Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a Democratic bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday is a “power grab,” sparking a fierce backlash online. McConnell was speaking about H.R. 1, legislation that Democrats have made a centerpiece of their agenda since retaking the House earlier this month. In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats “want taxpayers on the hook for generous new benefits for federal bureaucrats and government employees,” including making Election Day a “new paid holiday for government workers.” “So this is the Democrats’ plan to ‘restore democracy,’” McConnell said, describing the legislation as “a political power grab that’s smelling more and more like what it is.”
The far-reaching legislation would also prohibit the purging of voter rolls, require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns, compel states to adopt independent redistricting commissions and create a matching system for small-dollar donations to congressional campaigns, among other changes.
In his Wednesday remarks, as well as in a Washington Post op-ed earlier this month, McConnell mocked the legislation as the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.”
“H.R. 1 would victimize every American taxpayer by pouring their money into expensive new subsidies that don’t even pass the laugh test,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
His remarks prompted a wave of criticism by Democrats, some of whom argued that McConnell was acknowledging that Republicans want to make it more difficult for Americans to vote.