Democrats call for McConnell to bring Voting Rights Act to floor in honor of Lewis
Democratic senators called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to honor the legacy of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Sunday and allow the Voting Rights Act to the Senate floor to be passed.
In statements released on social media, Democrats including Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) wrote that the bill should be renamed in honor of Lewis, a leader of the civil rights movement.
Originally passed to ensure that racial discrimination would not affect the rights of minorities to vote in the U.S., a section of the original act that forced particular jurisdictions, mostly in the South, to report any changes to voting laws to the Department of Justice was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. Democrats, including Lewis, have pushed for a bill imposing a similar restriction and allowing the Justice Department to appoint election observers to be passed by the Senate after it passed the Democratic-controlled House in 2019.
“To honor John Lewis’ life and legacy, I’m calling on Mitch McConnell to immediately bring the Voting Rights Advancement Act to the Senate floor for a vote and the Senate should name it the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020,” Harris tweeted.
To honor John Lewis’ life and legacy, I’m calling on Mitch McConnell to immediately bring the Voting Rights Advancement Act to the Senate floor for a vote and the Senate should name it the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 19, 2020
Other senators including Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released similar statements through Twitter.
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) July 19, 2020
John Lewis was an incredible man who dedicated his life to fighting the most noble of fights. To truly honor his legacy is to continue the work he fought so hard for. Mitch McConnell, I’m calling on you to bring the Voting Rights Act to the Senate floor for an immediate vote.
— Tina Smith (@TinaSmithMN) July 19, 2020
The best way the Senate can honor the legacy of @RepJohnLewis is by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act.
— Senator Jacky Rosen (@SenJackyRosen) July 19, 2020
John Lewis risked his life for the right to vote. Truly honoring his legacy means passing the Voting Rights Act. https://t.co/RPDZtR44NH
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) July 19, 2020
Lewis died Friday at the age of 80 of pancreatic cancer. The veteran lawmaker and civil rights leader was memorialized by dozens of friends and colleagues on social media over the weekend, and many have called for the Edmund J. Pettus Bridge, on which Lewis was beaten severely by police during a 1965 civil rights march.