Statement
For Immediate Release: 
December 6, 2019
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which passed the House today and restores the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Below are excerpts of his remarks and a link to the video.
 
  
Click here to watch the video.
 
“I thank [Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler] for his leadership, and of course I thank [Congresswoman] Terri Sewell, who is from Selma, Alabama, who has been a fighter for voting rights all of her life. I thank her for sponsoring this bill along with myself and so many others.”  

“It was in Selma in 1965 that another friend and one of our dearest colleagues, [Congressman] John Lewis, was nearly beaten to death for having the audacity to demand the right to vote, the right to register, the right to participate in a meaningful way in our democracy. That year after that Bloody Sunday March of 1965, and the later March to Montgomery that followed soon after, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act to protect against voter suppression and disenfranchisement. One of its core provisions required that the federal Justice Department preclear any changes to voting rules in jurisdictions that have a history of discrimination and voter suppression.”

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court struck down the formula for that pre-clearance process in 2013 and charged Congress with updating it. We have responded this day to that charge. Under the previous Republican-led Congress, that charge was ignored.”

“I continue to believe that the decision made by the Supreme Court was a bad decision, which did not reflect the reality of the success of the pre-clearance provisions in the Voting Rights Act. Indeed, Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent that, and I quote, ‘throwing out pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing out your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.’”

“Today, the Democratic-led House will vote to restore the full force of the Voting Rights Act, and I hope every Republican will join us if they want to ensure that discriminatory practices do not prevent citizens from voting.”

“We have given this bill the designation of H.R. 4 because it's one of our most important pieces of legislation. Along with H.R. 1, the For The People Act, which contained a number of provisions strengthening ballot access, making voter registration automatic, and expanding early voting, H.R. 4 is part of Democrats' efforts to protect Americans' fundamental right to vote.”

“H.R. 4, my colleagues, restores the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. As you take your card and contemplate putting it in the slot and pushing either the green button or red button, reflect upon those who died not only in the Civil Rights Movement, but those who died on foreign shores defending freedom and democracy. Because as you vote today, you will be voting to defend or to ignore the fundamental formula for democracy, which is having people's vote count.”