Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tore into congressional Democrats’ massive election reform effort Tuesday night, telling Fox News that the For the People Act “was written in hell by the devil himself.”
The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives along party lines in March, failed a Senate test vote earlier Tuesday evening. All 50 Democrats — including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who previously said he would vote “no” on final passage — supported beginning debate on the measure, while all 50 Republicans opposed doing so.
Republicans derided the legislation as an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of states to conduct — and secure — elections as they see fit. Some Republicans mockingly called the bill the “Screw the People Act,” while Lee and his close colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have called it the “Corrupt Politicians Act.”
“This bill wouldn’t make it easier to vote,” Lee told “Hannity”. “This bill would make it easier to vote illegally. This is the Corrupt Politicians Act and I’m glad we defeated it.”
Lee took particular issue with a section of the legislation that would have imposed a 6-to-1 match for small-dollar donations to candidates.
“There’s one thing the American people do not want, and that’s for the federal government to be running politician’s campaigns, and I’m thrilled that we stopped it,” he said.
Following the vote, President Biden issued a statement decrying what he described as “a solid Republican wall of opposition” and describing the vote as “the suppression of a bill to end voter suppression — another attack on voting rights that is sadly not unprecedented.” The president has repeatedly referred to election reform measures in states like Georgia as a new form of the “Jim Crow” racial segregation laws enacted between Reconstruction and the civil rights movement.
Some Democrats justified the legislation by saying it was necessary to limit the ability of state officials to remove local election officials. Georgia’s election reform law, which was enacted earlier this year, gives the GOP-dominated Legislature greater influence over a state board that regulates elections and empowers it to remove local election officials deemed to be underperforming.
Lee dismissed that justification as a “ruse” Tuesday night.
“This bill … had nothing to do with 2020, it had nothing to do with Georgia’s law this year, or Texas’ [proposed election reform] law this year,” he said. “No, this was written years ago. That was all a ruse, and that’s why it’s so essential that we make sure this remains defeated.”
“I’ve been absolutely concerned, panicked, that if there’s any chance this becomes law, it would be devastating to the country,” Lee added. “This would be bad for everyone other than Democratic political incumbents.”
With Post wires