Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
January 13, 2022
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” this afternoon to discuss House passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and commitment to protecting voting rights. Below are excerpts from his interview and a link to the video:
 
Click here for the full video.

“We need to keep trying to do the right thing until the right thing happens. Giving up is not an option on voting rights. Giving up on our democracy is not an option—and this is about our democracy. This is about people being not only allowed to vote, but being facilitated in casting their vote, not being made to jump over hurdles to cast their votes. People fought and died and bled for this right. I am so sad that John Lewis is not here today. His speech on the Floor today would have been unbelievably compelling in my opinion. But we can't stop, and the President can't stop, and we have to keep trying to convince every one of our voters because it's so close [in the Senate], 50/50, to come on board.”

“We didn't [wait nine months to take action on voting rights]. [House Democrats] passed [voting rights legislation] through the House of Representatives and they weren't able to bring it up and I think what Chuck Schumer has clearly been trying to do, and I think it's shown in so many instances, notwithstanding the fact we have unanimity on some issues that are pending in the Senate, we don't have the 60 votes that you need to break the filibuster. We need to get rid of the filibuster. The filibuster was never contemplated by the Founders. The Founders absolutely believed that the Senate, like the House, would operate by majority rules. That's the basis of our democracy, the majority rules. You protect the minority against abuse by the majority, but you don't protect the minority to the extent that they take over, that they control, that the minority is in control, not the majority. That's not democracy. So we need to get rid of the filibuster and I’m sorry that there are Members who don't want to do that, and I would hope that we could convince them that it needs to be done.”

“Look, there are a whole lot of bills over there who are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Let me give you just one example, Chuck, that we passed last Congress and this Congress, months and months ago, and that is universal background checks for guns so that criminals and terrorists and people with mental health, domestic – 85% to 90% of the American public supports that legislation, but we can't get it up on the Floor because we don't have 60 votes. Now, on reconciliation we can do things with the 50 votes. And even in this instance, Chuck, all we can do is get the debate going…the greatest deliberative body has become the most non-deliberative body.”

“[The Freedom to Vote Act] is the Manchin bill that we're considering—obviously that was significant movement. There are some things that were not in that bill, that are in our bill, that people would like to have in that bill, but you're right, you try and we didn't get that, so Joe Manchin joined in the effort to come together and get a bill which he thought could get ten Republican Senators to join on to and have 60. Not to do it by the majority rules, but do it with the 60 votes that the Senate requires unfortunately. So there was movement, there was work and what we did, we didn't pass H.R. 1 again, we passed the Manchin bill again, the Freedom to Vote Act.”