WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — For the first time in 20 years, a Senate committee took its show on the road Monday when they held a held a hearing on federal voting rights in Georgia.
“This is about our very democracy,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.
The Minnesota Democrat brought her Senate Rules Committee hearing on Georgia’s new election law to Atlanta on Monday.
“Georgia’s state legislature has passed restrictions on ballot access surgically targeting black voters,” Sen. Jon Ossoff said.
Ossoff and Sen. Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators, said their state’s new election law adds voter ID restrictions, reduces early voting hours and makes it harder to vote by mail.
“This is a recipe not only for voter suppression but chaos in our democracy,” Sen. Warnock said.
Warnock, who testified at Monday’s hearing, said Congress should pass national voting legislation.
“We can reverse these restrictions,” Warnock said.
Republican U.S. senators refused to attend the hearing, and Georgia state Republicans called it a circus.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defended the state law in a tweet posted Monday.
“More lies on what our bill does,” he wrote.
He said it actually makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat.
Republicans said attempts to pass federal legislation will “federalize elections.”
“Get with the program and make sure that they don’t interfere with what is actually the state’s responsibility, quite frankly,” Republican Rep. Fred Keller of Pennsylvania said.
The Senate and the House return to Capitol Hill this week but it’s unlikely to take up voting legislation anytime soon.