[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 4 (Thursday, January 6, 2022)]
[Pages S55-S78]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The majority leader is recognized.

                        Anniversary of January 6

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, it is difficult to put into words what it 
is like to stand here on the floor of the U.S. Senate on this day of 
all days.
  For 163 years, this space has been the home of the upper Chamber of 
the American Congress. What has taken place inside this room over the 
centuries has determined in very real ways the trajectory of our 
Nation. In this room, we carry on the mission handed down to us by the 
Framers to assure the voice of the people is heard and represented and 
acted upon.
  But 1 year ago today, on January 6, 2021, mob violence descended upon 
this Chamber and upon this Capitol. Thousands of rioters, possessed by 
equal measures of rage, conspiracy, and spurred into action by the 
sitting President of the United States, attacked the U.S. Capitol in an 
armed, violent, and deadly effort to halt the peaceful transfer of 
  Its windows were smashed. Its offices were vandalized. And lawmakers 
and our staffs--everyday citizens who love their country and work here 
every day--feared for their lives. Nearly 140 police officers were 
injured, and at least 5 people lost their lives that day or in its 
  The warnings of history are clear. When democracies are in danger, it 
often starts with a mob. That is what happened a year ago here in this 
building: a mob attack. And for mob violence to win the day, it doesn't 
need everyone to join in. It just needs a critical mass of people to 
stay out of the way, to ignore it, to underestimate it, to excuse it 
and even condone it.
  The mob can start out as a small number, but if it is allowed to grow 
and leaders egg on the mob, encourage it, it can become poison. That is 
what Donald Trump is doing, as even his response to President Biden's 
speech today showed. And once that happens, the unthinkable could 
become real. Democracy erodes and could, God forbid--God forbid, horror 
of horrors--vanish.
  The poisonous mob mentality lives on today in the threats against 
election workers, poll workers, even other public servants like school 
board members and health workers. This is what erodes a democracy. And 
Donald Trump today continues to spread his poisonous vile about the Big 
  To borrow from President Franklin Roosevelt, the violent insurrection 
of January 6 was a day that will live forever in infamy, a permanent 
stain in the story of the American democracy and the final bitter, 
unforgivable act of the worst President in modern times.
  Today, on this first anniversary, Members from both the House and 
Senate and our staffs, the President, and the Vice President are here 
today at the Capitol, and one of our purposes is to share memories in 
commemoration of that day. At noon we will hold a moment of silence in 
honor of those who were lost because of the attack.
  And to all my colleagues and to staff who struggle to get through 
today, you are not alone. You are not alone. We are here by your side. 
The Employee Assistance Program has resources available to all Senate 
staff who are processing what happened a year ago.
  Let me share my personal experience on that day. As I have recounted 
many times since then, my personal experience that day was, in some 
ways, like

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the opening sentence of Charles Dickens' ``A Tale of Two Cities'': the 
best of times, the worst of times.
  First came the best of times. Twelve hours before the attack, at 4 
a.m. in the morning, I learned--or several hours before the attack, at 
4 a.m., I learned that our two Democratic Senators had won in Georgia 
and we would gain the majority.
  At 4 a.m. it became clear. I tried to get some sleep, couldn't, got 
down in my car, drove to Washington, and got to the floor of this 
Chamber at 1 p.m., for the first time as the putative majority leader.
  Within 45 minutes of sitting there and watching the beginning of 
counting the ballots, a police officer in a big flak jacket and a large 
rifle grabbed me firmly by the collar like this--I will never forget 
that grip--and said to me: ``Senator, we've got to get out of here. 
You're in danger.''
  We walked out the Senate Chamber door, made a right turn, went 
through another door. This happened to be captured on the videotape 
above, and it was shown at the impeachment trial, although I didn't 
even know they had the tape until I saw it at the impeachment trial. 
But we go through the door. You don't see us for 20 seconds. And then 
we are running out of the door at full speed.
  I was within 30 feet of these nasty, racist, bigoted 
insurrectionists. Had someone had a gun, had two of them blocked off 
the door, who knows what would have happened. I was told later that one 
of them reportedly said: ``There's the big Jew. Let's get him.''
  Bigotry against one is bigotry against all. And I saw something that 
I had been told later never happened before--the Confederate flag 
flying in this dear Capitol. That is just one of many searing, 
grotesque images of that unimaginable, most un-American day.
  There were good moments too. I remember when the leaders--Senator 
McConnell, myself, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy--were sent off to 
the secret place. We convened after desperately trying to get the 
President on the phone to ask him to call the rioters off. We spoke to 
the Secretary of Defense and the Acting Attorney General, but to no 
avail. But then the four of us got together and said: We are going to 
come back. We are going to count those votes. We are not going to let 
the violent insurrectionists stop us. And count the votes we did until, 
I believe it was 3 a.m. the next morning. That was the moment, amidst a 
lot of bad moments.

  So now we ask 1 year later, how shall our country move forward? What 
are we to say and think and do in response to a day when a sitting 
American President, rather than step down from office, unleashed his 
own supporters to attack the government through mob violence? How can 
we help those scarred by that day find solace, find healing? How can we 
make clear to the American people, to the world, and even to ourselves 
that our democracy is still whole?
  First, we must begin by commemorating our emergency responders who 
have died, whether through complications from injuries or, sadly, 
through suicide in the days and months after the violence: Brian 
Sicknick of New Jersey; Howie Liebengood of Virginia; Billy Evans of 
Massachusetts; Jeffrey Smith of Illinois; and Gunther Hashida of 
Virginia. Today and every day, we remember them; we mourn their loss; 
we honor their limitless heroism in the face of the unthinkable.
  Second, we also thank every single member of the Capitol Police, the 
DC Metro Police, and the National Guard, who kept us safe and prevented 
a violent riot from turning into something much worse. That afternoon, 
our Capitol Police were outnumbered, unprepared, and largely left on 
their own. Just watching on television the brutal beating of one of 
them by the mob, another being crushed between a door and a wall, just 
rips your heart apart. You relive that day, and you remember how the 
Capitol Police suffered but persisted and helped preserve our 
democracy. When they held the line, our democracy survived. So not only 
do we thank them but we commit to continue supporting them and fighting 
for them as they fought to defend this building.
  Finally, the only way we will truly move forward from January 6 is by 
speaking truth to power--we cannot avoid it--the truth about what 
happened that day, about what led to the violence, and about what it 
means for our democracy moving forward.
  I say this because too many--often depending on their allegiances--
seem desperate to sweep the memory of January 6 under the rug. Too many 
are working to rewrite the history of what happened, to downplay or 
excuse or even defend the mob, to excuse an insurrection of this very 
Capitol. Too many are hoping the American people will just look away 
and forget that day ever took place. After all, they say, Donald Trump 
is no longer President, right? That can't happen. We can't let that 
happen. We have an obligation not to let that happen because history 
shows us that when you ignore or paint over this kind of violent 
action, it will recur, often in worse form than it had originally. That 
is what history shows.
  We didn't look away after the attack on Pearl Harbor. We didn't look 
away after the attacks on 9/11. They may have been from foreign powers, 
but we still--just because it was Americans who did this, we cannot 
look away after the attack of January 6. What we must do instead is 
stare the truth, however ugly, in the face: The attack of January 6 
didn't come out of the blue. It was not an act of God. It was not 
something that came from foreign soil. It wasn't even just some mere 
protest that got out of hand. No, no, no, no, no. January 6 was an 
attempt to reverse, through violent means, the outcome of a free and 
fair election, an insurrection--call it what it is, what it was. It was 
fundamentally rooted in Donald Trump's Big Lie that the election of 
2020 was illegitimate, in deep offense to the peaceful transfer of 
power--indeed, in deep offense to the very notion of truth itself.
  Anyone who thinks that the origins of this insurrection are going 
away should just have listened a few moments ago when Donald Trump did 
it again--lying and lying and lying about the election, a clear 
reminder of the threat that he and his lie remain to our Nation.
  Alarmingly--alarmingly--many of his supporters quickly embraced the 
lie in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Many of them truly believed 
and still believe that he won the election and the game was rigged--not 
a small number, large numbers of Americans; if you look at polls, tens 
of millions.
  It didn't matter there was no proof to any of these claims. Donald 
Trump kept saying it and saying it and saying it again. And he called 
his supporters to rally here in Washington in a last-ditch effort to 
stay in power. We all know this. That is what happened. We can't forget 
  It was Donald Trump's Big Lie that soaked our political landscape in 
kerosene. It was Donald Trump's rally on The Mall that struck the 
match. Then came the fire. And pouring gasoline on that fire are many 
in one branch of our media who spread the Big Lie then and continue to 
spread the Big Lie even though they know it is false, and millions 
listen to these people and believe it.
  Here, too, is another terrible truth: The disease of the Big Lie 
continues to this day. The attacks on our democracy are ongoing, if not 
by the force of baseball bats and pipe bombs, then certainly through a 
quieter and much more organized effort to subvert democracy from the 
bottom up.

  Just as the Big Lie inspired the attack of January 6, the Big Lie 
continues like a disease across State legislatures throughout the 
country, where we are seeing the most restrictive voter suppression 
efforts since Jim Crow--since Jim Crow--in 21st-century America, 
turning the clock way back.
  Let's be abundantly clear. These new anti-voter laws are on the books 
today only because their authors cited the Big Lie, cited the 
fictitious bugaboo of voter fraud and are trying to succeed where the 
insurrection failed.
  Unless we confront the Big Lie, unless we all do our part to fortify 
and strengthen our democracy, the political violence of January 6 risks 
becoming not an aberration but, God forbid, the norm. And we have seen 
it, too, with the threats against election workers, teachers, school 
administrators, healthcare workers. We cannot put our heads in the 
sand. We cannot brush this over.
  What does that mean for the Senate? I think we have to talk about the 
realities here today too. It means we must

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pass legislation, effective legislation, to defend our democracy, to 
protect the right to vote. We must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights 
Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act so that our country's 
destiny is determined by the voice of the people and not by the violent 
whims of lies and even mob rule. We must also guard against the false 
hopes of solutions that don't deal with the problem, that try to cover 
it up or push it away because people don't want to deal with it.
  Some say the answer lies in doing the bare minimum, like reforming 
the Electoral Count Act that my friend the Republican leader has 
floated in recent days. Let me take this opportunity to make clear that 
that plan, the McConnell plan--that is what it is--is unacceptably 
insufficient and even offensive. Scorekeeping matters little if the 
game is rigged.
  As we know too well, State legislatures are working day and night to 
undermine our democratic process from the get-go by empowering 
partisans to potentially say which ballots count and which do not. What 
good is it to accurately count a result that is compromised from the 
  Senator McConnell's plan to reform the Electoral Count Act would do 
nothing more than codify the Vice President's ceremonial role in the 
counting of the electoral college votes, effectively guaranteeing that 
partisan State legislatures could overturn the elections without fear 
of recourse. Look at what it does. Look at what it does. It is a 
cynical idea. It is an idea to divert attention from the real issue 
because they don't want to confront the real issue.
  This cannot be. This should not be about one party versus another. 
Voting rights have always been bipartisan--supported by Bush, H.W., and 
W., supported by Reagan--passing this Chamber with large votes from 
both sides of the aisle. That is what always used to happen until the 
Republican Party was taken over by Donald Trump.
  So it is not about one party versus another. It can't be. It is about 
one terrible lie against democracy itself, the kind of lie that, if let 
stand both verbally and in action, erodes our democracy--erodes our 
  If a majority of people--there is already a substantial minority who 
don't believe our elections are legitimate, aided and egged on by 
Donald Trump and rightwing media. What if a majority of this country, 
because of these pernicious actions, starts believing it? A majority of 
Americans don't believe that elections are on the level? Just ask 
yourself what will happen. I can't predict the details, but I can 
predict that it will diminish the greatness of this country in small 
and even large ways.
  So we cannot--this should not be a partisan issue. It is about 
falsehood versus truth. In the history of this country, we have always 
disagreed on ideology but never on facts until recently and in such an 
important area.
  If lying about results of an election is acceptable, if instigating a 
mob against the government is considered permissible, if encouraging 
political violence becomes the norm, it will be open season on this 
grand democracy, this noble experiment, and everything will be up for 
grabs by whoever has the biggest clubs, the sharpest spears, the most 
effective lies.
  I do not believe that is the ultimate destiny of our country. The mob 
may be strong, but the counter is stronger--the roots of democracy, the 
feelings of the American people. And the affection and love for this 
grand, noble experiment in democracy are stronger as long as we speak 
out, as long as we act.
  The wellspring of democracy is deep, and even in the most difficult 
of times, Americans have rallied and risen to the occasion. Since the 
early days of our Republic, Americans launched mighty movements, fought 
a bloody civil war, and, yes, passed Federal election laws and voting 
rights laws to expand the promise of democracy until there were no more 
  We are called on, importuned by the millions who have lost their 
lives, to defend this democracy, to defend it once again. I call on all 
Americans--Democrats, Republicans, Independents--to rise to the 
occasion and ensure that the mob, the violence, the lies do not win the 
day. Let the anniversary of January 6 forever serve as a reminder that 
the march to perfect our democracy is never over; that our democracy is 
a precious, sometimes fragile gift, purchased by those who struggled 
before us and that all of us now must do our part to keep the American 
vision going in the present and into the future.
  Somehow, in ways I can't predict but I know are true, I am certain 
that God's mysterious hand will guide us, and truth and right will 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Booker). The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Thank you, Senator Schumer, for your leadership and 
your work and your words today.
  As I stand here, I look at the faces of the staff. I remember the 
moment when we were pushed out of this Chamber for security reasons. I 
remember the words of one staff member, Leigh, who yelled out: Take the 
boxes. Take the boxes. She was talking about the mahogany boxes that 
were filled with the electoral ballots because we knew they would be 
destroyed if they were left behind.
  I remember my own staff--one of them is here today--hearing their 
stories of being in a closet, hiding in a closet with only forks that 
happened to be next door to protect themselves, right next to the doors 
where the insurrectionists had invaded.
  I remember the staff throughout this building who were marooned in 
places and the faces of the police officers, the cuts on their faces, 
the anguish, and the words of Officer Dunn, who said, at the end of the 
day, that he had been called the N-word multiple times and that he had 
looked to his friends, as they collapsed in the Rotunda, and said: ``Is 
this America?''
  ``Is this America?''
  The haunting words of the police officer on the police radio that was 
heard broadcast in the middle of the whole thing: ``Is there a plan?''
  ``Is there a plan?''
  There were many breakdowns that day, but the biggest breakdown was 
the breakdown of our democracy; that some people actually felt that 
they could take the law into their own hands; that they could invade 
not just a building but our very Republic.
  I look back at the words and the speeches that people gave that day, 
not only after the insurrection, but what was telling was what they 
said before it started. I think I would urge people to look at those 
speeches. That discussion that we were having about this had been 
raging for weeks and for months.
  I remember standing at this very place right before we closed down 
the Senate because of the insurrection and going through the facts--
going through the facts about how President-Elect Biden at the time had 
won more votes than any President in history; the facts that 10 living 
Defense Secretaries had actually stood up at the time, including both 
of Donald Trump's Defense Secretaries, including people like Dick 
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and William Cohen, and came together and 
said that the scurrilous attacks on our democracy must stop, and we 
must allow for the peaceful transition of power.
  Then I looked at the very end of my remarks, and I ended with this 
right before we were invaded. I said this:

       My friend Roy Blunt--

  Whom I still have immense respect for what he did that evening.

       My friend Roy Blunt, my fellow Rules Committee leader, many 
     years ago, found a statue, a bust of a man at the top of a 
     bookcase. He did research. He went to the historians. 
     [And][a]ll he could find out was that no one knew who this 
     guy was except that he was a cleric. Hence, the statue is 
     called ``The Unknown Cleric.''
       Now, at the time, our leaders [in this great place] thought 
     this man important enough that they would warrant a statue 
     for him, but today no one knows who he is. Senator Blunt's 
     message to schoolkids and Senators alike that visit his 
     office, when he shows them the statue: What we do here is 
     more important than who we are.

  And I ended with this:

       Senators, what matters is not our futures, not our short-
     term destinies.
       What matters is our democracy's destiny because I think 
     many of us know [that] people will not know who we are 100 
     years from now or 200 years from now, but what they will know 
     is this: They will know what we did today, how we voted 
     today. [And] that is more important than who we are. [As 
     someone once said,] [i]t is a Republic, if we can keep it.

  ``It is a Republic, if we can keep it.'' Those words ring more true 
now than

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they did a year ago because, as we know, the haunting shrieks of the 
police that day, the officer pinned between the doors at the hands of 
rioters--there were people who stood up for our Republic, and there 
were people who attacked our Republic.

  I remember Captain Carneysha Mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the 
Capitol Police, who testified before the Rules Committee, who suffered 
chemical burns to her face while commanding the officers in the Rotunda 
while they struggled to hold the doors open.
  Who can forget Officer Eugene Goodman, who after saving Senator 
Romney from walking directly into the mob, ran by himself to take on a 
group of rioters with his baton and then diverted that mob away from 
the Senate Chamber, allowing us to safely depart?
  Mr. President, who can forget the image right there where you sit on 
that dais of the insurrectionists rifling through papers on people's 
desks, opening up their offices and desks?
  Tragically, five officers who reported for duty have since passed 
away--five officers. You wonder why you see sad faces today on many 
people in this building who were their friends. Capitol Police Officer 
Brian Sicknick died the day after the attack. Four other officers died 
in the days and months that followed--Capitol Police Officer Howard 
Liebengood, DC Metropolitan Police Officers Jeffrey Smith, Gunther 
Hashida, and Kyle DeFreytag.
  Many more suffered physical injuries and even more sustained 
emotional trauma from the events of that day. We also remember, of 
course, Officer Billy Evans, who tragically died doing his job at his 
post in April.
  Recognizing the sacrifice of those heroes to defend our democracy is 
the least we can do. Senator Blunt and I led legislation, with the 
support our leaders, honoring those who protected the Capitol on 
January 6 with the Congressional Gold Medal. It was an honor to stand 
with officers and their families in August as President Biden signed 
this bill into law.
  We have made many, many improvements to the security of the Capitol. 
I think it is very important for staff and officers alike and those who 
work there to know that.
  I want to thank Senator Schumer for his work in installing a new 
Sergeant at Arms, Karen Gibson, for the Senate. We have General Walker 
over in the House, and we have a new Police Chief, Chief Manger, who 
did an excellent job yesterday in describing the changes. We know there 
are many challenges ahead.
  Last, but not least, is that we do not have enough police officers 
right now to fill vacancies so people are working double shifts; they 
are working vacations; they are canceling vacations. We have over 400 
openings, an experience that many police departments throughout the 
country have right now, but one that is very important, and the Chief 
has committed to fill those vacancies.
  But what have we done, the progress? Well, we have, one, gotten new 
personnel in. Two, we have passed a law in this Chamber and signed into 
law by President Biden that makes it easier for the Chief to call in 
the National Guard in the case of emergency. We have made sure that 
there are operational plans in place as there were this summer when 
major events occur.
  One of the saddest memories of that day was the fact that 75 percent 
of the police officers asked to defend this Capitol were in plain 
clothes--75 percent. In many cases, they had less protective gear on 
than the invaders of the Capitol. That has changed--no more equipment 
that is going to be locked on a bus that they can't access. With 
Senator Leahy's leadership with Appropriations and Senator Shelby's 
leadership, we have been able to obtain more funding to get them the 
equipment that they need. All of those things are important.
  But as Senator Schumer noted, the other piece of this is our 
democracy itself. And that means getting to the bottom of what 
happened. Something is happening right now with the House Select 
Committee that is working to get the facts. We would have loved to have 
an independent Commission like the 9/11 Commission to do that, but they 
are doing that work over in the House.
  Yesterday, we heard from Attorney General Garland, who pledged to 
look at this at every level and to go where the facts will lead. Those 
were his words. Accountability at every level for what happened here is 
key, and it is the largest investigation we have seen in the history of 
America. Over 700 people have been charged. That is a big piece of this 
work as well--accountability.
  As Senator Schumer noted, this is also about carrying on the torch of 
our democracy. The voting rights legislation that we are working on 
right now couldn't be more important because what was not accomplished 
with bear spray and bayonets has now been passed on to others to pass 
bills as we have seen in Wisconsin, where a bill actually passed that 
would have allowed for only one ballot dropoff box in the entire city 
of Milwaukee. That one was vetoed by Governor Evers. But others have 
passed in States like Georgia, in States like Texas. And across this 
country is a concerted effort to undermine our democracy.
  So it is on us, when we take an oath to defend the Constitution of 
the United States, no matter what party we are in, to hold our 
democracy dear. It is a precious, precious thing and it is very fragile 
and it is in our hands to protect, just as our police officers 
protected it on January 6.
  When you have 9,600 threats against Members of Congress--double what 
it has ever been in the past--that is not a small thing; that is 
January 6 continued. When you have election officials who have to leave 
their posts because, in the words of the election official from the 
city of Philadelphia, his own family was threatened, their names, their 
addresses, their house put out on the internet; Katie Hobbs, secretary 
of state in Arizona, receiving a voice mail saying: ``I am a hunter--
and I think you should be hunted;'' people in rural areas who are 
elected officials who cannot have the kind of security that people may 
have in this building--that is January 6 continued.
  And we cannot forget our duty going forward. I will end with that 
image that I will always cherish and the hope that democracy will 
prevail. At 3:30 in the morning, when Senator Blunt and I and Vice 
President Pence took that long walk over to the House with the two 
young women with the mahogany box filled with the last of the electoral 
ballots up through Wyoming--there was broken glass on all sides; there 
was spray paint on statues. It was the same walk we had taken in the 
morning, which had been so joyful, the celebration of our democracy, so 
ceremonial--and there we were, the last ones left taking that walk into 
the House Chambers where we finished our job. So when I look back at 
that day, that is the lasting image; that in the end, democracy 
  Two weeks later, there we were under that beautiful blue sky with 
leaders of both parties on that inaugural stage saying that, yes, our 
democracy stood tall. It brushed itself off, and we moved forward as 
one Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all, as we always 
do. And that is the spirit with which we must go forward in the coming 
weeks as we debate the importance--the importance--of keeping that 
democracy strong with election laws; that we continue to improve the 
security in this Capitol; and that we hold the people who did this not 
just to us, not just to this building but to our very Republic--
accountable for what they did.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, these are among the most somber and 
sorrowful remarks that I have had to make as President pro tempore and 
also my several decades of service in this body.
  What an unthinkable event it is that we are marking today--an 
attempted coup incited not against a President but by a President, who 
promoted and still promotes a litany of lies to overturn the results of 
the election in order for him to hold on to power that he no longer 
possesses. We are in the business of words, but there are none to 
adequately capture the damage that he and his henchmen have done and 
are doing to our country.
  I am certain that no one serving here ever thought such an attack on 
our democracy by a violent insurrectionist mob who stormed the 
Capitol--the very citadel of our democracy--could ever happen in our 
beloved country, the world's most enduring democracy.

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  This very Chamber where we are gathered today was breached. It was 
desecrated as was the rest of the Capitol.
  This morning, in my capacity as President pro tempore, I called the 
Senate into session. As I looked around the Chamber, so many memories 
came to mind. I first saw this Senate Chamber as a teenager, visiting 
from our home in Montpelier, VT, with my parents and my sister, coming 
to this Capitol.
  And then later as a Georgetown law student, I would sit in the 
Visitors' Gallery and just watch. I saw the Members of the Senate in 
both parties speaking to the conscience of our Nation--the conscience 
of our Nation--and trying to protect our Constitution.
  In 1975, I came onto the floor of the Senate as the junior-most 
Member of this body. I was in awe of the Senate then. I never expected 
to become the dean of the Senate.
  But a year ago, I sat on the floor of the Senate as Vice President 
Pence was announcing the certification of ballots. I saw him doing this 
in a straightforward and honest way, even though he knew that, at the 
end of the count, he would soon no longer be Vice President nor would 
Donald Trump be President.
  We were all in the Senate paying attention when suddenly officers 
came rushing onto the floor, and they took the Vice President off the 
dais and out the door. Chuck Grassley, the then-President pro tem, went 
to the dais and prepared to recess the Senate.
  As for most of us, I remember looking around here. We were wondering 
what was happening, until I saw 2 feet from me a man wearing a vest 
that said ``police'' on the Senate floor. He was carrying a submachine 
gun. I had never seen anything like this in the U.S. Senate. And you 
recall the police rushed us to the back door to the basement of the 
Capitol, and they shuttled us off to a secure location. I was still 
trying to sort through my mind what was happening.
  Officers were going through the halls. And one officer came along, 
took my arm, and said: ``We're going to watch out for you, Shamrock.''
  So many memories flooded back because Shamrock was the police code 
name for me when I was a recipient of a deadly anthrax letter addressed 
to me that killed and maimed others. Ahead of me I could see the brave 
Parliamentarians, and others had grabbed the cases with the 
certification of ballots. They also grabbed an ivory gavel that is 
right in front of you now, the same gavel I used today to call the 
Senate into session.
  And when we were in the secure room and were starting to see the 
television, we saw a mob, Americans who turned into a mob and turned 
their back on our Nation's constitutional history. They were rejecting 
everything that made America great. They were ignoring our laws, our 
customs, and, most of all, they were ignoring our history.
  The destruction and rampage was something you would see in a movie. I 
never expected to see it in the Capitol, a building that has always 
been a symbol of our democracy.
  A suggestion was made when we were in the secure room that we use our 
authority under the law to vote and make the secure room the Senate 
Chamber. I said: No, we should not be hiding here. As soon as we are 
safe to go back to the Senate, whenever it is, we should go back there, 
all of us, and have the American people see us there.
  I said: It may take an hour, it may take 10 hours, but we should be 
there carrying out the Constitution and saying no criminals can destroy 
our history, our Constitution, our America.
  And I was relieved when virtually all of the Republicans and 
Democrats who were in that room stood and said loudly that they agreed 
with me and that we would wait until we went back.
  I was standing next to the Parliamentarian and the leather boxes 
carrying the certification of election. We both looked at them, and I 
am sure we were both thinking the same thing: We will protect our 
Constitution. We will protect the Senate. We will protect America.
  To the credit of the Members of the Senate and the House, we 
reconvened after the siege. We fulfilled our constitutional duties to 
certify the confirmed results of the election--results that every State 
and Federal court has upheld in the face of blatantly frivolous 
  So my thoughts today are not only about how fragile our democracy is 
but about the heroes of the day: the Capitol Police officers, some of 
whom lost their lives or suffered grievous and enduring injuries; and 
those who joined in the Capitol's defense, especially from the 
Metropolitan Police Department.
  That day, 1 year ago, was such a sad and wrenching day. So disturbing 
was it to see such hatred--hatred and anger--to see the Confederate 
battle flag paraded in the Capitol, where it never was brought, even 
during the Civil War, and to see Nazi emblems and other symbols of hate 
and violence carried by some of those in the mob.
  It was so horrifying to see our brave police officers, many of them 
war veterans who defended America in Iraq and Afghanistan, not just 
disregarded and disrespected but brutally attacked, even by the 
wielding of poles bearing the American flag used as bludgeons and 
  In the aftermath, the National Guard from several of our States were 
called in to protect the Capitol. I visited with members of the Vermont 
National Guard. I know that many other Senators did that with their 
States' Guard troops.

  In the moment, that night, and the next day, Senators on both sides 
of the aisle called this out for the travesty that it was, but amnesia 
has set in since then in some quarters. There has been a concerted 
effort to downplay or grossly mischaracterize the terrible events of 
that day by some Members in both Chambers of Congress. It was not, as 
has been said, ``just another day in January''--what an insult to those 
who lost their lives and to those who suffered injuries from which they 
still struggle to recover.
  The question begs and answers itself: What are we in the Senate here 
for, if not to defend the Republic and our Constitution?
  There is a clear need for justice, and the courts are doing their 
essential work. There is a clear need to know the truth, and even some 
of the former President's closest supporters are heeding their duty to 
respond to the bipartisan congressional investigation into what 
happened that day.
  There will be a clear need to learn the lessons, to safeguard and 
strengthen our democracy, to protect those who serve and protect the 
Capitol and those who work here.
  The courts are dealing with these crimes, but it is detestable how so 
many were so callously used as cannon fodder. Their actions were wrong, 
but many believed they were acting as patriots. The former President 
told them so and egged them on, and they believed him.
  Meanwhile, he and so many of his cronies, unlike many of his 
followers who stormed the Capitol, have paid no price for their roles. 
They must be held accountable for planning and promoting this travesty 
and, in his case, doing nothing to stop the assault, even when appealed 
to, repeatedly, by his closest advisers.
  The New York Times has observed our Nation faces an existential 
threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has 
shown a willingness to use violence to achieve its end. No self-
governing society can survive such a threat by denying it exists. To 
deny it is to be complicit in what happened.
  But, more than anything else, today is a day to remember, to feel 
sorrow that our great Nation ever suffered such violence and division, 
to mourn those who died and were injured and to mark the day as history 
will: the first time in 244 years that our exceptional country was 
almost prevented from carrying out a peaceful transfer of power, a 
sacred principle, a tradition in which we have taken pride for 
generations and which we have taken for granted throughout our entire 
lives and that we have held up as an example to people everywhere.
  Now, our job in Congress is different than the prosecutors' roles. 
Democracy needs a foundation, and that foundation is nothing less than 
the truth. It has been said that trust in the rule of law is built in 
drops and lost in buckets.
  Our job is fundamental: Defend and advance the truth. Protect the 
rule of law itself. And as dean of this body, that is what I will do 
until the day I walk off this floor.

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  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip and Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, a year ago today, we witnessed one of the 
worst assaults on our democracy in living memory. For those of us who 
were in the Chamber--that includes virtually every Senator--there are 
images which are emblazoned in our memory. Mine, like others, was of a 
Vice President sitting, where you are sitting, who shortly after 2 p.m. 
in the afternoon was pulled off of the dais by two of his security 
detail and hurried out that door. It is an unusual thing to happen 
under any circumstances, but while we were counting the electoral 
college returns, it was amazing and unprecedented.
  Then they came up and the Capitol Police instructed us: Stay at your 
desk. This is going to be a secure room. We are going to start bringing 
in all the staff, and they will be lining the walls here. We will keep 
you safe.
  Well, we all sat there in anticipation of the next thing to happen 
and, not 10 minutes later, another Capitol policeman came up and said: 
That last directive is off. Evacuate this body, this room, as quickly 
and orderly as possible.
  And we all started piling out the doors. As we left and went down the 
exit stairways just outside the doors of this Chamber, I looked out the 
window and saw a sea of Trump signs converging on the Capitol. It was 
an image I won't forget.
  We went to what we considered to be a safe location and witnessed 
over television what most of America was watching.
  How serious was it? Well, one misguided soul, a Republican 
Congressman from Georgia, said it was just a group of tourists--
tourists--in the Capitol.
  Yesterday, the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick 
Garland, had a press conference and remarked on the first anniversary 
of January 6. And among the things he said was this: All of the 
investigations--the criminal investigations of what happened that day--
have disclosed some horrible things: evidence of perpetrators punching 
dozens of law enforcement officers, knocking them unconscious. Some 
perpetrators tackled and dragged law enforcement officers. Among the 
many examples of such violence, one officer was crushed in a door, 
another was dragged down a set of stairs facedown, repeatedly tased and 
beaten, and suffered a heart attack.
  Some perpetrators attacked law enforcement officers with chemical 
agents, burning their eyes and skins. We saw it--didn't we?--spraying 
the bear spray in the faces of these officers.
  Some assaulted officers with pipes and poles and other dangerous and 
deadly weapons. Perpetrators targeted, assaulted, tackled, and harassed 
journalists, destroying their equipment, and that launched the most 
comprehensive and perhaps largest criminal prosecution in the history 
of this Nation.
  According to the Attorney General, 725 individuals have been charged 
with a Federal crime, and 145 pled guilty already to Federal 
misdemeanors. Over 325 have been charged with felonies, many for 
assaulting officers and many for corruptly obstructing or attempting to 
obstruct an official proceeding. Twenty defendants charged with 
felonies have already pled guilty, and the investigation continues.
  They talked about the assistance they received: over 300,000 tips 
from ordinary citizens to help our government bring to justice those 
responsible for January 6. I say that because I listened in disbelief 
to the polling data which suggests that it really wasn't an attack on 
the Capitol; it was only a visit of tourists who were in an orderly 
fashion visiting this building. The videos don't lie. The facts are the 
  Individuals are paying a criminal price, and their lives will be 
changed because of their bad decisions to leave the Trump rally and 
follow his instructions to come up to this building. That is the 
reality of what happened that day.
  But the grimmest reality was the death of five of our law enforcement 
officials, who have been named and should be named every time we stand 
on this floor--Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, 
Officer Jeffrey Smith, Officer Gunther Hashida, and Officer Kyle 
DeFreytag--and 140 other law enforcement officials who were assaulted, 
many of them seriously, and are still paying the price for that day in 
their lives when they stood in defense of us, in defense of this 
  That is the reality, and if nothing more comes of this speech, 
commemoration today, I hope that all of us, regardless of our political 
persuasion--the most conservative Republican to the most progressive 
Democrat, Independents in between; Black, White, and Brown; men and 
women; rural, urban across America, will finally come to agreement on 
one thing: Violence has no place in a democracy.
  Those who resort to violence, wherever they fit on the political 
spectrum, do not fit on that spectrum, do not belong in this country. 
And what we saw a year ago today was violence unbridled, violence 
provoked by a former President of the United States, and many innocent 
people paid a price.
  I listened as the President and Vice President spoke this morning in 
Statuary Hall. It was a somber and meaningful occasion, as they talked 
about what was at stake on January 6 and the challenge we face today. 
And I thought for a moment what a difference it would have made, in 
fact, as the President spoke, if Republican and Democratic leaders 
stood by his side, but that was not to be the case.
  You see, when the proposal was made for a bipartisan commission of 
Democrats and Republicans--commissions we have seen in the past, from 
9/11 and other events that marked our history--that was stopped by 
Senator McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, by the threat 
of a filibuster.
  He wouldn't agree to a bipartisan commission to look into the origins 
of January 6 and what we need to do to avoid them in the future. So I 
want to salute Speaker Pelosi for organizing a bipartisan committee in 
the U.S. House of Representatives, who is investigating this matter.
  I want to salute my fellow Congressman from Illinois, Adam Kinzinger, 
who has had the courage to step forward and be part of it, as well as 
Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming and the Democrats who are part of 
that effort. They are serving this Nation as they should: bringing 
forth the facts, fighting the resistance from those who don't want to 
tell the truth.
  But there is more that we must do. It has been mentioned several 
times and bears repeating: What is happening across America since 
January 6 is equally alarming to this assault on the Capitol, and that 
is the effort by dozens of States across the Nation to restrict 
Americans' right to vote.
  To think of it, in that last election in 2020, we had the largest 
turnout in the history of the United States to cast votes in the 
Presidential election, and the response by so many of these States 
controlled by Republican legislatures is to try to do their best to 
make sure that never happens again; to restrict the opportunity to vote 
for eligible Americans, when we should be doing just the opposite.
  I have won elections, and I have lost elections. As long as they were 
fair elections, I accepted the results, and they all were. I was lucky. 
Sometimes, I won; sometimes, I lost. But I felt at the end of the day 
that they were fair elections. We should feel the same way about the 
election that occurred the year before last, in 2020, with the election 
of Joe Biden as President of the United States.
  It was a fair election. It has been certified. I marvel at my 
colleagues on the Republican side who come to the floor and say we have 
no right to tell these States what their laws should be when it comes 
to elections.
  This little booklet is in each of our desks. I would commend to my 
colleagues, particularly on the Republican side, to consider opening it 
and consider reading article I, section 4. I would like to read into 
the Record: ``The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for 
Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the 
Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or 
alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.''
  And you go further in and read the Bill of Rights and the amendments 
to the Constitution. And then Amendment 15 says:

       The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall 
     not be denied or abridged by the

[[Page S61]]

     United States or by any State on account of race, color, or 
     previous condition of servitude.

  Section 2 of the amendment says:

       The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article 
     by appropriate legislation.

  And yet Republican after Republican comes to the floor and questions 
how we can have the audacity to suggest that we are establishing 
standards so eligible voters across this country have an opportunity to 
  It is our constitutional responsibility to do it, and simply making 
that eligibility turn into an actual exercise of that right is 
consistent with our democracy.
  I know other colleagues are here to speak today. I will close by 
saying this: What brought that mob to this Capitol was the inspiration 
of a former President, who provoked them, incited them, and turned them 
loose on this building, and now, we are led to believe that he sat back 
and watched on television, as the events unfolded, doing nothing--not 
picking up the phone, not calling on anyone to stop the violence, to 
stop the bloodshed, to stop the death that took place in this Capitol. 
He did nothing for hours until, finally, enough forces came in to 
reclaim this building.
  When I saw the images, the photographs, and the videos of people who 
were clowning in this Chamber, posing for photographs, going through my 
desk and other desks, and others taking photographs with their phones, 
sitting in that chair to pose for pictures to send back home, it makes 
me sick to my stomach. This is a sacred place. It is not sacred because 
I serve here or anyone else does. It is sacred because it was built to 
be a symbol of this great Nation.
  It was during the administration of a man from Illinois named 
Lincoln, who completed the Capitol dome in the midst of a Civil War so 
that this building would always be a symbol of the unity of our Nation 
and the promise of our Nation.
  That symbol was desecrated on January 6. And now, the question 
arises: Will we summon the courage to come together and lead to extend 
the opportunity to vote to more and more Americans, to make this 
democracy more complete and more just? Or will we step back and accept 
the verdict of history that we are going to go back in time instead of 
forward as a Nation?
  I trust we will move forward. These American people are great people. 
Regardless of their political persuasion, they have one abiding 
knowledge, and that is the fact that we are blessed to live in this 
country, and we each bear a responsibility to its future.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today, along with colleagues, to 
look back at a year ago, January 6, 2021--I wish this was actually a 
bipartisan coming together today--a horrible, tragic day in our 
Nation's history.
  But it is not enough to look back. We also need to look at what is 
happening today because the threats against our democracy didn't go 
away when those black metal fences came down. Some of these threats 
against the democracy have found fertile soil right in this very 
  January 6, 2021, will go down in history as one of the worst days our 
Nation has ever faced. It was disturbing. It was frightening. It was 
enraging. I know that I will never, ever forget it. Many people who 
were working here that day still carry scars. Some can be seen, and 
some can only be felt.
  The Capitol Police, the DC Police, the National Guard members, our 
other first responders, Capitol staff who were there that day are 
really heroes, and they deserve our thanks and our continued support.
  What we all witnessed that day was nothing less than a violent 
insurrection against the very seat of our democracy and our American 
form of government. It was sparked by a big lie, concocted by a 
political loser, and fueled by a network of his supporters.
  So let me take a moment to remind everyone that Donald Trump lost the 
2020 election fair and square. In my home State of Michigan, in the 
middle of a pandemic, more people voted than ever before, 5\1/2\ 
million people. And Michigan voters clearly and resoundingly chose Joe 
Biden to be our President and Kamala Harris to be our Vice President.
  But instead of accepting defeat gracefully, like every other 
President in our history, Democrat or Republican, Donald Trump claimed 
that the election had been stolen from him. No one likes to lose an 
election. I have done both, winning and losing. It is not fun. But the 
election was not stolen from him.
  But this Big Lie has fueled the entire movement, people who will stop 
at nothing, including deadly violence, to undermine our Constitution 
and our country. They attacked our Capitol a year ago today, on January 
6. They will use and incite violence to disrupt future elections if 
they feel they need to.
  And now, they are organizing on the State level to challenge the 
rules and take away people's freedom to vote. And tragically, our 
colleagues across the aisle are standing by and allowing this 
continuing attack on our democracy. We should be standing together, 
Democrats and Republicans, saying no to this assault on our 
Constitution and our country.
  Republicans said the right things that day. The senior Senator from 
South Carolina said, soon after the riot, that he was humiliated and 
embarrassed for our country and that Trump should ``count him out.'' 
But a few short weeks later, Trump counted him in for 2 days of golf 
and dining at Mar-a-Lago.
  And then there is the Republican leader. He said that the January 6 
rioters were ``fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth 
because he was angry he lost an election.'' He added that Trump was 
``practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the 
day.'' And he was right.
  Then the Republican leader and the majority of Republicans voted no 
on impeachment. They opposed a bipartisan commission to investigate the 
events of January 6. They blocked three bills to protect our freedom to 
vote, and they endorsed a Senate candidate who agrees with Trump that 
the 2020 election was stolen from him.
  In total, 147 Republican Members of the House and Senate--147--voted 
to overturn the results of the 2020 election. And a number of those 
eight Republican Senators still won't admit that Joe Biden is our duly-
elected President.
  Why am I focusing on this?
  Because our country has reached a critical crossroads: either we are 
going to come together as Americans, defend our democracy, and look 
back on January 6 as a painful low point in our Nation's history, or we 
can turn our power to a mob that is willing to do anything and say 
anything to dismantle our democracy and destroy--
  Mr. SCHUMER. Would my colleague yield for a minute?
  Ms. STABENOW. I would be happy to.
  Mr. SCHUMER. OK. We are about to approach noon, where we will have a 
moment of silence, not only in memory of those who were lost and those 
who were injured, but in all of the workforce here on Capitol Hill, who 
worked through that day under dire circumstances--they did an amazing 
job--and in recognition of the great job they do for us every day.
  So we thank not only the floor staff, but all of those who work here.
  And with that, I think we will commence the moment of silence, and 
after we finish, I will call on Senator Klobuchar and then Senator 
Stabenow, who will resume. OK?
  So if we might now at 12 noon--well, it is a little before. It is 2 
minutes before.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I want to recognize the heroic efforts 
of our staff, many of whom are here with us today; of our law 
enforcement who, in the face of overwhelming numbers and an 
unprecedented violent assault, valiantly placed their lives on the line 
for this Republic.
  It is also an opportunity to remember to recommit ourselves to making 
sure nothing like this ever happens again. As President Biden said 
today, our democracy held. We, the people, endured; we, the people, 
  And we devote this moment of silence to those who stood up, not only 
for this building, not only for the people that worked here, but for 
our very democracy itself.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President I ask we commence a minute of silence, a

[[Page S62]]

moment of silence, for all of those who have helped us then and help us 
now, the staffs and everybody else.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will now 
observe a moment of silence in observance of the events of January 6, 
  (Moment of silence.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, let me just conclude by saying that 
either we are going to come together as Americans, which I hope and 
pray we do, to defend our democracy and look back on January 6 as a 
painful low point in our Nation's history or we can turn over power to 
a mob that is willing to do anything and say anything to dismantle our 
democracy and destroy this grand experiment called America.
  The January 6 insurrection tried to overthrow our Capitol, and their 
sidekicks in suits and ties are trying to overthrow our elections. Just 
as we shored up our security here to protect the people's House, we 
need to upgrade our election laws to protect people's freedom to vote.
  Today is a day to remember, to be grateful for all of those who 
risked and lost their lives to protect us, to be grateful for all of 
those who stood up for democracy and continue to stand up every single 
day. Today is a day to be grateful that we live in this great democracy 
called America, and it is a day to reconnect ourselves to protect our 
freedoms for our children and our grandchildren.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Kaine). The Senator from Nevada.
  Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. Mr. President, this morning, I have been listening 
to my colleagues, watching the news, watching our President, and 
reflecting on this day a year ago and where I was during this 
incredible insurrection that we now know happened on the Capitol.
  I was in my Capitol office here, as we all have an office here in the 
Capitol. I was getting ready to come to the floor of the Senate and 
certify that Joe Biden had won the Presidency in a free and fair 
election. The senior Senator from Minnesota had organized many of us to 
stand in defense of that free and fair election, and I had been asked 
to stand in defense of the certified electoral votes in Arizona. And 
what I had been told, they were going to challenge Nevada. It was a 
significant moment.
  Even before President Biden's victory, people had been spreading lies 
about the election for political gain, and I had planned to deliver a 
speech to combat those lies and explain in detail that the 2020 vote 
count was fair and accurate. So as I left my Capitol office and was 
walking to the Senate to deliver that speech, it became clear that 
something unprecedented was happening, because on my way out of my 
Capitol office, I came across two of my colleagues, one of them here 
today, Senator Smith, and Senator Murkowski. They were standing outside 
an open door to a restroom that we share amongst our Capitol offices, 
and I asked them what was going on.
  They said: There is a Capitol Police officer in there. He has got 
something in his eyes, and he is flushing his eyes out with water.
  I leaned in, and I saw the officer at the bathroom sink. I thought to 
myself and I said aloud to my colleagues: I think he has been pepper-
  I asked him: Have you been pepper sprayed?
  He said: Yes, but don't worry. Everything is fine. I am going to keep 
you all safe.
  With that, he dashed back out the door, up the stairs, and outside to 
protect all of us and everyone else in this building.
  Now, I knew there had been a rally going on near the White House and 
that there were protests. What I did not know that morning was just how 
close the protesters were to forcing their way into this Capitol.
  Now, everyone knows what happened next. As we sat here, all of the 
Senators, all of the staff who work with us day in and day out, our 
partners, the next thing we heard was this Chamber being shut down by 
the Capitol Police, claiming that the Capitol had been breached. They 
told us to stay in our seats.
  This is the safest place for you to be right now, and we will protect 
  At that moment, we could all hear outside the doors. We didn't know 
what was going on, because we can't see beyond this room, what was 
happening outside, but we knew. We could hear the voices, and we could 
hear what was happening. We also could hear, outside of the one set of 
double doors that we call the hallway with the Ohio Clock that leads to 
the Rotunda, a lot of noise. It was at that moment, as the noise was 
working its way toward the Rotunda, that the Capitol Police officers 
then told all of us to get up and move quickly. We moved out these 
opposite doors right here, moved as quickly as we possibly could.
  That is when everybody came together, all of the Senators--I don't 
care if they were Republican or Democrat--our floor staff who was with 
us, grabbing those electoral votes, and we all started going up and 
down stairs, through hallways, up and down stairs, through hallways, 
until we could get to a secure location.
  As we were going through the hallways and when we got to the secure 
location, it was clear why this was happening. We were under attack 
because insurrectionists had been whipped into a frenzy by the false 
claim that the election in Nevada and in other States was fraudulent. 
That is exactly what the speakers said during that rally before the 
violence began.
  We saw the same false claims in Nevada, where extremists tried to 
challenge our election results in an effort to prevent Joe Biden from 
becoming President. The former President's campaign and his supporters 
filed a total of five lawsuits challenging the security of the election 
system and targeting our secretary of state in Nevada. Every one of 
those lawsuits was thrown out or failed, every single one of them in 
Nevada. When the official tally was completed, President Biden won 
Nevada by 33,596 votes.
  The Nevada secretary of state not only certified the election, she 
also investigated each and every claim of election fraud, and she made 
clear that her office found no evidence of widespread fraud.
  Now, I was the attorney general of the State of Nevada for 8 years, 
and I can tell you from personal experience, when we find voter fraud, 
we prosecute it. I also know there was, again, no widespread voter 
fraud in Nevada in the year 2020.
  Let me explain what ``widespread voter fraud'' means because that is 
now being challenged by some of the former President's supporters. 
``Widespread'' means that there was not enough to have changed the 
results of the election; that it was still a safe and secure election 
and Joe Biden is our President. In fact, not only Nevada's elections 
were safe, accessible, and secure, but across the country, they have 
been proven to be safe, accessible, and secure.
  I also want to share with the rest of the country that in my State, 
in Nevada, we have enacted important protections for protecting voting 
rights, including automatic voter registration, vote by mail, early 
voting, and same-day registration. In the 2020 Presidential election, 
almost half of Nevadans--people from both parties--took advantage of 
our vote-by-mail laws.
  But because the defeated former President and his supporters were 
upset that he lost the election, some of them publicized the lie that 
he had won, and that lie, in turn, spurred members of the public 
to violence that resulted in five deaths and countless injuries.

  Now, we all know, after the Capitol Police helped us move to safety, 
my colleagues and I from both parties talked about what to do. We knew 
the insurrectionists were trying to stop us from certifying the 
election, and we knew we had to finish our job, no matter how late it 
was. We all agreed that we had to go back to the Senate Chamber so that 
we could show the rest of the country that we would not let our 
democracy be subverted by violence; that we would honor our 
Constitution and the peaceful transfer of power in this country.
  I want to make this clear. I would have stood up to certify the valid 
results of the 2020 election no matter who won. This isn't about 
partisanship; it is about patriotism. I took an oath to uphold the 
Constitution and protect it against all enemies, foreign and domestic, 
and nothing and no one will prevent me from doing that sworn duty.
  So I walked back to the Senate floor on the evening of January 6 to 

[[Page S63]]

my work. I will remember what I saw for the rest of my life. As I 
walked back, furniture had been thrown everywhere like matchsticks. 
Trash and broken glass littered the floor. It was like a war zone.
  That night, I stood up and spoke in defense of our democracy as I had 
planned to do hours before. And at 3:42 a.m., Vice President Pence 
announced that Joe Biden was the President-elect.
  We honored the Democratic transfer of power for the 59th time in 
American history, but I am here to tell you, there is so much to do to 
ensure that there will be a 60th time. Our democracy is more fragile 
than it has been in decades. The same bad actors who fueled the 
violence in the first place, including the defeated former President 
and his supporters, continue to spread the Big Lie that the election 
was stolen, and they are using these false claims to pass legislation 
threatening our very democracy.
  Around the country, more than 400 State laws were introduced to 
restrict voting last year alone. In Nevada, we expanded vote-by-mail 
drop box locations, but in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and Indiana, new 
laws make it harder to use those drop boxes. Nevada has same-day voter 
registration, but Texas just made it harder to register, not easier. In 
Georgia, it is now even illegal to give food or water to people waiting 
in long lines to vote. The list goes on and on.
  These are partisan laws. They are designed to favor one group of 
voters over another. That is not democracy. A real democracy honors 
everyone's right to be heard. It makes sure that everyone gets a vote 
and that every vote is counted.
  Democracy is a remarkable thing--a system where the people get to 
choose their own leaders. We all need to stand up for it, just as the 
countless heroes of our history have done, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton 
to Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, Jr.
  I will not stop fighting to protect our country and our democracy. I 
will continue working with my colleagues to pass voting rights 
legislation. We need to follow Nevada's lead and protect access to the 
polls. We cannot let anyone silence America's voice in their own 
  I also want to recognize many of the heroes who protected us that 
day, like the Capitol Police officer I encountered that morning. After 
the attack was over, I learned that 140 police officers I pass in the 
halls of Congress every day had broken bones or worse. Four of them 
later took their own lives. These are brave men and women who put 
themselves at risk every day to protect not just the people's elected 
representatives but our dedicated staff and the hardest working people 
here at the Capitol, from the janitors to the cafeteria workers, to the 
postal employees. All of these people carry their own memories of 
January 6, and we need to make sure they never have to go through 
something like that again.

  So many of them are still here at the Capitol, still doing their 
jobs, like the Capitol Police officer I saw earlier who had been 
pepper-sprayed. But I will tell you what: They give me hope, and they 
remind me that all of us have a job to do just like we did on January 
6. One year later, it is clear that we all must stand united in defense 
of our democracy. I hope we can do just that.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, a year ago, thousands of supporters of then-
President Donald Trump--marching under banners supporting secession, 
conspiracy theories, and White supremacy--violently stormed the U.S. 
Capitol and breached the Senate and House Chambers in the hopes of 
overturning a free and fair election in which 7 million more Americans 
voted for President Biden. There was, of course, no proof and no truth 
to the claims of aberrant voting that Mr. Trump invented in order to 
fuel the mob.
  The assault on the Capitol was an attack on the United States and on 
democracy itself. We have the brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol 
Police to thank for defending the country against what can accurately 
be called an insurrection, and while the assault failed that day, 
thanks to the efforts of these officers and their partners from 
neighboring jurisdictions, an insidious campaign against our democracy 
continues through the baseless lies and antics of the former President 
and his associates.
  Mr. Trump set the events of January 6 in motion when he refused to 
say that he would accept the results of the November 2020 election, and 
he continued to value his ego over our democracy when he urged the mob 
to march to the Capitol and disrupt the election certification process. 
He repeatedly lied that the election he lost by 7 million votes had 
somehow been stolen, when the facts and the courts demonstrated that 
was clearly not the case.
  Stoked by his vitriol, Mr. Trump's supporters used pipes and 
flagpoles to brutally beat police officers. Some of the attacks were 
also directed at or were planned to be directed at our own Members in 
both the House and the Senate, and anyone who refused to subvert the 
election was a target of the insurrectionist mob. That included Mr. 
Trump's own Vice President, Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Trump, who 
lit the fuse and stood by, his actions sent a demoralizing signal to 
billions around the world as they watched his supporters assault the 
  One year ago today, the U.S. Capitol Police, Federal, State, and 
local law enforcement partners, and the National Guard physically 
cleared the Capitol Building and grounds. The House of Representatives 
impeached Mr. Trump for his actions. Yet most of my Senate Republican 
colleagues made the tortured arguments that his actions were 
reprehensible but not technically impeachable. As a result, the 
democratically defeated former President continues his rhetorical 
assaults through lies and misinformation. He would rather rip our 
country apart and undermine our elections and democracy rather than to 
accept the will of the American voter.
  The bipartisan House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the 
U.S. Capitol is working tirelessly to get to the truth of that day. It 
is methodically collecting and following the evidence despite there 
being a lack of cooperation from Mr. Trump and his inner circle. The 
committee must continue to be transparent, and we must all continue to 
call out the repeated lies of Trump and his enablers.
  Every American, regardless of party affiliation, who believes in the 
right to vote and in upholding the Constitution, should want the truth 
about January 6 to come out. Congress must rise to the occasion. The 
stakes could not be any higher. Because of the former President's 
actions a year ago and his relentless lying since then, a significant 
minority of Americans now indicates that violence is an acceptable way 
to resolve political disagreement. We cannot afford to have such a 
sentiment persist. Together, we must accept the truth, restore trust in 
one another, and take steps to improve political discourse.
  One step we must take is to honor the officers of the Capitol Police, 
not just with our words but with real support. Last year, we passed a 
supplemental appropriations bill that provided over $107 million in 
additional funding, including roughly $35 million for overtime, 
retention bonuses, hazard pay, and student loan repayments for 
officers. It also provided critical funding to address the trauma 
experienced by our officers and helped support their mental health 
needs. But we can't stop there. We have to continue in this fiscal 
year, 2022, to support our police and to continue to support those who 
protect us.
  I am afraid, if we don't quickly resolve our differences, that we 
could fall into the state of a continuing resolution, which would 
actually deny our police--the Capitol Police--and our security forces 
the tools they will need not only to protect us and protect themselves 
but also to sustain their morale and their mental health. So I hope we 
can make progress, at least on that point, of reaching a budget 
agreement on behalf of the men and women who protect us and who 
literally, on that day, gave their lives for us.
  Now, in addition to that, we have a critical role to play when it 
comes to safeguarding the rights of the American voter. We have before 
us the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote 
Act ready for passage. We have the opportunity, and the time is now. I 
continue to urge my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to work 
together to swiftly pass these critical voting rights bills

[[Page S64]]

that are needed to protect our elections and our democracy.
  We must bolster the security, accessibility, and transparency of our 
elections in order to mend the wounds of January 6 and begin to heal as 
a nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. SMITH. Mr. President, I rise today with my colleagues, and I 
would like to particularly thank my colleague, the senior Senator from 
Minnesota, for bringing us together today.
  I rise today with my colleagues to commemorate the first anniversary 
of January 6--the attack on our Capitol and the attempted coup to 
overturn our democracy.
  You know, I have thought a lot about this day over the last year, and 
I speak today because I think it is important that we are clear about 
what happened on January 6, how it connects to what has happened since, 
and what needs to happen next. So let me be direct.
  On January 6, there was a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, led by 
insurrectionists with the explicit goal to overturn our free and fair 
elections and the election of Joe Biden. The attack happened because 
former President Trump and his allies encouraged his supporters to come 
to Washington. They told them, falsely, that the election had been 
stolen. He incited them to violence. Then he sat and watched while the 
Capitol was attacked. These are the facts, and there was no attempt to 
hide it. It is as plain as that wintery January day.
  Now, I am sure that all of us in this room have vivid memories of 
what happened on that day. Moments of crisis leave a deep impression. 
For us, of course, this violence happened in our workplace while we 
were doing our jobs. The Capitol, on January 6, was full of Members of 
Congress, of national political leaders of both parties, and of a Vice 
President whom the former President had exhorted his angry mob to hunt 
down. It was also, though, full of journalists, custodians, and 
cafeteria workers. In this Chamber were our clerks and colleagues and 
Parliamentarians and the stenographers. They are here, hour after hour, 
making this place work.
  You are public servants who were thrown into violent chaos and danger 
by the former President.
  As for law enforcement and first responders, let's remember that 
January 6 was one of the worst days for injuries to law enforcement 
since 9/11, as a violent mob bludgeoned and crushed and wounded and 
killed. That is what happened, and no amount of whitewashing is going 
to change it.
  It also happened, when we came back into this Chamber to finish our 
jobs and to certify the people's votes, that some Republicans spoke the 
truth about the terrible tragedy of that day.
  Senator McConnell said:

       The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President 
     and other powerful people.

  Senator Lindsey Graham, sitting right over there, declared in 
reference to the disgraced former President:

       Count me out. Enough is enough.

  So, for a moment, it seemed like we would unify in condemning the 
political violence incited by a President who had betrayed our 
fundamental democratic principles, but later that night, Senator Cruz 
and Senator Hawley and six other Senators voted to overturn our free 
and fair elections, continuing down this reckless path.
  Within days, Republican Party leaders and rightwing media outlets 
began turning away from the facts of January 6. Former President Trump 
was impeached for his seditious actions, but his hold on the Republican 
Party was so strong that only seven Republican Senators voted to 
  Republicans, to this day, continue to promote the Big Lie that the 
election was stolen from Trump. They claim that the people who stormed 
the Capitol with zip ties and bludgeons were tourists. They have 
attempted to portray the violent insurgents as martyrs rather than as 
domestic terrorists. This is why, today, 58 percent of Republicans 
believe, falsely, that the election was stolen from President Trump.
  The insurrection and coup attempt on January 6 was, ultimately, 
unsuccessful, but this fight continues in State legislatures across the 
country, and they are prevailing. According to the Brennan Center, in 
2021, 19 States passed laws restricting Americans' voting rights and 
giving partisan officials, Republicans, unprecedented control over the 
certification of election results.
  Their plan is right out there in plain view. Step 1 is to make it 
harder for some people to vote. Step 2 is to give partisans at the 
local level the power to ignore and overturn the people's votes. This 
is a coordinated strategy connected directly to the events of January 
6, and it is the path to overturning our democracy if we allow it. We 
cannot allow it.
  Through the January 6 Commission and through the Department of 
Justice, we must hold accountable those responsible for the crimes of 
that infamous day, including those at the top. We also need to pass the 
Freedom to Vote Act, which provides for basic standards for free and 
fair elections and fulfills the promise of our Nation that, in this 
democratic Republic, the people decide.
  Not a single Republican Senator is willing to join us Democrats in 
this endeavor, and that is a tragedy.
  Colleagues, I implore you: We cannot let Republicans hide behind 
Senate rules and block us from taking this commonsense step to 
protecting our democracy.
  In a democracy, a majority of the people decides. That is how it 
works in township meetings and city halls and county board meetings and 
in State legislatures, and that is how it should work in the U.S. 
Senate. We Senators have the power to protect our democracy, and we 
have no excuse not to use that power.
  On January 6, I woke up early, and I wrote down a few thoughts as I 
was heading to the Capitol. I had been sworn into office for the third 
time in 3 years just a few days before. My husband, Archie, had been 
with me for the swearing in, and he had headed home the day before.
  As he left, he said: Are you going to be OK?
  And I said to him: For sure. The U.S. Capitol is one of the safest 
places in the country. I am going to be fine.
  Here is what I wrote that morning before I came to the Capitol.
  I wrote:

       Today is a remarkable day. This morning, I'm filled with 
     optimism. Georgians turned out in record numbers to elect 
     Reverend [Ralph] Warnock [to the U.S. Senate], pastor of Dr. 
     King's home church. And it looks very likely that Jon Ossoff 
     will be victorious, giving Democrats a majority in the 
     Senate. For me, this means the work that Minnesotans sent me 
     to do in Washington can actually get done.

  ``We will get through this day,'' I wrote that morning.

       I truly believe our democracy is resilient and can 
     withstand this desperate coup attempt. But it's a reminder of 
     how hard we [need] to fight for our core principles, that no 
     one is above the law and that . . . a democracy [is when] the 
     people decide.

  Now, little did I know. But my optimism still holds, and my faith 
also still holds--my faith that we can be worthy of the promise laid 
out in our Constitution.
  ``We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect 
Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the 
common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings 
of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity''--that is our oath and our 
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise, as so many of us have done, on this 
day to do a couple of things--No. 1, to reflect and remember. That is 
important for so many reasons, but we are also here, I think, to 
express gratitude and commendation for so many who work in this 
building, the staff and the Capitol Police and so many others who kept 
us safe 1 year ago today on that awful day.
  I will get to some other issues in a moment, but I want to start with 
just some reflections on what I remember about that day but also what I 
think the country experienced on a day of horror and terror and 
desecration--a day when a group of Americans came to this building to 
stop the counting of the electoral votes, and they were told to do that 
by the then-President of the United States.

[[Page S65]]

  We know all the death that ensued from that, especially of law 
enforcement officers; something on the order of 140 injures, some of 
them grievous, permanent injuries to law enforcement--all based upon 
the violence based upon a Big Lie, a deliberate falsehood that started 
long before even election day. It started during the course of the 2020 
  But despite that Big Lie--I don't want to spend all of today talking 
about that--despite that Big Lie and the violence that flowed from that 
Big Lie and the near collapse of our democracy, despite that, we know 
that something on the order of 60 judges throughout the country--
Federal judges and State judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans 
and even some appointed by the former President--called out that Big 
Lie by rejecting the arguments based upon that Big Lie in about 60 
different matters before those judges.
  So we know what happened, and I think the January 6 Commission will 
continue to put the evidence on the record and hold people accountable, 
but I think on a day like today, I want to focus on two issues. One is 
to express that gratitude that I mentioned before for the thousands of 
Americans who work in this building, the thousands who are not Members 
of Congress who helped us on that day, everything from getting us to 
safety to making sandwiches for us when we were in a safe, secure 
room--something that basic.
  But, of course, so many Americans now know, after all these months 
have unfolded, about the sacrifices made by so many on that day, 
especially law enforcement, but people in this building, who work in 
this building--have done so for years--they, too, were terrorized on 
that day. It wasn't just Members of Congress and the Nation more 
  We even had the image--the horrible, disturbing, racist image--on 
television of an American walking through the halls of this building 
with a Confederate flag. It never happened before. Not even during the 
American Civil War had that happened.
  So when we talk about those who have done so much, here is what we 
are talking about: We are talking about people who suffered devastating 
injuries, as I said before, some of them lifelong. The emotional toll 
that this violence imposed upon members of the staff here in the 
building, both during the siege and in its aftermath, is almost 
incalculable. So we are grateful for their service on every day, every 
day of their work, but especially on that terrible day.
  I also want to thank--and we can't do this enough; we can do it a 
thousand times, and it wouldn't be enough--the U.S. Capitol Police and 
the Metropolitan Police Department for all they did to protect us, to 
ultimately quell the violence, and to literally protect our democracy. 
These officers were bruised and beaten. They were attacked with bolts 
and bricks and bats and bear spray, as we saw so much, as well as stun 
guns. They had broken bones. They had concussions, chemical burns, 
scars, stitches, and on and on. That is what violence does to a human 
  They were also subjected to--those who happened to be Black Americans 
in law enforcement or in communities of color--they were subjected to 
horrific racial epithets, the kind of language that should never be 
tolerated not only here in the Capitol but anywhere in our country. 
Some of them were even attacked by an American flag--by a flagpole with 
an American flag on it.
  So what this all adds up to is, unfortunately, not just a mob going 
into a building; this is about domestic terrorism. I think it is an 
important day to be thankful that so many stood up to that domestic 
terrorism in law enforcement. So we both offer our gratitude and try--
as inadequate as it is by mere words--on a day like today to bestow 
some measure of both gratitude and commendation for what they did on 
that day.
  Finally, Mr. President, I think today is a day for resolve, to be 
determined to take action, legislative action. The best way we can do 
that is by passing the Freedom to Vote Act. That is the best thing we 
can do, not only for the next couple of weeks, but really it might be 
the most important thing any of us work on.
  I want to thank Senator Klobuchar and so many others who have worked 
on these issues, not just in the aftermath of January 6 but for 
thinking about the future--the future of our democracy, literally the 
future of whether someone will have a clear pathway in the right to 
vote, the ability to vote in ways that so many Americans were able to 
vote in the midst of the pandemic.
  There were a lot of people back in 2020 who said: Oh, you know, in 
Pennsylvania, you had a big turnout for President in 2016, but that 
turnout is going to go way down because it is a reelection, and there 
is a pandemic, and people won't vote, and people will be afraid to 
  Guess what happened. We went from about 6 million votes in 2016 to 
almost 6.9 million votes. Almost 900,000 more people voted in 
Pennsylvania than did just 4 years earlier--probably the highest 
turnout in more than 120 years in our State, just like it was for the 
  Now, that didn't happen in our State just because people were more 
interested; it happened because we had pathways by way of a change in 
State law to allow them to vote, very similar to what we are trying to 
do by enacting into law the Freedom to Vote Act--being able to vote 
early, being able to vote by way of a mail-in ballot, having a drop 
  What if you are 90 years old and you live in a rural area in 
Pennsylvania? We have 48 rural counties, by the way. What if you live 
in a rural area, and you can't get to the county election bureau to 
drop off your mail-in ballot? Shouldn't you have a drop box if you are 
90 years old and you want to vote? What if you live on a farm? What if 
you are running a farm and you have a busy life or you are running a 
small business? Shouldn't you have the opportunity to vote or should 
you just be restricted to 1 day in the year, 1 day every year for a 
general election, and if you can't get to vote that day, then you are 
not able to vote? Why would we go back to those days? But apparently a 
lot of people in this Chamber are supporting efforts all across the 
country--hundreds of voter suppression bills.
  As Reverend Warnock said, seems like some people don't want some 
people to vote. I don't understand that, after we had record turnout in 
Pennsylvania from 2016 to 2020 because we had different pathways for 
people to vote. That is what we are trying to do with the Freedom to 
Vote Act, to have national standards so people will have a chance to 
vote in the way that they want, in a way that is helpful in terms of 
their family life or their work life. But we are at a point now where 
the Big Lie is perpetuating itself in more ways than one.
  Let me conclude with one thought. My hometown newspaper, the Scranton 
Times-Tribune, published an editorial today.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
and as part of my remarks an editorial entitled ``Long year after 1/6/
21, it continues,'' which is dated today.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                 [From the Times-Tribune, Jan. 6, 2022]

                  Long Year After 1/6/21, It Continues

       It would be sobering enough today to look back on the Jan. 
     6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, thus on the people of the 
     United States and the nation's representative democracy, as a 
     singular event. That's impossible because the attack 
     continues. It carries on in statehouses like Pennsylvania's, 
     where lawmakers continue to question the outcome of the 2020 
     presidential election--the most transparent and heavily 
     scrutinized vote in the nation's history--craft bills to 
     diminish the sort of heavy turnout that carried President Joe 
     Biden to victory, waste public money on fraudulent searches 
     for fraud, and gerrymander congressional districts in the 
     cause of minority rule. More than 60 Republican members of 
     the Pennsylvania Legislatures endorsed disqualifying 
     Pennsylvania's electoral votes, which would have 
     disenfranchised 6.8 million Pennsylvania voters, on the 
     preposterous claim that the election law that they had passed 
     less than a year earlier unconstitutionally had skewed the 
       It continues in the person of disgraced politicians, such 
     as Republican Reps. Dan Meuser and Fred Keller of Northeast 
     and Central Pennsylvania, who supported a lawsuit spawned in 
     Texas that aimed to disenfranchise their fellow 
     Pennsylvanians. Then they voted in the Congress of the United 
     States, after the mob attacked it, not to certify the duly 
     vetted Electoral College results from Pennsylvania.

[[Page S66]]

       It continues in the movement to replace, with partisan 
     hacks, the professional election administrators who resisted 
     pressure in 2020 to cook local and state election results in 
     favor of President Donald Trump.
       It continues in the shameless efforts of many Republican 
     members of Congress--who sensibly ran for their lives as 
     Trump-inspired rioters invaded the Capitol--to characterize 
     the Jan. 6 insurrection as anything other than what it was 
     and is.
       Another day of infamy.
       Americans who care about the future of U.S. democracy 
     cannot view Jan. 6, 2021, as a one-off. It is a date that 
     should be considered in the same sentence as other insidious 
     attacks--Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001.
       Though the Capitol insurrection was not as deadly as the 
     other attacks, it potentially is more serious because it came 
     from within. And the ongoing results are profound. There is 
     no doubt that it has emboldened totalitarians abroad to 
     challenge democratic regimes and movements. It is not 
     coincidental that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has 
     amassed troops on the Ukrainian border and that Chinese 
     dictator Xi Jinping crushed a democracy movement in Hong Kong 
     and increased menacing conduct toward Taiwan in the wake of 
     the insurrection.
       Just as sustained action was required following the 1941 
     and 2001 attacks, so it is required in the wake of the 2021 
       Congress must pass the For the People Act, which would 
     establish a host of election reforms, and the John Lewis 
     Voting Rights Advancement Acts, which would restore 
     protections for voting that the Supreme Court foolishly has 
     diminished by weakening the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
       That will require suspension or elimination of the 
     filibuster in the Senate, which undoubtedly would produce 
     political howling. But the filibuster is a mere procedural 
     rule in one chamber of the Congress. Allowing any one of 100 
     senators the power to diminish the voting rights of millions 
     of Americans is not how a representative democracy is 
     supposed to work.
       Likewise, Congress should update the Electoral Count Act of 
     1887 to eliminate its potential to be a vehicle for a coup.
       And the select House committee investigating Jan. 6, along 
     with the Department of Justice, aggressively must move to 
     hold accountable not only the rioters, but those who 
     facilitated them in any way.
       At some point, Americans might be able to view Jan. 6, 
     2021, as a crisis that U.S. democracy survived. But that day 
     is not today.

  Mr. CASEY. I won't read all of it, obviously, but the point that this 
editorial makes is that the attack continues today. It is not over. It 
is not some event in the past that we are just reflecting upon, as 
important as it is to reflect and remember and offer gratitude and 
commendation. Here is what the editorial says, and I will just read a 
short portion of it. It says:

       [T]he attack continues. It carries on in statehouses like 
     Pennsylvania's, where lawmakers continue to question the 
     outcome of the 2020 presidential election--the most 
     transparent and heavily scrutinized vote in [our] nation's 
     history--craft bills to diminish the sort of heavy turnout 
     that carried . . . Joe Biden to victory, waste public money 
     on fraudulent searches for fraud, and gerrymander 
     congressional districts in the cause of minority rule.

  It goes on from there, saying that the attack continues by all of 
this work to lie about the election of 2020 and to pass voter 
suppression bills all across the country.
  The good news is, that is not going to happen. We are not going to 
allow a partisan minority to prevent us from passing legislation to 
keep that pathway to the right to vote clear in the ways that it was 
clear so that so many Pennsylvanians and many Americans--as I said, in 
my home State, hundreds of thousands more voted in a pandemic than 
voted just 4 years earlier.
  So on this day when we remember with horror that day just a year ago 
and we say thank you to those law enforcement officials and others who 
work in this building and did so much for us and for the Nation, we 
also are determined to move forward to protect our democracy and ensure 
that this great American experiment continues for generations.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, we will be joined shortly by your 
colleague from the great State of Virginia, and I wanted to address 
some of the incredible work done by the Maryland and the Virginia 
National Guard, which was so important that day.
  We have fixed a lot of the issues going forward about how they get 
called in, but that moment when they had to stand up, they did. So we 
really, truly appreciate their help, as well as other National Guards--
from as far away as New Jersey and as close as DC--for helping out that 
day. They made a critical difference.
  I see the Senator from Michigan is here, and we thank him for his 
leadership of the Homeland Security Committee and the work that we did 
together in the aftermath of this insurrection to make sure something 
like this--and to guarantee to the staff and the officers in this 
Capitol that something like this never happens again.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I thank Senator Klobuchar.
  One year ago today, a shocking, violent, and unthinkable attack on 
the U.S. Capitol shook the very foundations of our democracy. I was 
here, in this Chamber, as we were conducting the ceremonial 
certification of our election, and I just remember so vividly as the 
proceedings were so abruptly paused and the Vice President was hurried 
off of the podium by the Secret Service and the confusion as we 
evacuated this Chamber.
  And, in that moment, none of us were aware of the brutal altercations 
that were unfolding all around us as our heroic law enforcement 
officers and first responders fended off the violent mob of 
  The images from that day are absolutely horrifying. They are images 
that I and this country will hopefully never forget. We are forever 
indebted to the brave U.S. Capitol Police officers, the DC Metropolitan 
Police, the National Guard, and others whose valiant efforts defended a 
democracy that day and thwarted an attempted insurrection.
  Not only did this attack leave frontline officers with serious 
physical injuries, but it also took the lives of several. The attack 
has taken an unimaginable mental and emotional toll on first 
responders, the Capitol Hill community, and Americans all across our 
Nation who witnessed this assault on the heart of our democracy with 
their own eyes, either here in person or watching it on television.
  Sadly, as we mark this solemn anniversary, the threat that we all 
watched become a violent act 1 year ago has only continued to grow. In 
my role as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
Committee, along with Rules Committee Chairwoman Klobuchar, we were 
proud to lead the first bipartisan oversight hearings--investigation--
and report on the immediate changes needed to secure the Capitol and to 
prevent a future attack.
  Since that report was released last June, nearly 16 of the 20 
recommendations that we made have been implemented or are well 
underway. The Capitol is secure, and we are much better prepared for a 
future attack.
  But let us be very clear: We must do more to tackle the threat of 
domestic and violent extremism, especially as more and more people 
embrace conspiracy theories and outright lies and report that they 
believe that violence can be justified to get their desired political 
outcomes. Once relegated to the fringes of our society, these kinds of 
views are now creeping further into the mainstream, and that presents a 
grave threat to the future of our democracy.
  There is no easy one solution to address this matter, but there are 
actions that we can take to protect our democracy and strengthen it for 
generations to come. Most significantly, our Nation's political 
leaders, no matter their political affiliation, must condemn the 
violence that occurred on these grounds 1 year ago and speak out 
against the lies and conspiracies about the 2020 election that have 
compelled further threats and acts of violence.
  We must also address how this disinformation and other extremist 
content spreads online, reaches new audiences, and drives too many 
people down a rabbit hole of radicalization. We have seen all too 
clearly how the spread of such extreme content online can swiftly 
become real-world violence. More actions must be taken to limit the 
amplification of disinformation and extreme content online and to 
prevent extremist views from reaching that tipping point into violent 
  And our counterterrorism agencies must ensure that they are 
effectively focusing on the threat at hand by ensuring that they have 
sufficient personnel and resources devoted to domestic terrorism and 
domestic violent extremism.
  And finally, today and every day, all Americans must remain committed 

[[Page S67]]

protecting our democracy. We cannot take our democracy for granted. It 
is built on the promise that every American is committed to the same 
core values of free and fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power, 
and an accountable government for all of the people.
  If we lose this shared commitment to continue upholding our most 
cherished principles, we risk losing the very freedoms and the rights 
that have made our Nation a beacon of light for the entire world.
  Every Member of this body--every American--has a vital role in 
strengthening our democracy. Elected officials on both sides of the 
aisle and at every level of government should make clear that the lies 
and violent action that took place on January 6 have no place in our 
country and commit themselves to restoring faith in our democratic 
institutions by ensuring that everyone can make their voices heard in 
our democracy through the ballot box.
  One year ago, we saw our democracy endure against a violent attempted 
insurrection, but we must be very clear-eyed moving forward. We cannot 
let efforts to weaken and erode confidence in the future of our 
democracy continue.
  Let's come together and take the very real challenges our Nation 
faces head-on. In times of adversity, our country persevered because we 
came together as one. We must channel that spirit and strive to create 
a more perfect Union today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, thank you for that recognition, and it is 
great to see you safe and secure, out of your vehicle, presiding over 
the Senate.
  It is a great honor for me to follow my friend the Senator from 
Michigan on this important day, and I want to start by thanking my 
friend and chairperson of the Rules Committee, the Senator from 
Minnesota, for organizing us to come together today to commemorate or 
acknowledge what was a dark, dark day in American history, what 
happened a year ago.
  I want to thank--and I will do this in a more formal way in a 
moment--all the folks who helped protect us on January 6, a year ago. 
And I want to commend an organization that I know the Presiding Officer 
is aware of, as is the Senator from Minnesota and the Senator from 
Colorado--the World Central Kitchen, led by Jose Andres, who is right 
now downstairs--Jose is not, but the organization is--serving Capitol 
Police and other Capitol personnel free meals today.
  It is a wonderful organization that supports those in need all across 
the world and all across the country, and the fact that they are here 
today saying ``thank you'' to our Capitol Police and others is 
  Mr. President, I rise today to mark the anniversary of the January 6 
insurrection in which a mob broke into this Capitol, broke onto the 
floor of the Senate, in an effort to overturn the 2020 Presidential 
election. This was an effort to undermine democracy, plain and simple.
  In the last year, I think most of us have reflected a lot on the 
effort by our U.S. Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan Police, the 
Virginia State Police, and the Maryland State Police that day. They 
quite literally held the line to protect our democracy. I am personally 
indebted to those individuals who saved so many lives and some of whom 
lost their own.
  And while others, I know, have already come before me and talked 
about the incredible role of the Capitol Police and other allies--the 
Metropolitan Police--as the Presiding Officer knows, the first State 
police to arrive on the scene were Maryland and Virginia. They actually 
got here quicker than the National Guard.
  But I would like to highlight in my comments today another group of 
people who helped quell the insurrection, and that was the Virginia 
National Guard, a group of men and women that I and the Presiding 
Officer have great pride in. We both have served as Governors of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia, and one of the most important roles in being 
Governor--beyond the fact of the incredibly important title you carry 
when you are Governor--is the fact that we served during those each of 
our 4 years, the Presiding Officer and I, as the commander in chief of 
the Guard.
  One of the most meaningful parts I recall was seeing off those Guard 
members, young and old--these are folks who have day jobs and lives and 
studies and work--seeing them off, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and 
to respond in the aftermath of hurricanes and floods and welcoming back 
these citizen soldiers in a way that oftentimes doesn't get the 
recognition that they deserve.
  But I, again, think back to January 6. As the crowds grew here on 
Capitol grounds and steadily advanced their positions, eventually into 
this building itself--and, again, so many of us were here. And I think 
the Senator from Oklahoma was speaking as we heard the glass break and 
people shouting, ``Quick, let's secure the doors.''
  I think all of us who work here, our pages, the great members of the 
floor staff, with particular recognition of the Parliamentarian staff--
we come racing in, and we think about those doors upstairs, which are, 
frankly, pretty flimsy. We all remember that day and those moments. It 
was obvious pretty quickly that we were going to need additional force 
to augment the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police.
  Now, a year ago, it took much too long than was needed to get the 
National Guard to provide that assistance. We had, at that point, a 
convoluted system in place that resulted in delays in getting the Guard 
to the Capitol. I am proud to say that since then Congress--again, 
under the leadership of our chair of the Rules Committee, Senator 
Klobuchar--has passed on a bipartisan basis and the President has 
signed into law the Capitol Police Emergency Assistance Act, which 
empowers the Capitol Police chief to request the assistance of the DC 
Guard or other Federal law enforcement agencies in emergencies without 
the prior approval process that was used in the past: the Capitol 
Police Board and the kind of bureaucratic hurdles that, frankly, didn't 
allow the Guard to get called in a year ago.
  When the decision was finally made to utilize National Guard 
personnel, men and women from the DC National Guard, the Maryland 
National Guard, and the Virginia Guard were literally the first ones to 
be called up. Within hours of the riot and the Capitol being stormed, 
while personnel here on the ground were still working to secure and 
fully regain control of the Capitol Complex, men and women in the 
Virginia National Guard were ready for deployment
  (Mr. KING assumed the Chair.)
  As I mentioned earlier, those of us--and I see now the Presiding 
Officer is the former Governor of Maine. He had that same 
responsibility that I had and the previous Presiding Officer had as 
Governors to be commander in chief of our Guards.
  We know firsthand that the National Guard in each of our respective 
States is a civilian force. These men and women who were called up on 
January 6 and 7 were called from their jobs, their studies, and most 
importantly, their families. They were called from cities and towns and 
big cities and small farming communities all across the Commonwealth. 
Within hours, they mobilized for a domestic deployment to our National 
  I remember one Guard member I met, who lived in Arlington--he was 
working, got the deployment call, rushed back home to pick up some 
clothes, take a shower, and had, frankly, to drive all the way down--I 
think they were mustering in Newport News at that point and then were 
redeployed up here at the Capitol the next morning.
  On January 7, the morning following the riot, the first National 
Guard personnel arrived on the scene to support the ongoing security 
effort and to protect against the possibility of future threats.
  Folks in this room remember how uncertain the immediate aftermath 
was. The men and women of the Guard arrived in DC fully armed and had 
been told to prepare for the possibility of confronting heavily armed 
rioters and protesters--not tourists; heavily armed rioters and 
protesters--and even the possibility that some of those rioters and 
protesters might bring bombs or IEDs that could have been placed in the 
vicinity of the Capitol. We still haven't found the source of those 
bombs that were placed at the Democratic and Republican National 

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  The weeks leading up to the inauguration, after the 7th and before 
the 21st, even more National Guard personnel poured into DC from across 
the country. The Virginia National Guard continued to perform a 
critical and outsized role in this response, with nearly 2,500 men and 
women--close to 10 percent of the total Guard presence in DC--securing 
the Capitol grounds and Library of Congress, providing quick-reaction 
capabilities to Capitol, Metropolitan, and Park Police, and adding 
critical communications, medical, logistical, and chaplain support.
  I want to specifically highlight the Virginia National Guard's 116th 
Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which played a leading role in protecting 
our Capitol in the weeks following January 6.
  The IBCT, under the command of COL Chris Samulski, led a task force 
of more than 7,400 airmen and soldiers from 12 different States and was 
responsible for maintaining the physical security of the Capitol 
grounds leading up to the inauguration.
  Twice during their mission here at the Capitol, I had the privilege 
of meeting with the Virginia Guard. What I heard time and again was the 
great mix of emotion that came with this deployment. These women and 
men had volunteered for duty to serve the United States and protect our 
Constitution, but what they normally expect that duty to ensue was 
protecting us against our foreign enemies.
  I see my friend, my colleague from Virginia. I know he visited with 
the Guard as well.
  Many of these men and women had been deployed--in some cases, 
multiple times--to Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these soldiers and 
airmen had been deployed in the aftermath of hurricanes and storms and 
natural disasters. None of them, not only from Virginia but from any 
other State that was mustered here, had ever been deployed when the 
frontline against people who wanted to overthrow our government was not 
abroad but right here in our Nation's Capital. They were as shocked as 
all of us that this very building where we work every day needed 
National Guard protection.
  The truth was, they would spend weeks on duty, camped out in our 
Capitol and around the congressional office buildings. Again, I thank 
the chairman of the Rules Committee. When sometimes they didn't get a 
fair shake or tried to get pushed aside, many of us, under her 
leadership, said: No, these folks should not be pushed out in the cold 
because somebody wants their parking space back.
  I remember their kind of uncertainty. They were kind of saying: 
Senator, we didn't think we would ever be here. But I also remember 
their pride in serving as part of this historic mission and their 
direct role in safeguarding our democracy. Their presence during that 
time, all the way through the inauguration when there were still 
concerns that the mobs might be back, I think helped calm the Capitol, 
not just Members but those who were pages at that point and the many, 
many staff. They helped calm the Capitol and our country.

  While we faced and still face unprecedented challenges as a nation, 
the work and dedication of the men and women of the Guard demonstrated 
that our democracy is stronger than the destructive behavior of any 
  This is important because the events of January 6 were not an 
isolated event. What happened that day was the product of the Big Lie, 
perpetrated by a former President and cultivated by those who wished to 
chip away at the sacred values upon which our Nation was founded. Those 
same individuals--those same individuals--in many instances continue to 
stoke that lie that our elections are not secure and that they are 
better off in the hands of partisan officials with the authority to 
overturn the results if somehow those partisan officials don't like the 
results of the people.
  Fueled by the Big Lie, a number of States across the country are 
changing laws to undermine the right to vote in free and fair 
elections. The rights of all Americans but especially minority 
Americans--people of color, young Americans--are being attacked, and 
the basic tenets of our democracy are under siege.
  These changes to voting laws are un-American; for example, what 
happened on Wednesday, where, as we heard yesterday--oftentimes in 
precincts of color, particularly precincts with a heavy concentration 
of African Americans, you wait not an hour or 10 minutes in line; you 
wait 2, 5, 8, 10 hours in line. So the idea that we can't give you any 
water or food while you are waiting that 10 hours in line, who is going 
to vote? In States like Texas, where they are saying a local government 
can overturn the results of a local election--that is not democracy. It 
is despicable that some people want to make it harder for eligible 
Americans to participate in our democracy.
  One of the things that we saw and that I am very proud of in the 
Commonwealth of Virginia is that we dramatically expanded our voting 
rights this year. We had an unprecedented turnout. It resulted in favor 
of one party. Our candidate of choice didn't win. The Republican 
candidate won because he helped turn out the early vote.
  The notion--I don't understand those who are trying to restrict. What 
are people afraid of when more people participate? Consequently, that 
is why we need to act now to protect our democracy by passing the John 
Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Since 
the Senate has shown it cannot do this basic duty and find 60 Senators 
to support basic voting rights, it is time to change the Senate rules 
so the filibuster can't be abused to continue blocking vital voting 
rights legislation.
  I can think of no better way to honor the sacrifices that were made 
in defense of our democracy last year than by passing these bills to 
prevent further subversion of our electoral system and safeguard our 
democracy for future generations.
  I note my former colleague passed today. I wish many of my Republican 
colleagues were here so they, too, could stand up and express their 
views and thoughts on what happened a year ago. I hope, even if they 
are not here today or tomorrow, that next week, they will come to the 
floor as well. Let their voices be heard. What do they think a year 
after on January 6? Is that acceptable behavior? What do they think 
about the efforts to try to restrict voting all across many places of 
the South? But that is going to change as more and more State 
legislatures come in this year. What are their views on these critical 
issues? Where do they stand on protecting Americans' right to vote and 
preserving our democracy, which was under assault a year ago?
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, I rise today to join my colleagues in 
marking a very solemn anniversary. A year ago, our former President, 
Donald Trump, and his Big Lie about the 2020 election incited a violent 
insurrection on our Nation's Capitol and an attack on our very 
  We must never forget this dark day in our Nation's history. We must 
never forget the heroic work of the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan 
Police, and the National Guard to protect all of us and this 
institution and its critical work from that violent mob. We must never 
tolerate such an attack on our democracy and our democratic values.
  That disgraceful day led to the deaths and injuries of brave people 
in uniform, created lasting scars for countless members of our 
community, and further opened the door to undermine our trusted 
democratic process for generations to come.
  I applaud the ongoing efforts of the House Select Committee, 
bipartisan in nature, to uncover the truth, to provide accountability, 
and to ensure that this never happens again in our country. But 
Congress cannot stop at making clear to the American people how January 
6 came to be and ensuring those who contributed to this tragic attack 
on our Nation and its institutions face the consequences of their 
  We must also act to protect the right of every eligible American to 
vote and to secure the integrity of our elections against partisan 
interference because the Big Lie hasn't gone away--far from it. Across 
the country, Republican State legislatures are using it to justify 
attacking our democracy time and time again.
  In the last year alone, more than 400 pieces of legislation--bills--
that restrict access to voting have been introduced in 49 of our 
States, and in at

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least 19 of those States, these measures have become law.
  In my home State of Wisconsin, the Republicans in the State 
legislature are willing to disregard the clear reality that 
Wisconsinites from across the political spectrum exercised their right 
to vote in record numbers in a secure, fair, and safe election in 2020. 
Instead, they are pushing Trump's Big Lie to gain a partisan advantage 
by curtailing voting rights and putting up barriers to make it harder 
to vote.
  They are today fleecing taxpayers to support a sham, partisan process 
under the false guise of election integrity, undermining people's faith 
in our elections. At the same time, they are advancing a redistricting 
proposal that will double down on Wisconsin's unprecedented level of 
partisan gerrymandering, all while our hard-working election officials 
are facing threats against their lives simply for doing their jobs.
  Enough is enough. That is why the Senate must take up and pass the 
Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act 
without delay.
  Regardless of where you live in this country, you should have the 
same access to the ballot box and faith that our elections are fair and 
safe. Voting rights has long been a bipartisan issue, but, 
unfortunately, my Republican colleagues are obstructing us from taking 
up this incredibly important legislation and obstructing us from taking 
action to stop voter suppression and protect voting rights.
  The Freedom to Vote Act will counter election interference by 
protecting election officials from the kind of threats, intimidation, 
and harassment that we are seeing across the country and, very 
specifically, we are seeing in Wisconsin. It will put an end to the 
partisan gerrymandering that lets legislators choose their voters, 
something we have seen all too clearly in my home State. And it will 
ensure that there are commonsense, nationwide standards on early voting 
and voting by mail that make it easier for more people to exercise 
their constitutional right to vote, particularly in challenging 
circumstances like this global pandemic.
  The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will restore protections 
under the Voting Rights Act against the type of efforts to restrict 
access to the ballot that we continue to see in States across the 
  January 6, 2021, is a day none of us will ever forget. The images of 
insurrectionists assaulting our brave people in uniform, our seat of 
government and democracy, will forever be burned into my mind. But far 
too many would like to whitewash the violent day and pretend the 
insurrection was not an existential threat to our democracy.
  We have colleagues who have inexplicably and falsely said the violent 
mob was a group of mere ``tourists.'' My Republican counterpart from 
the great State of Wisconsin even called January 6 a ``peaceful 
protest.'' These fly in the face of the truth. This is not right, and 
we cannot allow the truth to be buried.
  We must all condemn this insurrection in no uncertain terms, as well 
as the Big Lie about the 2020 election that drove the mob to desecrate 
this hallowed Chamber. And we must honor and strengthen our democracy 
by passing legislation that puts an end to these ceaseless attacks on 
voters and the integrity of our elections.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, I feel grateful to have the chance here to 
join my colleagues to mark the anniversary of January 6. I thank the 
chair of the Rules Committee, Senator Klobuchar, for her leadership in 
all of this.
  We had an insurrection here a year ago that could have very easily 
turned into a conflagration if it had not been for the incredible 
bravery of the Capitol Police and the other law enforcement who were 
summoned to the Capitol too late but nevertheless here. The National 
Guard, as my colleague from Virginia was talking about, kept this place 
from being burned down. They kept people from getting killed. They lost 
their lives on that day and in subsequent days because of the trauma 
that they were exposed to. They suffered racial epithets that nobody in 
America should have to suffer, shouted in the halls of this Capitol--T-
shirts with the most racist, holocaust-denying slogans on them.
  And there are people here, as my colleague from Wisconsin said, who 
were claiming that they were acting like tourists. That is a really big 
lie too. This was an incredibly dangerous situation, and we were saved, 
not just us but the staff all over this Capitol and everybody else.
  I just heard somebody downstairs in the basement walking by, and they 
were pointing out one of those pictures that is down there of newsboys 
standing in front of the Capitol when they were kids. And the guy said: 
Those were my great-uncles. Because this place and the people who work 
here--not talking about the Senate but the people who work here who are 
the staff whose grandparents worked here, whose great-uncles who are on 
the pictures downstairs--to them, this was a family, and it was 
attacked. It was assaulted on behalf of people who came summoned here 
by the President, who claimed that the election had been stolen from 
him, who was perpetrating a big lie about what had happened in the 
  There shouldn't have even been a surprise about the results in the 
election. There was little reason for suspense. And it is tragic that a 
year later, we still have to come here and say Joe Biden won the 
election--and he did by any fair study of what happened that day--on 
election day. He won Arizona by 10,000 votes. He won Georgia by 11,000 
votes. He won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes. He won Pennsylvania by 80,000 
votes and Michigan by 150,000 votes. In every one of those swing 
States, he won by more votes than Donald Trump won in his election 
against Hillary Clinton. So this wasn't some razor-thin margin. This 
margin was bigger in those States, except Arizona, than the margin that 
Donald Trump had won when he won the election against Hillary Clinton. 
Joe Biden won this election by 7 million votes.
  Donald Trump actually lost the popular vote when he won the election 
by 3 million votes. But his election wasn't seriously contended by 
anybody, and it shouldn't have been because he had won the electoral 
college, just as Joe Biden had won the electoral college. And he still 
claims the election was stolen, even though there is no evidence that 
that is true. His own Attorney General said it is a lie. His lawyers--
Donald Trump's lawyers--had been thrown out of more than 60 courtrooms 
by State and Federal judges, some of them appointed by President Trump, 
himself, saying that there was no evidence that there was fraud.
  A year later, there has been another incredibly expensive audit or 
review of the election--this time, the election in Georgia. Do you know 
what? There were four people down there who were dead who voted--four 
people. They didn't actually vote. They were dead, but people cast 
ballots on behalf of them. Four people out of 5 million, and one of 
those cast a vote for Donald Trump. But President Trump continues to 
say that there were dead people voting all over the United States of 
  The Associated Press did a review of all those swing States that I 
was mentioning earlier, and they found that if you just looked at the 
disputed ballots--so these aren't even fraudulent ballots because they 
haven't been identified as fraudulent; they are just disputed ballots. 
In all these cases, the disputed ballots came to about 1.5 percent of 
the margin in any one of these races. In other words, in not a single 
one of these swing States where there is a dispute that President Trump 
has brought would it make a material difference, even if it were true 
what he alleges, which it is not.
  He has still doubled down on the Big Lie, and the result is, as my 
colleagues have said here today, there are more than 400 bills 
nationwide in the name of that Big Lie, making it harder for the 
American people to vote, making it harder for them to register, making 
it harder for people to vote early or to vote-by-mail because of a 
myth, because of a lie.
  Slashing the number of polling places and drop boxes. In Texas, they 
are down to one drop box per county. In Colorado, I can practically 
cross my street and vote at a drop box. This is an effort to subvert 
elections to cling to power. That is what is happening

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here, and it is based on a massive falsehood, the Big Lie.
  I think one needs to ask oneself, even people who support President 
Trump: What future does the ``stop the steal'' movement imagine for our 
country? What future do they imagine for this democracy--where every 
election is going to be contested; where political violence replaces 
the ballot box; where elections are decided by strongmen, not votes, 
turning us into Russia or China.
  Is that really what we want our legacy to be here in the country? Do 
we want to be the first generation of Americans to decide that it is 
just too hard to do our duty to the people who founded this country, 
the people who fought from the time this country was founded until 
today, who died for the sake of democracy; that it is just too hard; 
that somehow our differences are unique or so important that we are 
going to give up on our shared commitment to the democracy in favor of 
those disagreements?
  I think we need to ask ourselves at a moment like this what we owe 
the generations of Americans that have fought to make this country more 
democratic, more fair and more free. What do we owe the 158 million 
Americans--a record--who showed up during a plague, this COVID 
pandemic, to cast their votes for Donald Trump and for Joe Biden? What 
are they owed and what do we owe our kids and our grandkids? I think 
the answer is very clear, which is a stronger democracy and economy 
that works for everybody, not just the people at the very top.
  And where do we begin? You know, Colorado, I think, is a great 
example where we have made it a lot easier for people to vote. We have 
one of the highest voter turnouts in the country. I always have to say, 
especially when the Senator from Minnesota is around, that we are No. 2 
in terms of voter turnout. Minnesota is No. 1, but we are coming for 
you. And that is the spirit we should all have. We should be trying to 
get more people to vote, not fewer people to vote. We should have vote-
by-mail. We should have early balloting. We have all of that in 
Colorado and one of the highest turnout rates in the Country and no 
fraud--no fraud.
  I am going to just finish by saying we should distrust politicians 
who can't seem to win people's votes with their argument, just as we 
should distrust politicians who attack the free press to avoid 
accountability, even though that free press is enshrined in our 
Constitution. And we should recommit to each other and the democracy.
  Let me tell you something, Mr. President. Last week, we had another 
tragedy in Colorado, another disaster. Pueblo, CO--or Boulder, CO, 
started out this year with a mass shooting in a grocery store. Some of 
you may remember that. And, basically, on New Year's Eve, we had a 
massive fire that ripped through neighborhoods in the Front Range of 
Colorado in Boulder County. A thousand people--a thousand houses were 
burned. More than 30,000 people lost their homes. I sat there thinking 
to myself, as I was with my daughters watching those fires on the 
television set, how much we actually need each other, you know? And 
there is a lot of evidence out there in those 2 days that the law 
enforcement who got those 30,000 people out had almost literally no 
fatalities because of what they did and what they sacrificed. 
Coloradans stepped up that night and said: You can come to my house. We 
will put you up in my house. So out of those 30,000 people, there were 
fewer than 300 people in a shelter that night.
  The reporters, the journalists were out there long into the night 
reporting on that fire so that people might have some sense of whether 
their house had been lost or their house had been saved. Local county 
officials have worked tirelessly after flood and after fire and after 
natural disasters to come together to make sure that we build back 
stronger, which we always do in Colorado--and even, let me say, the 
Federal Government's contribution, the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency--because if there is one reason that we should be one Nation 
under God, it is for a natural disaster like the one that just occurred 
in Colorado.
  This is our choice: We either save this democracy, which I believe we 
will, or we let it go. And it is going to be on us. If we let it go, 
generations of Americans are going to indict us. If we save it, I think 
they will celebrate the work we did here, just as we celebrate the work 
of the people who came before us who made our country more democratic, 
more fair, and more free.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I want to thank my colleague from Colorado for 
reminding us of how important it is for us to come together as 
Americans to protect our communities and to protect our country. That 
is really why we are all here today on the floor of the Senate because, 
1 year ago today, we witnessed a violent attack on this Capitol and on 
our democracy itself.
  It was not a sneak attack by a foreign power, like Pearl Harbor. It 
was not an attack by a foreign terrorist group, like 9/11. It was an 
attack from within, and it was orchestrated and instigated by the 
former President of the United States.
  One year later, while we have improved the physical security of this 
Capitol, we have not secured our democracy. Our great American 
experiment remains under as much threat today as it did a year ago, and 
we as Americans have a duty to come together to take action to protect 
  The violent mob unleashed by Donald Trump a year ago stormed and 
sacked this Capitol. Insurrectionists scaled the ramparts, tore through 
the barricades, and breached this building. They used flagpoles to beat 
Officer Michael Fanone and used chemical spray to assault Officer Brian 
Sicknick, who tragically died the next day. A gallows was built outside 
of this Capitol while rioters chanted ``hang Mike Pence.'' Like many 
others, I recall watching horrifying television footage of a rioter 
pulling down an American flag and raising up a Trump flag in its place. 
Confederate flags and banners of far-right extremist groups were 
paraded through these halls. This citadel of our democracy was 
violently attacked. The Capitol Hill community was traumatized and so 
was the country.
  But in that dark hour when our democracy was under attack, members of 
the U.S. Capitol Police, the National Guard, and the DC Metropolitan 
Police stepped up and answered the call.
  There were many stories of bravery from that day, but I want to draw 
attention to Officer Eugene Goodman, a Marylander who protected our 
democracy by diverting the mob away from this Senate Chamber. His 
actions on January 6 saved lives, and Maryland is proud to call him one 
of our own. It is because of the courage of Officer Goodman, his fellow 
officers, and many other heroes that the mob was ultimately forced to 
retreat and the Senate and the House were able to reconvene to finish 
the certification of the electoral count. That was the job that we had 
all come here to do on January 6, 2021, and that was the job the 
rioters had tried to stop.
  They were driven to violence by Donald Trump's Big Lie that the 2020 
election was stolen, and they were hell-bent on answering his call to 
overturn the results of that election and overturn the will of the 
American people. They failed in that effort. On that day, all of us 
were determined not to leave this place until we got the job done and 
certified the vote. And that is what we did.
  And when we returned to the Senate floor after the attack on our 
Capitol, I really believed, for those few hours, that most Members of 
this Senate appreciated the gravity of the moment we had just lived 
  I had real hope that all of us, regardless of party or politics, felt 
the weight of history upon us. I had hoped that most of us grasped the 
idea that the machinery of our democracy does not operate 
automatically; it is not self-executing, that institutions are 
ultimately only as strong as the people who safeguard them, that it is 
up to each and every one of us to nurture and protect our democracy, 
that we are the current stewards of our Republic's tradition of the 
peaceful transfer of power.
  I really believed that night that that was a shared belief in this 
Senate. In my remarks when we returned that evening, I described the 
attack as a wake-up call to the country for all of us as Americans. 
That day showed us exactly what can happen when we fail to come 
together--not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans, to stand up 
for the truth, to stand up for

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our democracy, and to stand up against lies that undermine public 
confidence and faith in our elections.
  That day showed us, in a violent and undeniable way, that if we 
allowed the poison of the Big Lie to continue to spread, our democracy 
would continue to be under threat. I hoped we would heed the warning of 
that horrible day.
  And I was pleased to work with colleagues here, including the Senator 
from Minnesota and others, to help fortify the physical security of our 
Capitol Building. We have delivered additional resources to the Capitol 
Police. We selected a new Sergeant of Arms and a new Chief of the 
Capitol Police.
  And we are continuing to implement the other key recommendations that 
have been made to strengthen the security of Capitol Hill. While we are 
improving the physical security here on Capitol Hill, we are failing in 
our larger duty to the American people.
  We have failed to stop the spread of the Big Lie and its corrosive 
impact on the confidence in our democracy. We know that Joe Biden beat 
Donald Trump in a free and fair election, and yet too many of our 
Republican colleagues put political convenience ahead of country and 
ahead of our Constitution.

  Too many are afraid to state the facts and tell the American people 
the simple truth. And because of that fundamental failure, the Big Lie 
has metastasized and represents a clear and present danger to the 
democratic process throughout the country.
  When the violent mob failed to overturn the election results in this 
Chamber a year ago today, the Big Lie did not end. It materialized in 
other forms to undermine our democracy. As we speak, Republican-
controlled State legislatures, fueled by the Big Lie, are passing laws 
making it harder for people to vote--especially people of color, people 
with disabilities, and younger voters.
  In addition to putting up barriers to voting, proponents of the Big 
Lie are stripping power from election officials who dared to challenge 
Donald Trump's plot to falsely claim victory in the 2020 election. The 
Georgia General Assembly removed Georgia Secretary of State Brad 
Raffensperger as head of the State election board after he denied 
Trump's request to ``find 11,780 votes,'' the exact number he needed to 
defeat Joe Biden in Georgia. It was not enough that Raffensperger, a 
loyal Republican, had voted for Donald Trump. His offense was failure 
to implement the Big Lie.
  In Michigan, Republicans are moving to saturate election wards with 
Big Lie loyalists in an effort to control the counting of ballots. And 
across the country, other laws are being passed at the State level that 
would authorize partisan officials to change or overturn the results of 
elections, even after votes have been cast and counted.
  What we are witnessing is an all-out, continuing assault on our 
democracy. And the longer we wait, the more the threat grows. The clock 
is ticking. Now is the time to act.
  That is why we must establish uniform national standards to protect 
access to the ballot box and ensure that our elections reflect the will 
of the American people, not the political wishes of any party or any 
one person.
  That is exactly what the Freedom to Vote Act does and why we must 
pass it. This bill would defend every American's right to the ballot. 
The Freedom to Vote Act also helps protect election officials from 
unfair removal and guards against attempts to tamper with or change 
election results.
  In addition, the bill contains provisions to keep our elections fair 
and honest, including crucial campaign finance reform and a ban on 
partisan gerrymandering. An enactment of the Freedom to Vote Act should 
go hand in hand with the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to 
restore the full protections guaranteed by the Voting Rights Act of 
  While I had hoped that action to preserve our democracy would be a 
bipartisan endeavor, it is clear that our Senate Republican colleagues 
are not willing to join us in passing these bills.
  Efforts to strike a compromise have been met with virtually zero 
support on the other side of the aisle. Democrats are willing to move 
forward ourselves to protect our democracy, but our Republican 
colleagues have weaponized the current filibuster rule and are using it 
to thwart progress. They have even blocked our attempt to have a debate 
on voting rights when we raised the issue 6 months ago.
  Those actions are undermining the very spirit, the tradition, and 
function of this Senate. The Senate was designed to promote vigorous 
and long debate while also respecting the ultimate will of a majority 
of Senators and a majority of the American people.
  Today, we see the opposite: very little real debate on the Senate 
floor and the denial--the denial--of a majority vote to resolve the big 
questions of the day, resulting in the denial of the will of the 
American people.
  We can change that. We have to change that. We can change it by 
adapting the current rules of the Senate to restore the original intent 
of the Framers. We must do that for the health of our institutions and 
the good of our democracy.
  James McHenry, Maryland's delegate to the Constitutional Convention, 
wrote in his diaries about a famous exchange between Elizabeth Willing 
Powell and Benjamin Franklin. He wrote:

       A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a 
     republic or a monarchy--A republic replied the Doctor if you 
     can keep it.

  A year ago today on this floor, I quoted this exact exchange. And 
now, on the 1-year anniversary of January 6, we are still met with the 
same question and same test of whether or not we can muster the will to 
do what must be done to keep our Republic. There is still time. We can 
still repair and sustain our democracy.
  One year ago, we did not allow a violent mob to prevent us from 
staying right here to do our job. We completed the certification of the 
Presidential election, but our job is not over. We have not finished 
the job of security or democracy.
  Now is the time for us to do that. Let's come together and do what is 
necessary and right for our Republic, for our democracy, and for the 
American people.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I am so happy to join my colleagues on the 
floor in a very solemn effort to think through the meaning, at a 1-year 
anniversary, of the attack upon the Capitol on January 6.
  Today is not only that anniversary. Today, in the Christian 
tradition, is the Feast of the Epiphany. And I remembered, sitting in 
the Chamber last year, as we were barricaded in, under attack, and with 
the confusion all around me, at one point I realized: Today is the 
Feast of the Epiphany--the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6.
  What is Epiphany? The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the arrival of 
the magi at the manger. Wise men of the day saw a portent and 
disturbance in the sky, and were led to a place where they believed 
something remarkable would happen.
  What they found completely surprised them. It wasn't what they were 
expecting. It wasn't power. It wasn't pomp. It wasn't majesty. It was a 
tiny baby, born to a family too humble to even get a room at an inn, 
lying with his mother in a stable, surrounded by barnyard animals.
  They found something that they couldn't have imagined, and it changed 
their lives and it changed the world.
  Why do I reference the Feast of the Epiphany? I reference it because, 
like many things in the Christian story, it has gone way beyond 
  By the middle 1700s or 1800s, the word ``epiphany'' now had a broader 
use. It was not just about the arrival of the magi at the manger. The 
word ``epiphany'' now means something much more widespread in the 
English language. It is defined as a moment in which you suddenly see 
something in a new or very clear way.
  The word ``epiphany'' comes from a Greek root meaning reveal. All of 
us--all of us--no matter how long we have been around, have the 
capacity for epiphanies--deeper understandings of essential truths that 
reveal themselves in our lives.
  I want to talk about January 6 and one epiphany I have had as a 
result of it.
  Before I do, I want to acknowledge five people, five Virginia law 
enforcement officers, who lost their lives in the days after the 
Capitol attack.

[[Page S72]]

  I thank my colleague Senator Warner, who talked at really important 
length about the contributions of the Virginia State Police and the VA 
National Guard. I want to focus on five people: Brian Sicknick, U.S. 
Capitol Police, 42-year-old, after service in the military, had been 
with the Capitol Police for 13 years, dying immediately after the 
attack because of injuries he received that day; Jeffrey Smith, another 
Virginian, 35 years old, 12-year patrolman with the Metropolitan Police 
Department, died after the attack, by suicide; Howie Liebengood, 51 
years old, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, died shortly 
after the attack, by suicide; Kyle DeFreytag, 26-year-old, 5-year 
veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, died a few days after 
the attack, by suicide; Gunther Hashida, 43 years old, an 18-year 
veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, died in the days after 
the attack, by suicide--all Virginians.
  I am haunted by these deaths, and I will say, I am particularly 
haunted by those who died by suicide, whose families are now fighting 
to get line-of-duty benefits for their deaths.
  All of us, in our lives, have been affected by suicide in families 
and friends. And suicide is complicated. There is not a single thing, 
as you dig into a suicide, but I just use the insights I have gained as 
a member of the Armed Services Committee, together with you, Mr. 
  Over the time we have been here, there has been a slight shift in 
understanding of causes of suicide within the military.
  The conventional wisdom about it, when I came here, was that suicide 
was driven, maybe, as a principal factor in the military and among 
veterans because of the cumulative effects of trauma. The trauma was so 
significant that that led to suicide. Of course, trauma is a key 
factor, but a more recent understanding of suicide suggests that an 
even more important factor may not be trauma, but a sense of 
  I was in a military unit. I had a lot of people around me. They had 
my back. We were close. We were connected. We were really tight. And 
then I moved into a civilian world, where I didn't have that connection 
and people didn't have my back, and I was lost, and I didn't know whom 
to turn to or who would look out for me.
  I am haunted by the deaths of these four Virginians to suicide 
because I wonder if they felt abandoned. Did they feel abandoned by us?
  They were fighting that day to save our democracy, to save this 
Capitol, and to save their lives, and yet 147 of the 535 Members of 
Congress voted with the mob to overturn the election, to throw out the 
democracy, to do the bidding of a would-be authoritarian.
  If you are fighting to protect these 535 Members of Congress and this 
institution and you watch nearly 30 percent of the Members side with 
the attackers, I would suggest that they might have felt abandoned.
  When I was here on January 6, I experienced a lot of emotions, and I 
am just going to describe two: relief and anger.
  Relief? How could that day create a sense of relief?
  I was relieved that I had told my staff to stay home. My chief of 
staff disobeyed me. But I was relieved that I had told my staff to stay 
home. Thank God, they were safe.
  I was relieved to look right here and see no pages. I was relieved 
that pages were not here in this Chamber, because, thank God, they 
would be safe.
  And I was relieved not only because my staff was safe, but I was 
relieved because I didn't want their youthful, altruistic, public-
service motivation to be damaged or demoralized by what was happening 
that day.
  I expressed this to my staff this morning. I sent a note to them, and 
I said: In the middle of all these emotions, I was relieved that you 
weren't here; that I had told you to stay home so you wouldn't be in 
danger like so many were. But I don't want you to be demoralized by 
what happened.
  And I had a staff member come to me right before I came to the floor 
and said: January 6 didn't demoralize me; it energized me.
  Thank God for that.
  The second emotion that was so powerful in me, and even so powerful 
that I couldn't quite understand it, was anger. Now, of course, anger 
would be an acceptable and completely understandable reaction to what 
was going on. And I have known anger in my life, but the anger I felt 
that day was different than what I had felt in 63 years. There was 
something different about it.
  And it took me months--it took me months--to figure it out. Was it 
just the physical attack? Was it the friends and staff and other people 
who were in danger? Yeah, that was all part of it.
  It took me months to figure out exactly why I was so angry. And then 
I had an epiphany. I had an epiphany.
  No one in my life had ever tried to disenfranchise me. I am a White 
male, born in 1958. I am a civil rights lawyer in the capital of the 
Confederacy, fighting for voting rights for all kinds of people. Of 
course, voting rights were important. I was passionately committed to 
it in my professional life before I came here, but it was something 
that I was sort of, you know, trying to do to help others. No one had 
ever tried to disenfranchise me.
  But what was going on on the floor that day was an effort to object 
to the very first State, as you went through them alphabetically, that 
had voted for Joe Biden, to object to that State and try to 
disenfranchise, through that objection and others that were lined up, 
the 80 million people who had voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 
All of us who cast our ballots that way, we were being disenfranchised 
that day.
  It had never happened to me before. For some Americans, they had 
experienced disenfranchisement often in their lives. Some Americans 
have experienced disenfranchisement during their whole lives. Some 
Americans have experienced disenfranchisement not for 4 hours but for 4 
centuries. It had never happened to me.
  For a few hours, and just a few--and just a few--I felt the pain of 
those who have faced disenfranchisement efforts to take away or 
threaten their vote for their whole lives, and I hated it. I hated that 
feeling. I hated that feeling.
  My epiphany was one of empathy: So this is how it feels when others 
scheme to take your vote, when they try to exclude you, when they try 
to say you don't count. This is how it feels. It hadn't happened to me 
before, and for a few hours, it did.
  The next morning, I walked into the Capitol and the Sun was shining 
and the threat to me was past. We had finished the work. The 
insurrection delayed the certification and peaceful transfer of power, 
but it couldn't stop it.
  But the epiphany of briefly being in the shoes of those who have been 
disenfranchised throughout their lives has changed me profoundly. It 
hasn't changed my personality. It hasn't changed my relationships. But 
it has changed my priorities.
  Again, I was a civil rights lawyer doing voting rights work in the 
capital of the Confederacy. Protecting the right to vote has always 
been important to me. Protecting the integrity of campaigns and 
elections have always been important to me. But now it is beyond that. 
It is not just an important priority, it is an existential necessity 
that we respond to the mass disenfranchisement effort of January 6, 
with guaranteeing the franchise; guaranteeing people's right to vote; 
guaranteeing that, when they vote, they can be secure that their vote 
will be counted; guaranteeing that they can trust the integrity of the 
officials that will call the outcomes of elections.

  My epiphany of empathy has put me in the shoes, for a few hours, of 
those who have experienced disenfranchisement, and I have concluded 
that the only response to that has to be--has to be--a concerted effort 
to protect voting and protect the democracy that relies upon it.
  I will say this and conclude: January 6 will always be remembered as 
the attack on the Capitol. January 6 will always be the Feast of the 
Epiphany. January 6 was a day in our history of epiphanies.
  But what is the purpose of an epiphany? Is it just to kind of see 
things a new way?
  I think the purpose of an epiphany is to change your life; it is to 
be surprised. Go and see something that you didn't expect, and then be 
willing to adjust your life and your priority as proof that you were 
paying attention.
  We will be faced with a most significant decision in the coming days. 
Having been the 100 Senators out of the 2,000 in history who have 
inhabited this

[[Page S73]]

Chamber who were here during the attack, will we understand what 
happened, absorb that epiphany, and then act to protect people's rights 
to participate in this democracy?
  I pray that we will. I pray that we will.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. BOOKER. Mr. President, I stand here today with a sober heart. I 
am a big believer that if America hasn't broken your heart, you 
probably don't love her enough.
  We are here on the 1-year anniversary of one of our great Nation's 
moments of shame.
  We saw a violent attack on this Capitol, ignited and incited by 
demagogues who were trying to spread a lie; telling people their votes 
were stolen by a President who broke with our traditions of a peaceful 
transfer of power and told his supporters to come to this building.
  (Mr. VAN HOLLEN assumed the Chair.)
  On that day of that vicious attack, we saw heroic actions by men and 
women who stood in the breach to try to protect the 535 Members of 
Congress, their staffs--the people in this body who do so much good to 
keep this Nation's traditions moving. As a result of that conflict, 
lives were lost. Brian Sicknick from my State died as a result of his 
  The feelings of that day are still with me. I was sitting right here 
next to friends and colleagues as we were told to stay in our seats, as 
we were told that the Capitol was under attack. I watched the basic 
decency of people in this room as staffers came in, in tears and in 
pain, and the comforting that I saw of some of my colleagues, and I 
watched other staff members protecting historic artifacts, protecting 
the very boxes that would ensure that our tradition would continue; 
that here on this Earth, a nation would be formed that values that 
highest ideals of humanity; that the people can come together and form 
amongst them a system of government.
  We were escorted out that door, and I think the gravity of it really 
hit me when we came right out that door, and one of the first things I 
saw was an officer down.
  I rushed over, and I said: ``What happened?''
  He said: ``I was hit. I was hit.''
  All along our retreat in that ignominious moment, all along that 
retreat, we saw officers injured.
  I eventually walked and worked my way to my office, and I will never 
forget this moment as long as I live. I felt not just my own pain, but 
I thought immediately of my dad, and I felt the pain of my ancestors 
because, when I turned on that screen, the very first thing I saw was 
the Confederate flag, and it all came rushing to my heart, and I felt 
an ache and a hurt. My heart was broken.
  I know that day shocked a lot of people, but when I saw that flag, it 
connected to a current of the dark eddies of our Nation's history that 
have persisted because violent mobs from the beginning of our country 
have tried to stop our democratic traditions.
  That flag in so many communities in this country is carried by 
Klansmen, carried by those who took democratically elected officials--
Blacks in Southern States--ripped them from their offices, dragged 
judges out into the street, beat them, lynched them. That was their 
  As I watched from my office, I saw swastikas. I saw Muslim hate. I 
talked to Black officers here, and as they defended the country they 
loved, they were repeatedly called the N-word over and over again. You 
can't be surprised. You just can't.
  As we have always, in every generation, tried to make a more perfect 
union, this is part of that story--people who want to stop the march of 
democracy. Do you think that the suffrage movement didn't face 
violence? It did, as people tried to intimidate and beat and stop the 
equal franchise. Do you think the civil rights movement didn't face 
violence? How many martyrs' names do we know, people who were shot down 
and killed because they did not want them to have equal representation?
  Why did I ache for my ancestors? Because those were the stories of my 
grandparents, those were the stories of my father, of the fear and 
intimidation of just trying to exercise their franchise.
  Why are we surprised by demagoguery and hate in our Nation? It is a 
part of our story. But the greatness of our country is not that that 
existed but the good people who have come together in every generation 
and said: Not on our watch. We are better than this. We will pull 
together, out of the great, vast diversity of our Nation, a rainbow 
coalition of people dedicated not to a race or religion but to a 
national ideal.
  I am here as a Senator, just the fourth Black person ever elected 
popularly in our Nation's history. I am here because White folks and 
Black folks and Asian folks and all Americans didn't just hope for a 
better democracy, didn't just condemn violence; they worked to preserve 
and protect and advance our Nation.
  What are we doing now? Is this going to be a day where we just 
condemn what happened? Is this just going to be a day where we point 
fingers of blame and feel good in our contempt for those who were at 
the core of that? If that is what this day is about, it is for naught 
because we fail then to recognize this is not about a day. This was not 
1 day. It was not one moment. It is a part of our story, and the 
threats continue. How can we be blind to the violence that has 
continued since that day?
  Threats on Federal judges--we had a Federal judge's family shot and 
killed in my State. They are up 300, 400 percent. Threats on Members of 
this body, threats on all 535 Congresspeople are up around twofold.
  Do you think this is about a day, when election officials, 
nonpartisan people, all across this country are now seeing threats? 
Reuters documented more than 850 threatening, hostile messages aimed at 
election officials. In Philadelphia, a Republican who dared to tell the 
truth about the election, mirroring the words of then-President Donald 
Trump's highest official that the election was fair--what happened to 
him? Threats and intimidation. People calling his home, literally 
threatening to murder his three children.

  You think this is about 1 day in time?
  A survey from the Brennan Center for Justice in April of 2021 found 
that one in three U.S. American election officials feels unsafe because 
of their job, and about 20 percent listed threats to their lives as a 
job-related concern.
  This is not a foreign country. This is the United States of America, 
and our election officials, nonpartisan individuals--Republicans, 
Democrats, fellow Americans--are afraid to do their job because they 
tell the truth.
  This is not about 1 day. This is not. This is a story of the founding 
of our country. As our Founders tried to break with the course of human 
events and establish here the greatest experiment of humanity, there 
were people who wanted authoritarianism; there were people who wanted 
bigotry; there were people who wanted to protect with violence the kind 
of despotism that we broke away from.
  We make a big mistake if on this day, we just talk about what 
happened here. We have protection. We have security. But all across 
this country right now, there are believers in this democracy who have 
the same fears that my grandparents did, the same fears that my father 
did, the same fear that Blacks and Whites who joined arms to march 
across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for voting rights did. This is a 
cancer. It has always been here. And we make a tragic mistake just by 
talking about this day, because when I survey the United States of 
America, I am so worried. There has never been a time in my life where 
I have been more worried about this democracy.
  I grew up with stories of family members who talked about the 
preciousness about what it is to vote. They love the heroes of John F. 
Kennedy and Medgar Evers and these people who fought for them from all 
backgrounds. My parents taught me to love people--Jewish people, like 
Abraham Joshua Heschel and Joachim Prinz; people who knew that in 
America, if you just fight for your own rights, who are you? This is a 
nation where we know we are all in this.
  But I stand here today to ask you, why aren't we talking about the 
fact that in States right now, laws are being passed specifically 
designed to

[[Page S74]]

disenfranchise people? Don't take my word for it. The year I came to 
this body, in 2013, a Federal judge in North Carolina looked at that 
voting law and said it was designed ``with surgical-like precision'' to 
disenfranchise Black Americans.
  But I don't need to go back to 2013 to see reason for us all to be 
concerned. When early voting started in the fall of 2020 in Georgia, 
some voters had to wait up to 10 hours to vote in six metro areas in 
Georgia counties--six metro areas.
  At polling places where minorities constituted more than 90 percent 
of active, registered voters, the average wait time in the evening for 
those Black communities was 51 minutes. When Whites comprised 90 
percent, in those communities, the average wait time was 6 minutes. 
Think about this for a second. Are we satisfied with a democracy where 
in some communities, the Black communities will have to wait eight 
times longer to vote? Is that what we mean, equal justice under the 
law? Is that what we mean when we look at our flag and say ``liberty 
and justice for all''?
  There are States right now passing voting laws to make it harder to 
vote. What happens when a working mom with three kids shows up, and the 
line is a 1-hour wait or a 2-hour wait? What does she do? Is it fair to 
her? Then they go as far in Georgia--say that person does want to wait 
and brings a folding chair and sits there for 2 and 3 and 4 hours. They 
make it illegal, for that person who might have diabetes, illegal, for 
that person who might have a mental condition, for someone to bring 
them water.
  I am sorry. I grew up--and I confess it on the Senate floor--with the 
naive belief that the stories of my father and the stories of my 
grandparents were history; that we wouldn't live in a country where 
Black people are waiting eight, nine times the wait of White people; 
that in some communities, the wait would be 5, 6, 7 hours--a day's work 
for families who can't afford to give up a day's work.
  You think this was about a day? I tell you it is about the cancer in 
our democracy that has been here from its start. This country's very 
survival has to be faced every generation. Democracy is not certain. It 
is not automatic. Democracy is hard.
  Democracy takes work. Democracy takes sacrifice, but as we sit here 
now, in dozens of States, laws are being passed that disproportionately 
impact the disabled, that disproportionately impact Native Americans, 
and that disproportionately impact people of color.
  So when I go back to the Confederate flag I saw waving just feet from 
where we stand right now--a flag that got so much currency during the 
backlash after Reconstruction and that got so much currency during the 
backlash after Brown v. Board of Education--I know it is part of a 
larger problem and that none of us who love our Nation and love this 
democracy can ever rest.
  There are two people I want to mention before I conclude, both men I 
have come to admire. Both men risked their lives for this country. They 
weren't like our great, great veterans who fought nobly--and many of 
them died--but I hope we don't cheapen the truth of their stories 
because they did the work here at home, evidencing our highest values 
when our Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we must 
mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
  Both of these men happen to be Black, but it is a value that is 
evidenced in all backgrounds and all people. I am here because of that 
truth. Both of them were riddled with hateful words, called the N-word 
over and over and over again. One of those men I had the privilege of 
serving with, and both of these men were violently attacked. John Lewis 
was violently attacked as he tried to advance this democracy. He was 
beaten and had his head cracked open on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. He 
was spit on at sit-ins, and he won battles with others. He came to 
Congress, and he worked and fought and defended.
  Republicans and Democrats supported the voting rights bill, but then 
it was gutted by the Supreme Court. Maybe you will have the experience 
I have had of when your heroes become your friends. I would ask him how 
it felt to watch part of his life's work be torn apart and have these 
new voting laws that disproportionately impact African Americans. How 
did it feel?
  John Lewis, who was this man of peace and this man of grace, just 
said to me: You cannot stop the work of this democracy. One 
generation's gains don't pass on like an inheritance to the next. They 
have to earn them.
  The other person is a guy named Harry Dunn. Like John Lewis, he put 
his life on the line in defending the Capitol. He is a Capitol Police 
Officer. When I read and saw his interviews after battling to save our 
lives against a mob incited by a demagogic President, he was sitting 
under the Rotunda and turned to another person after being called the 
N-word over and over again and said simply: ``Is this America?''
  I hope all of us see that we have a responsibility to answer that 
  The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote 
Act will be part of the answer to that question of whether a little 
Black boy and a little Black girl and a little White girl and a little 
White boy who go to vote with their parents can see an equal voting 
opportunity. That is going to be an answer to that question. Every 
generation has got to make this country live up to its promise. We are 
losing ground, and it didn't start on January 6 of last year.
  I end with an answer, an inadequate answer, to Officer Dunn, in a 
poem I learned from my parents and in a poem I shared an affection for 
with John Lewis that calls upon every American not to point fingers of 
blame to others but to accept a responsibility not just to be satisfied 
in your contempt for some but to rise up as a force of light and love 
for all.
  I end with Langston Hughes' poem:

     O, let America be America again--
     The land that never has been yet--
     [But] yet must be--the land where [everyone] is free . . . 
           the poor [man], [Indian], [Negro], ME--
     Who made America . . .
     Whose faith and pain,
     Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
     Must [make this] mighty dream [live] again.
     O, yes,
     I say it plain,
     America never was America to me,
     And yet I swear this oath--
     America will be!

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, first, I want to thank Senator Booker for 
his powerful, powerful statement. The whole country has to hear what he 
  I want to thank Senator Kaine for your powerful words as well. It is 
just so important that people of your stature speak to our country on 
what we should be aspiring to do. Thank you for your leadership.
  Thank you to Senator Klobuchar for organizing this incredibly 
important moment on the first anniversary of the insurrection against 
the Capitol.
  One year ago, my colleagues and I started the day in this Chamber, 
ready to ratify the electoral college votes and declare Joe Biden the 
next President of the United States. Instead, Members of Congress were 
forced to take shelter under their desks and under Gallery benches, 
place gas masks over their heads, and pray that they would make it home 
to their families that day. Our staffs, journalists, Capitol workers 
wondered if they would live through the day, and their views of their 
workplace changed forever.
  Instead of a day celebrating the workings of our democracy, our 
Nation was met with anti-democratic, White supremacist forces storming 
their way inside this building, violently attempting to overturn the 
results of the 2020 election. It was an insurrection.
  One year ago, the people's Houses changed, but even though the 
ratification process, which recognizes the will of the American people, 
was interrupted, it was not defeated. On the night of January 6, 2021, 
as Members of Congress returned to the Chamber to ratify the results of 
the election of 2020, our democracy prevailed.
  We thank the Capitol Police. We thank them for what they did that 
day. Some lost their lives. Some were injured. Some still suffer from 
the traumatic impact of what they had to do in order to protect these 
Chambers, in order to protect the electoral college votes that were in 
the well of this Chamber. The whole country owes a

[[Page S75]]

debt of obligation to those police officers and what they did to stand 
here and to protect all of us--the staff, the Members, the 
Parliamentarians--but to, more importantly, protect democracy because 
we were able to return here after 8 p.m. that night in order to cast 
those votes. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those police officers 
who sacrificed so much on that day.
  Tragically, former President Donald Trump's Big Lie has turned into 
the Big Threat to our democracy. The insurrectionists were unsuccessful 
in overturning election results, but the death, injury, and breach of 
national security they caused must be held to account.
  I want to thank the House of Representatives' Select Committee to 
Investigate the January 6th Attack for their commitment to that ongoing 
mission as well as the hard-working men and women of the Department of 
Justice who have already brought charges against more than 725 
individuals for their involvement in the insurrection.
  Donald Trump does lie, but the video, texts, and messages from 
January 6 do not lie. We all saw what happened that day, and anyone who 
orchestrated, abetted, or participated in the January 6 attack must be 
held accountable. That includes those at the very highest level of our 
government. It means, as Attorney General Merrick Garland said 
yesterday, ``follow[ing] the facts wherever they [may] lead.'' If the 
facts lead to Donald Trump's criminal responsibility for the 
insurrection, then he should face the same consequences as anyone else, 
even if it means the only place he will be in 2024 is in jail.
  Even as we now reflect on this day 1 year later, we must understand 
that investigation and prosecution alone will not prevent another 
attack on our democracy. This problem is larger than any one person or 
candidate or election cycle. We cannot forget the role that online 
platforms played during the lead-up to the insurrection. Make no 
mistake, social media platforms have become hotbeds of disinformation, 
hate speech, and dangerous conspiracy theories. Today, the seeds of 
offline harms are planted, grown, and spread online.
  In the days before insurrectionists attacked the building, social 
media platforms, black boxes, algorithms promoted election 
misinformation and political groups that spread Trump's Big Lie. We 
need to open the hood to the online systems that are pushing toxic 
content to the public and feeding dangerous social movements online.
  But the January 6 mob was fueled not only by the Big Lie but by the 
global rise of authoritarian and nationalist movements that reject the 
basic principles of American democracy of quality, freedom, and the 
peaceful transfer of power. The attack on the Capitol revealed the 
growing fragility in our democratic processes and institutions and a 
systemic weakness caused by years of falsehoods and policies meant to 
undermine our right to vote in free and fair elections. It is 
unbearable to think that a big part of America no longer believes in 
any kind of democracy. They no longer believe in the rules that we all 
live by and the pursuit of goodness and fairness and progress.
  Donald Trump is gone from the White House, but we know that the hate 
and division that defined his corrupt tenure has been with us since our 
founding. So many were willing to believe lies about the legitimacy of 
President Biden's victory because they had lost faith in the integrity 
of our democratic system. Some were even willing to engage in horrific 
violence because they believed elections could be stolen. The 
architects of the January 6 authoritarians, White nationalists, and 
those who stand to benefit from the continued undermining of our 
democracy want us to feel this way.
  For years, the dangerous coalition has worked to limit access to the 
ballot box, undermine fair voting districts, and continuously spread 
disinformation about voter fraud. In the wake of their attack on the 
Capitol, they now have accelerated their efforts. In 2021 alone, 19 
States have passed 34 laws restricting the access to voting, continuing 
the assault on our electoral system. These efforts have eroded 
Americans' faith that they can actually choose their own elected 
Representatives, sabotage public truth in electoral outcomes, and 
disenfranchise countless voters, especially communities of color, 
indigenous people, the poor, young Americans, and individuals with 
  The Big Lie is that the election was stolen from Donald Trump in 
2020. It was not. The Big Truth is that Donald Trump and his allies 
have put in place a process to steal the election of 2022 and 2024. 
That is the Big Truth of what is going on in this country, right now. 
And the way they are going to accomplish that Big Truth is by having 
State after State in the United States pass laws which restrict the 
access to vote for Black and Brown and indigenous, and poor and 
disabled Americans. That is the Big Truth about what is going on in our 
country right now--a systematic plan to steal the election of 2022, to 
steal the Presidency in 2024.
  And the Republican Party has become a wholly owned subsidiary of 
Donald Trump on the issue of voter suppression, on the issue of making 
it impossible for this body, for the U.S. Congress, to pass laws which 
protect the rights of every American to vote.
  But we do have a chance, right now, on the Senate floor, to stand up 
to this anti-democratic movement and to banish these discriminatory 
policies and put them in the political dust bin of history.
  The Senate can and must take action to pass the John Lewis Voting 
Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, and we must abolish 
the filibuster, if just for this issue, to protect the right to vote 
for every person in our country.
  With these bills, if we modify the filibuster, American voices will 
no longer be drowned out by special interests, by redistricting that 
keeps Black and Brown communities marginalized, and by voting laws that 
are reminiscent of poll taxes and literacy tests that were used for 
centuries to stop Black voters, minority voters from participating in 
our democracy.
  We need expanded early and mail-in voting. We need automatic and 
same-day voter registration. We need to make election day a national 
holiday. We need to get rid of hours-long voting lines. We need to ban 
partisan gerrymandering. We need to get dark money out of our 
elections. We need to end the discriminatory voting laws that restrict 
access to the ballot box on the basis of race and age and income and 
  We now have the opportunity to make sure that every voice is heard in 
our democracy: the 85-year-old Black woman in Georgia who has waited 
hours to cast her ballot without even a bottle of water; the newly 
naturalized family in Arizona who took the bus 45 minutes to the 
closest voting location, energized by the chance to fully participate 
in American democracy; the mother of four in Massachusetts who works 
two jobs just to make ends meet and desperately needs that mail-in 
ballot. These are the voices that the ugly mob of hate and violence and 
division that attacked the Capitol on January 6 do not want to be heard 
in American politics, in 2022, in the United States of America.
  But will we stand up? We have to ensure that at our moment in 
American history, there is enough evidence to convict us of having 
stood up for democracy, of having fought for all of those who will 
otherwise be disenfranchised this year, 2022, in the United States of 
America. Otherwise, we will have been found wanting in preserving the 
foundations of our democracy, that we will have fixed this broken 
system of government that is being dismantled by Republicans across 
this country, State after State, with Republicans here in Washington 
unwilling to cast a single vote--not one Republican willing to stand up 
and say: We must pass laws to protect against what is happening in 
State after State to suppress the votes of Black and Brown and disabled 
and poor and indigenous Americans.
  With the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to 
Vote Act, we will not only guarantee that all Americans can exercise 
their vote--their right to vote in free and fair elections--we can also 
counter the distrust and the disenfranchisement that the 
insurrectionists exploited on January 6. These reforms can restore 
Americans' faith in the peaceful transfer of power and prevent another 
attempt at insurrection by ensuring we have a government that is truly 
of, by, and for the American people.

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  One year after the attack on the Capitol, we understand how fragile 
our democracy is and that the fight to protect it requires vigilance 
and clear-eyed determination. The very least we can offer the American 
people--all American people--on this day is our commitment to protect 
their right to vote.
  Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who helped draft the original 
Voting Rights Act in 1965, once said:

       A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can 
     take from you.

  Let us pass this historic legislation so that no one can take the 
fundamental right to vote away from those who rightfully have it today.
  The job of building and protecting a healthy and strong democracy is 
the sacred duty of this institution. The fate of the United States 
depends on us doing our jobs. May this day, January 6, always remind us 
that we must never give up that fight. And, here, in 2022, let us win 
this fight on the floor of the U.S. Senate to protect the right to vote 
for every American, regardless of the State they live in, regardless of 
their color, their religion, their country of origin. That is our 
historic responsibility.
  God help the Senate if it does not respond to this historic 
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, before he leaves, I want to thank my 
colleague from Massachusetts. We have worked often together on these 
democracy issues, and I look forward to doing that in the days ahead.
  I also want to commend Senator Klobuchar from Minnesota because she 
has been our point person on the Rules Committee, which is central to 
this whole debate. I think we all understand what is at stake. That is 
what my colleagues have been outlining. And I think we have been very 
fortunate to have Senator Klobuchar at the helm. She and I have worked 
together on one of the issues I am going to talk about, vote by mail, 
but I just want people to understand how valuable she has been.
  Mr. President and colleagues, a year ago today, not far from where we 
stand this afternoon, domestic terrorists tried to beat our democracy 
to the ground. They might have been successful were it not for the 
police officers who defended our democracy as they were viciously 
attacked and beaten. Before anything else is said, in my view, by an 
elected official, we need to salute these officers and all those who 
work day in and day out alongside them here in the Capitol. For their 
courage, we ought to be internally grateful.
  The insurrection on January 6 was instigated by the former President, 
who wanted to undo the results of a democratic election. Let's also 
understand that, unfortunately, inciting the mob wasn't the end of it. 
Donald Trump didn't exactly walk quietly off into the sunset after the 
Biden inauguration. The effort to undermine our democracy, to end free 
and fair elections in America, goes on as we speak.
  Support for the Big Lie is essentially unchanged from where it was a 
year ago. An awful lot of Republicans who said after January 6 that 
they were done with the former President have cozied back up to him 
just 12 months later. The only reason the mob is not here today is 
Donald Trump didn't summon them back.
  Now, in my view, it is our job to ensure that another attack like 
this, or by any other means, never succeeds. We will have more to say 
about those issues in the days ahead.
  In my view, protecting the vote has got to be step one in protecting 
democracy. A guiding principle for the Senate must be that while 
politics may guide a citizen's vote, it should never determine whether 
they are allowed to vote. To act otherwise would undermine the very 
foundations of a representative democracy, empowering voters with a 
system built on integrity and accountability, a system that promotes 
participation rather than discourages it, a system with a real history 
of bipartisanship.
  I say to the Presiding Officer and colleagues, that is the kind we 
have in my home State of Oregon. Oregon believes so strongly in the 
right to vote that everybody gets a ballot sent straight to their home.
  I am honored to say that I was the first U.S. Senator elected in an 
all vote-by-mail election. Back then, it was Oregon Republicans who 
were pushing to expand vote-by-mail. A Democratic Governor even vetoed 
a vote-by-mail bill in 1995. Right after my election, the Oregon 
Republicans flipped back, and vote-by-mail was suddenly, oh, so bad.
  Everything flipped a few months later, when my friend, Gordon Smith, 
a Republican from eastern Oregon, became the second U.S. Senator to be 
elected by mail. At this point, Oregon voters said: We have just had it 
with everybody looking for some kind of partisan slant here. We just 
think vote-by-mail is a really terrific idea. They went out to vote on 
a ballot measure, and they chose to make Oregon's elections all vote-
by-mail, passing it with 70 percent of the vote in 1998.
  This, in my view, was the culmination of a process that started 40 
years ago with some local elections in Linn County, a small county in 
the western part of our State. It grew and grew from there. Election 
officials learned that when you let people vote at home, participation 
goes up, and the costs go down.
  One of the biggest defenders of Oregon's vote-at-home system was the 
late Dennis Richardson. He was our secretary of state. And by his 
characterization, he was about as conservative--a Republican as you 
could get.
  But when the Trump era came along and people criticized our elections 
and said, ``Oh, there is all this fraud,'' spouting lies about it, the 
late Dennis Richardson stood up and said: I am a conservative 
Republican. They are wrong. They are wrong in what they are saying 
about Oregon.
  He even wrote to Donald Trump in 2017: ``We are confident that voter 
fraud in last November's election did not occur in Oregon.''
  Every election now, young Oregonians watch their parents voting 
around their kitchen table, and it is a real inspiration to the next 
generation to make sure they are committed voters. Voting at home gives 
you the opportunity to be more informed. If there is a particular 
measure, initiative, or a race that you haven't researched, you get 
time to look into the options.
  When you are done, your ballot goes into a security envelope, you 
sign the outside, and off it goes. For me, that is when I head from our 
home in Southeast Portland to the Sellwood branch of the Multnomah 
County Public Library, drop my ballot in the collection box, and head 
home--no long lines, no glitchy touchscreen systems, just hassle-free 
  A recent analysis in the Election Law Journal said that of all 50 
States, voting is easiest in Oregon. And Senator Klobuchar, I have 
heard colleagues go back and forth to say who is No. 1 in participation 
and who is No. 1 in all of these aspects. And I think, like a number of 
other States, we are all kind of competing for the highest turnout 
rates. We get some of the highest in the country. We have been a leader 
in terms of increasing turnout among Black and Latino voters. Voter 
registration is automatic. It is as easy as a trip to the Department of 
Motor Vehicles.
  For myself--and Senator Klobuchar and I have talked about this so 
often over the years--I have been proposing legislation to have 
universal at-home voting since 2002. That is what my Vote at Home Act 
would do. It would give every American the right to vote the Oregon 
way, the vote that my neighbors and I can do. I will say here on the 
Senate floor that I guarantee that, if you do it the Oregon way, it 
will be a nationwide hit immediately.
  Letting people vote at home is also the best defense against some of 
the really horrendous methods of suppressing the vote; for example, 
what we have seen over the last few years with State and local 
governments shutting polling places, particularly ones that serve Black 
and Latino voters--what unforgivable actions.
  These days, in some areas, Republicans are making it illegal to give 
food and water to people standing in line to vote. It shouldn't be a 
test of physical stamina to be able to vote. Nobody should have to 
wonder if they will be able to vote if they step out of line to go to a 
bathroom. Nobody should have to sacrifice an entire day to participate 
in this incredible, incredible democratic system that is America.

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  That is why I proposed the People Over Long Lines Act, called the 
POLL Act. The bill says State governments have to guarantee that 
everybody who votes in person can do so within 30 minutes. Anybody who 
is forced to wait longer has a legal action they can bring. If they sue 
and win, it is 50 bucks for waiting longer than 30 minutes and 50 bucks 
more for every hour after that.
  A free bit of advice to States: Get ready. Make sure people don't 
have to wait in lines. One of the best ways to make sure they don't 
have to wait in lines is to let them vote at home.
  It is not just Oregon, by the way, that votes by mail. And I think, 
Senator Klobuchar, we heard some of our colleagues talk about their 
States and voting by mail. If you need another example, let's think 
about the U.S. Armed Forces. Most servicemembers and their families 
vote by mail in every election. All of the people who wear the uniform 
of the United States can vote by mail in every Federal election. It has 
been that way for decades.
  So the bottom line is that we think it is time to get the Oregon 
system into every nook and cranny in America. We feel that way because 
it works. It raises voter participation, it lowers the cost of running 
elections, it helps voters be more informed, and it is safe and secure. 
And if you are resisting safe and efficient elections with higher voter 
turnout, then you are suppressing democracy in America.
  My home State of Oregon shows the way to preserve America.
  I am going to close my remarks, but I think we will have Senator 
Klobuchar speak for all of us here in a moment. But, in my closing, I 
want to touch just for a moment on my family that I am so proud of.
  My German family fled their homeland, a place where they were deeply 
rooted in that nation's society, as my grandfather was a Member of 
Parliament and served on the Berlin city council.
  My family was forced, as Jews, to flee the fascists who had taken 
over their democracy. They fled to America as the last remaining beacon 
of freedom. With that freedom, my dad chose to serve in our Army, which 
fought against German fascism, and my dad has been recognized for his 
unique contributions.
  We were so thrilled, for example, to have the Senators from Maryland 
talk about the Ritchie Boys. My dad was one of the Ritchie Boys, a 
German kid who taught himself English so he could be out there fighting 
the Nazis. And I remember the good work of the Senators from Maryland 
and how thrilled our family was about that.
  My dad was about the greatest patriot around. He felt he was so lucky 
to be an American, to be in our Army, to stand up for American values. 
And my final remark here today is about my dad. If my dad were alive 
today, he would tell us: Senators, make sure that the light in 
America's beacon of freedom never goes out.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Oregon. We 
have had a day of tributes to those who work in the Capitol, those who 
protected us. We have had a day of reflection, and we have had a day of 
hope as we look to the future for our democracy that we hold with such 
  I want to thank the staff that was there that day. And for those of 
you--I am looking at the pages--who are new in the Senate, over the 
next few weeks, it is worth talking to one of the staff members who was 
here that day to hear their stories, to let them reflect on what 
happened to them, whether they were people who were assigned to the 
hallways or the trams or the cafeteria. What happened to them that day? 
The Sergeant at Arms, so many employees there who were here that day 
because this was the day of the peaceful transition of power in this 
Chamber and in the House. The Parliamentarian's office, those that work 
there--that was one of the most difficult moments, to walk into their 
office late in the morning, 4 in the morning. Senator Blunt and myself, 
when this was all done, after we had done our work with Vice President 
Pence and the House, we walked around downstairs. It was eerily quiet. 
There was no one there. And you walked into the rooms, and there was 
glass from people's personal photos in the Parliamentarian's office 
that cracked, things thrown on the floor, their personal belongings.
  And you wondered: Why did they go in that office? Was it just a 
fluke? No, they actually understood where that office was. We later 
found out they knew exactly that that office was in charge of these 
electoral ballots and in charge that day of the proceedings and had a 
special place in our democracy. And they actually knew where that 
office was and deliberately went into that office and invaded that 
  Everyone from the Capitol physician to the floor staffs, both 
Democratic and Republican floor staffs, who were here that day, charged 
with making this day move like it had over and over and over again 
every 4 years when, no matter who wins, we go and we do our work that 
is demanded of us under the Constitution.
  I remember, 4 years before that, my candidate certainly didn't win in 
2016, but we went and we did our job. And I remember at the time, Vice 
President Biden was presiding over that proceeding because it was the 
end of his time as Vice President, just like Vice President Pence was 
involved this last time. And he did his job.
  I think about what the Senators have talked about today, and we have 
heard from so many of our colleagues--Senator Warner and Van Hollen and 
Kaine talking about the National Guards of Virginia and Maryland and 
their police that came in--not planned that this was going to happen 
this day--and came in and helped protect the Capitol and, along with 
National Guards throughout our country, including from my own State of 
Minnesota, then stayed on for weeks and weeks and months and months 
until we could get the security in order in this place.
  The Capitol Police--and so many of my colleagues, including Senator 
Booker, have shared the stories of the Capitol Police that day. And I 
know we have used some famous examples of those officers, but I think 
it is really important to note that every officer did something that 
mattered that day, some act of heroic duty, by doing their jobs.
  We thank the work that has done by the staffs of our Rules Committee, 
who are here today--Senator Blunt's and my staff--as well as Homeland 
Security, with Senators Peters and Portman, who immediately took on the 
task of holding very public hearings about what went wrong on the 
security side and then the decisions to hire new leaders for our 
Sergeant at Arms; with Senator Schumer's work on that, as well as the 
police chief with Chief Manger, who testified at length yesterday in a 
very bipartisan hearing, actually, in the Rules Committee about the 
changes that have been made, the changes when it comes to equipment, as 
we remember that 75 percent of the officers that day were in 
plainclothes and only 25 percent had riot gear--the horrifying image of 
the riot gear locked onto a bus that no one could access while the 
Capitol was being invaded; the lack of a plan, in the words of the 
police officer broadcast on the police radio: Does anyone have a plan? 
Does anyone have a plan?
  And, sadly, the answer was, literally, no. That has now changed, as 
the chief has told us, when events have happened in the last few months 
in the Capitol--plans in place, operational plans, drills that have 
been conducted in this Capitol.
  The lack of resources, which had been demanded in the past, that 
Senator Leahy in the Appropriations Committee and Senator Shelby have 
come to the floor and have worked to get them the resources that they 
  But the challenges that still remain, the vacancies on the police 
force, people working double shifts and overtime and people not being 
able to take their vacation and be with their families because they are 
still working to protect our Capitol. And the police chief's pledge to 
work to recruit 200 or so more officers in just the next year with 
retention benefits and all the work that is being done.
  The other piece of this that we heard a lot about today was 
accountability. We heard from Senator Durbin and members of the 
Judiciary Committee and Senator Booker about the need--and Senator 
Markey--for accountability. And this includes the select committee over 
in the House and the

[[Page S78]]

investigation that they are conducting with not just Democrats but also 
two very strong Republicans who have been willing to basically put 
their careers on the line because they believe so much in this 
democracy that we must get to the bottom of what happened.
  The work going on in the Justice Department, which has now been, as 
of yesterday, as the Attorney General of the United States described to 
us, the biggest investigation in the history of America, because I 
don't think people had envisioned that we would have an attack like 
this, but we did.
  Two hundred forty-four years of democracy--244 years of democracy--
that it is our charge to protect, and that is why you see this 
investigation. That is why you see over 700 people charged. This is why 
you see the Attorney General pledge to follow this to every level and 
to follow the facts to where they go.

  We must remember, in the end, as my colleague from Oregon Senator 
Wyden has addressed, this is not just and was not just an attack on a 
building; it was an attack on our Republic.
  I was looking back at the Inauguration Day and that beautiful moment 
with that blue sky, and there were little snowflakes coming down. I 
remember hearing the beautiful words of Amanda Gorman, in her gold 
coat, that day, with that amazing poem, the singing. I remember Garth 
Brooks singing ``Amazing Grace.'' I looked up at the sky and thought 
that anything and everything is possible and our democracy has 
  I remember the words of Abraham Lincoln, actually, which I quoted in 
my brief speech that day, when he gave his first inaugural address in 
front of this Capitol. The dome was only partially constructed--it was 
braced by ropes of steel back then--and he promised he would finish it. 
He was actually criticized for spending funds during the Civil War on 
the dome, as it was somehow frivolous. To those critics, he replied: 
``If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union 
shall go on.''
  When we gathered that day on that inaugural stage, there was still 
spray paint on the columns. They actually couldn't get it all out 
because the insurrectionists had first come to that platform because--
just as they knew what was going on in the Parliamentarian's Office, 
they targeted that platform because that is exactly where President 
Biden and Vice President Harris were going to receive their oaths of 
office. There were still traces of spray paint. The windows behind us 
weren't the real windows; they were makeshift windows. But we all 
gathered there. The President-elect, now President, would not have his 
inauguration in a bunker. Senator Blunt and I strongly believed that 
this should be a public event. As we stood out there, ``The Capitol 
shall go on''--that was the message we were sending to the country.
  So what does that mean right now, a year later, this anniversary, 
``The Capitol shall go on''? Yes, it means that we have better 
security, and we do better by our police officers, and we have their 
backs. It means that. We do better by the staff in this great building. 
Yes, it means we have accountability for the people who had the 
audacity to invade this Capitol and take the law into their own hands 
and commit acts of violence. But the other thing it has to mean a year 
later is that we carry on that torch of our democracy, as the Senator 
from Oregon explained, that we make sure our very democracy is 
  (Ms. CORTEZ MASTO assumed the Chair.)
  That means guaranteeing that people have the right to vote.
  What was not accomplished that day with the bear spray and the 
bayonets and the flagpoles sadly carried on because these bills that 
have been introduced in so many States and passed across the country--
over 400 of them passed in many, many States across the country or 
proposed, seriously proposed, in others--bring us backwards. It 
basically says: You know what. Democracy--the people who propose these 
bills--is not about who votes for whom, regardless of who wins; it is 
about us choosing our voters and deciding haves and have-nots and who 
is going to be able to vote and who isn't going to be able to vote.
  When you think about what the people of this country will do to 
preserve that right to vote--I think about those people in Wisconsin 
with homemade masks and garbage bags, standing in the pouring rain at 
the beginning of the pandemic just to exercise their right to vote.
  I think about the veteran I met when we did our field hearing with 
Senators Warnock and Ossoff and Senators Merkley and Padilla down in 
Atlanta. This veteran told us that he had signed up to serve our 
country, and there wasn't a waiting line, but when he went to exercise 
his right to vote, he had to wait hours and hours--4, 5 hours--in line 
in the hot Sun just to exercise his right to vote. He told the stories 
of older people who had left because they couldn't stand the heat, they 
couldn't stand out there anymore.
  That is not what our democracy is supposed to look like. It is not 
supposed to look like one ballot box in the entire county of Harris 
County, which includes Houston in Texas, over 5 million people with one 
ballot drop-off box. That is not our democracy.
  But the American people in that 2020 election said: You know what. No 
matter what you do to us, we are going to go vote. And they voted in 
droves. They voted more votes than in the history of America. Part of 
that was because, because of the pandemic, changes were made to the 
law, including that some States took away ridiculous requirements that 
you have to get a notary public. Think about it--in the middle of a 
  Right now, by the way, South Carolina has put this law back into 
effect. To get your mail-in ballot because you can't go vote in person 
because you have COVID, you have to have a notary public. There are 
stories reported in the news of people having notary publics, through 
the glass windows of hospitals, sign off on the application of ballots. 
All of that is designed, in the words of Reverend Warnock, so that some 
people don't allow some people to vote. That is what that is about.
  So it is on us right now to carry on the democracy. And that feeling 
we had when the leaders of both parties all stood on that inaugural 
stage or when we took that last walk, Senator Blunt and Vice President 
Pence and I and the two young women with the mahogany box with the last 
of the electoral ballots--that feeling was a good one, and it was a 
celebration of joy for our country and the peaceful transition of 
  As pointed out in our speeches on the Senate floor right after the 
insurrection--I remember Senator Shaheen standing right there talking 
about how the world is watching our democracy. Well, this is another 
moment. The world is watching as we see dictators coming into power in 
other countries around the world, as we see the former President still 
out there rallying the troops around this Big Lie that he somehow won 
the election when every single local election official in this country 
knows that is not true. This is our moment to stand up to that because 
the people are watching. Our kids are watching. And the democracy 
stands in the breach. This is our moment. We must pass the Freedom to 
Vote Act, and we must uphold our democracy.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Van Hollen). The Senator from Nevada is