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Rules Committee Republicans Press Democrats on Unfair, Last-Minute Changes to S. 1 Hearing

March 19, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, led Republican Rules Committee members in sending a letter to Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) pushing back on last minute changes to next week’s hearing that could limit witness testimony challenging the legislation.

Earlier this week, committee Democrats agreed to three majority witnesses and two minority witnesses. Last night, the minority was notified that the number of witnesses would double to 10, leaving only three businesses days for the minority to secure additional witnesses.

“With less than three business days before the hearing, it is simply unreasonable to expect policy experts to be available on such short notice, especially when being asked to testify on legislation that is 818 pages long and was only introduced two days ago,” the members wrote. “Election officials, campaign finance experts, redistricting experts and others have shared with us a great number of concerns with S. 1. Specifically, S. 1 would turn this country’s more than 200-year history of locally-run elections upside down. … The American people deserve fair hearings with expert testimony about the serious impacts S. 1 would have on the integrity of their elections and their freedom of speech.”

Blunt and Rules Committee Republicans are asking that the hearing be postponed and held over two days to ensure additional witnesses have an opportunity to fully vet the legislation and share their views on the sweeping changes it will make to the country’s election system.

In addition to Blunt, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), and Bill Hagerty (Tenn.).

Full text of the letter below and here:

The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
United States Senate
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairwoman Klobuchar:

We write to express our concern with the last-minute, unforeseen decision to double the number of witnesses to 10 and to add a second panel to next Wednesday’s hearing on S. 1.

Republicans initiated good faith discussions on the question of witnesses with the majority on March 8th. Unfortunately, those entreaties were only resolved this week, on March 16th, five business days before the hearing. Yesterday evening, we were informed of the majority’s intent to change the agreed upon hearing format and number of witnesses. Basic fairness and the Rules Committee’s tradition of respect for the minority party dictate that Republicans be given an appropriate amount of time to select additional witnesses.  With less than three business days before the hearing, it is simply unreasonable to expect policy experts to be available on such short notice, especially when being asked to testify on legislation that is 818 pages long and was only introduced two days ago.

Election officials, campaign finance experts, redistricting experts and others have shared with us a great number of concerns with S. 1. Specifically, S. 1 would turn this country’s more than 200-year history of locally-run elections upside down. It not only demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of how elections are run in this country, but imposes a vast number of mandates on unworkable deadlines. If passed into law, this bill would cause chaos in elections at a time when bolstering voter confidence is the priority.

The American people deserve fair hearings with expert testimony about the serious impacts S. 1 would have on the integrity of their elections and their freedom of speech.  In order to provide the public with the hearing they deserve, to ensure committee members’ full participation, and to allow for hearing witnesses to properly review the bill, we respectfully request that the hearing be rescheduled and held over two days.


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