000 Georgians to vote last year, told The Hill of the legislation recently.

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Later during the segment, host Brian Kilmeade quickly pressed Lee about part of the measure that would implement mandatory automatic voter registration nationwide, asking the Republican senator, “What’s wrong with that? We want everyone to vote, right?” 

“Yeah, we want everyone to vote,” Lee said in response. “It is up to each and every state to decide how to register voters and how to maintain the current list of voters in each date.” 

“These can’t be done effectively from Washington, you concentrate that much power here, bad things are going to happen,” he claimed.