Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
July 3, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined the Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” this evening to discuss House passage of his legislation to remove hate from the halls of the Capitol, the work ahead for the Select Committee to investigate January 6, voting rights, and the status of negotiations regarding police reform legislation.  Below are excerpts from his interview and a link to the video:
 
Click here to watch a video of the interview.
 
On the Select Committee to Investigate 1/6

“Well, I think it's very sad, Reverend, as you point out that the response that the Republicans have had to the insurrection that occurred, the violent insurrection, which led to the deaths of both civilians and police personnel and the attacks on police and the threats that were intoned in the Capitol, on both the Vice President of the United States, a Republican conservative, and the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Just tragic that the response has not been more effective, not more expressing the anger that I think was reflected on that night certainly, through Senator McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. But it has not reflected itself in the days since, maybe because Trump has said I don't want any action taken. In any event, it’s unfortunate. And it's also unfortunate as you point out, that the commission, which was a bipartisan commission and met all the criteria, save one, that the Republicans wanted in terms of being even, in terms of having equal authority on subpoenas and investigations…What the American people want, what history needs is a focus on what happened on January 6th: why did it happen, how did it happen, who participated in making it happen, and how do we prevent it from happening again? … The institution demands we move forward. Our democracy demands we move forward, and that's what Speaker Pelosi is doing. I think the eight people that she has appointed with it being chaired by Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and yes, including Liz Cheney, who showed she has the courage, the fortitude, and the integrity to call them as sees them. So I am very hopeful that Leader McCarthy will, as [Democrats] did in the Benghazi investigation, participate, appoint Members, and proceed.”

On Republicans Who Voted Against Legislation to Remove Hate
 
“[W]hen [House Republicans are] treating insurrectionists or people who promoted hate and separation and segregation being honored the Capitol of the United States, it should not happen. And that's what that vote was about. And why – as you know, we got 72 Republicans [to vote for the bill in the 116th Congress]. So it wasn't as if -- and including McCarthy, who voted with this and Scalise, their two leaders. However, why over 100 of them voted no, they'll have to answer that themselves. It was not a good vote [for the Republicans that voted against it]. It did not speak well for the party that claims to be the party of Lincoln.”
 
On the Urgent Need for Legislation to Restore Voting Rights
 
“Well, Reverend, you and I both walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis commemorating Bloody Sunday, on March 7th 1965, and the subsequent signing months later of the Voting Rights Act. As [Justice] Kagan said in her dissent… she said ‘The Voting Rights Act is the best of America, but in some respects, the need for the Voting Rights Act is the worst in America.’ And ‘we have no option but to keep fighting,’ that's what John Lewis said, ‘Keep your eye on the prize.’ The prize is an America that lives out the promise of equality, which of course is most important in terms of access to the ballot. The access to having a voice in our democracy, and we're going to keep fighting. And Al, you know, I have said publicly over and over again, we need to get rid of the filibuster. The filibuster is undemocratic. It thwarts the will of the majority of the people in the United States of America. It is a rule that the Founders did not contemplate. [It’s] not as if the Founders didn't contemplate in some instances having a necessity for an overwhelming vote, an extraordinary majority. They did so with a veto override; they did so with treaties; they did so with a conviction of the President on impeachment; and they did so for amending of the Constitution. They knew there were certain times when they wanted greater than a majority. But they did not contemplate, nor articulate any concept of having more than a majority vote in either house to pass a proposition for the people, and that's what we're seeing. I hope that at some point in time, the members of the United States Senate say enough. The majority is going to rule. The Voting Rights Act and other bills that are supported by the overwhelming majority, in some cases, 85% of the American people that support comprehensive background checks to make their communities safer. At some point, the majority needs to see its voice articulated and represented in the United States Senate. So we're going to keep fighting – H.R. 1, H.R. 4, absolutely critically important. And we're going to keep fighting until we get that done. But you're right. The Justice Department can take action. They're taking action and they need to take all the action they can. But we need to amend the law.”
 
On Negotiations over Police Reform
 
“Well, I think we know what's holding up the process. Republicans are holding up the process. You'll have to ask them why. Obviously, Cory Booker is fighting hard in the Senate. Tim Scott says he wants to get a bill. I certainly hope that is the case. Jim Clyburn has told our Caucus he believes there is a path forward to a meaningful bill. Now that's the key phrase, meaningful. We don't want just symbol, we want substance. We want accountability. We want to make sure that people of color, particularly African-Americans, are safe when dealing with the police…. it means they will be treated as everybody else is treated. And that is with the respect due a citizen under the law and under the Constitution of the United States. So I am hopeful that Senator Scott and Senator Booker and other members of the Senate will be able to come to an agreement that the House can pass, not just a symbol, but substance, so that we can have accountability…. Our police, to whom we give a great deal of power and we demand courage and integrity, that they as well should be accountable when they do things that are obviously wrong and harmful and against justice in America."