Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
August 24, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Below are excerpts from his remarks and a link to the video:
 
Click here to watch the video.
 
“I want to thank the Gentlewoman from Selma, Alabama, Terri Sewell. I've been with Terri [in] her church, worshiped with her. Prayed with John Lewis in her church. Walked down the streets of her town and over a bridge called the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And unlike John Lewis, when we walked across it, there were Alabama troopers to protect us. Rather than prevent us from voting.”
  
“Today we're honoring the legacy of a historic Member of this House…. John Lewis was my dear friend and he was your dear friend. I called him the most Christ-like person I’ve ever seen. Our dear saint John, who preached to us the gospel of getting into ‘good trouble’ and creating a beloved community – the gospel of John Robert Lewis. He’d be proud of us today for bringing this bill to the Floor. He worked hard on this bill. I can remember sitting – Jim Clyburn and I and John Lewis and others – sitting in my Whip’s conference room, working on voting rights legislation.”
  
“So let us honor his memory today with strong support for this voting rights protection, for its reversal of the damage brought by the 2013 Shelby-Holder ruling and for its recognition that our democracy is imperfect if it is not open to all eligible to vote. In that ruling, Shelby vs. Holder, the Supreme Court erred in its assessment of how necessary the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance section was for protecting Americans’ rights to vote. You're not protecting America’s right to vote, if the relief that you can seek is after the fact, after the Governor or the President or the Senator or the House of Delegates or Representative Member, has been elected. It's too late. That's why preclearance was so critically important to reform and to protection of voters' rights.”
  
“In her powerful dissent, as I said, Justice Ginsburg pointed out that throwing out preclearance when it has worked and has continued to work to stop discrimination changes is like that gentleman giving away his umbrella. Indeed, since 2013 we have seen a veritable downpour of discriminatory and exclusionary voter suppression measures.”
    
“The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act sponsored by Terri Sewell would confront this tempest head-on. We have seen a campaign of voter suppression efforts in Republican-led jurisdictions that have changed their laws and voting rules to make it harder for eligible Americans to vote. Their leader, Donald Trump, says there was fraud. There was theft. The problem is, the Republican judges to which they appealed said no. The problem is, Attorney General Barr, who covered up almost everything that Donald Trump said, even he couldn't say that there was fraud. And so they justify these laws by, there’s somehow there's fraud out there, they're stealing our elections. That's baloney. It's the same kind of lie that Donald Trump continues to parrot.” 
  
“We've seen a campaign of voter suppression over and over and over again, making it harder for eligible Americans to vote, disproportionately targeting African Americans.” 
  
“My colleagues – Democratic and Republican colleagues – we have a duty, a responsibility, a moral responsibility to make sure that people can vote and that we facilitate their vote, not impede it, not make it more difficult. Facilitate it, encourage them, lift them up and let them vote. And we owe it to John Lewis and the other heroes of Selma and of all the other small towns and byways and big cities and big states where people fought, demonstrated, were bruised, battered, beaten and, yes, some died so that their brothers and sisters could have the vote. My colleagues, it falls to us now today to continue their march forward and to carry on their work.” 
  
“We have a moral responsibility to those who fought here and around the world to protect the vote, to protect democracy. I urge my colleagues, Madam Speaker, to join you, to join me, to join our fellow colleagues in voting for H.R. 4 and for the protection of voting rights in our country.”