House Passes John Lewis Voting Rights Act

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) celebrates with Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and fellow Democrats after House passage of the John Lewis voting rights act at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., August 24, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in a party-line vote, 219-212.

Democrats claim the bill, known as H.R. 4, would strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Proponents argue the measure is needed as it would make it more difficult for states to restrict future voting access.

However, Republicans have argued that the legislation is an example of federal overreach into states’ authority over elections. Representative Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) called the bill a “partisan power grab which circumvents the people to ensure one-party rule.”

The measure faces a tough road ahead in the evenly divided Senate.

President Biden on Tuesday urged the Senate to pass the bill, as well as the “For the People Act.”

“The House is acting. The Senate also has to join them to send this important bill to my desk, and the Senate has to move forward on the people’s act — critical legislation to protect our democracy and the right to vote,” Biden said. “We need both of those.”

Republicans have already blocked the For The People Act, legislation that would override hundreds of state laws governing elections, federalize control of voting and elections to an unprecedented degree and end two centuries of state power to draw congressional districts.

However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the Senate will focus on voting legislation when it reconvenes next month.

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