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'No power whatsoever': Romney warns Dems of 2022 consequences if they change filibuster

USA TODAY
USA TODAY
 2022-01-12

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, warned Democrats of potential consequences if they change the Senate filibuster and the GOP retakes control of both chambers of Congress in the 2022 midterms.

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The Utah senator was responding to Biden's speech from Georgia on Tuesday when the president argued the future of democracy is at stake and urged Congress to pass two voting rights bills that have stalled in the Senate. Biden also threw his support behind an effort to exempt the measures from a GOP filibuster so they could be put to a vote.

More: Voting rights groups tell Biden they want action, not 'platitudes,' as he travels to Georgia for speech

Senate Democrats have been unable to pass several pieces of legislation focused on voting rights due to the legislative hurdle known as the filibuster, where 60 votes are needed to pass bills. With the upper chamber split evenly 50-50 between the political parties, much of the Democrats' agenda, including voting rights, has stalled.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said that if Congress doesn't pass voting rights legislation this week, he will put a vote on the floor to change Senate rules by Martin Luther King Jr. Day next week.

Romney said Tuesday that there is a "reasonable chance Republicans will win both houses in Congress, and that Donald Trump himself could once again be elected president in 2024."

"Have Democrats thought what it would mean for them — for the Democrat minority — to have no power whatsoever?" he continued.

Romney said, "The United States Senate is one of our vital democratic institutions, and the power given to the minority in the Senate and the resulting requirement for political consensus are among the Senate’s defining features."

"Note that in the federal government, empowerment of the minority is established through only one institution: the Senate," he continued. "The majority decides in the House; the majority decides in the Supreme Court; and the president, of course, is a majority of one. Only in the Senate does the minority restrain the power of the majority."

He called allowing the minority to have power "critical" because then bill passing through the Senate will be aimed to be bipartisan and not "originate from the extreme wing of either [party]."

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He criticized Biden's Tuesday speech where the president said it was Republicans' "endgame" to "turn the will of the voters into a mere suggestion.”

"President Biden goes down the same tragic road taken by President Trump — casting doubt on the reliability of American elections," Romney said. "This is a sad, sad day. I expected more of President Biden, who came into office with the stated goal of bringing the country together."

Romney has been an outspoken force on Capitol Hill against Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

He voted to convict Trump not once, but twice, in the Senate impeachment trials, where both charges were related to the election. The first happened in 2020 over Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations of political rivals, including then candidate Joe Biden, in exchange for releasing nearly $400 million in congressionally approved military aid.

The second was related to Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and breach of the U.S. Capitol on the date Congress was counting the electoral votes certifying Biden's win.

'There's a chance I could die here': Here's what 27 members of Congress told us about Jan. 6

Electoral Count Act: What is it, how did it play a role in the 2020 election and Jan. 6, and why are there calls to change it?

Schumer told MSNBC on Wednesday he thought Romney's response was "unbelievably amazing that he would equate Donald Trump and Joe Biden."

"To equate that with Democratic upsetness at wanting to change the rules, so that we can have fair and free elections, is just an absurdity, and Mitt Romney knows that. Mitt Romney knows that. He knows that Joe Biden and Donald Trump are not the same," Schumer continued.

Schumer highlighted Democrats' argument for wanting to change the filibuster to pass voting rights laws: state legislatures making sweeping changes to voting laws.

In the months after the 2020 election — which saw historic voter turnout amid a global pandemic — disputes over voting rights and election security have become a central debate in statehouses across the country. According to the Brennan Center for Justice , a nonpartisan policy group affiliated with the New York University School of Law, in 2021 at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting.

‘A new American fault line’: How new election laws will make it harder for 55 million to vote

Contributing: Matthew Brown, Philip Bailey, Joey Garrison, Courtney Subramanian

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'No power whatsoever': Romney warns Dems of 2022 consequences if they change filibuster

Comments / 656

dave johnston
01-13

American elections are for Americans and should not be allowed by other foreign countries and people that are not members of this country to vote in our elections

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Deirdre Martin
01-13

Why does the writer of this article call Jan 6 an “insurrection” when not a single person who was arrested from that day has been charged with it?

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America's in trouble
01-13

Democrats are too blind to look that far forward even though it's only 10 months out where they're going to lose the house and the Senate, then Republicans will be able to do whatever they want without Democrats raising a single fuss about it because they will have killed their only weapon

Reply(26)
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