WASHINGTON (CN) – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday said Democrats will push to end the Election Integrity Commission in a must-pass spending bill in September if President Donald Trump does not disband the commission first.
Trump created the Election Integrity Commission with an executive order on May 11 with the goal of studying voter fraud and illegal voter registration. The order creating the commission came after Trump claimed without evidence that as many as 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.
Critics of the commission have said it is a thinly veiled attempt to strip away voting rights, with the concerns growing louder in June when the commission asked every state for its full voter roll, including voters’ names, addresses and political affiliations.
Schumer wrote in a post on Medium on Thursday that the commission’s efforts should be under particular scrutiny in light of the violent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month because courts have found efforts said to reduce voter fraud disproportionately impact the ability of minorities to vote.
“The president’s ‘Election Integrity Commission’ and the actions of the attorney general are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” Schumer wrote. “They are a ruse. Their only intention is to disenfranchise voters.”
With Congress facing a tight deadline once it returns from its August recess to agree on a government funding package and raise the debt ceiling, Schumer said Democrats will try to pin an effort to disband the commission to any bill to avert a shutdown if Trump doesn’t shutter the commission himself.
“Many of us found the Election Integrity Commission distasteful when it was first created,” Schumer wrote. “The president’s recent failure to unequivocally condemn bigotry makes its rescission imperative.”
Schumer called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work with Democrats on a legislative provision to disband the commission, a move that would require Republican support.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Schumer’s plan.
The upcoming government funding fight grew more complicated this week when Trump threatened to allow a government shutdown if Congress does not fully fund his proposed wall along the southern border as part of the bill. Congress must agree to a government funding package by the end of September and faces a Sept. 29 deadline to raise the debt limit.