Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Calling for Action to Protect Voting Rights

June 25, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Members of Congress and advocates today at a press event calling for action to protect voting rights on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court weakening key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  In her remarks, Leader Pelosi urged passage of legislation to guarantee equal access to the ballot for all of America’s voters, regardless of race.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:  

“Thank you very much, Wade, for your kind welcome – for your great leadership.  Thank you for bringing so many of us together today for an issue as fundamental as our democracy – the right to vote. I’m honored to be here with our distinguished Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.  Steny, thank you for being here and for your leadership.

“These are issues – I said yesterday, in the Rotunda as we were observing and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act – that for some of you here, which clearly is the case as it was there – you weren’t born yet.  But for Steny and me it was our youth.  When this happened – and it was quite a remarkable thing – it changed America.  It made us more American.  It was long overdue, and that for us to be celebrating that 50th anniversary – you remember when it all happened, Wade, right?  And Nancy Zirkin, you’re younger so maybe not.  And when it happened, it was remarkable.  It made a big difference.

“Many of the speakers, including the Speaker of the House, proclaimed that this was one of the most significant pieces of legislation every to pass in the history of the United States of America.  So what better way to observe that greatness that celebration than to pass the Voting Rights Act?  It is there.  It is bipartisan.  It was originally a part of the Civil Rights Act, but in order to get it passed, they divided the bill as you all know from your history.  The civil rights bill went forward months later.  The voting rights went forward, and now this Court made a destructive and bad decision one year ago today.

“We have it within our power.  We have a bipartisan bill.  It doesn’t do everything.  It isn’t the bill we would have written, Wade, in the majority, but it does correct the decision of the Court.  We’re calling upon the Speaker of the House to give us our vote on this bill so that we can protect the votes of millions of people in our country.

“For some of us, our greatest thrill in recent memory is to stand on those steps with the Congressional Black Caucus with leaders from the community – Hispanic community – everybody was there.  We were all there, whether it was the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the LGBT.  It was a mix of everybody coming together to say to the Court: ‘Do the right thing.’  They didn’t, but now we have the chance to.

“So, let me tell you, you’re holding up those signs, ‘Support voting rights.’  It’s so important.  Thank you to our friends in labor who are with us on the steps as well, because this is as fundamental and as strong as our democracy.  We’re on sacred ground.  There’s nothing more fundamental than respecting every person’s right to vote and to have every person’s vote counted as cast.  Thank you all very much.”