“Protecting Democracy Cannot Be a Partisan Issue”
‘Next week, House Democrats say they’ll try to recycle failed legislation that would have Washington Democrats grab unprecedented power over how America conducts its elections and how American citizens can engage in political speech. For several years now, we’ve seen the political left grow less interested in having normal policy debates within our governing institutions, and more interested in attacking the institutions themselves to tilt the playing field in their side’s favor.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding H.R. 1:
“Next week, House Democrats say they’ll try to recycle failed legislation that would have Washington Democrats grab unprecedented power over how America conducts its elections and how American citizens can engage in political speech.
“For several years now, we’ve seen the political left grow less interested in having normal policy debates within our governing institutions, and more interested in attacking the institutions themselves to tilt the playing field in their side’s favor.
“When their side loses a presidential election, it’s not Democrats’ fault, but the Electoral College’s.
“When they don’t like a Supreme Court decision, it’s time to threaten the Justices or pack the Court.
“When long-standing Senate rules threaten to frustrate far-left proposals, it’s the Senate rules they want to change.
“And now, House Democrats want to try to use their slim majority to unilaterally rewrite and nationalize election law itself.
“They want to use the temporary power the voters have granted them to try to ensure they’ll never have to relinquish it.
“This year’s version of the House Democrats’ legislation contains the same bad ideas as their effort two years ago.
“For example: When the Federal Election Commission was created after Watergate with the sensitive job of regulating American politics, it was designed to require bipartisan consensus.
“House Democrats want to scrap those rules and turn the FEC from an even-numbered bipartisan body to an odd-numbered partisan body so Democrats can dominate it.
“Then they want to hand that newly-partisan FEC new authorities to scrutinize and regulate an even wider share of political speech and private citizens’ activities.
“Or take election law itself. Somehow, House Democrats have looked at the division and the disunity of the last several months and decided that what American elections really need is a one-size-fits-all partisan rewrite by one side here in Washington.
“In this country, states and localities run elections. Those of us in the federal government do not get a stranglehold over the ways in which voters decide our fates.
“House Democrats want to change that.
“Their bill would take prudential questions about early voting, registration, and no-excuse absentee balloting and resolve them one way for the entire nation.
“They want to force all 50 states to allow the absurd practice of ballot harvesting, where paid operatives can show up at polling places carrying a thick stack of filled-out ballots with other people’s names on them.
“They want to forbid states from implementing Voter I.D. or doing simple things like checking their voter rolls against change-of-address submissions.
“They want to mandate no-excuse mail-in balloting as a permanent norm, post-pandemic.
“And -- I promise I am not making this up -- their bill proposes to directly fund political campaigns with federal dollars.
“They want to raise money through new financial penalties which the government would then use to fund campaigns and consultants.
“It’s such a strange idea, it takes a minute to wrap your head around.
“They want the federal government itself to send money for things like political ads that half the country disagrees with. What a bizarre concept that nobody asked for.
“This sweeping federal takeover would be exactly the wrong response to the distressing lack of faith in our elections that we’ve recently seen from both political sides.
“After both 2016 and 2020, we saw significant numbers of Americans on the losing side express doubt in the validity of the result.
“As recently as late last September, fewer than half of Democrats said they were confident the 2020 election would be ‘free and fair.’
“Just weeks later, by mid-November, once things had gone the way they wanted, Democrats’ confidence in the election magically skyrocketed up to 90%.
“We cannot keep trending toward a future where Americans’ confidence in elections is purely a function of which side won.
“A sweeping power grab by House Democrats, forcibly rewriting 50 states’ election laws, would shove us farther and faster down that path.
“In this country, if the people who win elections want to hold onto power, they need to perform well, pass sound policies, and earn the support of the voters again.
“House Democrats do not get to take their razor-thin majority – which voters just shrunk – and use it to steamroll states and localities to try and prevent themselves from losing even more seats next time.
“Protecting democracy cannot be a partisan issue.”