For Immediate Release: 
December 6, 2019
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press event ahead of passage of H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Fifteen times I’ve walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, most of those times holding John Lewis’ hand. John, thank you. The steps you took, the beatings you received, the courage you showed continues to illuminate our path today. Thank you, John Lewis.

“H.R. 4 the people – whether you spell it F-O-U-R or F-O-R, this bill is for the people. This is a long over-due legislative response to the challenges confronting our country by the Supreme Court in 2013. Justice Ginsberg pointed out in her dissent in Shelby [County] v. Holder that, and I quote: ‘throwing out pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.’

“Think of that analogy. Indeed, as soon as that decision was released, we began to see, in state after state, a torrent of voter suppression, such as photo I.D. laws in Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas, North Dakota as well as a range of new restrictions on voting and registration in the states previously covered by pre-clearance.

“I am proud to, as Majority Leader, bring this bill to the Floor. I am proud to be a co-sponsor with all of my colleagues here. I am proud to work with Speaker Nancy Pelosi in making sure that we address this issue, which, as Senator Leahy said, is for America, for our principles. For the essence of democracy is that people vote and have their vote counted.

“Put an end to six years of renewed and rampant voter suppression, discrimination, and disenfranchisement. I urge, as Senator Leahy did, as Speaker Pelosi did, as all of us urge [Senator McConnell to] take up this bill.

“You know [President Ronald] Reagan said ‘tear down this wall.’ Tear down this wall of discrimination. Tear down this wall of precluding people from registering [to vote], tear down the wall of creating impediments to voting, and encourage voting, facilitate voting. Give Americans not only the right, but the ease and privilege of making sure their vote counts.”