Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement marking eight years since the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, which gutted the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:
“Today marks eight years since the Supreme Court handed down Shelby v. Holder: one of the most disastrous and dangerous decisions for our American Democracy in recent memory. That day, a partisan Court gutted the protections of the Voting Rights Act and unleashed a brazen campaign of voter suppression that has only accelerated in recent years: in the first five months of this year alone, nearly 400 voter restriction bills have been introduced across 48 states. This voter suppression campaign, deepened by vicious gerrymandering and a torrent of secret special interest money, cannot go unanswered.
“House Democrats, responding to the overwhelming call of the American people, crafted and then twice passed H.R. 1, the For The People. H.R. 1 would be a remedy for the assault on the vote and on our democracy: fighting voter suppression, stopping gerrymanders and combating the suffocation of the airwaves caused by big dark special interest money. Yet, every single Senate Republican voted against even proceeding to debate on H.R. 1 – because they know that the only way for them to win elections is to distort the rules in their favor. Their cowardly refusal to protect our democracy silences the voices of voters and prevents the passage of popular, bipartisan legislation, from commonsense gun violence prevention to climate action to LGBTQ equality.
“Congress will continue the fight to pass H.R. 1, which would secure the ballot for voters now. As we do, we must also secure the ballot for the future, and so we will continue to advance H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. As we proceed with both bills, we remember the immortal words of Congressman John Lewis, who wrote the first 300 pages of H.R. 1: ‘Freedom is not a state; it is an act… Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.’
“Let us vow in that same spirit to fight always to create that more fair, more just future, where the sacred right of every American to vote is secure – so that we can, as John Lewis would say, ‘redeem the soul of America.’”
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