VIDEO: Menendez Delivers Floor Speech Urging Passage of Voting Rights Legislation
“The Right to Vote is the Essence of Our Democracy”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), delivered remarks on the Senate Floor today to discuss the importance of protecting and expanding the fundamental right to vote of all Americans by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“Our dear friend, someone who I had the privilege of serving with in the House of Representatives, the late John Lewis took a beating on a bridge in Selma for the right to vote. Surely, we in the Senate can muster a shred of his courage to protect that right,” said Sen. Menendez in his remarks. “There are no other rights without the right to vote. It is through the right to vote that freedom rings, that justice reigns and opportunity arises.”
“Voting rights are the foundation of this entire democratic enterprise, this great American experiment. It’s time every Senator looks into their soul and decides how they want to be remembered when future generations remember this perilous moment in our history,” added Sen. Menendez.
The Senate has been discussing and debating the voting rights legislation since Tuesday with a procedural vote that opened the debate on the Senate Floor with a subsequent vote expected Wednesday night. Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed voting rights legislation that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation comes as 19 states have, in the last year, enacted nearly three dozen laws aimed at voter suppression.
“Sixteen Republicans who supported the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act still serve in this body today. To them I say, ‘Join us.’ What has changed? What was right then is clearly right now. Join us and we could pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act with a bipartisan super majority, no change of the rules necessary,” added Sen. Menendez when urging Senate Republicans who as early as 2006 supported the Voting Rights Act reauthorization.
Lastly, Sen. Menendez emphasized the importance of acting now to protect voting rights, even if it requires updates to the filibuster rule. The senator also contextualized the moment, by referring to the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Remember what Dr. King said. The vote is humanity’s greatest instrument for achieving progress. How shameful would it be if we let it slip through our fingers and be buried under an avalanche of one sore loser’s lies.”