Murkowski Urges Bipartisan Approach for Voting Rights, Election Reforms, Senate Rule Changes

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statement after voting against the motion to invoke cloture on H.R. 5746, a combination of voting rights bills passed by the House of Representatives last week, and a subsequent effort to weaken the Senate’s legislative filibuster to facilitate its passage along party lines. The cloture motion failed 49-51, while the rule change failed 48-52.

“I continue to believe that Congress should pass a reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, which is why I have worked in good faith to find consensus on a compromise version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We must ensure access to the ballot that is equal for all Americans and free from any form of discrimination. And, wherever there is uncertainty or ambiguity in the laws that govern federal elections, we should clarify them so there are no more questions, or cynical interpretations, going forward.

“While this legislation brought before the Senate has a number of positive aspects, it does not strike the right balance, which is why it failed to attract sufficient support to advance. The process it was brought up through – with no prior consideration, no opportunity to offer amendments, and just one take-it-or-leave vote – only served to seal its fate.

“Then came the effort to change the Senate’s longstanding rules to allow legislation to pass on a party-line basis. I voted against that, too, because it would have done nothing to resolve the root causes for why legislation is failing in the Senate. It would not have restored bipartisanship, but instead ensured that the parties no longer have to even try to work with each other. 

“This has devolved into a debate over voting rights versus voting rules. Part of the country believes this bill is about protecting the right to vote; another part believes this bill will do nothing but undermine it. Both sides are now set to cast doubt on elections if they don’t win, and that takes us to a very troubling place.

“I refuse to believe this is the best we can do. It is hard, but not impossible, to reach bipartisan consensus. Our infrastructure bill is a good example, from just last year, that shows it can be done.

“We should now turn to that model. Those of us who are interested in legislating on these issues should sit down, work together, and look at the areas of common ground to build a foundation for consensus legislation that will protect and reform our elections.”

Earlier in the day, Murkowski spoke on the Senate floor to outline several of the provisions she supports and opposes in H.R. 5746, as well as her hope that the Senate will now move away from partisan maneuvers and focus on consensus measures, and reform of the Electoral Count Act, to build cross-aisle agreement. To watch the Senator’s remarks, please click here.