Editor’s note: At a Senate Rules Committee meeting Tuesday when senators met to consider amendments to the For the People Act, legislation that would affect election laws across the nation, Sen. Ted Cruz spoke about the bill, saying it would suppress “millions of votes … by allowing millions of people to vote illegally.” Read the lightly edited transcript of the Texas Republican’s remarks below, or watch the video above.
This legislation I believe is the most radical legislation the Senate has considered in the nine years I’ve been here and it is the most dangerous legislation pending before the United States Congress.
I listened to the speeches this morning. I listened to Sen. [Chuck] Schumer’s speech where he recounted this country’s shameful history of Jim Crow laws. And he’s right. Jim Crow laws were bigoted, racist, and disenfranchised millions of people.
It is worth remembering that those Jim Crow laws were drafted by Democrats. They were implemented by Democrats and they kept Democrats in power.
Now today’s talking point repeated in the media is that was the Democrats of yesterday, not today. Well today, the Democrats are doing it again. This legislation—to use a phrase that has been popularized on the media recently—is Jim Crow 2.0. This legislation would disenfranchise millions of Americans.
Many of us are referring to this legislation as the “Corrupt Politicians Act” … Sen. Schumer talked about politicians picking their constituents. That’s what this legislation does. This legislation is designed to ensure that Democrats never lose another election.
This legislation would register millions of illegal aliens to vote. It is intended to do that. It is intended to do that because Democrats have made the decision that millions of illegal aliens voting are likely to vote for Democrats. This would register vast numbers of criminals and felons to vote because Democrats have made the decisions that criminals and felons are likely to vote for Democrats.
This legislation strikes down virtually every voter integrity law adopted at the state level, voter ID laws. Over 70% of Americans support voter ID laws. By the way, over 60% of African Americans in this country support voter ID laws. Twenty-nine states have voter ID laws on the books. What does this legislation do? Strikes them all down. Says it’s illegal for any state to have a voter ID law.
Ballot harvesting—31 states prohibit ballot harvesting. Why? Because it is a corrupt practice where paid operatives handle the ballots of someone else. And it has repeatedly led to instances of stealing votes. What does this bill do? It strikes down all 31 states’ restrictions on ballot harvesting.
This bill turns the Federal Election Commission from a bipartisan agency into a partisan agency, into a partisan agency controlled by Democrats. Why? Because Democrats want Chuck Schumer in charge of the Federal Election Commission. The effect of that, I will point out, will be that every Republican senator and every Republican House member will be investigated, will be fined, will be prosecuted by the Federal Election Commission.
By the way, if this bill were to pass and miraculously Democrats were to lose power—and this is designed to make it impossible for Democrats to lose power—I ask you for a moment, which Democrat on this committee would want a Federal Election Commission controlled by Sen. [Mitch] McConnell … the Federal Election Commission shouldn’t be a partisan weapon designed to win elections.
This legislation is profoundly dangerous and the reason it suppresses millions of votes is by allowing millions of people to vote illegally. That is the intended effect and that would be the actual effect of this bill. It dilutes the legal votes of American citizens.
Sen. Schumer said, and I wrote this down, “the stench of oppression.” When Democrats drafted Jim Crow the last time, well, the stench of oppression is here again. Sen. Schumer said, “The eyes of history are on you.” The eyes of history are on you as well.
And let me point out something. It’s just a few years ago that Republicans had control of the White House, the Senate, and the House. We didn’t do this. We didn’t try to change the election rules so that Democrats could never be elected. We didn’t engage in the corruption to say, “We’re going to rig the game. So if the voters decide to throw the bums out, the voters don’t get the right to do that because we’re going to put our thumb on the scale so that only our party wins.” To my knowledge, not a single Republican suggested doing that.
This bill doesn’t protect voting rights. It steals voting rights from the American people.
[In] the course of this markup, I expect that we’re going to consider a number of amendments. I’ve introduced 46 amendments focused on substantive elements of this bill. We’re going to discuss each aspect of this bill and how they disenfranchise the American voters.
But sadly, I expect to see a lot of play acting. All Democrats voting against those amendments, all Republicans voting for them. Because this bill isn’t designed to be bipartisan.
This bill was drafted to get zero Republican votes. It got zero Republican votes in the House, and it was drafted to get zero Republican votes in the Senate.
Why? Because it’s not about protecting anyone’s rights. It’s about ensuring one party’s dominance at the expense of the voting rights of the American people. And by the way, the history of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment[s]—landmark victories for voting rights in this country—it was the Republican Party that led the fight to pass those amendments.
We should be protecting everyone’s right. And facilitating fraud and registering people to vote illegally undermines the integrity of democracy and as Sen. Schumer observed, the eyes of history are on all of us.
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