Mike Lee has been a United States senator for 12 years. So we decided to look into his record according to some of our core principles and let you know why we are #HumansAgainstMikeLee.
Mike Lee is against affordable healthcare. The most vivid example of Mike Lee’s fight against affordable healthcare is his long term crusade against the Affordable Care Act, which aimed to make healthcare more accessible to a wider swath of low-income Americans. He went so far in this fight to “defund” the ACA that he was responsible (along with Texas Senator Ted Cruz) for the 16-day government shutdown in 2013, for which he made no apologies, even though it cost the American economy an estimated $23 billion. Lee was one of only two Senators to vote against the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act in 2018, voted against a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that would have capped insulin costs at $35 per month, and recently introduced a bill seeking to reverse the IRA’s provisions capping other prescription drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Mike Lee is bad for public education. On his website, Lee acknowledges that he is for school choice, an effort that lowers funding for public schools to build up alternatives such as charter and private schools. Examples of legislation Lee has introduced along these “school choice” lines include the Head Start Improvement Act, which would allow states to use block grants for early education in so-called “portable voucher programs,” and the Enhancing Educational Opportunities for All Students Act, which would allow for Title I K-12 funds to be used for private schools and remove caps for 529 accounts (primarily helping students from rich families). Last year, Lee bought into the manufactured conservative craze around critical race theory by introducing the Empowering Local Curriculum Act, equating CRT with education based on anti-American and racist principles. Lee received an “F” from the National Education Association in its most recent legislative report card.
Mike Lee has not helped fight gun violence. Lee supports the misguided Supreme Court Heller decision that established an individual constitutional right to possess a firearm and supports rolling back existing gun control laws. Lee voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this year, which provided funding for mental health investments, crisis intervention programs, and red flag laws, and closed the ‘boyfriend loophole.’ Lee voted against expanded background checks following the tragic Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2013, vowing to oppose “any additional gun restrictions.” Lee believes that mass shootings are rooted in “fatherlessness” and “the breakdown of families,” rather than the wide availability of firearms, that Americans don’t understand what assault weapons are, and that gun control, and that gun control has racist roots and suppresses minority- and low-income communities.
Mike Lee champions the rich, not everyday Americans and families. In 2012, Lee proposed drastically cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and most other discretionary federal programs and instituting a flat sales tax, ending tax provisions that benefit low- and middle-income Americans. In 2015, Lee joined Marco Rubio to release a tax plan that would have disproportionately benefited high-income earners by eliminating taxes on capital gains, dividends, and estates, all while increasing the deficit by $4 trillion. Unsuccessful in these efforts, he later voted for the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, another example of so-called “trickle-down” tax policy that was more focused on reducing taxes for corporations than giving a helping hand to American workers and families.
Mike Lee has been an opponent of LGBTQ equality. Lee opposed the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in 2015 that recognized a constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples. Even though it had the support of all of Utah’s House members, Mike Lee has not supported the Respect for Marriage Act currently before Congress, even though he is working to amend the bill to add protections for religious nonprofits. He has consistently opposed LGBTQ nondiscrimination, opposing the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision in 2020 that protected LGBTQ persons from workplace discrimination (even signing on to an amicus brief to argue against such protections), opposing the Equality Act, and voting against the 2013 Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Lee unilaterally blocked the confirmation of Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because of her support of LGBTQ rights. Last year, Lee introduced a bill that would prohibit transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports, overruling the rules and guidelines that athletic associations already have in place.
Mike Lee has shown disregard for the rights of women. Lee has been a vocal opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would constitutionally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. Lee opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have provided “more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex,” excusing the well-documented pay gap that women experience in the workforce, especially here in Utah. Lee voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012 (and will most likely oppose the bill currently seeking to reauthorize it again in Congress). He has consistently been an opponent of reproductive rights, introducing multiple pieces of legislation to limit abortion access and joining an amicus brief in the recent Dobbs case arguing that Roe and Casey had no constitutional basis. And Lee even blocked legislation that would have created a Women’s History Museum as part of the Smithsonian.
Mike Lee is not an ally of communities of color. Lee has received an “F” grade from the NAACP on its last three legislative report cards and in its 2021 Civil Rights Legislative Scorecard, primarily due to his votes and positions against the American Rescue Plan, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the For the People Act, the last two of which would have guaranteed equitable access to the ballot. Despite 55% of Utahns supporting the program, Lee has opposed the executive branch’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also opposing the American Dream and Promise Act, which would have made a legislative fix for Dreamers. Lee even unilaterally blocked the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino as part of the Smithsonian.
Mike Lee is a sycophant of Donald Trump. Lee started off as a Trump opponent, attempting to block Trump’s GOP nomination at convention and later asking the nominee to step down after the Access Hollywood tapes revealed Trump’s crude views toward women. However, Lee soon warmed to Trump and became one of his leading supporters. Lee became co-chairman of Trump’s re-election campaign in Utah, saying that taken the “scenic route” to seeing Trump as “a gift” to the nation. During the campaign, Lee compared Trump to Captain Moroni, a revered military captain from Mormon scripture. After Trump was elected, Lee was involved in researching ways to overturn the election results and contacting state lawmakers to “find a path [he could] persuasively defend,” although he did back off at the last minute and ended up voting to certify the results on the Senate floor. Earlier this year, Donald Trump gave his endorsement to Mike Lee.
Mike Lee is an obstacle in addressing climate change. Of course, the most vivid example of Lee’s views on climate change is that his offered solution to “long-term, large-scale problems” such as the climate is “to fall in love, get married, and have some kids.” Lee voted against the visionary framework of the Green New Deal, even taking to the Senate floor with a picture of Ronald Reagan riding a dinosaur while firing a machine gun in some type of attempt to criticize the plan. Lee voted against the bipartisan Growing Climates Solutions Act, which aims to help farmers, ranchers, and foresters access carbon markets, and voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes some of the most forward-looking climate investments ever passed by Congress. Lee’s focus instead has been on complaining that we are not drilling more, increasing our dependence on fossil-fuel energies.
Mike Lee is not a good steward of our public lands. Lee voted against the 2020 Great American Outdoors Act, which provided historic investments for our national parks and other public lands, and created a permanent, dedicated funding source for land and water conservation. In a similar vein, he opposed the much more conservative but bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act. Lee opposes the designation and restoration of both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and wants to limit the Antiquities Act from being further used for preserving historic sites in the state of Utah. Most recently, Lee introduced a proposal for “affordable housing” that would allow for national public lands to be sold to private developers, which would realistically only increase expensive suburban sprawl at the expense of open lands.