Congressional Black Caucus Will Defend Voting Rights


A day after a top Republican seemed to dismiss the need to restore a critical part of the Voting Rights Act, lawmakers Thursday told NBC News they would re-introduce bipartisan voting rights legislation next week, in what the Congressional Black Caucus says will be a massive effort to aggressively defend voting rights. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., suggested other sections of the Voting Rights Act are already strong enough. “To this point, we have not seen a process forward that is necessary to protect people because we think the Voting Rights Act is providing substantial protection in this area right now,” Goodlatte said while speaking to reporters at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast. Calling Goodlatte’s statement a “bombshell,” the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., warned,

“If Bob Goodlatte is speaking for the Republican Conference, this is a very serious development because we are going to push back in a very significant way against the unwillingness of the Republicans to take up extending section five protections.”

Civil rights leader and Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., responded to Goodlatte in a phone interview with NBC News saying, “the world is replete with people who disavow the notion that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Clyburn, who was chosen by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to lead the voting rights effort for House Democrats added, “the problem we have with so many issues here in this Congress is that too many people want to see the damage done before they do anything.”

selma-300x206The debate over the 1965 Voting Rights Act was quickly reignited on a day that happened to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. It was also a day that opened with the news that a powerful movie, depicting a crucial moment in the movement Dr. King led, earned a Oscar nomination for “Best Picture.”


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