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Mike Pence slams 'power grab' of US Democrats

US Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Former US vice president Mike Pence has slammed the Democrats for what he described as their push to nix a legislative filibuster in Congress in order to pass sweeping voting legislation.

In an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Friday, Pence likened the Democrats' attempt to change Senate rules to the deadly Jan. 6, 2020, Capitol Hill attack, saying both efforts in his opinion amounted to a “power grab.”

On Jan. 6, 2021, then-US President Donald Trump incited a group of his supporters to seize the US Capitol building as Congress lawmakers led by Pence were certifying the victory of Joe Biden in the 2020 US presidential election.

Pence, in his op-ed, recalled the attack on Capitol Hill in which the violent rioters chanted to hang him after Trump tweeted that the Veep had the authority to overturn the Electoral College results.

“Despite this steady progress of state-based reforms, now come to President Biden and Senate Democrats with plans to use the memory of Jan. 6 to attempt another federal power grab over our state elections and drive a wedge further into our divided nation,” Pence said.

Pence argued that the founders of the United States intentionally made the process so states had large control over how the votes were held, and the Democrats efforts to take that power away was similar to the mindset of pro-Trump rioters who incited by Trump besieged the Congress building on Capitol Hill to change the results.

“Their plan to end the filibuster to allow Democrats to pass a bill nationalizing our elections would offend the Founders’ intention that states conduct elections just as much as what some of our most ardent supporters would have had me do one year ago,” Pence said. 

“Under the Constitution, elections are largely determined at the state level, not by Congress — a principle I upheld on Jan. 6 without compromise. The only role of Congress with respect to the Electoral College is to ‘open, present and record’ votes submitted and certified by the states. No more, no less,” Pence added, concluding that a "takeover of elections by the federal government is inconsistent with our nation’s history and an affront to our Constitution’s structure.”

The battle for the soul of America is not over. We must stand together, and stand strong in defense of our democracy.

— President Biden (@POTUS) January 13, 2022

Biden, for his part, has said the Democrats' efforts to push for new legislation was a "battle for the soul of America", adding that the 60-vote rule – also known as the filibuster - had reduced the Senate into "a shell of its former self".

The Democratic president on Tuesday likened supporters of Senate rule changes to American civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King, and the opponents of the legislation to segregationist politicians like George Wallace, who staunchly pursued the policy of separation of various groups in society.


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