January 06, 2022

ICYMI: On Senate Floor, Warren Reflects on the January 6th Insurrection and the Need to Defend Our Democracy

“A year after an insurrection at our Nation’s Capitol, we must do more than speak up about the importance of democracy; now we must act. It’s time to end the filibuster, protect voting rights, and defend our democracy.”

Watch the Floor Remarks HERE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor about the January 6th insurrection and the need to defend our democracy. 

Watch Senator Warren’s full remarks HERE.

Below are the Senator’s remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Mr President. January 6th, 2022, marks one year since the attempted coup at our Nation’s Capitol. I’m deeply grateful to the Capitol Police for their heroic acts on that dark day. The American people will always remember the sacrifices they made to protect our democracy. Marking this date has another purpose too. The January 6 insurrection made painfully clear that American democracy is at serious risk.

In November 2020, American citizens braved a deadly pandemic to cast their ballots. But following that election, the defeated President refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Instead, he falsely sowed doubt about the legitimacy of the election and inflamed his most dangerous supporters to attack this Capitol. His attempts to cling to power through lies and violence were a violation of his oath of office and a grave abuse of power that can never be tolerated in a free and democratic society.

We mark this anniversary not only to reflect on that dereliction of duty, but to call out the ongoing efforts to undermine our democracy.

Threats to our democracy are not new. For years, in state after state, Republican legislatures have passed laws making it harder to vote – all on a purely partisan basis with simple majority votes. They have imposed strict voter id requirements and purged voter rolls to disenfranchise minority voters. They have made it harder to vote by mail and register to vote. They have gerrymandered districts for partisan political gain.

Over the past year these shameless efforts have become even more brazen. Just as the former President was clear that he wanted to overturn the results of the election, Trump and his allies are entirely transparent about their goal of overturning future elections. Today, Republican opponents of democracy are exploiting every possible avenue to allow their party to maintain control – even if that means overruling the will of the American people.

Rather than put a stop to these attacks on voting rights, the Supreme Court has enabled them. The Roberts Court gutted the core of the Voting Rights Act, which is why Republican legislatures can now pass anti-voter laws with ease. Last year, they destroyed what was left of the country’s landmark voting-rights law, making it nearly impossible to block laws with racially discriminatory effects. They twice overturned key protections against dark money in our elections, and they gave a green light to partisan gerrymandering.

The Senate must not turn a blind eye while the federal judiciary and state legislatures lead an all-out assault against free and fair elections in America. It’s clear that Donald Trump’s Republican Party is embracing an increasingly authoritarian movement. In 2006, the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized unanimously in the Senate. Yet today, only a single Republican supports the Voting Rights Act, and none have endorsed the Freedom to Vote Act. The Senate filibuster means Mitch McConnell gets a veto, and Congress cannot protect the sacred right to vote unless Republican politicians agree – all while they are actively undermining our democracy in state after state.

My view on this is simple. We did not swear an oath to protect a procedural rule like the filibuster, which has been a tool of racial segregation and Jim Crow. We swore an oath to defend the Constitution. When Senate rules stand in the way of voting rights legislation, those rules must change.

A year after an insurrection at our Nation’s Capitol, we must do more than speak up about the importance of democracy; now we must act. It’s time to end the filibuster, protect voting rights, and defend our democracy.