Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blocked an attempt by Senate Democrats to push through a federal election overhaul bill early Wednesday morning.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) brought the For The People Act, a bill critics say amounts to a federal takeover of elections, to the floor around 3:30 a.m. after the Senate had concluded 15 hours of amendment votes on a $3.5 trillion budget resolution. In the dead of night, Schumer sought to pass the federal overhaul of elections by unanimous consent, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Only one objection by a senator was required to stop the process. In a roughly 15-minute back-and-forth, Cruz tanked Schumer’s attempt to force the election bill through the Senate. Cruz blasted the bill in remarks on the Senate floor:
This bill would constitute a federal government takeover of elections. It would constitute a massive power grab by Democrats. It would disenfranchise millions of Americans and it would do precisely the opposite of its nominal title, ‘For The People.’ It is, instead, for the politicians because it entrenches politicians and ensures that the people cannot vote them out of office. It would strike down virtually every reasonable voter integrity law in the country, including voter I.D. laws supported by the overwhelming majority of this country, including prohibitions on ballot harvesting, again widely supported by people in this country. It would mandate that felons be allowed to vote, and it would automatically register millions of illegal aliens to vote. It would profoundly undermine democracy in this country, and for that reason I object.
“Cruz also blocked bills aimed at preventing partisan gerrymandering and requiring additional campaign finance disclosures. Cruz instead offered his own bill to end federal limits on campaign contributions and Schumer objected,” the Chronicle reported.
Dozens of Democratic Texas state lawmakers traveled to Washington, D.C., last month in protest of state election reforms Texas Governor Greg Abbott and GOP state legislators sought to pass. While in D.C., the rogue Democrats also pushed for Congress to pass the For The People Act before some returned to Texas earlier this week.
Schumer’s failure to force the For The People Act through the Senate so far amounts to a failure for Texas Democrats who spent weeks pushing for the legislation, as well. On returning to Texas this week, state Rep. James Talarico touted his work in D.C. and said he is “confident” that the Texas Democrats’ lobbying would force Congress to pass the federal election bill.
“I’m home! Our quorum break shined a national spotlight on the TX voter suppression bill and pushed Congress closer to passing a federal voting rights act to override it. I’m confident they will,” Talarico said on Twitter.
After Schumer’s failed attempt, Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D), who remains in D.C., reacted angrily to Cruz’s objection.
“In the dead of last night, Cancún Cruz killed critical federal voting rights legislation in the Senate,” Reynolds said in a statement. “The assault on our democracy has never been more dangerous than it is right now. We need federal legislation now.”