Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
January 17, 2022
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“In his short but extraordinary life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called on his fellow Americans to defend our Constitution by ensuring that it would be upheld to its full letter and spirit.  Our nation’s founding document, he said, was ‘a promissory note to which every American would fall heir’ and a promise that all ‘would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’  In 1963, when Dr. King’s words echoed across our National Mall from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, that promise had not been kept.  Only some Americans enjoyed those basic rights, with millions of African Americans left out of our democracy and the protection of our Constitution.
 
“Nearly sixty years later, after our Constitution and democracy was reaffirmed by the movement Dr. King and others led for civil rights and voting rights, that promise is once again slipping away.  Our Constitution is being undermined anew by the rash of voter-suppression laws enacted in many Republican-led states, whose clear aim is to make it more difficult for millions of Americans to be able to register to vote, cast their ballots, and have their votes counted.  Since the disastrous 2013 Shelby v. Holder ruling, in which the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and called on Congress to update it, the number of state laws enacted to keep eligible citizens from exercising their right to vote have multiplied.  We find ourselves as a nation once again failing to keep the promise of our Founders.
 
“Inspired by Dr. King’s life and legacy, and moved to action by the memory of our dear friend John Lewis and the courage he and so many others displayed during the movement for voting rights, House Democrats took action to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act last week and send it to the Senate.  History will surely judge the Republican senators who are expected to filibuster this legislation this week.  I urge them to heed history’s lesson and to do right by our people and our Constitution, with the eyes of our nation watching
as we celebrate Dr. King and his extraordinary contributions to American democracy.  
 
“We must not relent in the battle to protect the right to vote, just as House Democrats will never waver in our efforts to ensure justice, equality, and opportunity for all.  Let us honor Dr. King not just with words but with actions – for most Americans that means volunteerism and community service, but for senators it means voting ‘yes’ on
legislation to protect the right to vote this week.  I urge them to do their part and help secure the blessings of liberty and democracy for all Americans.”