Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader (R. KY) has accused the left of spreading the “big lie,” using that language in response to Democrats’ claims of Donald Trump and Republicans spreading a “big lie” about fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. McConnell used the term referring to an ”evil anti-voting conspiracy” as Dems try and pass voting rights legislation.

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McConnell and the GOP have stated they will implement ‘scorched earth’ policy if Leader Chuck Schumer tries to eliminate the filibuster to advance voting rights legislation, which Republicans claims puts US elections in the hands of the federal governments instead of individual states.

McConnell sent out a memo last weekend slamming Democrats and saying that the GOP has ”repeatedly stood up to the left and their Big Lie that there is some evil anti-voting conspiracy sweeping America.”

He continued:

‘They will try to use fake hysteria to break the Senate and silence millions of Americans’ voices so they can take over elections and ram through their radical agenda.”

Schumer responded, claiming McConnell is “gaslighting” the American people.  He has vowed to pass voting rights legislation by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 17.

WV Senator Joe Manchin via Flickr / Ryan Stanton https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Schumer and the Democrats’ plan to go ‘nuclear’ to allow the legislation to move forward with a simple majority vote faces significant opposition from Democratic Senators, however, in Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who both said they will filibuster any attempt to pass the legislation, meaning Schumer would have to use the power he has to change the rules to bypass the 60-vote threshhold.

Schumer did not mince words:

“If Republicans continue to hijack the rules of the chamber to protect us from protecting our democracy, then the Senate will debate and consider changes to the rules on or before Jan. 17.”

Democrats are trying to pass the legislation because of what they see as Republican state governments making it harder to vote, and possibly swinging future elections their way unfairly.  Between January 1 and December 7 of last year, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting.  More than 440 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in all but one state in the 2021 legislative sessions, according to the non-partisan Brennan Center.

The Senate is also trying to pass the already House-passed For The People Act, expanding voter registration, early voting, and mail-in voting.

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President Joe Biden, no stranger to Senate in-fighting, has been reluctant to get involved in the fight over the filibuster, but did tell ABC News in December that he support an exception “if the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster.”