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May 19, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took aim at Congressional supporters of the Senate filibuster on Monday, saying they ‘dishonor’ the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by blocking voting rights legislation.
“If you really, truly want to honor Dr. King, don’t dishonor him by using a congressional custom as an excuse for protecting our democracy,” Pelosi said at an MLK Jr. Day event. “We all want bipartisanship. We all strive for it [and] we have a responsibility to do so. But when we cannot have it, we cannot confine our democracy to what might be bipartisanly possible,” she continued.
Pelosi reiterated the importance of passing voting rights bills this week when they come up for a vote on the Senate floor. “I ask our colleagues in the Senate respectfully for what they think the filibuster means … to weigh the equities against our democracy,” she added. “Because nothing less is at stake than our democracy.”
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Voting Rights Acts are expected to be put to a vote in the sharply divided Senate this week. Without ten GOP votes and every Democrat on their side, Democrats have little to no hope of passing the legislation.
The bills are being considered at a time when several GOP-led states are pushing legislation that Democrats and activists say will disenfranchise minority and liberal voters.
“The voting rights bill passed five times for reauthorization under four Republican presidents. But now we’re having a problem; a problem called the filibuster,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), who appeared with Pelosi at the event. “We cannot let a process stand in the way.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: C-SPAN