Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Announcing Next Steps On Voting Rights Legislation In The Senate

January 13, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor to announce the next steps the Senate will take on voting rights legislation. Sen. Schumer also addressed the need for action to confront Putin’s aggression. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Due to the circumstances regarding COVID and another potentially hazardous winter storm approaching the DC area this weekend, the Senate will adjourn tonight.

However, we will be postponing recess so the Senate can vote on voting rights. We will return on Tuesday to take up the House-passed message containing voting rights legislation. 

Make no mistake, the United States Senate will—for the first time this Congress—debate voting rights legislation beginning on Tuesday. 

Members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote, particularly on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as this one. And we will proceed.

And if Senate Republicans choose obstruction over protecting the sacred right to vote—as we expect them to—the Senate will consider and vote on changing the Senate rules—as has been done many times before—to allow for passage of voting rights legislation. 

I will close with this: If the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?

In the coming days, we will confront this sobering question and every member will go on record. 

Finally, Members should expect that the next state work period would begin on the week of January 24th.

Now on Nord Stream. A few moments ago, the Senate voted against passing legislation proposed by Senator Cruz to address Nord Stream 2.

Probably every single one of us in this chamber agrees that the United States must be strong in confronting Putin and his destabilizing tactics in Eastern Europe and in Ukraine.

But as my colleagues made clear this morning, Senator’s Cruz bill, in our opinion, is the wrong answer at this time to deter President Putin’s aggression.

I commend my colleagues who came to the floor to make the case against today’s misguided proposal: my friends Chairman Menendez, Senator Shaheen—who Co-Chairs the Senate’s NATO Observer Group—and Senator Murphy.

After today’s vote this issue is not behind us. The work is not done. President Putin remains a threat and we must address this matter.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work with Chairman Menendez and Chairman Brown to support Chairman Menendez’s comprehensive sanctions, security and humanitarian aid package. 

I believe the Menendez bill is the answer, and an important step in the right direction, but of course, I am willing to consider reasonable additions and modifications.

From interfering in elections, to conducting a plethora of cyber-attacks that target us here in the homeland, to what’s happening today on the border of Ukraine, President Putin has left no doubt of his desire to stir up instability. His action with respect to Ukraine calls for a robust and severe deterrent action.

I hope my Republican colleagues will come forward and work with the Chair so that we can truly confront Putin’s dangerous aggression.