A top Republican senator is sounding alarm bells over a threat made by Sen. Chuck Schumer regarding major legislation Democrats have claimed must pass.
Schumer, a New York Democrat, issued a warning to Republicans this week that he will seek to change the chamber’s filibuster rule, which requires a 60-vote threshold to advance most legislation, unless they agree to help pass the “For the People Act,” a measure that would essentially make null and void most state laws governing voting.
If that happens, warns Sen. Jim Lankford (R-Okla.), then the very foundation of the republic will be at risk.
“Schumer’s threat to change the rules of the Senate unless he gets his way is not just a temper tantrum; it is a threat to our Republic. For over two centuries, the Senate is the one place in our government where minority opinions have a voice, unless Senator Schumer gets his way,” Lankford said in a statement.
“In 2017, 32 Senate Democrats signed a letter saying that the filibuster should not change—27 of those Democrats are still in the Senate. Now that they are in power, they want to do whatever it takes to pass their progressive legislative agenda by changing the historic rules of our Republic,” he added.
Lankford also took aim at what he called the “absurd” claim by Democrats that Republicans do not want fair elections.
“It is absurd to claim that Republicans do not want free and fair elections. We all want fair elections,” the senator wrote.
Rather, the Oklahoman noted that it is Democrats who want to federalize elections to extend “overreach” that benefits keeping them in power.
“Democrats want to federalize our elections over the states and local authorities in blue and red states. Their absurd overreach only benefits keeping them in power and is not what’s in the best interest of Americans,” he said.
Schumer threatened on Monday that he will push a vote on changing the Senate rules by Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, if GOP members continue to oppose his party’s voting rights bill. The Senate’s 50 Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill.
“If Republicans continue to block our efforts, The Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: Free and fair elections,” Schumer tweeted.
The Heritage Foundation, in a report, summarized what the For The People Act would do to state voter integrity laws:
H.R. 1 would federalize and micromanage the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary, unwise, and unconstitutional mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process—which is essential to the protection of our liberty and freedom.
It would (among other things) implement nationwide the worst changes in election rules that occurred during the 2020 election; go even further in eroding and eliminating basic security protocols that states have in place; and interfere with the ability of states and their citizens to determine the qualifications and eligibility of voters, ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls, secure the fairness and integrity of elections, and participate and speak freely in the political process.