House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced imminent action by the House on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which is one of the key pieces of pro-voting rights legislation for which Democratic leaders have recently been advocating. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the bill this Monday, August 16, and according to the House Speaker, the full House will be voting on the legislation at some point following the House’s return from recess on August 23, which is the following Monday.
In a statement, Pelosi said that Democrats will “proceed in a way that builds consensus in our Caucus, promotes the values of our party and advances the President’s transformative vision to Build Back Better.” In the same statement, Pelosi also said that Democrats are “forging ahead with a bold and historic agenda.” Check out an excerpt from Pelosi’s remarks by clicking on the post below:
Speaker Pelosi tells House members that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Monday, 8/16 on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and vote on passage of the bill some time after the House returns early from recess on 8/23. #VRAA pic.twitter.com/KnfLbqaWoJ
— Michael Li 李之樸 (@mcpli) August 15, 2021
If enacted, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would re-impose a requirement for pre-approval from federal authorities before the implementation of certain changes to the conducting of elections, and this would provide officials with an opportunity to stop at least some instances of voter suppression before they even start. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently explained in an op-ed for The Washington Post how, with the rule in place, “the Justice Department blocked thousands of discriminatory voting changes that would have curtailed the voting rights of millions of citizens in jurisdictions large and small.” The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was put forward in the last Congress — and had one Republican co-sponsor in the Senate, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — but it was not successfully enacted at that time.
In the Senate, Republicans already filibustered the voting rights bill known as the For the People Act, blocking the legislation from moving forward (for now) via the Senate’s filibuster rules, which currently demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before proceeding on most legislation. In theory, Republicans could be more inclined to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which appears narrower in scope than the For the People Act, but only time will tell. Meanwhile, advocates continue to press for changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules. The current party make-up of the Senate means that 10 Republicans must join with all Democrats to hit the 60-vote threshold.