House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has introduced legislation Monday that pushes to rename the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 after Rep. John Lewis, who passed away July 17.
The bill, H.R. 4, was originally introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) last February in order to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court changed in 2013. The bill has easily passed in the House but is one of more than 100 bills still stuck in the Senate as Rep. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to even bring them to a vote.
“Congressman Clyburn is offering legislation to rename H.R. 4 The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act tomorrow. The name change is expected to pass by unanimous consent,” Clyburn’s spokeswoman, Hope Derrick, confirmed in a statement according to CNN.
Clyburn has challenged President Trump and McConnell to prove they hold Lewis in the same light as hundreds of other politicians in the country and work to pass the bill.
“I think that Trump and the Senate leadership, Mitch McConnell, by their deeds if they so celebrate the heroism of this man, then let’s go to work and pass that bill because it’s laid out the way the Supreme Court asked us to lay it out,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“And if the President were to sign that, then I think that’s what we would do to honor John. It should be the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020. That’s the way to do it. Words may be powerful, but deeds are lasting,” Clyburn added.
Lewis was a civil rights figure who served in the House for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death. Lewis was also one of the “Big Six” who organized the March on Washington and led several Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
In one of the marches Lewis, Hosea Williams, and Amelia Boynton were attacked by armed Alabama police. On Tuesday, Lewis’ casket was carried across the bridge one last time.