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Mike Pence Calls Democrats' Efforts to End the Filibuster a 'Power Grab'

Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

Former Vice President Mike Pence pushed back on efforts from Democrats to eliminate the filibuster so they can pass legislation that would federalize elections.

In an op-ed published Friday in The Washington Post, Pence argued that both the Jan. 6 2021 Capitol riot and the Democrats' push to change Senate rules are examples of a "power grab."

Pence recalled the attack on Jan. 6 of last year, when rioters made chants suggesting they wished to hang him after former President Donald Trump tweeted that the former vice president had the authority to overturn current President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. Pence rejected calls to overturn the Electoral College results in Trump's favor.

"Despite this steady progress of state-based reforms, now come 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 wrote.

The piece was penned as President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats express the need to end the filibuster so that their voting legislation can be passed with a simple majority in the Senate instead of the current 60-vote requirement.

Biden even suggested during a fiery speech in Georgia on Tuesday that opponents of Democrat-backed voting bills on Capitol Hill are on the side of segregationists George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis.

The voting legislation comes after a number of Republican-led states like Georgia and Texas passed laws aimed at ensuring the integrity of elections.

However, moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) stand in the way of changing Senate rules as each of them reiterated this week that, while they support the voting legislation, they do not support the elimination of the filibuster. And with a 50-50 majority split in the Senate, Democrats need every member of their party to vote together for the rule to change.

Pence also emphasized in the op-ed that America's founding fathers made it to where states had control over how their elections were run and that Democrats' efforts to strip that authority are akin to the Capitol rioters.

"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," he continued. "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."

The former vice president added that Congress' attempts to eliminate the filibuster to pass a law that would federalize elections is "inconsistent" with America's history and "an affront to our Constitution's structure."

He also warned that the Democrats' election bill would allow voter fraud to "explode."

"With this [Jan. 6] anniversary passed, I call on my former colleagues in the Senate to do as you did before: Uphold the right of states to conduct and certify elections," Pence wrote. "Reject this latest attempt to give Washington the power to decide how the United States' elections are run. And keep the oath you made before God and the American people to support and defend the Constitution."

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