tv U.S. Senate Sen. Warnock First Floor Speech CSPAN March 21, 2021 3:54pm-4:19pm EDT
the state of georgia. mr. president, before i begin my formal remarks, i want to pause to condemn the hatred and violence that took eight precious lives last night in metropolitan atlanta. i agree with georgians and americans with people of love all across the world this unspeakable violence largely upon the asian community is one that causes all of us to recommit ourselves to the way of peace that prevents these kind of tragedies from happening in the first place. we pray for these families. mr. president, i rise here today as a proud american and as one of the newest members of the
senate inat all of the journey that has brought me to these hallowed halls and with an abiding sense of reverence and gratitude for the safe sacrifices of ancestors who paved the way i am a proud son of the great state of georgia born and raised in savannah, a coastal city known for its cobblestone streets and town squares, towering oak trees, centuries-old covered in spanish moss stretched from one side of the street to the other back in history and horticulture to the city by the sea. i was educated at morehouse college and i still serve in the pulpit of the ebenezer baptist church both in atlanta. the cradle of thela civil rights movement. like those oak trees in savannah, my roots go deep and
stretch wide and the soil of waycross georgia. in a word, i am georgia. a living example and an embodimentof its history and hos pain and its promise, the brutality and possibility. mr. president, at the time of my birth, georgia's two senators were richard russell and herman salvage, both art segregationists and adversaries of the civil rights movement. after the supreme court's landmark brown versus board ruling outlawing school segregation, talmage warned theblood would run in the strees
of atlanta. his father, former governor of the state famously declared the south lowe's the negro. but his place is at the back door. when once asked how supporters might keep black people away from the polls, he picked up a scrap of paper and wrote ad single word on it. pistols. yet there was something in the american covenant in its chartel documents and its jeffersonian ideals that bend towards freedom and led by a preacher and patriot n named king, americansf all races stood up.o history vindicated the movement that sought to bring us close to
our ideals, to lengthen and strengthen the courts of our democracy and i now hold the seat, the senate seat where herman talmage sat and that's why i love america.lw i love america because we always have a path to make it better, to build a more perfect union. it is a place where a kid like me that grew up in public housing first college graduate in my family can now stand as a united states senator. i had an older father. he was born in 1917. serving in the army during world war ii he was once asked to give up his seat to a teenager while wearing his soldier's uniform.
they said making the world safe for democracy but he was never bitter and by the time i came along, he had already seen the ark of change in our country. and he maintained his faith in god and his family and the american promise and he passed that faith onto his children. my mother grew up in georgia. way across georgia and like a lot of black teenagers in the 1950s, she spent her summers picking somebody else's tobacco and cotton but because this is america, the 82-year-old hands that use to pick somebody else's cotton went to the polls in january and picked her youngest son to be a united states
senator. ours is the land where possibility is born of democracy. a vote, a voice, a chance to help determine the direction of the country in one's own destiny, possibility born of democracy. that's why this past november into january, my mom and other citizens grabbed hold of that possibility and turned out in record numbers 5 billion in november, 4.4 million in january, far more than ever in the states history. turnout for the typical runoff doubled and the people of georgia sent their first african-american senator and first jewish senator, my brother to these hallowed halls. but then what happened?
some politicians didn't approve of a choice made by the majority of voters in the hard-fought election in which each side got the chance to make its case to the voters. and rather than adjusting their agenda, rather than changing their message, they are busy estrying to change the rules. we are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on votingee rights, unlike anything that we have seen since the jim crow era. this is jim crow in new clothes. since the january election, some 250 voter suppression bills have been introduced by state legislators all across the country from georgia to arizona from new hampshire to florida
politicians driven by the big lie, seem to severely limit in some cases semiautomatic early voting and weekend voting to make it easier to vote altogether. civil rights activist i have seen up close just how draconian these measures can be. i hail from a state that purge 200,000 voters one saturday night in the love the night. we know what is happening here. some people don't want some people to vote. on a few occasions i was happy to stand with our hero and my parishioner, john lewis, i was
his pastor but he was my mentor. i am clear. on moreersu than one occasion we boarded buses together after sunday church services as part of the souls to the polls program to encouraging the family and communities of faith to participate in the democratic process. a few months after congressman lewis' death, the georgia legislature even praise his name. they now try to get rid of sunday souls to the polls making it a crime those that pray together to gone of best together to vote together. i think that is wrong. as a matter of fact, a vote is a kindor of a prayer for the kind of world we desire for ourselves and for our
children. our prayers are stronger when we pray together. to be sure, we have seen these voter suppression next before as part of a long and shameful history in georgia and throughout the nation. refusing to be denied, georgia citizens and citizens across the country bringing the heat and the cold and the rain standing in line five hours six hours just to exercise the constitutional right to vote. young people, old people, sick people, working people those to lose wages to pay a poll tax while standing in line to vote. and now some politicians how do they respond? they try to make it a crime to
give people water and a snack as they weighed in lines that are obviously being made longer by their draconian actions. think about that. think about that. they are the ones making the lines longer. through these strict connections and then to make it a crime to bring grandma some water while waiting in line that they made longer. made no mistake this is democracy in reverse rather than voters being able to pick politicians politicians are trying to cherry pick their
voters. i say this cannot stand. so i rise mr. president , because that sacred and noble idea, one person, one vote is being threatened right now. politicians in my home state and all across america in their lust for power, lost lawn - c - launched a full-fledged is so assault on voting rights winning at any cost even with the cost of the democracy itself. i submit it is the job of each citizen to stand up for the voting rights of every citizen. it is the job of this body to do all that it can to defend the viability of our democracy. that's why i am a proud
cosponsor of for the people act which we introduced today. for the people act is a major step in a march toward the democratic ideals making it easier, not harder for eligible americans to vote byik instituting common sense pro-democracy reforms. like establishing national automotive one - - automatic voter registration for every eligible citizen allowing all americans to register votequ online and election day. offer at least two weeks of early voting including weekends in federal elections , keeping souls to the polls program alive. prohibiting states restricting absentee or by mail and from purging voter rolls based solely on unreliable evidence
take someone's voting history. something we have seen in georgia and other states in recent years. it would end big money and politics. and ensure public servants are serving the public. these voter suppression lies and tactics including partisan and racial gerrymandering the system awash in dark money of corporate interest in politicians who do their bidding, the voices of the american people have been increasingly drown out and crowded out and squeezed out of their own democracy. we must pass for the people so that the people might have a voice the voices your human
dignity not only that we must pass, john lewis voting rights advancement act. voting rights used to be about partisan issues the last time the voting rights bill was authorized was 2006 george w. bush was president and the past this chamber 98 / zero. that then in 2013 the supreme court rejected the successful formula for supervision contained in the 1965 voting rights act and asked congress to fix it that was nearly eight years ago. and the american people are still waiting. voters in states with a long
history of voterwn discrimination that have been thrown to the wind. we americans have noisy and spirited debates and that is nonpartisansa and i submit there should be 100 votes in the chamber to make it easier for people to have their voices heard in our democracy. but those in this chamber who believe that i do that the four most powerful words other than a democracy are the people have spoken we must ensure.
but it's not we must still pass voting rights. the right to vote is not just an issue alongside others but is foundational and the reason why to have the privilege of standing here in the first place. it is about the covenant we have as american people e pluribus unum. above all else we must protect so let's be clear. i am not here to spiral into the procedural argument whether the filibuster in general has merits or outdid its usefulness. it is bigger than the filibuster. access to voting and the
politicians are first to restrict voting is so fundamental to our democracy that it is too important to be held hostage over senate rule. and then to use to restrict expansion to the voting rights. it is a contradiction to say we must protect minority rights in the senate while refusing to protect minority rights in society. no senate rule should overrule the integrity of our democracy. we must find a way to pass voting rights whether we get rid of the filibuster or not. so as i close never believe a preacher when he says as i close. [laughter] , let me say as a man of
faith, i believe democracy is the political enactment of a spiritual idea. the sacred work of all human beings. the notion that we all have the right to participate. humanities capacity for justice makes democracy possible but humanitiesst inclination to injustice's makes democracy necessary. john lewis understood that i'm beating on the bridge to discover it. like so many women not mentioned nearly enough was gassed on the same bridge.
white woman was killed. one was killed in his own driveway. to jews in an african-american standing up for the sacred idea of democracy to pay the ultimate price. and we b in this body to be stopped and stymied by personal politics short-term political gains? senate procedure? i say let's get this done no matter what i urge my colleagues to pass these two bills to strengthen our democracy, strengthen our credibility as a premier voice for freedom loving people and those all over thef world.
and the future for all of our children. mr. president, i yield the floor. [applause] >> they have about scheduled at 5:30 four marty walsh. to be surgeon general. they may also take up an extension of the paycheck protection program which expires at the end of this month. house is not in session next week but committees continue to hold hearings. watch the house life on c-span and the senate live on c-span2.
-- live on c-span and the senate live on c-span2. the u.s. faces the may 1 deadline to withdraw troops. after meeting with senior afghan officials and talking with u.s. troops in kabul, secretary austen stopped to talk with reporters and take some questions. to talk about the number of issues. i am here to listen and learn. this has been very helpful to me. it will inform my participation