tv Democratic Senators TX Legislators Hold News Conference CSPAN July 14, 2021 1:45pm-2:01pm EDT
continue work on president biden's nominee to the equal employment opportunity commission and the solicitor for the labor department. next vote at around 2:30 eastern on those nominees and as we said, the present now meeting with senate democrats talking about infrastructure legislation. we may hear from the president and senate democrats after that meeting. we will have live senate coverage when they gamble back in around 2 pm eastern on c-span2. and next up we take you to the democrats from texas, democratic representatives from texas, us senators talk to reporters about voting rights. several lawmakers are in the nations capital after they left the state to protest governorgreg abbott's special legislative session to approve new republican voting bills . >> okay.
all right. thank you everyone, we stand here with these people of courage, with freedom fighters who came to washington dc to seek salvation. because they are not going to be able to get governor of texas to protect the voting rights of the people of texas, we know that. in fact, instead of trying to make it easier for thepeople to vote , bug honor and the republicans in the legislature have done everything to make it harder including threatening these legislators over and over again and they are standing their ground just as we are standing our ground. we know what the texas bill would do and why this is all about a concerted effort not just in texas as reverend warnock will tell you, in georgia that this is going on all over the country to the point that we now have since
the beginning of the year 22 laws to restrict voting have been enacted in 14 states with the texas senate passage of sb one yesterday, a total of 32 bills to roll back the right to vote after past at least one chamber of the legislature. so when people ask us why we have put forward the for the people at, which is the first bill to be introduced in the senate authored by senator merkley and supported by the chair of the rules committee, why we lead with this bill. it is because we could see this coming. most political parties in the past when they lose an election how can i change my policies and reach out to more voters, how can i change my candidate. they said how can we change the voters, how can we stop people from voting who voted before.
we all know the history with texas which you are about to hear but this was a state, one of my best examples was that they had one ballot dropbox in their county where houston is located. one dropbox in the county of 5 million people. the analogy in my state would be one ballot box in the entire state for dropbox that balance where people would have to go . this isn't right and that's why the for the people is about ensuring freedom to vote and making sure there are ethicalstandards that politicians have to live up to . this is about basic national voting standards. what i love about this bill is it is firmly grounded in the constitution. the constitution of the united states says congress has the right to make or alter federal election law as we pursue this bill and the positive negotiations we've had, at the same time the
house is taking the lead with the john lewis voting rights billwhich will then come to the senate , these are serious efforts and we are not just staying in the hallways of this fight. we are going out on the road for the first time in over two decades. the rules committee is doing a field hearing. we are going to the state of georgia and we are doing that to make the point that this is as concerted effort from people who are trying to limit the right to vote with the bill that passed in georgia but it is also going to be a concerted effort in this place to protect people's right to vote. and with that i'm honored to turn it over to the chief author of the for the people act, senator merkley and then we will hear from the rest of us, not all of us. >> president johnson declared that the right to vote is the most powerful instrument ever declared or devised by man. in order to break down injustice.
and who would imagine that here in the year 2021, we would be still in this fight to defend the right to vote. we thought the voting rights act of 1965 had put this to rest. that all of america said we understand the foundation, the pulsating heart of a democracy is the ability of people to vote in fair and free elections but today the republicans in texas are not standing for justice. they're not standing for their freedom and right to vote . they are working to tear down that ability. and here we are surrounded by the texan freedom fighters, defenders of the constitution. the believers in the foundation of our republic area where doing everything they can to call this out and to stop this tremendous assault on the most fundamental rights embedded in our constitution.the
underlying factor of the we the people of vision of our republic. so i'm really honored to stand withyou all today . but they haven't come to dc by accident. they have come to washington dc because we have a responsibility to centers in this building to set basic national standards to protect the right to vote all across this country. the assault on the right to vote is not just a texan challenge. it's an assault in state after state, motivated by the big lie president trump put forward and supported by a corrupt search for power at the expense of principle. so we hear your call. we are going to fight in this chamber to establish those basic national standards to protect the citizens of texas
the citizens of every single state. yesterday president biden spoke to the nation and he made it very clear that we have to act in congress to defend the right to vote. that's exactly what we are going to figure out how to do in partnership with citizens across this land. >> going to hear from reverend warnock next. senator warnock. >> i'll take the reverend and thesenator . let us be clear. the single most important day the congress and president can do is to pass voting rights. i know that we have debates on a range of issues that are critically important. some issues like climate change represent a real access essential threat.
we are concerned about health care, education, a whole range of issues. but we americans live in a house that democracy built. and right now that house is on fire. so we've got to have federal standards that push against what we are seeing in texas and what we are seeing in georgia. this is a shameless, unabashed assault on people's voting rights. and voting rights is not just a political issue. this is a moral issue because the vote in essence is really aboutyour voice . and your voice is about your humanity. so i want to thank these texas legislators for coming up because in a real sense they are fighting for our humanity.
they are trying to make sure the voices of the people aren't squeezed out of their own democracy. the only reason anyone of us can be here in the seventh to argue about anything is because somebody voted for us . that's the only reason we are here. if we don't protect the voices of the people who sent us here we will havefailed to do our jobs . so i submit that failure is not an option. we have to pass voting rights no matter what. we have to pass voting rights this congress. no senate rule supersedes people's constitutional rights. i'm grateful to all of you. thank you so much for coming. since senator klobuchar reminded you of my other day job, let me say say augustin father of the christian
church said that old as 2 lovely daughters. they are both lovely. anger and courage. anger was the way things are and courage to see that they do not remain as they are. this is a 911 emergency. we saw the supreme court subsection for the voting rights law in 2013 in shelby versus holder. reese all along that's already been hobbled, further cripple last week. we see what's happening in georgia making it hard for disabled people, poor people, working people to make it to the polls as voting is a privilege not a right . it's time for the senate to pass something and send it to the president's desk.
>> thank you so much rafael and last but not least the chair of the legislative black caucus, one of the incredibly gracious legislators we just met with. >> thank you senator. we are here and we get asked quite often why did you leave the state of texas and we get asked what is at stake? we understand what is at stake. we know the future of voting for our families and our children and our future is at stake and unless we take action, unless we see model legislation passed, our voices will be silenced. many of us, over 50 democrats left texas to come to washington dc and support the effort to pass before the people act. we left our families, our full-time jobs to be here and make sure that everybody has that chance to have their voices heard. let me tell you something .
governor abbott would have you think that voting is reserved for those who are members of an exclusive club. but voting is not for just the elite. voting is for the people. and that's why we need the for the people act. i remember rosa parks saying she didn't ask for all this but she didn't realize what she was doing when she refused to give up her seat and some of us may not understand the gravity and impact that we are making across this nation. but it is a great movement just like she started and we're going to continue that. we invite those that senator klobuchar mentioned, those states under attack, join us in washington. take a stand for democracy. let senators know that we support their effort to pass the for the people act because without this we will be silenced and we will not have the opportunity to have model legislation across this nation we want to thank you.
we want to thank our senators for continuing the conversation. for continuing to work together because we didn't have that in texas. our republican legislators they want to spend 23 hours and here from over 500 people , 400 of them were against the measure they were preparing and only 65 for it. and they ignore the voices of the people. we will not allow that. we will not back down, wewill not stand down but we will stand up for our democracy . [applause] >> questions of any of us? [inaudible] >>. [inaudible]
>> i'm not disappointed, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. i'm not saying we pass voting rights and by doing so we can't do anything else. i'm saying because we're doing these other things means we can't pass voting rights so i've had an opportunity to talk with the president about this. i think you saw in his speech yesterday that he shares the sense of uency that i'm expressing on this issue and i think we have got to make sure we get this done. >> i think all of us have talked to the president and vice president as reverend warnocknoted . just look at what happened yesterday including eating with the texas legislators. they are leading on this just as they are leading on the infrastructure package.
>> speaking about it and rallying support behind federal voting rights legislation, that's very encouraging that helps us stay in the fight as well. >> the reason we were able to have the announcement last night about progress being made towards a very very powerful bill that would affect things like providing childcare and addressing housing. >> ..