House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn will offer legislation Monday to rename a House-passed voting rights bill after the late Rep. John Lewis, who was brutalized in the 1960s during efforts to secure voting rights for African Americans.
“Congressman Clyburn is offering legislation to rename H.R. 4 The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act tomorrow. The name change is expected to pass by unanimous consent,” Clyburn’s spokeswoman, Hope Derrick, said in a Sunday statement.
The House passed the measure in December that would restore a key part of the historic Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013. Democrats have pushed the Republican-controlled Senate to take up the legislation following the passing earlier this month of Lewis, a longtime Georgia congressman and icon of the Civil Rights Movement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has so far refused to take the legislation up for a vote.
Clyburn, a Democrat who represents South Carolina, said last week that the best way to honor Lewis’ life is for the Senate to consider the measure.
“I think that Trump and the Senate leadership, Mitch McConnell, by their deeds if they so celebrate the heroism of this man, then let’s go to work and pass that bill because it’s laid out the way the Supreme Court asked us to lay it out,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of The Union.”
“And if the President were to sign that, then I think that’s what we would do to honor John. It should be the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020. That’s the way to do it. Words may be powerful, but deeds are lasting,” he said.
Lewis was one of the organizers of a voting rights march in 1965 that turned violent when participants were attacked by police while attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in a scene that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Lewis himself sustained fractures to his skull during the attack.
Images from that day shocked the nation and galvanized support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was signed into law later that year by President Lyndon B. Johnson.