Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing for a Senate vote on the Democrats' voting legislation in order to protect himself in a potential primary challenge from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. James Lankford said on Newsmax Wednesday.
"He's willing to throw the members of his own party under the bus to try to help protect himself in a primary challenge because he's so terrified of AOC," the Oklahoma Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America."
"That's not just me; that's other Democrat senators that I've talked to, that say they're so ready for this primary challenge to be over in New York so they can get back to doing business again."
Schumer on Tuesday night said the Senate will vote on changing the rules to impose a "talking filibuster" for voting legislation if Republicans block two bills slated for consideration. The move will likely prove moot as at least two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., have publicly disagreed with the filibuster.
Lankford said Schumer has not had a problem with the filibuster for 40 years, but now, matters have changed because the New Yorker holds his leadership spot with the "absolute slimmest of all possible majorities" in a 50-50 Senate.
"That's enough of a lead for him that he wants to change the rules of the Senate that have been around since 1789, that the minority has a voice," said Lankford. "I think Democrats and Republicans alike need to see that, when Schumer and the Democrats get in charge, the first thing they do is to try to destroy the voice of the minority in the Senate, and to say the minority voices don't count anymore."
But the filibuster, said Lankford, has always protected the rights of the Senate minority to have their opinions heard.
"They're stepping up and saying, Sorry, if you don't agree with me, you don't count in America, and that's not the way America works," he continued.
Lankford also disagreed that Manchin and Sinema are the only Democrats who disagree with changing the filibuster, as there are "27 other Democrats who have publicly spoken out and said they would never change the filibuster."
The Democrats, he added, are trying to use the push for voting legislation to paint Republicans as being racists, and that they're going to prove that by trying to pass a "terrible bill" that has nothing to do with race.
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