Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Rules Committee, on Monday addressed his colleagues on the Senate floor regarding the “For the People Act” (S.1), which he said "would more accurately be called the 'For the Politicians Act'."
He said, “This legislation represents a breathtaking, unprecedented power grab. In a 50-50 Senate, this is a blatant attempt by those who are in power - by the slimmest margin possible - to take over and rewrite the election and campaign rules for all 50 states in one fell swoop.
“This would be done on an entirely partisan basis, to ensure candidates from that same party win elections.
In fact, while the only supporters of the bill are Democrats, there is bipartisan opposition to this legislation.”
The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote on the legislation Tuesday.
“This legislation is as unnecessary as it is misguided and dangerous,” Senator Hagerty concluded. “It is a politician-protection measure that would do irreparable damage to the fabric of this country, and it should be soundly rejected by this body.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn also "spoke out against the Democrats’ efforts to federalize our elections and destroy the democratic process through their partisan election bill."
She said, "If the Constitution is the foundation of our Republic, then the concept of one person, one vote is the cornerstone…It is of the people, by the people, for the people that this process is carried out in each and every one of our counties.”
“If this bill passes, say goodbye to meaningful voter ID laws…To please their radical base, they added a loophole that would force every single jurisdiction to accept affidavits in lieu of identification.
“The founders granted the states power over their own elections for a reason. The federal government is beyond incompetent to get this job done. If you like a service you get from the IRS or the EPA or OSHA, that’s what you could expect the next time your community has an election. If we allow this bill to pass, one person, one vote will crumble. The promise of counting eligible ballots and not counting ineligible votes will go by the wayside.”
Remarks from Senator Hagerty as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Madam President.
I am here today to address Democrats’ deceptively labeled “For the People Act”, which is more accurately called the “For the Politicians Act.”
This legislation represents a breathtaking, unprecedented power grab. In a 50-50 Senate, this is a blatant attempt by those who are in power—by the slimmest margin possible—to take over and rewrite the election and campaign rules for all 50 states in one fell swoop. This would be done on an entirely partisan basis, to ensure candidates from that same party win elections. In fact, while the only supporters of the bill are Democrats, there is bipartisan opposition to this legislation.
This legislation would disenfranchise every American through the federal seizure of the authority of each state’s representatives to set election rules for their states in accordance with the wishes of their citizens.
And this partisan legislation would wash away election integrity measures—making it easier to cheat. Each invalid vote cast dilutes the strength of each valid vote cast. Our form of government for the people and by the people rests upon voters’ faith in the integrity of our elections. If we allow that faith in our elections to continue to be compromised, we are allowing the very foundation of our American system to be eroded.
Democrats don’t want to talk about the details of this legislation. They don’t want you to peek under the hood. They want to just slap a “voting rights” bumper sticker on it, jam it through, and then disparage and name-call anyone who might oppose it.
So let’s take a look at what exactly is in this legislation.
Under this legislation, a federal politician running for reelection could take millions in taxpayer money for his or her campaign.
The legislation says that States must then allow that politician to pay political operatives to visit nursing homes, dormitories, emergency shelters, and other residences to collect thousands of ballots and, then, choose which ones to deliver to unmanned drop boxes—in the middle of the night.
This bill would make it illegal for states to verify the identity of voters at the polls.
Under this bill, ballots arriving even a week after Election Day would still be counted.
It would require states to adopt universal mail-in voting practices.
States would be forced to allow murderers, rapists, and child molesters to vote, even if a state’s citizens have adopted laws to prevent it.
It would require states to allow unregistered voters to cast ballots by simply showing up on Election Day and signing a form, without an ID, and with no vetting allowed.
The bill would silence political speech by religious and non-profit organizations, while politicians use taxpayer dollars to air attack ads with which many taxpayers might disagree.
The bill provides that if anyone disputes any of this, that’s okay. They can lodge their complaints with the Federal Election Commission (the FEC), a body that has been bipartisan since its creation. But wait—in addition to changing the rules to benefit one team—this legislation also “buys off the umpire” by transforming the FEC into a partisan, Democrat-controlled body—a body that could hound the opposing-party candidates to the ends of the earth. This bill transforms the judge into the prosecutor.
I wish that was all this legislation did.
But it also snatches the responsibility for drawing congressional districts from the elected representatives of the 50 states—who have done the job for the last 230 years—and sets up a Byzantine process that would ultimately hand it over to academic consultants hired by a liberal judge right here in Washington. Let me repeat that: A consultant hired by a judge in Washington, D.C. will be drawing every congressional district in the country.
Using government power to seize control of elections, limit speech, and pack tribunals to ensure the ruling party stays in power sounds like a headline you would read in Venezuela, Russia, Iran, or China, not in the United States of America.
Not too long ago, both parties would have considered this partisan power grab beyond the pale. But far-left operatives want permanent power, and Democrats—eager to keep power themselves— are afraid to tell them “no.”
Democrats are now characterizing this legislation as an emergency response to recent legislation in a few states.
This legislation isn’t just a solution in search of a problem, it’s a power grab that, for years, has been in search of any crisis—manufactured or otherwise—that can be used to justify it.
Democrat operatives introduced a previous version of this bill on January 24, 2017, four days after President Trump took office. The purported crisis then was the American people’s election of President Trump, which Democrats found unacceptable.
They continued this effort by introducing another version of the For the Politicians Act in 2019, which that time passed the House, without a single Republican vote.
Like the bill the Senate will consider this week, this bill was a Democrat operative’s electioneering fantasy—federalizing unlimited mail voting, prohibiting voter ID requirements, and allowing unregistered voters to show up and vote on Election Day. Wisely, the Senate never took it up.
Then as the pandemic took root in the spring of 2020, Democrats—in search of a new crisis to justify this bill—included it in a pandemic relief bill that the House passed—again without a single Republican vote. Once again, the Senate dismissed it and wisely focused on providing bipartisan pandemic relief, rather than using the pandemic as a justification to federalize elections.
With the pandemic now in the rearview mirror, this legislation is being pitched as necessary to preserve “voting rights”, using cartoonish, overheated, and false characterizations of a few sensible, measured voting integrity laws recently enacted by states.
Why? Because Democrats have to invent a new crisis every 6 months or so to conceal this quest to install themselves permanently in power.
Don’t let them fool you—this isn’t about some state election law. The House passed virtually the same bill last year. Most of the components of this bill have been floating around Democrat National Committee backrooms for years.
This isn’t about “voting rights.” This legislation protects voting rights like banning security guards at banks would protect a bank’s depositors.
Now, why are Democrats so desperate to pass this bill?
Well, a recent report from Politico explains: “What’s at stake is…potentially the future Democratic majorities. Many in the party privately worry that frontline Democrats…could lose their seats if Congress doesn’t [pass this bill].”
So, to keep power, Democrats have determined they have to take over state elections.
This is about holding onto power—and nothing else.
There doesn’t seem to be a power grab that is too extreme for the modern Left—whether it’s this bill, legislation to pack the Supreme Court, suddenly changing their position and pushing to scrap fundamental Senate rules in order to obtain short-term gains, or adding Washington, D.C. as a state. It’s all about one thing: fulfilling a fantasy of permanent Democrat power.
Under this legislation, American elections would no longer be about earning the support of voters by communicating a powerful vision. Rather, American elections would be all about creating the largest machine—identifying favorable voters and mass-gathering their ballots door-to-door as efficiently as possible.
The winning campaign would be the one with the largest army of ballot harvesters to drive voters—registered or unregistered, with or without ID—to fill out and hand over a ballot that will be “dropped” on their behalf in unmanned drop boxes.
Americans want commonsense laws that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Such laws currently exist throughout the country. That’s why we had record-breaking voter participation in 2020, including in my state of Tennessee.
This legislation is as unnecessary as it is misguided and dangerous. It is a politician-protection measure that would do irreparable damage to the fabric of this country, and it should be soundly rejected by this body.
Madam President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.