01.11.22

Lankford Warns Senate Democrats Against Destroying Filibuster for Schumer’s Progressive Tantrum

Lankford: “This is 250 years of history my Democratic colleagues are planning to flush down the toilet because they don't get their way, on a bill we rightfully have very strong philosophical differences on.”

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) spoke on the Senate floor today about Majority Leader Schumer’s (D-NY) scheme to get rid of the legislative filibuster in order to get his “voting rights” bill passed. Earlier today, Lankford joined Senate Republicans in a press conference on his firm stance that the filibuster remain in place.

Lankford joined Fox News Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy to discuss Democrats’ latest effort to get rid of the filibuster in order to push their stalled legislative agenda, including “voting rights” and “Build Back Broke.” Lankford called out Democrats’ hypocrisy on trying to nuke the filibuster and frequently references the letter that 32 Democrats sent to Senator McConnell (R-KY) in an effort to preserve it including tonight on the Senate floor. Lankford responded to Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) threat to bend Senate rules to his progressive legislative agenda. Lankford remains opposed to Democrats’ push to federalize elections and take them out of the hands of states.

Excerpts

In 1965, our nation took bold step to make sure we protected the rights of every single individual to be able to vote because there was a season in American history where Black Americans were being pushed out. There were poll taxes, Jim Crow laws, things that pushed people away from voting. So in 1965 our nation passed the Voting Rights Act... That stands today. If a single person or group of people are suppressed in their voting, are prohibited from voting, federal courts today have the right to be able to step in on any jurisdiction, any state in America to be able to protect the rights of individuals to be able to vote. I bring that to this body as a reminder because for some reason an enormous portion of this body on the left side of this room are running around the nation and saying, if we don't do something right now, there'll be voter suppression in America and we have to change that. When they all know in 1965 we passed the Voting Rights Act, and that Act still stands today to be able to protect the rights of individuals…

… Most of the areas in their bill we look at and go are you kidding me? We disagree on this. Things like same-day voter registration where a person could literally walk in, say, ‘I’ve never registered to vote before,’ tell them their name and then vote on the spot. Honestly, I have a problem with that because there is no way to be able to validate that they didn't vote in Oklahoma City and then go vote in Tulsa and then vote in Muskogee, Oklahoma. There is no way to know. They just voted and there is no way to validate that person is even that person…

… We have a disagreement on the issue of felons voting. Each state makes that decision whether they're going to allow felons to vote, but in this piece of legislation, Democrats are bringing, they're saying, ‘No, felons have to be given the right to vote when they get out of prison.’ Now, I understand we may disagree on that, but I want you to stand what they're saying. My Democrat colleagues are saying, ‘I will blow up the rules of the Senate and change 250 years of history in the Senate to get my way, if you don't allow rapists, convicted murderers, and convicted sex offenders to be able to vote.’ They are so determined that sex offenders get the right to vote, they're willing to blow up the rules of the senate to get it. Can we not have a disagreement on whether to force states to mandate that convicted murderers, sex offenders and rapists get to vote again?...

… In this piece of legislation, they provide government funding, taxpayer funding for Members of the House of Representatives, just down the hall over there. Here's the way they set it up. If you're running for the House of Representatives and you raise small dollar donations, then taxpayers will fund your campaign on a six to one match. It gets even better because you as a candidate could actually take a salary from that as well and actually be paid by the taxpayer to be able to run for office, if you're running in the House of Representatives. Can we not have a disagreement on that? I don't meet many people in Oklahoma that say they want to fund House Members running in New York state or California or Illinois or even in Oklahoma. They don't want to fund them with their tax dollars…

…Our state passed House Bill 2663. House Bill 2663 did a couple of things. It added an extra day of early voting for the general elections. Added an extra day of in-person early voting. And it said if you request an absentee ballot, you have to do that 15 days prior to the election. Do you know why we did that? Because the United States Postal Service contacted every state and asked them to do that, because the Postal Service said, ‘We can no longer guarantee we can get something mailed to a person and give them time to get it actually mailed back in time for the election.’ So to make sure people's votes actually count, we did what the United States Postal Service actually recommended to us. We moved our requests for an absentee ballot to 15 days before the election to make sure every vote would count…

… So what's happening now with this? Well, there's two big issues here. One is this fight over voting, whether states make decisions on voting or whether Washington, DC, Democrats make decisions on voting for their states, even if it's a Democrat state. And then the next big issue is are the Democrats in this room actually going to destroy the filibuster and silence the rights of the minority in America? Now, if you would have asked me four years ago, I would have said no way. That's not going to happen. Because a group of Democrats and a group of Republicans joined together and said, [they] are committed to not destroying the legislative filibuster. Why? Because it's what makes the House and the Senate different. The House and the Senate are not just ones bigger and one is smaller. The House and Senate operate differently. The Senate has been the place for two-and-a-half centuries where the debate occurs AND the rights of individual Senators to be able to debate the issues, defend their state, and talk about the rights of Americans…

… Listen, this is not some trivial exercise. This is 250 years of history my Democratic colleagues are planning to flush down the toilet because they don't get their way, on a bill we rightfully have very strong philosophical differences on. Hey, I don't agree on giving rapists and sex offenders or convicted felons voting rights when they get out of prison. I'm not alone in that. I don't agree in federal tax dollars being used to be able to pay for political campaigns. I'm not alone in that. That's not that crazy. I don't agree that my state should have to go play ‘Mother, may I?’ with some future attorney general because they to add another day of voting. I'm not alone in that. But to say, ‘If you don't do this now, I’ll destroy the Senate,’ is a toxic shift for our republic…

… This is not a flippant issue. As I’ve spoken to some of my Democratic colleagues, they seem to believe, ‘We'll just take this vote and no one is going to care.’ In fact, some of my Democratic colleagues are saying, ‘We know we're going to lose. Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema have already made public comments. They're not going to go with this. We're going to take this, make a statement. Our progressive base wants us to do this. It's not going to pass anyway. So we'll just do it.’…

… I've spoken to so many of my colleagues and said, ‘Don't do this.’ And they've quietly responded back to me, ‘I don't want to do this.’…

… We are the only body that has a protection for the minority voice. I think the only legislative body in the world that's designed like this. It's been part of the secret sauce of America, that the minority in America, however large or small it is, has a voice. My Democratic colleagues are now saying, ‘We no longer want the minority to have a voice in America. If you're in the minority opinion, you don't count. Sit down, shut up, we're in the majority.’ That has never been the American way, not in 250 years…

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