[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 3 (Wednesday, January 5, 2022)]
[Pages S35-S37]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           Election Security

  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, earlier this week, the majority leader 
sent a letter to our Democratic colleagues, which has been widely 
distributed in the press even though he didn't send it to folks on this 
side of the aisle. We have all now had a chance to read it. He has 
outlined what the next few weeks on the Senate floor might look like.
  Now that the so-called Build Back Better--or what some have called 
the reckless tax-and-spending spree--bill has been sidelined due to 
lack of support, Senator Schumer has shifted his focus to another 
dangerous and unnecessary bill. This time, rather than an attempt to 
spend trillions of dollars and to raise taxes on the American people, 
he is proposing that we overhaul the very foundation of our democracy.
  Our colleagues on the Democratic side don't trust their own State 
legislators to pass voting laws that are in compliance with the Voting 
Rights Act and the laws of the land. The reason I say that, as shocking 
as it may sound, is, why in the world would they want to preempt their 
own State voting laws by passing a national law which would, under the 
supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, preempt their own State 
laws? Well, this power grab would give the Federal Government 
unprecedented power to make decisions about how elections are run in 
all 50 States.
  This isn't the first time our friends across the aisle have shown an 
interest in hijacking America's elections. We have seen various 
versions before, each one relying on a slightly different marketing 
strategy. At one point, it was touted as a necessity of election 
security. Then, when that didn't work, they said: Well, this is about 
instilling in the voters confidence in our election laws. Then, when 
they failed to muster the political support necessary to pass that 
bill, they tried to figure out another way to sell it, and they said: 
Well, really what we need to do is remove obstacles that prevent people 
from voting.
  Well, the 2020 election saw an unprecedented turnout. In my State, 
there were 11.3 million people who cast their ballots. Hispanics, 
African Americans, and other minorities voted in historically high 
numbers. Sixty-six percent of registered voters in Texas voted in the 
2020 election, making it the highest voter turnout in 120 years when 
you look across the great expanse of this country. So now our 
colleagues across the aisle are going to have to come up with a new 
sales pitch.
  As we know, in the wake of the 2020 election and concerns about some 
of the irregularities in those various States, States have passed 
legislation to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. I can't 
imagine why we wouldn't all embrace that approach: Make it easier to 
vote and harder to cheat.
  Senator Schumer has described these State laws as ``reprehensible'' 
and ``the most sweeping attack on the right to vote since the beginning 
of Jim Crow.'' Based on those extraordinary statements, you might think 
that the States have restored literacy tests. You might think the 
disgusting and subjective determination of ``good moral character'' 
before someone was allowed to vote--the kind of prohibitions that 
existed after the Civil War--had been reinstated.
  The truth is different than Senator Schumer would portray. Many of 

[[Page S36]]

changes in State laws were designed to reduce opportunities for fraud 
or roll back temporary protocols that were put in place during the 
  The new Texas law, for example, requires voting systems to be tested 
before an election is held to ensure there are no technical 
difficulties. It is not unheard of that voting machines break or need 
to be repaired. That just makes sense.
  The new Texas law also requires that voter rolls be kept up-to-date; 
in other words, people who are no longer alive--their names would be 
removed from the voter rolls.
  Texas is no stranger to voting irregularities. In fact, the story of 
Box 13 in Jim Wells County, TX, was supposedly the reason why Lyndon 
Baines Johnson beat Coke Stevenson in the race for the U.S. Senate 
many, many years ago. Strangely enough, the votes on the voting rolls 
tended to go through the local cemetery and go in alphabetical order, 
providing LBJ the votes he needed in order to beat Coke Stevenson in 
that election. So removing dead voters from the voter rolls strikes me 
as a pretty good idea.
  Other changes the State legislature made in Texas expanded voting 
access. We already offer 2 weeks of early voting in person, and the new 
law didn't make any changes to that, but it did extend voting hours in 
more than 60 Texas counties and clarified that voters who were in line 
at the polling place before polls closed will still be able to cast 
their ballots.
  The Texas law was not the only one to actually improve voter access. 
Georgia, for example, expanded early voting in person to 17 days, which 
is more generous than what is offered in many Democrat States.
  In New Jersey, by contrast, early voting only lasts 9 days--9 days in 
New Jersey, 17 days in Georgia. Has the Attorney General sued New 
Jersey for somehow suppressing the right to vote? No, he hasn't. He has 
sued Georgia, and he has sued Texas. And I will make a prediction right 
here today that he will lose both of those lawsuits because the facts 
simply don't support the litigation.
  If you are from New York, you have 10 days before early voting in 
order to cast your ballot--less than you see in Georgia and Texas.
  And this year, for the first time in President Biden's home State of 
Delaware, you can have 10 days before election day in which to cast 
your ballot. Before that time, including the 2020 election, in 
Delaware, if you wanted to cast your ballot before the election--like 
you can in Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, and New York--you couldn't even 
do it because in President Biden's home State of Delaware, they did not 
allow early in-person voting until this year.
  Well, contrary to what Senator Schumer said, these changes are far 
from reprehensible; they are common sense. You don't hear Senator 
Schumer claim that Delaware is trying to suppress the right to vote by 
not having any early in-person voting before this year.
  So it is very politically convenient for the majority leader to 
attack those States where Democrats aren't doing quite so well in the 
elections because it doesn't align with their goals here.
  What are their goals? Well, it is purely partisan political 
advantage. Our Democratic colleagues have tried to spin this narrative 
of a blatant attack on the right to vote. How you could make that claim 
in terms of the historic turnouts in the 2020 election is beyond me.
  I will just give you one personal example. When I was last on the 
ballot in 2014, there were 4.8 million voters. In 2020, when I was next 
on the ballot--that actually was the last time I was on the ballot, 
2020--there were 11.3 million voters. So we more than doubled the 
number of people who cast their ballot in Texas in 6 years.
  And the story could be told in other parts of the country, like 
Florida and others, where more and more people are voting, which is 
certainly something we endorse and we embrace. But we also want to make 
it harder to cheat.
  Our colleagues have tried to spin this narrative of voter 
suppression. But the myth of widespread voter suppression in 2022 is a 
myth. Well, why is that?
  Well, in 1965, Congress passed something called the Voting Rights 
Act, which was a historic piece of legislation that said you cannot 
deny people access to the ballot on the basis of race or ethnicity.
  And the good news is, over the intervening years, the Voting Rights 
Act has worked magnificently. In fact, many States that previously were 
subject to preclearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act 
because of historic discrimination actually now have greater 
participation by minorities in their elections than other States that 
were not so covered.
  And right now, the law of the land is, under section 2 of the Voting 
Rights Act, if any State or political subdivision tried to suppress 
people's right to vote based on race or ethnicity, they would be sued 
by the Attorney General, as they should be, and it would be declared 
  That law, section 2, has been part of the Voting Rights Act for more 
than a half a century, and no one is proposing to change it because it 
has worked exactly the way Congress intended when we passed it in 1965.
  The Democrats are falsely claiming assaults on the right to vote for 
one reason and one reason only, and it is to achieve political ends 
because the facts simply do not support their arguments or their 
  Now, it shouldn't be of any surprise that Republicans don't want to 
turn over their elections to Washington, DC, and to the Biden 
Department of Justice. So the path forward for the majority leader is 
to try to eliminate the 60-vote requirement known as the filibuster in 
order to pass legislation.
  In his letter earlier this week, Senator Schumer concedes that the 
Senate was designed to protect minority rights, but those rights, he 
said, have been ``warped and contorted to obstruct and embarrass the 
will of [the] majority.''
  I can tell you from experience that the majority is always frustrated 
by the 60-vote cloture requirement known as the filibuster, but it is 
designed for a very specific purpose. It is designed to force us to do 
what maybe does not come naturally, which means to work together on a 
bipartisan basis to build consensus legislation that will stand the 
test of time.
  But what Senator Schumer is proposing to do, because we have a 50-50 
Senate, is to change the rules so that Democrats, and Democrats alone, 
can dictate what these new laws will look like. That is it. It is not 
any more complicated than that.
  Senator Schumer is frustrated, no doubt, by everything that he and 
the Democratic colleagues in the Senate have been unable to accomplish, 
what they have promised and what they have delivered. But this is by 
his own design. He sets the agenda. He knows if he brings a bill to the 
floor like the infrastructure bill that passed earlier this year or the 
national defense authorization bill, that there is broad bipartisan 
support, and the chances are that they will pass with large bipartisan 
majorities, as both of those did.
  But when they try to jam through things like so-called Build Back 
Better, which has zero support on the Republican side and actually 
doesn't even have unanimous support on the Democratic side, it should 
be no surprise that they are unable to get that passed, as we have seen 
in recent weeks.
  So Senator Schumer sets the agenda. If he decides to continue to set 
the agenda on partisan legislation that doesn't even enjoy majority 
support of his own political party, he can expect the same results over 
and over again.
  He himself is the reason why the President's agenda has not succeeded 
because he has given up on bipartisanship and consensus building in a 
50-50 Senate.
  The reason why it is important to build bipartisan consensus when it 
comes to legislation is because they will endure no matter what happens 
in the next election or the next election or the next election. This is 
good policy so people can plan.
  It also assures that the States that elect Senators who happen to be 
of the minority party will have their views listened to and 
accommodated, where possible, as part of that consensus-building 
  The filibuster, which the American people probably did not widely 
hear much about before but have heard a lot about, was designed to 
ensure that each of these things occurs--bipartisan consensus building, 
legislation that

[[Page S37]]

will stand the test of time, and legislation that will not change with 
each fleeting majority. That is what the 60-vote requirement known as 
the filibuster is designed to address.
  Now, what has been so remarkable to me is how Senator Schumer's views 
on the filibuster have changed. Back in 2005, he said eliminating the 
filibuster would be the ``doomsday for democracy.'' He was in the 
minority then. He said eliminating the filibuster would be the 
``doomsday for democracy.''
  More recently, when it suited his political interests, he argued to 
protect it and said that we should--well, this is before he was in the 
majority. He argued that we ought to ``build a firewall around the 
legislative filibuster.''
  During his days in the Senate, President Biden, who served a long 
time in this institution, said:

       This nuclear option--

  That is what he called eliminating the 60-vote requirement to close 
off debate known as the filibuster.
  He said:

       This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the 
     arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the 
     majority party.

  That is what he called what Senator Schumer is trying to do today. He 
called it ``the arrogance of power,'' and he called it ``a fundamental 
power grab by the majority party.''
  Our friends across the aisle used the filibuster numerous times to 
block majority-proposed legislation when they were in the minority. 
They filibustered countless bills on everything from pandemic relief to 
police reform.
  Now, when it is politically convenient and expedient, they flip-flop. 
They have gone from defending this consensus-building rule to declaring 
it public enemy No. 1.
  I could use a lot of examples, but I will just use this one from our 
colleague Senator Durbin, the majority whip.
  Just a few years ago, Senator Durbin, a distinguished Member of this 
body and part of the Democratic leadership, said that if the filibuster 
were eliminated, it ``would be the end of the Senate as it was 
originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers.'' 
That was just in 2018.
  Last year, he said the filibuster is ``not the guarantor of 
democracy. It has become the death grip of democracy.''
  I guess we can be forgiven if we get whiplash trying to reconcile 
those two conflicting positions in a short period of 3 years.
  The truth is, this isn't about some noble endeavor saving our 
democracy. This isn't about just policy differences. This is about 
gaining permanent partisan political advantage by nationalizing our 
State-run election laws, which, by the way, I believe would be 
  Democrats simply think it is in their best interest to eliminate the 
60-vote consensus-building rule and to secure an easy path for 
legislation, and that may be true--for now.
  But what we have learned from hard experience is that there are 
inherent consequences to changing rules in a place where your power, 
where your majority is never guaranteed. Elections happen. Majorities 
come and go. Presidents change political parties.
  In less than a year's time, Republicans could hold the majority in 
either or both Chambers. In 3 years, a Republican could be in the White 
House as well.
  Ask yourself this: Would our Democratic colleagues still support 
eliminating the filibuster were that to occur? If Republicans were in 
the majority in the House and the Senate and there was a Republican in 
the White House, would they support eliminating the filibuster? Not on 
your life. Would they believe that the minority party should be 
silenced, as they apparently are arguing for now? Not on your life.
  We don't have to speculate on hypotheticals because we have seen this 
scenario before. Less than a decade ago, our Democratic colleagues went 
``nuclear.'' That is using the terminology that President Biden used 
when he was in the Senate, the ``nuclear option''--the rule change to 
breaking the rules in order to change the rules.
  Less than a decade ago, Democrats went ``nuclear'' and eliminated the 
60-vote threshold for judicial nominees. This was a precedent that they 
themselves had established. At the time, Leader McConnell said--who has 
been here for a while, who has seen majorities come and majorities go--
he said:

       You will regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner 
     than you think.

  Unsurprisingly, he was right. Under the previous administration, a 
Republican-led Senate, with a Republican in the White House, confirmed 
more than 230 Federal judges--all thanks to the Democrats' nuclear 
option rule change.
  If Senator Schumer were able to convince Senator Manchin and Senator 
Sinema to blow up the Senate and to break the rules, along with 
others--and that is a big if--it might clear the way for the 
legislation they want right now. But when the balance of power shifts, 
as it surely will, this rule change they are proposing today could make 
it easier for Republicans to pass legislation that our Democratic 
colleagues simply abhor--legislation that protects the right to life, 
legislation that secures the border and controls illegal immigration, 
legislation that balances the Federal budget, protects our Second 
Amendment rights, or--take your pick--any other changes Democrats would 
certainly oppose. That would be possible if they were to get their way 

  Now, I have heard this argument about, well, this is just going to be 
a carve-out. There is no such thing as a carve-out under the Senate's 
rules and precedents. This would be applied broadly and allow 
Republicans to turn the tables and to pass legislation Democrats 
dislike by a simple majority if they were to eliminate the 60-vote 
filibuster requirement.
  The truth is that in the Senate, the shoe is always on the other 
foot, eventually, which is why no party has ever been so shortsighted 
as to eliminate the legislative filibuster in the history of the U.S. 
  Fortunately, the Senate is designed to allow for deliberation and 
debate, and cooler heads usually prevail. I hope the Senators who, 
along with Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, will remain steadfast--
and I do believe there are other Senators who are of similar views, 
that it would be shortsighted and foolish to eliminate the filibuster, 
but simply haven't attracted attention to themselves and let Senator 
Manchin and Senator Sinema take all the slings and arrows. But I hope 
those who oppose changes in the legislative filibuster will remain 
steadfast in their opposition to such a dangerous change.
  A completely partisan overhaul of America's elections is hardly an 
effective way to improve public confidence in our elections. It is just 
the opposite. A partisan change in our election laws, by nationalizing 
them, won't lead to improved public trust or more secured elections. It 
is a recipe for fraud, abuse, and partisan distrust.
  This rules change in the legislation would fast-track and may make 
some activists in the Democratic base happy, but it would instill 
lasting instability and distrust in our institutions, including our 
  I would simply encourage our Democratic colleagues to reconsider 
their current position based on their past position and to consider the 
grave consequences before leading our country down this dangerous path.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.