In a 50-45 vote on Tuesday, Senate Democrats killed a GOP-backed amendment seeking to defund President Biden’s executive interference in U.S. elections.
Proposed by Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., the amendment stipulates that “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this division may be used to implement or enforce Executive Order 14019.” The proposal sought to amend a “minibus” appropriations bill under consideration by the upper chamber.
Tuesday’s final vote fell along party lines, with 45 Republicans supporting and 50 Democrats opposing the measure. GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, J.D. Vance of Ohio, as well as Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, did not vote on the bill.
Adam Webb, a Tillis spokesman, told The Federalist that while Tillis is out with Covid this week, the senator “would have supported the amendment” if present for the vote. Meanwhile, a Lee representative told The Federalist that Lee is currently attending a conference with Jordan Peterson in England. While the Utah senator wasn’t briefed on the amendment, Lee’s team doesn’t “see any reason why he would have voted against it.”
When pressed on Scott’s absence, a representative from his office told The Federalist that the senator “has been in constant communication with Senate leadership regarding his schedule,” and excused his absence from Tuesday’s vote by saying the “amendment’s guaranteed failure, with [Vice President Kamala Harris] casting the tie breaking ‘no’ vote should those not voting have had been present, allowed the senator to keep his current schedule.”
Signed by Biden in March 2021, Executive Order 14019 mandated that all federal agencies interfere in the electoral process by using taxpayer money to boost voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities. Under the directive, the head of each department was additionally directed to draft “a strategic plan” explaining how his or her agency intends to fulfill Biden’s edict.
Despite attempts by good government groups to acquire these plans, the Biden administration has routinely stonewalled such efforts by slow-walking its response to federal court orders and heavily redacting any related documents it has released.
“Mandating that every federal agency engage in electioneering on the taxpayer dime raises serious ethical and legal concerns,” Budd said during a Senate floor speech on Tuesday. “This executive order is further weaponization of the federal government’s power to boost one side of the aisle over another.”
The North Carolina Republican further highlighted how Biden’s order directing departments to collaborate with supposedly “nonpartisan” third-party organizations to register new voters fails to specify “which” groups and “by what criteria” they are to follow when fulfilling the edict. As The Federalist has previously reported, voter registration efforts are almost always a partisan venture and often involve left-wing groups that abuse their nonprofit status to target likely-Democrat voters.
“The prospect of the Biden administration writing their own rules and using taxpayer money to partner with liberal get-out-the-vote organizations is wildly inappropriate,” Budd said. “I don’t believe the federal government should be using official taxpayer resources to advance partisan politics.”
Budd’s concerns about the federal government engaging in partisan voter registration appear to be warranted given the evidence obtained by conservative media outlets. In June, for instance, The Daily Signal discovered that the Indian Health Service (IHS) is collaborating with several left-wing groups such as the ACLU, Demos, and the National Congress of American Indians to comply with Biden’s order.
It’s worth mentioning that IHS designated one of its health care facilities as a voter registration hub in a ceremony earlier this month. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the facility is one of five IHS locations set to be designated as voter registration sites by the end of this year.
Other federal agencies that have taken additional steps to fulfill Biden’s edict include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a sub-agency of the Department of Homeland Security. In August, the agency updated its Policy Manual to include provisions directing agency employees to “increase awareness and expand access to voter registration during naturalization ceremonies,” in which eligible immigrants officially become U.S. citizens.
Efforts to defund Biden’s directive have also been attempted by House Republicans. Introduced earlier this year, the American Confidence in Elections Act, or ACE Act, seeks to repeal Executive Order 14019, prohibit federal agencies from engaging in voter registration and mobilization activities, and require said agencies to turn over their strategic plans to Congress “[n]ot later than 30 days after” its enactment.
The bill has yet to be voted on by the House.
This article has been updated since publication to include statements from the offices of Sens. Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, and Tim Scott.