Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Republican Attacks On Voting Rights: Democrats Will Not Stop Fighting To Protect Voting Rights And Defend Our Democracy

July 13, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the fight to protect voting rights and defend our democracy as Republican try to make it harder, not easier, to vote.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

In a democracy, no right is more sacred than the right to vote. And yet, across the country, Republican-controlled state legislatures are conducting the most sweeping and coordinated attack on voting rights in generations, fueled by Donald Trump’s insidious Big Lie that the election was stolen.

In several states, limits have been placed on voting hours, polling locations, and methods of voting. Barriers have been raised to make voting by mail, absentee voting, after-hours voting and early voting harder.

Republican legislatures are not only making it harder to vote, they’re making it easier to steal an election.

Can you believe that! Donald Trump does the big lie, everyone knows it’s a lie, and now Republican legislatures are acting on that big lie and saying we could steal an election. What is happening to our democracy?

Stripping independent election officials of power, giving partisan election bodies more control, even firing members of county election boards—this is what Republican legislatures are doing. Not for fairness, not for bipartisanship, but to jaundice elections.

And if the consequence is Americans of all parties feel that the elections are not fair, what is going to happen to this sacred and wonderful democracy? Republicans are actively dismantling all the barriers that prevented Donald Trump from subverting our elections in 2020. Imagine if they hadn’t been in effect. Imagine.

All of these efforts have an Orwellian logic. Under the guise of election integrity, Republican legislatures are sowing more doubt about our elections through phony audits and fact-free claims of voter fraud, lying claims of voter fraud! They’re lying. Falsely claiming that the election was stolen, Republican legislatures are making elections easier to overturn, even under the falsest and biggest of lies.

I just saw on TV this morning how the Trump lawyers are being lambasted in court, and even Rudy Giuliani has lost his license to practice because they lied about the election. They perpetrated the Big Lie in legal documents. The same thing is happening everywhere.

What is happening to this Republican party? What is happening? When Donald Trump, the biggest liar we’ve ever had as president, sets the tone and they follow in those lies, repeat those lies—sometimes even embellish on those lies—what is happening to that party, the party of Abraham Lincoln?

And what happens here? Our Republican friends here in Washington have chosen a path of supine compliance, refusing to stand up to the Big Lie—bowing down before it, bowing down before Donald Trump, the biggest liar that we’ve ever had as an American president—except when the Capitol building is literally under siege.

And by the way, just parenthetically, I commend to my colleagues and to all Americans: the New York Times did a video of the siege. They showed the siege, they showed the violence, and they had some Republican congressman saying it was like tourists. It was incredible! I recommend everyone should watch this, and I hope Republican colleagues just watch it. You were there, just watch it. I commend the New York Times. They did a great job on it.

Anyway, the effort to fight this wave of voter suppression and Republican election rigging is strong and growing. I want to be very clear about that.

In Texas, where the Republican governor has called a special session to reconsider one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation, Democrats are doing all they can to block the dangerous, partisan bill. They are brave, they are bold, they are courageous, and history will show them on the side of right – and the Republican governor, I saw him on TV this morning, on the side of deep, dark, ugly wrong.

Many of these lawmakers from Texas have come to Washington. I will be meeting with a group of them later today to plot out strategy and to praise them for what they are doing.

President Biden will also address the issue of voting rights in a major national address in Philadelphia, using the bully pulpit to draw the nation’s attention and announce ways in which his administration can defend Americans’ fundamental rights.

And next week, Senator Klobuchar—always on the ball on these issues—will lead the Senate Rules Committee to the State of Georgia for their first field hearing in 20 years. It will be an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the consequences of the Big Lie and show the American people just how far Republicans have gone in order to make it harder for people to vote after the 2020 election.

The bottom line is this: Democrats will not stop fighting to protect voting rights and defend our democracy. As I said, the vote in June was the opening gun, not the finish line.

Last month, all fifty Senate Democrats, all 50 Senate Democrats, united for the first time this Congress to move forward on a strong voting rights bill. Shamefully, shamefully, Republicans refused to even allow debate on voting rights legislation, hiding behind some of the exact same states’ rights arguments, very similar arguments, that Southern Senators in the sixties used to oppose the Voting Rights Act.

How do you feel about that, Republicans and Republican leadership? How do you feel about using the same arguments that were used by some of the arch-segregationists to stop voting rights in the Senate in the 60s?

Last month, as I said, the vote represented the starting gun—not the finish line—in the fight to protecting voting rights. As Majority Leader, I reserve the right to bring back voting rights and democracy reform for another vote on the Senate floor.