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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) referred to Democratic calls to expand voting opportunities a “power grab.”
McConnell had already disparaged the bill, called the For the People Act, or H.R. 1, in a Washington Post op-ed, there referring to the bill as a “power grab.” He reiterated his position on Wednesday.
McConnell discussed the bill again while the Senate was discussing S. 1, a Middle East security bill, which among other things increases protections for state and local governments that refuse to engage with businesses who boycott Israel.
In the midst of that discussion, McConnell turned tack to denigrate H.R. 1, accusing House Democrats of trying to “rewrite the rules of American politics for the exclusive benefit of the Democratic party.”
His focus was on taxpayer-funded campaigns, but he took a moment to balk at the idea of making Election Day a paid holiday for government workers.
“Democrats also want taxpayers on the hook for generous new benefits for federal bureaucrats and federal employees,” McConnell said.
Bloomberg reporter Steven Daniels tweeted, “On Senate floor Mitch McConnell rips a federal holiday for Election Day as part of a ‘power grab’ by Democrats to win elections.”
On Senate floor Mitch McConnell rips a federal holiday for Election Day as part of a “power grab” by Democrats to win elections.— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 30, 2019
“A power grab is smelling more and more like exactly what it is,” McConnell said, ignoring the fact that most recent voter suppression efforts have targeted people of color and other groups most likely to vote for Democrats.
Voter disenfranchisement has been rampant in this country, from poll taxes to the gutting of key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In the 2018 midterms, there were multiple reports of voter suppression in Georgia, where that state’s Republican secretary of state was running for governor.
Native American voters in North Dakota fought back after a strict voter ID law threatened to disenfranchise much of that community, and North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district is still without a representative due to an ongoing investigation into election fraud on behalf of the Republican candidate, Mark Harris.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.