Senate Democrats


Washington, DC — With the House of Representatives rejecting changes to the Voting Rights Act and voting for its reauthorization, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today renewed his call for Republican leaders in the Senate to schedule a vote for the bill before the fast-approaching August recess. Democrats have laid out an agenda of five issues critical to the American people that the Senate must address in that time period, none more important than insuring for every American the basic right to vote.

Despite promising early signs that such important legislation would move in a quick and bipartisan fashion through both the House and Senate, that goal has sadly proven too much to expect of this Congress. Senator Reid urged Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to ensure a swift reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act without amendments that would gut the crucial protections it offers to American citizens.

“For two months, we have wasted precious time as the Republican leadership played to its conservative base,” said Reid. “There are only 21 legislative days left in this Congress and the time to act is now. This legislation is far too important for political games. Now that the House of Representatives has passed this important bill, I call on the Republican leadership in the Senate to keep their promise and let us finally move forward to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.”

Only a few months ago, House and Senate leaders put partisanship aside and pledged to reauthorize S-2703, the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. Unfortunately, maneuvering, postponements, and delays by the Republican leadership have put that pledge in doubt. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee began consideration of this vital legislation, and now it has finally passed in the House of Representatives.

With Republicans in Congress having wasted away precious time in the 109th Congress on partisan pet projects to appease the right wing base and special interest giveaways to serve the wealthiest fraction of the American people, it is time now to finally take up legislation that guarantees the most basic right of every American citizen. Democrats have also called on Republicans in Congress to join them in working to open up the promise of stem cell research, to help lower the price of gas, to help make college affordable for working families, and to demand the Bush Administration finally offer a plan for success in Iraq.