By Jordain Carney
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) will hold a Senate Rules Committee hearing in Georgia next month on voting rights as Democrats ramp up their efforts after Republicans blocked a sweeping election bill.
Klobuchar, who chairs the committee, will hold a hearing on July 19. Klobuchar is set to announce the date, which hasn't been previously reported, as soon as Monday.
It will be the Rules Committee's first field hearing in 20 years. Witnesses, who have not yet been announced, will discuss "recently enacted legislation to restrict voting in the state and the need for basic federal standards to protect the freedom to vote," according to the forthcoming release from Klobuchar's office.
Former President Trump has made false claims that the presidential election in Georgia, where President Biden won, was "corrupt" as part of his broader narrative that the 2020 election was "stolen." That's put him at odds with top GOP officials in the state, even as his team lost election challenges and election experts have dismissed claims of widespread fraud.
Georgia's GOP-controlled state legislature also came under fire earlier this year as they debated, and ultimately passed, a law that places new rules on voting, including new rules on voter ID and mail-in voting.
The legislation galvanized the voting rights conversation among national Democrats, who worry it will make it harder for key constituencies to vote. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last week that the Justice Department is suing Georgia, arguing that the law violated laws protecting voting rights.
In the wake of Garland's announcement, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel accused Democrats of trying to "undermine confidence in elections in the pursuit of political power" after failing to get their election legislation through Congress.
Democrats are mulling their next steps on voting rights after Republicans blocked a sweeping bill that would overhaul federal elections, known as the For the People Act, from being brought up for debate in the Senate.
Democrats need GOP support to pass any election bill in the Senate because of the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass.
Klobuchar quickly vowed that the Rules Committee would hold election-related hearings to try to keep a focus on the issue. The hearing in Georgia is expected to be the first of several election and voting rights hearings.
Democrats are also weighing bringing up a revised version of the election bill or reviving legislation that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act after a formula for determining which cities and states required Justice Department oversight was gutted in a 2013 Supreme Court ruling.
“I reserve the right to bring this issue up for debate again. ... [It] was the first time we tried to consider major voting rights legislation, but it won’t be the last. Democrats will explore every option available to us for reconsidering legislation on this topic. We’ll leave no stone unturned. Voting rights are too important,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week.