WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement applauding the House passage of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“The passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the House of Representatives brings us one step closer in our struggle to secure and protect voting rights for every eligible American. As attacks on our voting rights continue with 18 states enacting voter suppression laws and over 40 states considering hundreds more voter suppression bills, the very foundation of our democracy continues to crack and is in desperate need of rescuing. The late Congressman John Lewis was not only my colleague, but a close friend of mine who helped to lead the Civil Rights Movement. He left a legacy behind that will never be forgotten. Today’s historic passage of H.R. 4 honors his legacy and his solemn wish to protect voting rights in this country.
“In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court invalidated key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which, for decades, prevented states from enacting restrictive, discriminatory voting laws and required states with a history of voter discrimination to get preclearance from the DOJ before making changes to voting laws. This decision paved the way for the kind of hateful attacks on voting rights so many are enduring by Republican governors who want nothing more than to keep people, and specifically people of color, away from the polls. And so, I have always challenged the Supreme Court’s decision that contradicts and flies in the face of everything the 15th Amendment stands for.
“The 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution says, ‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’ The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act gets us closer to living up to this mandate.
“Make no mistake – our democracy is in danger and the House of Representatives has done its part to protect it. It is time for the Senate to be bold and take whatever action necessary, including putting an end to the filibuster, to protect the right to vote for every American.”