January 10, 2022

Durbin to McConnell: Stop Using the Filibuster to Obstruct Voting Rights

On the Senate floor, Durbin calls those who try to skew election results “guilty of sin”

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called out Senate Republicans for their continued obstruction of voting rights legislation through the use of the filibuster.

“The filibuster has been part of the profile of the Senate for a long, long time—for many decades.  But what the Senate Republican Leader fails to note is that the use of the filibuster is out of control,” Durbin said.  “Nothing is happening because the filibuster is usually looming over the body.  And for those who want to restore the Senate to an actual legislative body with actual debate and amendments on the floor, we're being told by the Republican Leader that we are somehow denying the basic birthright of the Senate.  And we know that is wrong.”

Durbin went on to outline how, since the 2020 election—which had the largest voter turnout in our nation’s history—nearly 20 legislatures in Republican-controlled states have been vehement on advancing policies to restrict opportunities to vote, including making voter registration and voting by mail more difficult.  These voter suppression tactics disproportionately affect low-income Americans and people of color.  But instead of joining Democrats in efforts to protect the sacred right to vote, Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are choosing the side of the oppressors.

Durbin continued, “The bottom line—as we see it on the Democratic side—is, if we're going to open opportunity for people across the country who are eligible to vote without hardship, then we ought to do it across the board.  And that's why we support legislation, federal legislation ordained and envisioned by our Constitution to establish standards that will make it easier to vote…  I would rather come down on the side of a larger turnout of the electorate and let democracy speak than the alternative, which is being suggested by the Republican Leader.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations. 

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