WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing to get a voting rights bill named after the late Congressman John Lewis to the president’s desk.
“This legislation is so important,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Pelosi and other House Democrats want to see the John Lewis Voting Rights Act signed into law.
“It is going to make us a Democratic Republic,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said Tuesday.
The bill is set to restore and strengthen parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensuring everyone has the chance to cast their ballot.
Republicans remain opposed.
“It’s terrible legislation,” Rep. Bruce Westerman said Tuesday.
The Arkansas Republican said Democrats are using voting rights as leverage to get progressive Democrats on board with the infrastructure agenda being voted on at the same time.
“We’re working on these partisan issues that they’re not about infrastructure, they’re not about voting rights – they’re about political power for the left,” Westerman said.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said the House came back in the middle of its summer break because lawmakers want to get the bill to the Senate before the Senate returns from its August recess.
“Until we do it in the House, we have no idea what can happen in the Senate,” Clyburn said.
Senate Republicans already blocked a different voting reform bill twice this summer. Clyburn suggests merging the parts of that legislation Republicans can support into the John Lewis bill.
“And go on the floor of the Senate with one comprehensive bill,” Clyburn said.
Discussions are already underway in the Senate to find ways to get voting reform across the finish line. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said voting rights would be the first matter of business when the Senate returns in September.