COMPASS: Senate takes up election overhaul bill; House votes on Liz Cheney’s leadership

May 10th, 2021

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. A happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, we are grateful for you!

The House and Senate are back in session this week. The Senate makes its first move on a hotly contested election overhaul bill this week when the Rules Committee marks up the For The People Act on Tuesday. While the House has already passed the bill, it faces a steeper climb in the Senate, where it may have to overcome a Republican-led filibuster.

The bill federalizes the election system and implements a host of reforms that would open the process to manipulation and outright fraud. The Heritage Foundation has a summary of the bill’s provisions here. Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has characterized the legislation as “a stunning one-party takeover of voting laws and elections in our country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated his intention to bring the bill to the floor after it is voted out of committee, where it could face up to 100 or more Republican amendments. According to a Pew Research Center poll in April, 76 percent of Americans polled support key security measures like requiring voters to show identification prior to voting — something progressive institutions and corporations have deemed to be voter suppression.

In the House this week, Republicans will likely take up their second vote this year on whether or not Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) should continue to serve as the GOP Conference Chair. Much of the corporate press, and a handful of Republicans, have continued to insist that this vote is a “loyalty test” to President Trump, and that Cheney is being punished for repeatedly denouncing the events of Jan. 6 and her own colleagues who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.

But this narrative blurs some important context. The vote on whether or not Cheney should maintain her position in GOP leadership is simply that. Cheney is not being forced out of Congress, or being told to change her views. Rather, it is a question of whether a Member who clearly breaks with her party on significant policy issues, denounces members of the party she is tasked with leading, and financially supports the primary challengers conservative incumbents should continue to have the privilege of representing that party.

As Conference chair, Cheney is responsible for fundraising, crafting clear and inclusive messaging strategies, and speaking for the party nationally. However, besides publicly breaking with the GOP in expressing contempt for former President Trump, Cheney is also out of step with where the party is going in other key areas of policy, including supporting expansive and global military engagements.

In 2020, she donated to the primary challenger of conservative GOP Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) purportedly because of his demands that the House pass the March 2020 COVID relief bill — then the largest single spending bill ever passed by Congress — on the record, as opposed to merely on an unrecorded voice vote.

The House could vote on removing Cheney from leadership as early as Wednesday. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is running to replace her, and has the support of the Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and President Donald Trump. The conservative Club for Growth has issued its opposition to her candidacy.


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One More Thing…

The 2021 Constitution Bowl, sponsored by the United States Constitution Scholarship Foundation, kicks off on Monday, May 17 at 6:30pm EST. More info here, and register here.