Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor called House Democrats’ proposed legislation to clean up voting and campaign finance a “political power grab.”
“Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues are advertising it as a package of urgent measures to save American democracy,” McConnell said. “What it really seems to be is a package of urgent measures to rewrite the rules of American politics for the exclusive benefit of the Democratic Party.”
The act contains a package of reforms geared toward making voting more accessible to all Americans. It faced swift condemnation from McConnell, who penned an op-ed against the bill earlier this month, and House Republicans, who accused Democrats of trying to manipulate elections.
The bill would force President Donald Trump, as well as future presidential candidates, to release their tax returns and would require super PACs to make their private donors public as a way of incentivizing smaller donations.
The bill also aims to make Election Day a paid holiday for federal workers ― a proposal that might encourage private businesses to do likewise, thus allowing more voters to get to the polls.
There are some indicators that show increasing voter turnout might benefit Democratic candidates. FiveThirtyEight found after the 2016 presidential election that registered voters who didn’t cast ballots tended to lean more Democrat than registered voters who turned out.
Nonwhite voters typically have lower turnout than white voters and also tend to vote more for Democrats. Minorities make up at least 35 percent of the federal workforce, according to FEDweek. Data released last year from the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic also found that black and Hispanic respondents were twice as likely as white respondents to face difficulty getting time off from work to vote.
McConnell on Wednesday derided the idea of a paid voting holiday or allowing federal workers time off to serve as poll workers. He said Democrats “want taxpayers on the hook for generous new benefits for federal bureaucrats and government employees.”
The bill, he said, would offer paid leave to “any federal bureaucrat who decides they’d like to hang out at the polls during any election.”