Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Following Republican Opposition To Bipartisan Legislation To Establish January 6 Commission: Donald Trump’s Big Lie Is Now The Defining Principle Of What Was Once The Party Of Lincoln

May 28, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Senate Republicans’ partisan blockade of a bipartisan legislation to establish an independent commission to study the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This was a case of good news and bad news about the Republican Party in the Senate. The good news: Republicans have worked with Democrats on comprehensive legislation to strengthen our commitment to scientific research, which will pass the Senate when the Senate resumes session. The bad news: the Republican minority just mounted a partisan filibuster against an independent commission to report on January 6th.

Both efforts should have moved forward in a solidly bipartisan way. But out of fear of—or fealty to—Donald Trump, the Republican minority just prevented the American people from getting the full truth about January 6th. The Republican minority just prevented the Senate from even debating the bill. No opportunity for amendments. No opportunity for debate.

There was an attempt by the Republican minority to shunt this vote into the dark of night. But because of today’s Senate time agreement, it was done in broad daylight. The American people will see how each Republican senator voted.

Now, this should have been simple. The commission was bipartisan, independent, straight down the middle. House Democrats accepted every change that House leadership requested. Speaker Pelosi and I supported, and still do support, the changes Senator Collins proposed. And we told that to other Senators. Senate Republicans, for months, publicly supported the idea of a commission! But now, all of the sudden, the Senate minority, and the Senate Minority Leader, waged a partisan filibuster against the bill.

This vote has made it official: Donald Trump’s Big Lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party. Donald Trump’s Big Lie is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln.

House Republicans canned Congresswoman Cheney for the crime of telling the truth that Joe Biden is president. Republican state legislatures, seizing on the Big Lie, are conducting the greatest assault on voting rights since the beginning of Jim Crow. Republicans in both chambers are trying to re-write history and claim that January 6th was just a peaceful protest that got a little out of hand.

And now, this: a partisan blockade of a simple, independent, bipartisan commission.

I’ve heard all the various excuses why Republicans are opposing this bill. It’s too early. It goes on too long. It’s not needed. Almost all of these excuses are meritless and were invented in the past two weeks. We all know what’s going on here. Senate Republicans chose to defend the Big Lie because they believe anything that might upset Donald Trump could hurt them politically.

We’ve all lived through the horrors of January 6th. I was no further than 30 feet from those white supremacist hooligans. Do my Republican colleagues remember that day? Do my Republican colleagues remember the savage mob calling for the execution of Mike Pence? The makeshift gallows outside the capitol? Men with bullet proof vests and zip ties breaking into the Senate gallery and rifling through your desks? Police Officers crushed between doorways?

Shame on the Republican Party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump. Our democracy has long endured because leaders of good faith—even if they disagreed, even at political cost—shared a fidelity to the Truth.

Not so today.

I hope this is not the beginning of an effort by Senate Republicans to prevent this chamber from debating reasonable, commonsense legislation. We will soon see.

After the state work period, I will bring forward legislation that would help provide equal pay for women. Will our Republican colleagues let the Senate debate the bill, or will they engage in another partisan filibuster of urgent legislation? We will soon see.