Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Introducing H.R. 4, Voting Rights Advancement Act
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Terri Sewell and House Democrats for a press event introducing H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill would create a new coverage formula to determine which states and localities with repeated voting rights violations must preclear election changes with the Department of Justice. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon everyone. Welcome the Rayburn Room. Welcome back to the House side to the distinguished Leader, Democratic Leader of the Senate, Senator Schumer.
I’m glad that he is joined by the distinguished Senator [Leahy] from Vermont, former Chair of the Judiciary Committee, a leader on the Appropriations Committee. And one of the newest members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Senator Jones of Alabama. Welcome to the House side to all of you!
Thank you. We’re glad you’re here with us.
One of the people who was there in 2006 when we wrote the most recent, soon-to-be less-than-most-recent Voting Rights Act in 2006 was John Lewis. He was at the table when that bill was written, he was on the steps of the Capitol when we marched then.
Remember, Steny? House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans with over 300 votes in the House, unanimous vote in the Senate for the Voting Rights Act, signed by President Bush. John Lewis was there for the writing, for the celebration, for the signing. But John Lewis was also there 54 years ago: this weekend will be the anniversary of the March.
For over 50 years, as we know, the Voting Rights Act is enshrined into law – the sacred right to be heard at the ballot box – and now it is under threat.
As we gather here today, let us salute the relentless leadership of Representative Terri Sewell of Alabama on the historic legislation to advance justice.
We commend Congressman Maria Fudge for her leadership, holding hearings around the country, starting in Brownsville, Texas.
This is an issue that, in terms of the African American community, the Asian American community represented by Judy Chu here, and the Hispanic community represented by Ben Ray Luján here – but they represent not only their communities but all of America’s communities.
Again, more than 50 years ago, this took place under the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, but inspired by students who were the inspiration for the march and then thousands of men and women inspired by the students marched from Selma to lay the claim to the most fundamental right in our democracy.
We must finish the long march to progress, passing H.R. 4 to protect the ballot and advance justice for all. The Voting Rights Advancement Act will restore the Voting Rights Act’s ability to combat voter discrimination across America. And again, liberty and justice to all, it’s a pledge we take to the flag every day.
I’m privileged to yield to our distinguished visitor, former Member of the House – I keep reminding him.
Senator Schumer. Only 18 years.
Congresswoman Sewell. Welcome back!
Speaker Pelosi. But now happily ensconced as Democratic Leader of the Senate. Welcome back, Senator Schumer!
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