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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Delivers Remarks At The Reintroduction Of The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act Press Conference

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks on the critical importance of expanding access to the ballot box and ending voter discrimination at a press conference on the reintroduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. You can view Leader Schumer’s remarks here:

Leader Schumer: Well, thank you. Thank you. It's great to be here today. And I want to thank Senator Durbin, our great chair of the Judiciary Committee, for convening us, Senators Warnock, who is here, and Blumenthal, Booker, and Butler, who I think are expected, and so many of my colleagues who have been fighting to protect and expand voting rights for years, day in, day out. I know you do a great job and it's passion for you and passion for us. So, I know everyone here is familiar with the famous and very poignant quote from John Lewis, where he said, quote, Democracy is not a state. It is an act and each generation must do its part to help build what we call the beloved community.

Today, we are reintroducing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act because we know how crucial, how critical it is for us to do our part to expand access to the ballot box and end voter discrimination. Laphonza. Senator Butler has just joined us. Recent history makes it absolutely clear that we need these protections on the books. Everyone knows what the MAGA Supreme Court did to gut voting rights in the Shelby vs. Holder decision and John Roberts has done a lot of bad things, he tries to come off as sort of in the middle, Shelby, Shelby. And MAGA Republicans are building on that horrible decision, continuing their dangerous crusade to restrict access to the ballot box ahead of the November election. Republican legislatures across the country are throwing up all sorts of roadblocks: new voter ID requirements, attempts to roll back access to absentee and mail in ballots, threats to election funding, restrictions to the number of polling places in certain locations, often poor people locations, locations where people of color vote, not in the big white suburbs. We see this over and over again and much, much more. So it's not that things are just static, they're getting worse because we don't have - in terms of voting rights - because we don't have this law on the books. We know that in order to make real progress on the issues we care about, the foundation of democracy must be strong. So it's no surprise that the hard-right is trying to cut those efforts off at the knees, not only making it harder for more people to participate in democracy, but also it makes it harder once they can't participate in democracy and be represented, it makes it harder to create better jobs, better health care, cleaner environment, a stronger future for our kids. These attacks are not new, and they look eerily similar to what we see from autocrats like Putin. It's shameful what we're seeing from the MAGA Republicans, but we have reason to hope.

Millions of Americans last election voted to protect democracy. We saw the pictures in your state and so many others of people waiting and waiting online under difficult circumstances because they treasure, knew how important their right to vote was. And in fact, reams of polling data has shown protecting our democracy was at the top of Americans’ minds when they headed to the ballot box in the 2022 elections. Voters across the country chose democracy over authoritarianism, steady leadership over magnet extremism. So Democrats, united as a caucus, will continue to heed the words of our late colleague John Lewis, and work tirelessly to safeguard the right to vote and our democracy, advancing both the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Going forward, we're going to keep up the work. We're going to keep strategizing and, most of all, we're going to keep up the fight. We know what a serious challenge is ahead of us, we're not unaware of that. We know it's going to take all of us working together to get the job done and protect our democracy, but we have no choice. We can and must build a more responsive democracy.