John Lewis Voting Rights Act Measure Introduced In Congress
Rep. Jim Clyburn, the South Carolina legislature and House Majority Whip introduced a bill Monday (July 27), to rename legislation to restore a provision in the Voting Rights Act for the late congressman John Lewis. The House approved the proposal after it was presented.
“Congressman Clyburn is offering legislation to rename H.R. 4 The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act tomorrow. The name change is expected to pass by unanimous consent,” Clyburn’s spokeswoman, Hope Derrick, said in a statement on Sunday, according to CNN.
A 2013 Supreme Court decision allowed nine states to change their election laws without consulting the federal government. But the House bill, which was sponsored by Alabama Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, would restore oversight over certain state jurisdictions so that voter suppression could be monitored.
The measure was passed in the House in December and would put back in place that part of the Voting Rights Act that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 2013. Democrats have wanted GOP lawmakers to join them in the restoration of the provision since Lewis’ passing July 17. However, the Senate has yet to take up the measure for a vote.
“I think Trump and the Senate leadership, Mitch McConnell … if they so celebrate the heroism of this man, then let’s go to work and pass that bill,” Clyburn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s the way to do it. Words may be powerful, but deeds are lasting.”
Lewis himself was a key player in the passage of the Voting RIghts Act of 1965. He led marches over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. in March of that year to stand for the right to cast a ballot, defying and surviving considerable violence.
He was able to gain national attention which ultimately led to the passage of the voting rights bill on August 5, 1965. Lewis boldly continued to fight for voting rights throughout his life as a Civil Rights activist and as a congressman.