Jun 17, 2021
Republicans Hold News Briefing on Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill: Transcript
GOP leaders including Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell held a June 17, 2021 press conference to discuss the voting rights bill proposed by Democrats. Read the full transcript of the news conference here.
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Roy Blount: (00:04)
Well, thank you all for being here. Obviously, my colleagues and I are here to talk about S1. We haven’t seen the final version of S1 yet, but it appears to look a whole lot like the original version of S1 built on the totally bad foundation of the Federal Government taking over the structure of elections in 10,000 election jurisdictions around the country. You know, in 2016, president Obama said that the diversity of our system was the strength of the system. I don’t know if he still believes that or not, but I do. States and localities have done a great job for a long time conducting elections. This bill is riddled with things that would have devastating impact on the system. People will lose confidence in the election system if this bill would pass. My colleagues, I’m sure, are going to talk about all of those things. If not, I’ll fill in whatever is untalked about as we have a chance to talk about this bill that will come to the floor next week. The Senate should reject this bill. I believe the Senate will reject this bill, and I’m glad to have Senator McConnell here.
Mitch McConnell: (01:25)
Well, I think all of you surely know how all the Republicans feel about this proposal. It’s a solution in search of a problem. The rationale for it has changed over the years. After the 2016 election, the same bill was introduced in the house. As soon as they got the majority, they passed it, and the rationale at that point was we needed to clean the system up. Then, they liked the outcome of the 2020 election, so the rationale became we need to prevent states from somehow making it more difficult for people to vote. I’ve taken a look at all these new state laws, and none of them are designed to suppress the vote. There is no rational basis for the Federal Government trying to take over all of American elections. You all have noticed that there’s now a debate among Democrats over a revised version produced by one of the Democrats yesterday, which has been endorsed by Stacey Abrams.
Mitch McConnell: (02:28)
I would make this observation about the revised version. It still turns the Federal Election Commission from a judge into a prosecutor by taking away the three-three balance and making it three-two democratic, and in what is extraordinarily dubious constitutionality, would remove redistricting from state legislatures and hand it over to computers. Equally unacceptable, totally inappropriate. All Republicans, I think, will oppose that as well if that were to be surfaced on the floor. That’s not what we anticipate the cloture motion to be on.
Speaker 2: (03:13)
The Democrats have basically two big priorities. One is just the regular liberal stuff that you would expect from them, which is very radical, massive spending, massive tax increases, open borders, undermining American energy. Then, the other is stacking the deck, which to me is much more dangerous in their effort to become a permanent majority party. They do that by their legislation to add four members of the Supreme Court. They want to add D.C. as a state with two permanent Democrat senators, and this bill, S1, they name it S1 because it is their number one priority. I had our Secretary of State, Ed Buchanan from Wyoming, look at this. What he says is, and this is a letter from him, it will open up the election process to the great potential for widespread fraud, which will only exacerbate our citizens’ collective fears. Widespread fraud.
Speaker 2: (04:10)
Why does he say that? Well, I’ll give you a couple of quick examples. One is it bans voter ID, where people, when they go and ask for a ballot are normally in Wyoming and certainly around the country, asked to prove that they are who they say they are. Number two, it allows for ballot harvesting, allowing people unsupervised to go and collect hundreds, if not thousands, of ballots and then decide what they’re going to do with them. Then, number three is it mandates taxpayers to fund elections by putting money, taxpayer dollars, into campaigns of people they may be completely against. It’s an 800 page bill. What I outlined there is just the tip of the iceberg. The more people find out about this, the less they like it. It is radical. It’s extreme. It is dangerous. It is scary. We need to make it easier for people to vote, harder for people to cheat. The Democrats, in their bill, are making it much easier for people to cheat.
Speaker 3: (05:12)
I’ll just talk about one provision of this. I mean, think about what the Democrats are doing. They’re taking a vote to give themselves money. They want to take your tax payer dollars, and they give it back to themselves and manipulate the vote. If you’re a California Senator, you’re going to get up to $80 million for your campaign. How many people think that’s appropriate? If you’re Wornack in Georgia, for his reelection, he has a chance to get $25 million of your tax dollars. Kelly in Arizona has the opportunity to get $19 million of your tax dollars in his next election. Chuck Schumer, he should like this a lot. He has a chance of getting $44 million in your tax money for his campaign. That’s wrong. We should never be taking taxpayer dollars and give them to politicians to go run attack ads and win an election.
Cindy Hyde-Smith: (06:02)
In Tennessee, we have really well run elections, and we want to continue to have really well run elections. We believe in one person, one vote. As I talked to Tennesseeans, and as they look at this legislation, that is what concerns them the most because they saw this in 2020, when they would go on social media and they would see people holding up numerous ballots from some of our neighboring states and saying, look what came in the mail to me. Well, they don’t want that. They want to preserve one person, one vote and the integrity of the electoral system. S1 and all of the different versions of S1, in essence, are pieces of legislation that will make it literally easier to cheat. They will be useful ways to cheat in an election.
Cindy Hyde-Smith: (07:13)
Well, it’s pretty clear that S1 is a effort to hijack the state election laws for partisan advantage here in Washington D.C. and the Congress. The Democrats have created a false narrative that suggests that some of these state election law changes are somehow designed to prevent minorities from casting their ballot. That’s already illegal under section two of the voting rights act, and it’s blatantly false. The fact of the matter is many of the reforms that they’re complaining about are even more generous than the laws in states that they represent.
Cindy Hyde-Smith: (07:51)
For example, the deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Georgia is 11 days before the election. In New York, represented by Senator Schumer, you cannot request a mail-in ballot until a week before the election. In-person voting was expanded in Georgia to 17 days. In Massachusetts, you have 11 days. Delaware, represented by the president of the United States for many years in the Senate, won’t even have any early voting until 2022, and even then voters would only have 10 days. It’s clear that the Democrats’ narrative of widespread voter suppression that would be created by these laws is a false narrative. Again, this is merely a vehicle by which our Democratic colleagues would hijack state election laws for purely partisan advantage.
Steve Daines: (08:53)
Senate bill one is the third act in a three act play, the Democrats seeking to grab power here in Washington, D.C. The first act was D.C. statehood. The second act was packing the United States Supreme Court. The third part of the three-part series now is Senate bill number one. In Montana, you have to produce a photo ID to get a hunting license. You produce a photo ID to get a fishing license. You produce a photo ID to rent a car. You produce a photo ID to check into a motel, and Montanans know that’s common sense. That’s why this spring, the Montana legislature passed a bill requiring photo ID to vote, and it was signed by our governor. Shortly after that bill was signed, senator Schumer went to the floor of the United States Senate and specifically called out the Montana law and said it’s despicable. 70% of the American people believe that photo ID is appropriate to vote. Montanans don’t see this as despicable. They see it as common sense.
Speaker 7: (10:03)
I’m on the rules-
Speaker 8: (10:03)
I’m on the Rules Committee, and after we had our hearing on this bill, I heard from Nebraskans, because Nebraskans heard for the first time what’s really in the bill. We tried to point that out. I’d like to follow up with what Senator Scott spoke about, the money that’s in this bill. This is a windfall for sitting senators. We all know the power of incumbency, but when you’re using federal money on a six to one match that is not helpful to voters, why would we have something like that in there, because it’s a windfall that the Democrats saw.
Speaker 8: (10:47)
I gave them the chance to take that out. I introduced an amendment that would have not allowed any sitting Senator to use that money, to qualify for that money, to benefit from that money. Every single Democrat voted no on my amendment. The more we find out about this bill, the more our constituents find out about this bill, the more upset people are, because they’re trying to be sold a bill of goods that isn’t there. And when they find out what is in this bill, they’re appalled by it.
Lindsey Graham: (11:32)
So the mother of all power grabs is going to fail. In this bill, there’s a provision to change who draws congressional maps when the population shifts. Number one, the H.R.1 version of this bill was filed before any Republican legislative bodies met to change their law. They had this in mind, it’s got nothing to do with Georgia. It’s got nothing to do with Montana. They filed this crap early on to try to get an advantage in perpetuity and call all of us racist, it ain’t going to work. In South Carolina, 30% of my state plus is African-American. We had the largest participation in the history of the state and the last election. If you want to vote in South Carolina, you can, but you got to prove you are who you are.
Lindsey Graham: (12:27)
The best evidence of the political nature of this bill is that they want to take away from red states, where people are moving, the ability to draw lines. We’re going to pick up four or five seats as Republicans because of the census. Under this bill, this independent commission, it would take away from Florida, Montana, and Texas the ability to draw these lines. This has got nothing to do with improving voting, it has everything to do with locking perpetual power by the left.
James Lankford: (13:06)
So S.1 as a bill is really designed to be able to federalize elections. The basic theme of S.1 and the younger, newer version, smaller version, we understand, we haven’t seen it, of S.1 is all about everything that Washington DC does is righteous, everything the States do is wrong. Listen, it shouldn’t be a hard principle to be able to say, let’s make voting easy, let’s make cheating heart. S.1 is not only voting easy, cheating easy, but verifying elections impossible. There should be a way after an election is over to be able to verify that election, that would not be possible with S.1. Let me just give you a couple of examples on that.
James Lankford: (13:45)
Taking away all voter ID, which even the Supreme Court has upheld voter ID. Taking away all voter ID anywhere in the country, not only matching no voter ID, but doing same day registration. So you could do same day registration in a new precinct without voter ID and walk up and vote, no way to verify. On top of that, it also bans any prohibition on ballot harvesting. So you would literally have the day of the election, individuals showing up from political parties with boxes full of ballots that they have collected from people around the state or around the precinct, and they can just show up with those. No chain of custody, no way to be able to verify those in any way. They were collected by political operatives, dropped off on the day of the election. It is impossible to be able to verify an election. This does not make Americans more confident in our election system, it makes us less confident in our elections.
Speaker 11: (14:43)
This bill isn’t about strengthening democracy, this bill is about strengthening Democrats. This bill won’t make it easier to vote, it will make it easier to vote illegally. This bill isn’t motivated so much by a reaction to voting laws passed by Republican states, it’s a bill that reflects hostility toward Republicans themselves. Now look, let’s be very Frank about what it would do. Setting aside for a moment all the other policy and constitutional issues, the constitutional issues ranging from federalism, to the first amendment and a lot of stuff in between, set those aside for just a second. Think about the policy implications of the federal government funding campaigns for federal office. That means they’ll be spending millions of dollars per race, and that means not everyone can be a candida.te so they’ll have to decide which candidates are legitimate and which are not, which will receive funding and which are not. We’ve seen throughout human history, and especially in modern times, what happens in governments when they hold elections, but the government decides who’s on the ballot.
Speaker 11: (15:58)
So too when governments fund campaigns, that’s one way or another of preferring certain candidates over others, that threatens the very fabric upon which our system of government is based. It’s simply intolerable. This is deeply partisan. It’s problematic. It’s unconstitutional in lots and lots of ways, and we should not pass it.
Speaker 12: (16:26)
This so-called reform bail is anything but reform. In the house and the Senate, the only bipartisanship is the opposition to it. We have a lot of serious things that Senator Schumer could be bringing to the floor right now, this is nothing but a power grab for Democrats to stay in control. Voter integrity, election integrity is a serious, serious issue, and it should be bipartisan, we all should be striving to get there. This is not bipartisan, it is wrong and I fully opposed this bill.
Senator Joni Ernst: (17:03)
I guess I’ll wrap up for now. Folks, I have a special interest in this. I served as the Montgomery county auditor in Iowa and in Iowa, our county auditors are the commissioners of elections. And I fully believe that our state and local officials are the ones that should be running our election systems, not our federal government. What we see with S.1 is what it would do. It would federalize our election system. One, it would turn the FEC into a political weapon. Two, legalize ballot harvesting, that is not good. Three, it would force Americans to fund campaigns just as you have seen here or heard here, it is really welfare for politicians, what a great bill, huh? It would also prohibit common sense voter ID laws. Iowa does have a voter ID law, and you know what? Our voter participation has only gone up since we put voter ID laws into place, it’s hardly voter suppression.
Senator Joni Ernst: (18:14)
And you know what Iowa does, if you don’t have a government issued ID, you can’t afford the $6 to get one, we provide you with one free of charge, okay? So it’s not suppressing the vote. American support voter ID, they are against this S.1 bill. The Fund the Politicians Act is what I call it, it’s not a For the People Act, it is welfare for politicians.
Speaker 13: (18:42)
Senator John Thune: (18:44)
[crosstalk 00:18:44]. Okay, great. Thanks. Thank you Joni. So Senator Schumer has decided to put S.1 the floor next week. It will be a show vote, it’s designed purely and simply to score political points, nothing more, nothing less. And if you look at the provisions of the bill, and I know you’ve heard my colleagues talk about some of them, but getting rid of photo ID is a really bad idea. If you’re thinking about election integrity, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, all believe that it’s important that you have an ID to vote, 34 states have adopted that kind of a provision. Under this bill, it would eliminate South Dakota’s photo ID for people who want to get an absentee ballot. We were one of the first states in the country to adopt photo ID, this will completely violate and eviscerate state sovereignty when it comes to elections, which is something that the constitution calls for.
Senator John Thune: (19:40)
Another provision of the bill, which I think is just outrageous, as Joni alluded to, is the fact that you would have the federal government, the federal tax payers, basically subsidizing candidates around this country. And if the example hasn’t been used already, Ted Cruz pointed out in the first quarter of this year that the taxpayers would be cutting him a check for $30 million, you can get up to 80 million…
Senator John Thune: (20:03)
… cutting him a check for $30 million. You can get up to 80 million in the state of Texas. You can get up to 56 million, or I should say 80 million in the state of California, 56 million in the state of Texas. And even in my state of South Dakota, the taxpayers in my race would have to pay me $7.6 million or up to $15 million for the state. I mean, this stuff is just nonsense, it’s crazy, and it needs to be defeated. And I hope next week when this show vote comes up, that the Democrats in the Senate who clearly, hopefully are wise enough to understand what this means for elections in this country. And if you don’t believe it, look at all the secretaries of state and election officials across the country who have weighed in and said, there’s no way they could implement this. But it does completely federalize, nationalize and … what’s the word?
Speaker 14: (20:50)
Senator John Thune: (20:54)
Bureaucratize our elections in this country. And that would be a really bad outcome in terms of the American people, the American voters, who right now need an ID to get on a plane, need an ID to drive a car, need an ID to get into some government buildings, in fact, need an ID to get on some scooters in this country. And we’re going to tell people that they don’t need an ID to vote. I think that’s an idea, it’s a really bad idea, and it needs to be rejected next week and rejected soundly.
Roy Blount: (21:25)
Senator John Thune: (21:25)
The guy who gets the big check.
Ted Cruz: (21:29)
The Corrupt Politicians Act is the single most dangerous piece of legislation pending in the United States Congress. It is a brazen power grab. It is an attempt by Democrats to federalize elections and to ensure that Democrats cannot lose for the next 100 years. It is not about protecting the right to vote, it is about taking away the right to vote from the citizens and giving it instead to the corrupt politicians in Washington.
Ted Cruz: (22:02)
The Corrupt Politicians Act would strike down virtually every common sense voter integrity law adopted by the states across the country. 29 states have adopted voter ID laws, reasonable common sense steps to protect the integrity of elections. The Corrupt Politicians Act would repeal all of those voter ID laws. 31 states prohibit ballot harvesting, the corrupt practice of paying political operatives to collect other people’s ballots, that invites voter fraud. What does the Corrupt Politicians Act do? It strikes down every one of those laws and mandates ballot harvesting nationwide.
Ted Cruz: (22:41)
The Corrupt Politicians Act would automatically register to vote, anyone who comes into contact with the government. That means if you go to the DMV, that means if you get an unemployment check, if you get a welfare check, if you go to a public college or university, it automatically registers you to vote. That is intended to and would in fact, register millions of illegal aliens to vote. Now, the Democrats claim that’s not their intention at all, except the bill explicitly provides that the millions of illegal aliens who registered to vote and the people who register them shall not be liable for illegally registering to vote. Not only that, many states have reasonable restrictions on felons and criminals voting. The Corrupt Politicians Act strikes down all of those restrictions and mandates instead, that all felons be allowed to vote.
Ted Cruz: (23:35)
Beyond that this bill is welfare for politicians. This bill is designed to give hundreds of millions of dollars to corrupt incumbent politicians to keep them in power. And this is not about the right to vote, when you have millions of illegal aliens registered to vote. When you have felons registered to vote, when you’re inviting voter fraud through striking down photo ID laws, through striking down ballot harvesting laws, what you’re doing is stealing the right to vote from legal citizens. This is brazen, it’s cynical, and it’s worth noting that when Republicans had the White House and both houses of Congress, we didn’t try this. We didn’t try to rig the system so that our side could never lose an election. This is an abuse of power from the Democrats, and I got to say, at least so far, the media has not covered even a fraction of the brazen abuse that is reflected in this bill.
Roy Blount: (24:36)
Well, good afternoon everybody. I think our goal has always been to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Easier to vote and harder to cheat. When you eliminate voter ID, it makes it easier to cheat. When you promote ballot harvesting, it makes it easier to cheat. I think ballot harvesting, eliminating voter ID, decreases the value of what do we have for this great republic, the opportunity to get out and vote. So I think that this power grab, the Nancy Pelosi power grab act is destined for failure. I sure encourage our friends across the aisle to stand firm as well and help us keep the filibuster in place, so this legislation doesn’t pass. And again, just close by saying again, we want to make sure it’s easier to vote and harder to cheat.
Roy Blount: (25:25)
All right. Couple of questions, I’m going to have to go vote the second time.
Speaker 15: (25:28)
I have one for Senator Cruz. I was just wondering, what’s your thoughts about, later Schumer and Vice President Harris meeting with Texas lawmakers this week. What do you think about that?
Ted Cruz: (25:40)
Well, I think it’s an example of how Democrats are trying to politicize this issue. The rhetoric that Joe Biden has used, the rhetoric that Kamala Harris has used, is disgraceful. They have called common sense steps to enhance voter integrity, to enhance election integrity, they’ve called that Jim Crow 2.0, and that language is designed to be fear-mongering. Now it’s worth remembering what Jim Crow 1.0 was. Jim Crow 1.0 were laws written by democratic politicians, and 100% of those laws were written by Democrats in office, designed to prevent the voters from ever voting the Democrats in office out of office.
Ted Cruz: (26:21)
Jim Crow was an abomination. And I got to say, if you want to talk about what is Jim Crow 2.0, it is the Corrupt Politicians Act. It actually has the identical purpose. This is Democrats in office that don’t want the voters to be able to vote them out, and so they’re trying to rig the system to steal the right to vote from legal voters. And so the degree of demagoguery we’re seeing from Senate Democrats screaming, the George Act is Jim Crow, the Texas Act is Jim Crow, when they don’t know what’s in the bill. They don’t care what’s in the bill, because it’s all designed to try to herd people into voting for the Corrupt Politicians Act here in Washington, and that would profoundly undermine the integrity of our elections.
Ted Cruz: (27:08)
The last serious examination of voter fraud was in 2004, it was the Carter-Baker Commission, chaired by president Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and former secretary of state James Baker, a Republican. Now by any measure, Jimmy Carter is not some crazy right-wing kook. The Carter-Baker Commission concluded that voter fraud is real, that it is a problem that is persistent, that we need to take steps to deal with it. What did the Carter-Baker commission recommended? It recommended voter ID. It recommended eliminating ballot harvesting and identified ballot harvesting as the greatest opportunity for voter fraud. What does the Corrupt Politicians Act do? It literally takes the recommendations of the Carter-Baker commission, where is fraud most likely, and expands all of them.
Ted Cruz: (27:54)
Now look in law and in life, there’s a reasonable inference that people intend the consequences of your actions. When you look at the recommendations from a serious bipartisan commission on voter fraud, about how to combat voter fraud, and you do exactly the opposite, the natural inference is the authors of this bill want there to be more voter fraud. They know ballot harvesting invites wide-scale fraud, but cynically, they believe it benefits their partisan interests. I think that’s really unfortunate.
Roy Blount: (28:26)
Anything else? Yeah, right here.
Speaker 16: (28:27)
I get the sense that you are no on S1 after this. I’m curious, are there places where you see you can work with Democrats and the White House to pass something? Perhaps not on voting rights, but more generally?
Roy Blount: (28:41)
Well, this bill doesn’t do anything that previous federal laws have done, where they expanded the people who could vote by age, by sex, by race. This doesn’t make it more possible for people to vote, frankly, it makes it more possible for people to diminish the vote of voters who should be legally voting in that election. So I don’t think so. I think from my point, as a former chief election official, as a former local election official, the premise is important that states and local governments have not only responsibility, but they have incredible accountability to the people that they work for, to be sure that elections are fair, that they’re free, that there’s no question about the outcome. And so, anything that involves the federal government in that process, I’d be opposed to, so it wouldn’t matter if it was a degree of federal involvement or total federal involvement, I’d still think that was not the right place for the federal government to be. Yes?
Speaker 17: (29:42)
What about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act? Simply, it reinstates the pre-clearance process that the Supreme Court struck down. There are other provisions in it as well. Is that something that you could support?
Roy Blount: (29:52)
Well, it’s a separate question. The speaker says it won’t be ready, in her view, till the fall for reasons I don’t really understand, unless they want to totally separate that discussion from this effort.
Roy Blount: (30:03)
… understand unless they want to totally separate that discussion from this effort to, frankly, do everything they’ve wanted to do for 20 years rolled up now into one big bill to give them an advantage. I voted for the Voting Rights Act to extend it in the past. There are any number of circumstances where I could vote to extend it in the future. But that’s a second vote, not a vote that the Democrats want to talk about right now. Yes?
Speaker 18: (30:25)
Do you worry at all that the former president’s repeated statements that the election was stolen, that it was the greatest crime in the century has contributed to kind of an arms race on who can change election rules fastest to try to benefit one side or the other?
Roy Blount: (30:41)
Well, the other side said that repeatedly after the 2016 elections. Crime of the century, I heard that more times in the investigation we did in intel.
Speaker 18: (30:50)
Not in the context of how states ran their elections, though.
Roy Blount: (30:52)
No. But in the context of what happened. There’s always a different reason for them to want to do this. After the 2016 election, we needed to change all the laws to put the federal government in control because the voting system wasn’t secure enough. After the 2020 election, there apparently were no security problems anywhere with the voting system and anything any state did to try to beef up their security concerns was suppression of the vote.
Roy Blount: (31:21)
This has gone on for 20 years now, since 2001. If you go back and look what Democrats were introducing in 2001, a lot of that is in this bill. Now, they weren’t quite brazen enough to say we should get six dollars for every dollar that anybody contributes under 200 dollars. They weren’t quite to the point that they would say, and by the way, anybody that wants to collect your ballot should be able to collect it and they should be able to deliver it or not. How do you know if you give your ballot to somebody that they put it in the mail for you or not? How do you know that they took it to the courthouse or not, particularly on the mail? Some ballots you are given as a ballot harvester happen to get in the mail and others maybe don’t, but you can always say they got lost in the mail. It is an extreme position on their part. They know what it. They’d do anything they could to get this bill passed, and I think they will not get it passed.
Roy Blount: (32:17)
We’ll go right here and then there. Yes?
Speaker 19: (32:19)
Leader McConnell started off this press conference saying he didn’t think that any Republicans would support Senator Manchin’s bill. Do you agree with him that you don’t support Senator Manchin’s bill? Do you worry that Republicans don’t support something that …
Roy Blount: (32:33)
I think every one of us looks for opportunities to work with Senator Manchin and we found those opportunities. I actually think when Stacey Abrams immediately endorsed Senator Manchin’s proposal, it became the Stacey Abrams substitute, not the Joe Manchin substitute.
Roy Blount: (32:48)
Speaker 20: (32:49)
I’m wondering, this was not right now because a lot of folks have left, but to get a sort of real show of force against this bill, is it because you’re worried about Manchin’s movement and the messaging on this? When you ask Americans, do they support these measures, getting money out of politics, preventing foreign interference in election, the bill itself is popular.
Roy Blount: (33:12)
The bill itself is not popular. 78% of Americans support, for instance, voter ID at the polls. 69% of African-American support voter ID at the polls. Nobody is for giving federal money in any significant number of people to politicians. Nobody thinks you should be able to hand your ballot to anybody who says they want to take it. I just think it’s not a popular bill. We scheduled this news conference, I think about a week ago before there was any action to talk about.
Speaker 21: (33:45)
Can I quickly get your reaction to the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act today. I know, Senator Cruz, you sit on the Judiciary Committee. What’s your reaction to them dismissing the challenge to the Affordable Care Act?
Roy Blount: (33:56)
Well, the Affordable Care Act gets constantly woven deeper and deeper into the system. It’s eventually going to be pretty hard to unravel from the system. The court had a chance to do that today and didn’t do it.
Roy Blount: (34:08)
Speaker 22: (34:09)
To follow on the earlier question, given all the talk of a stolen election, why do you think all of Republican-held legislatures rushed this year to begin changing their election laws? What was driving them?
Roy Blount: (34:27)
Well, many of them changed their election laws in the pandemic, as they should have to broaden access in ways it had never been broadened before and then they reevaluate that. In Missouri, they did that, but they did it with a end date on the legislation, so no criticism in our state that we made it more easy to vote because of the pandemic than ever before. But we went back to our normal election laws at the end of that process.
Roy Blount: (34:53)
On the stolen election charge, I just think you’ve got to remember which stolen election? The ones that the Democrats said that was stolen by the Russians and the president and others four years ago or this election, which I think had all of the elements of security that local authorities and states can provide. I think they continue to be the best place to provide that security, that responsibility and the effort they need to be sure that people have confidence that what happened on election day was what happened.
Speaker 23: (35:27)
One more on you. Senator Manchin is under a lot of pressure from the left to eliminate filibuster. Are you worried that by flatly rejecting all of his proposals, even something more narrow, means eventually it’s going to go that way.
Roy Blount: (35:38)
Well, first of all, the bill they filed is not Senator Manchin’s bill. It’s another 800 page bill that Senator Klobuchar wanted the committee to vote out, but the committee didn’t vote any bill out at all. That is not their proposal. Now they’re desperate to pass any of these elements they can. But I think that the country understands what’s happening here as we talked about it. I think, more importantly, Republican senators understand what’s happening.
Ted Cruz: (36:07)
Let me make one quick observation on that. You talked about how this was a show of force. One of the reasons is the press coverage so far of this bill has been virtually nonexistent. You’re right. If you do polling on, “Do you support protecting the right to vote?” I’m amazed that’s not 100%. protecting the right to vote is a wonderful thing. If you also do polling on, ” Do you support the fuzzy kittens and puppy law?” That has really good support in the polls too. If you actually ask people about what is in this bill, it is incredibly unpopular. Democrats don’t want to talk about getting rid of voter ID because 70 to 80% of Americans support it. A majority of Democrats support it. A majority of African-American support it. They don’t want to talk about that. Democrats don’t want to talk about getting rid of the ballot-harvesting laws, because people recognize that invites corruption.
Ted Cruz: (36:58)
When you have ballot harvesting, you get a paid operative from the DNC who goes into say a nursing home and collects dozens or hundreds of ballots. Some of which are from people who may not be competent to vote. The reason it invites frauds is they’re sitting right there and if that person votes the wrong way, there’s nothing to stop an unscrupulous operative from just throwing that ballot in the trash can and only mailing in the votes that vote the way they want. That’s why Jimmy Carter said ballot harvesting invites voter fraud.
Ted Cruz: (37:29)
I will say in terms of press coverage, I saw a recent analysis that the corporate media has covered the Georgia and Texas laws and the allegations that they are voter suppression laws, which is complete nonsense more, than 10 times as much as the corporate media has covered this brazen national power grab from the Democrats. I get it doesn’t fit an attractive political narrative for what many in the media want.
Ted Cruz: (37:59)
But you want to know just how brazen this power grab is. I’ll point you to one provision, just in closing. From the day it was created, the Federal Election Commission has been bipartisan. The Federal Election Commission was created in the wake of Watergate, in the wake of political scandal. You had Democrats in total control. They could have created a partisan agency, but they didn’t do that. They created an agency with three Republicans, three Democrats, because they recognized if you’re going to administer federal elections, it should be fair and bipartisan. What does the corrupt politicians act do? It turns it into a partisan agency. It makes it three Democrats and two Republicans.
Ted Cruz: (38:35)
What would happen if they did that? Just ask yourself, if Chuck Schumer had the ability to investigate any Senate candidate he wanted, to have the FEC sue any Senate candidate he wanted, to have the FEC fine any Senate candidate he wanted and it was a straight partisan commission. It’s not hard to see how that is nothing but a weapon. I promise you every Republican senator would be investigated, would be fine, and it would all happen in October, right before the election. That’s wrong. Let’s be clear when Republicans had majorities, we didn’t say let’s make the Federal Election Commission a Republican commission to go investigate and prosecute the Democrats. This is a power grab. I think the press has an obligation to cover it fairly and tell the American people what’s in this bill.
Ted Cruz: (39:27)
All right. Thank you, guys.