Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Ahead of House Passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act

December 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Pelosi joined Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Members of Congress for a press event ahead of the House vote on H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores the full strength of the Voting Rights Act and passed the House of Representatives today, by a vote of 228 to 187.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good morning, everyone.  As you have probably observed, this is really a happy day for all of us, but for our country especially.  So many people worked so hard to make this possible.  Over the, you know, a couple of hundred years, as a matter of fact.


So, that makes this a historic day for the Congress and for the country as we pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act.  Thank you, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, for your tremendous leadership, your relentless – your brilliance and bringing us all together to get this done with liberty and justice for all. 

I want to also salute Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, holding hearings from Alabama to Arizona – that scope is not alphabetical –


– but geographical, on voting rights. 

Of course, we are here with our hero, John Lewis.  And so many others, in, both at the grassroots level and all of you at the grassroots level, understand our inside maneuvering is essential to passing legislation, but it could never happen without the outside mobilization that you provide, both by dint of garnering support but also being an intellectual resource to us as we go forward. 

Our Democratic Majority came to Congress with an urgent promise to secure the sacred right to vote.  It was part of H.R. 1, the first bill that we passed in the Congress.  Because of some resistance on the part of some to reducing the role of money in politics, and we are still working on that, we split up H.R. 4 to have its own, own vote on the Floor of the House.

Action is urgently needed to combat the brazen voter suppression campaign that is spreading across America.  Since the Shelby v. Holder decision, 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws, denying millions the right to vote.  We must, we must restore the strength of the Voting Rights Act.

Nearly 55 years ago, speaking of the expansive time, President Johnson stood on the House Floor to urge passage of the Voting Rights Act.  He said, ‘This the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose: All men are created equal.’ 

To protect that promise of equality, today we will pass H.R. 4. 

We call upon Senator McConnell to immediately bring the bill to the Floor.  Denying a bill – a vote on this bill would be a vote denying millions of Americans justice.

And now, it is my great honor to yield the Floor to the gentlewomen from Alabama, who has made this part of her life’s work in Congress, Congresswomen Terri Sewell.