Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke out against a new House bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday, calling it a “power grab” for Democrats.
“Just what America needs, another paid holiday and a bunch of government workers being paid to go out and work for, I assume, our colleagues on the other side on their campaigns,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “This is the Democratic plan to restore democracy?”
Watch the video below:
McConnell mocks idea of making Election Day a paid holiday pic.twitter.com/kzlGmO6EYH
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 30, 2019
The newly Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is packaging H.R. 1 as its bill that helps voters. According to the Washington Post, it would make Election Day a federal holiday, prohibit the purging of voter rolls, require presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns, and other measures.
McConnell concluded his remarks Wednesday by calling the bill “a power grab that’s smelling more and more like what it is.”
Democrats were quick to criticize McConnell.
“Voting isn’t a ‘power grab’,” 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted. “It’s democracy, and it’s literally the entire point of our representative government.”
Voting isn’t a “power grab”. It’s democracy, and it’s literally the entire point of our representative government.
And by the way: Not only should Election Day be a federal holiday, we need automatic voter registration and universal mail voting, too. https://t.co/jrJNM7Djgo
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 30, 2019
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted that “voting is a power grab. By citizens.”
Voting is a power grab. By citizens. https://t.co/3DwKc3htjv
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 30, 2019
Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, offered up the idea of combining Election Day and Veterans Day.
“A ‘power grab’ to let people vote? He also says it’s just a holiday for bureaucrats, almost 1/3 of whom are veterans,” Shaub explained.
“How about McConnell compromises by moving Veterans Day to the 1st Tuesday in November? What better way to honor veterans than by making it easier for them to vote?” he added.
A “power grab” to let people vote?He also says it’s just a holiday for bureaucrats, almost 1/3 of whom are veterans. How about McConnell compromises by moving Veterans Day to the 1st Tuesday in November? What better way to honor veterans than by making it easier for them to vote? https://t.co/amgEOB2muY
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 30, 2019
McConnell’s scoff at giving federal employees a paid day off comes just days after the partial government shutdown ended, which had caused about 800,000 federal workers to be furloughed or work without pay for 35 days.