Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Latest Efforts By Republican Legislatures To Impose Draconian Limits On Voting Rights And The Urgency Of Taking Action On S.1, The For The People Act

May 19, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the urgent need to move forward with, S.1, legislation to combat the rash of voter suppression laws sweeping through Republican legislatures. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

The Texas State Senate recently passed a bill that repeals all requirements for carrying a handgun, including a valid license, registering fingerprints, and four hours of training. Texas would be the sixth state this year to pass a permit-less carry law, with Louisiana waiting in the wings. If both Texas and Louisiana pass these laws, fully a third of Americans would live in states where it was legal to carry firearms without training or a license.

Just one week after the Texas legislature advanced that law to make it as easy as possible to carry a handgun, it advanced another law to make it harder to vote.

You need identification to vote, but no identification to carry a handgun. What the heck is going on in Texas?

Just think about that for a moment.

Across the country, Republican legislatures are removing all barriers to carrying firearms, while at the same time putting up barriers around voting.

The political right wants to make it easier for felons to get a gun, but harder for younger, poorer, and non-white Americans to vote.

It’s hard to think of a more reactionary vision for our country, a more backward-looking vision, a vision that eventually will be repudiated, not only in the history books but in our nation's politics.

Sadly, as voter suppression laws sweep through Republican state houses from Florida, Montana and everywhere in between, the political right is actually bragging about how successfully they’re restricting the franchise.

Last week, a spokesperson for Heritage Action—the lobbying arm of a far-right think tank—told a group of Republican donors that Heritage Action was drafting new voter restrictions and literally handing them over to state legislatures in order to give the laws “that grassroots feel.”

She went on to crow about how “quickly and quietly” her organization managed to get new limits on voting passed in Iowa. She told the donors that she looked at her team of right-wing lobbyists and said “It can’t be that easy.”

That’s how the far-right is talking about making it harder for Americans to vote. Behind closed doors, with well-heeled donors, they are laughing about how easy it is to limit American voting rights. That's because Republican legislators, from one end of the country to the other, are eagerly and willfully going along.

It’s despicable. It’s despicable. In this country, in a democracy, when your side loses an election, you try to win more voters over, you don’t try to stop the other side from voting. But seizing on that big lie that the election was stolen Republican legislatures are orchestrating the greatest contraction of voting rights since the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of Jim Crow.

These laws cannot go unanswered. Senate Democrats are moving forward with legislation, S.1, to combat this rash of voter suppression laws. It has gone through the Rules Committee and it will receive a vote here on the Senate floor. Our Republican colleagues need to decide if they are going to stand up for democracy or not.