Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Continuing The Fight To Protect Our Democracy After Republicans Blocked Debate On Critical Voting Rights Legislation Yesterday

June 23, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Senate Republicans yesterday blocking debate on legislation that would defend voting rights and protect American democracy. Senator Schumer reiterated that the fight against modern-day voter suppression is just beginning. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday the Senate was given an opportunity to begin debate on a subject that—by all rights—should be beyond debate: protecting the right to vote.

As we all know, Republican state legislatures across the country are passing some of the most draconian restrictions on the right to vote in decades, a throwback to Jim Crow.

Every single Democrat voted yesterday to begin debate on legislation to fight back against this assault, and that’s what it is, an assault on our democracy. Every single one. It was the first time in this Congress that we have united all fifty Democrats on moving forward with strong and comprehensive voting rights legislation.

Senate Republicans, to the very last member, voted against allowing the Senate to even have a debate on voting rights. Not a single Republican voted to move forward with a simple debate.

In fact, the Republican leader went so far as to say that “regardless of what may be happening in some states”—voter suppression laws, phony audits, or the partisan takeover of local election boards—he believes that the federal government should not intervene.

Who said that? Southern senators from the Civil War all the way through, said “states rights,” used as a tool to prevent particularly people of color from voting. And to evoke that in 2021? The Minority Leader is way off base. Disgraceful that he would even evoke that.

Yesterday’s vote was another piece of evidence that voter suppression is now part of the official platform of the Republican Party.

But I want to be clear about one thing. As I said last night, the fight to protect voting rights is far—very far—from over. Yesterday’s vote was the starting gun, not the finish line.

As the Senate Majority Leader, I reserve the right to bring this issue up for debate again. Yesterday was the first time we tried to consider major voting rights legislation, but it won’t be the last.

Democrats will explore every option available to us for reconsidering legislation on this topic. We’ll leave no stone unturned. Voting rights are too important.

The fight against modern-day voter suppression is just beginning.

And one other point: some of them like to make this point: oh, this is just a partisan fight.

Bull.

This is a fight for the soul of America, and it shouldn’t be partisan, and it never was in the past.

When legislatures try to prevent poor people, people of color, urban people, young people from voting, that’s not a political fight. That’s what America is all about. So don’t try to hide under that guise. It is Republican legislatures doing this. In the past, when legislatures, usually in the South, tried to do these things—and in other places—both parties united to stop it.

No more, sadly. Shame, shame, shame, shame on my Republican colleagues. This is a very bad day for them, that history will recognize. 

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