Press release | Press releases | Writing

01.13.22

WASHINGTON — Ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called on his colleagues to support important legislation on the right vote that will be presented to the Senate this week – the bipartisan John Lewis Advancement of Suffrage Act, as good as Freedom of Suffrage Act.

“For some of us, Martin Luther King [Jr.] The day will be a day of reflection, a chance to imagine in America what it really means to finally be free. But it is also a day of action. Hopefully we get some action here on the floor of the United States Senate,” Durbin said. “There are many lasting victories that we can attribute to Dr King and the civil rights movement, but the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act 1965 are definitely at the top of the list. These laws put a stake in the heart of Jim Crow, extending the right to vote to generations of black Americans.

Durbin continued, “Right now, millions of American voters are facing a new wave of voter suppression laws, and just as supporters of Jim Crow laws did in their day, Republican state lawmakers are now erecting new barriers at the ballot box, hooked on the myth of, “widespread voter fraud”.… The reality is that the laws they are passing in these states are not intended to prevent voter fraud. They are intended to prevent eligible Americans from voting.

During his speech, Durbin argued that if Republicans continue to filibuster suffrage legislation, Senate Democrats must be prepared to support changes to Senate rules to protect suffrage. Americans.

“There should be a written exception for filibuster in voting rights. Something as basic as our constitutional authority to vote should be given a day of discussion on the floor of the Senate and should be put to a vote — a majority vote for or against. That’s not too much to ask.” Durbin said.

Durbin concluded, “…the question we are debating about voting rights and the question of our rules is not just casual conversation about a rule book that almost no one knows about. It’s a question that goes to the heart of our democracy… We’ve been told we’re breaking the Senate if we change this rule to protect people’s right to vote. At the heart of what the Senate is and what it stands for — and why it exists — is Americans’ right to vote. Is it worth withdrawing? Is it worth changing? Is it worth changing the Senate rules to protect the right to vote? Can there be anything more sacred?

Video of Durbin’s speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV channels.

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