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“It is surreal to hear sitting senators invoke Jan. 6 to justify breaking the rules to grab outcomes they have not earned,” said McConnell, R-Ky. “It is jaw-dropping for colleagues to propose to commemorate that by breaking the Senate themselves.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images)
McConnell’s condemnation comes one day after he accused Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of trying “to break the Senate” by gutting the filibuster.
In a Monday letter to his Democratic colleagues, Schumer said the upper chamber would debate rule changes in an attempt to carve a path for voting reform legislation.
Schumer said the move was necessary to circumvent situations like the Jan. 6 attack that could jeopardize the legitimacy of the current democratic process.
“We must adapt,” he wrote. “The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history.”
But McConnell, who told Politico Wednesday that he may support making changes to the 1887 Electoral Count Act, has taken issue with making any sweeping changes to Senate rules or broader election reform.
“No party that would trash the Senate’s legislation traditions can be trusted to seize control over election laws all across America,” McConnell said Wednesday from the Senate floor. “Nobody who is this desperate to take over our democracy on a one-party basis can be allowed to do it.”
“Finally, it is beyond distasteful for some of our colleagues to ham-fistedly invoke the Jan. 6 anniversary to advance these aims,” he said.
McConnell has faced criticism for his stark condemnation of filibuster reform after he amended the rule during Donald Trump’s presidency in order to confirm Supreme Court nominees by a simple majority – securing the former president three justices to the high court.
But despite the majority leader’s recent push to amend the filibuster, he continues to face an uphill battle from within his own party.
Moderate Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have repeatedly said they do not support filibuster reform.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
This means Democrats will still need to secure 60 votes in favor of voting reform in order to pass legislation – a tough feat in a 50-50 split Senate.
Schumer has said the upper chamber will consider rule changes on or before Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – in an attempt to push through voting rights legislation by simple majority and bypass the 60-vote margin needed to avoid threat of filibuster.