Press Release

January 19, 2022
Cardin Urges Rules Change to Move Forward Voter Protections and Restore an Effective Senate

“We’re trying to restore the Senate to a body that can work together by requiring the members to come to the floor and speak and vote.” 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) spoke from the floor of the Senate Wednesday evening as the Senate considered the “Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.” The full video can be viewed at this link. Excerpts follow.

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have said that they welcome an opportunity to debate voting rights legislation and talk about how we can get this bill in a way that can get bipartisan support. The Majority Leader several weeks ago offered a motion to proceed on voting rights, filed cloture so that we could get on the bill and have the type of debate that my colleagues now are telling us that they want to have. Not a single Republican voted to proceed on voting rights legislation at that time. So I find it a little bit disheartening to hear this newfound desire to start taking up voting rights when we’ve been negotiating and talking and debating this issue for now this entire congress.”

“The 2020 election, an election where more people voted than ever before, was judged to be the most secure election in American history. But because, for the first time in the history of this nation, we had the loser claim that the election was stolen in order to rationalize his loss. That Big Lie is what motivated some legislatures to pass laws to make it more difficult for vulnerable people to be able to vote, or to affect election results, presenting a clear danger to our democracy itself.”

“Today, senators will have the opportunity to vote to be on the right side of history. The Senate filibuster prevented the passage of civil rights legislation to reverse the Jim Crow laws until finally in 1964 the filibuster ended and the Senate voted. By invoking cloture, we can vote now to protect voting rights. We can do it now by passing cloture and be on the right side of history.”

“Many have talked about ‘we’re going to change the filibuster rule.’ No, we’re not suggesting changing the filibuster rule. The filibuster rule is ‘come on the floor and speak.’ It’s the cloture that’s the 60 votes. You don’t need cloture if you run the clock on filibuster. What we need to do is prevent dilatory actions and that’s why the leader’s point is going to be important. We’re trying to restore the Senate to a body that can work together by requiring the members to come to the floor and speak and vote by how the framers of the Senate rules intended.”

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