Sarah Hager Mosby
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to Senate Republicans’ vote to block debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, despite Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) saying that he is “prepared to offer an open and honest and full-fledged process on the Senate floor,” giving Senate Republicans “the chance to raise their objections, to offer amendments and make changes to the bill”:
“Following in the footsteps of the civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act restores essential tools to make our elections fair and accessible for everyone eligible to vote. It ensures that voters and those eligible to vote pick the folks who represent us, rather than politicians picking their voters. While we thank Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for standing with the Democratic patriots of democracy and freedom, we wonder: What part of fair elections for everyone is so frightening to the rest of the Senate Republicans who blocked debate? Protecting our democracy is patriotic, not partisan. But today, the majority of Senate Republicans chose to stand against our democracy.
“The right to vote is as sacred as it is essential, and it’s the backbone of a functioning democracy. Indeed, the American experiment is founded upon the ability for all people to participate in our government no matter our race, ethnicity or income. John Lewis understood this—he lived his life for this. The procedures of the Senate should help preserve, not undermine, our democracy, including this sacred voice of voters. We ask the president, Senators and others to do what it takes to have consideration and a vote on this bill. The freedom to vote is too important for politics and loopholes to stand in the way. History is watching.”