The day after Senate Republicans used a parliamentary maneuver to block the Senate from beginning debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Sen. Tom Carper announced his position on the filibuster in an op-ed in the Delaware News Journal.
Sen. Carper quoted Maine Senator Angus King, an Independent, stating “if forced to choose between a Senate rule and democracy itself, I know where I will come down.”
Yesterday, Senate Republicans, for the third time in recent months, blocked even starting a public debate about voting rights. Only one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has voted to start debate.
The last time Congress acted to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, the bill passed the Senate unanimously – with Sen. Mitch McConnell and other current Senators voting to approve it. Each of the five previous reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Act were bipartisan and signed into law by Republican presidents.
Statement of Common Cause Delaware Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall
We want to thank Sen. Carper both for his carefully-considered position on the filibuster, as announced today, and also for his inspiring explanation of his reasons.
Sen. Carper correctly puts this all in the context of our nation’s slow progress toward equality. All across the country, state legislatures are trying to turn back the clock on voting rights. We can’t allow Black and Brown voters to be disenfranchised by the same parliamentary loophole that was used to block civil rights and anti-lynching bills.
Our country can’t afford that. Our government ‘by the people’ is strongest when all voters can participate in our elections and all the people’s voices can be heard.
Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
Every American deserves the freedom to vote, yet more and more states are passing laws to make it harder to participate in our democracy and silence voters, especially Black and Brown voters.
It’s unconscionable that a minority of Senators representing 24% of the population can block all progress on voting rights. It’s time to restore the Senate to a body that can govern.
We commend Senator Carper for announcing that he will choose voting rights over an arcane Senate loophole, and we urge the Senate to do whatever it takes to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as soon as possible.