tv Democratic Senators TX Legislators Hold News Conference CSPAN July 14, 2021 8:32pm-8:55pm EDT
communicators at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> democratic u.s. senators talked with voters about voting rights. several texas lawmakers are in washington dc after leaving their state to protest greg abbott's special pledge light of session to approve several republican voting bills. >> i am here with these people of >> i am here with these people of courage, these feed him -- these freedom fighters who came
to washington dc to fight. they will not be able to get the governor of texas to protect the voting rights of the people of texas. we know that instead of trying to make it easier for people to vote, the governor and republicans in 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 -- ours. we know what the texas bill will do, and this is a concerted effort as senator warren awful tell you, thiss going on across the country. we now have 22 laws to obstruct voting enacted in 14 states, with the texas senate passage of sb one yesterday. a total of 32 bills to roll back the rights to vote have passed at least one chamber of the
legislature. so when people ask us why we have put forward before the people act, which is the first bill to be introduced in the senate authored by senator merkley and supported strongly by the chair of the committee, we could see this coming. people ask how can i change my policies to reach out to more voters how can i reach more candidates? they said how can i stop the voters from voting? 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 pallet dropbox in the county where houston is located. one dropbox in a county of over
5 million. the analogy in my state would be one ballot box in the entire state for where people have to go. that's not right, and that's white before the people act is about ensuring the freedom to vote getting dark money at politics and making sure there are ethical standards politicians have to live up to. this is about basic national voting standards. what i love about this bill is that it is firmly grounded in the constitution. the constitution of the united states says that congress has the right to make or alter federal election laws. so as we pursue this bill and the positive negotiations we have passed at the same time the houses taking the lead with the john lewis voting rights bill, which will then come to the senate in the fall. these are serious efforts and we are not just staying in the hallways.
we are going out on the road the first time in over two decades. the senate rules committee is doing a field hearing. they are going to the state of georgia to make the point that this is a concerted effort from people to limit the right to vote but also a concerted effort in this place to protect the right to vote. i'll turn it over to the chief author of the for the people act 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 cleared or devised by man to break down injustice. and who would have imagined that here in the year 2021, we would be still in this fight to defend the right to vote. we thought that the voting
rights act of 1965 had put this to rest. that all of america said that we understand the foundation, the pulsating heart of a democracy is the ability of people to vote in fair and free elections but today, republicans in texas are not standing, they are not standing for freedom and the right to vote. they are working to tear down that ability and here we are surrounded by texan freedom fighters, defenders of the constitution, believers in the foundation of our republic who are doing everything they can to call this out and to stop the tremendous assault on the most for the dental right embedded in our constitution. i am honored to stand with you all today. but they have not come to d.c. by accident. they have come to washington dc because we have a responsibility to senators in this building to set basic national standards to
protect the right to vote across this country. the assault on the right to vote is not just a texan child is under assault in state after state, motivated by the big lie that president trump put forward and supported by a corrupt search for power at the expense of principles. so we're going to fight in this chamber to establish basic national standard to protect the citizens of texas and 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 and that is exactly what we are going to figure out how to do in partnership with
citizens across this land. >> thank you we will hear from senator warnock next. >> i will take senator and reverend. >> let us be very clear. the single most important thing that the congress and president can do this congress 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 existential threat. there are concerns 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 have 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 about your voice, and your voice is about your humanity. so i want to thank these texas legislators for coming because in a real sense, they are fighting for our humanity. they are trying to make sure that the voices of the people are not squeezed out of their own democracy. the only reason any of us can be here in the senate to argue about anything is because somebody voted for us.
that is the reason we are here, so if we don't protect the voices of the people who sent us here, we will have failed to do our job. 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. so i am grateful to all of you. thank you so much for coming. since senator klobuchar remind you of my other data, let me say that saint augustine, the great father of the christian church, the north african bishop said that hope has two lovely daughters, anger and courage. anger with 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 that
protections for the voting rights law 20 in shelby versus hold we saw a law that has already been hobbled last week. we see what's happening in georgia, making it hard people to make it to the polls as if voting is a privilege and not right. and it's time for the senate to pass something and send it to the president's desk. >> thank you so much. last but not least, nicole, the chair of the texas legislative black, one of the many incredibly courageous legislators we just met with. >> thank you.
we are here, and we get asked quite often why did you leave the state of texas? we get aft what is at stake. let me tell you we understand what is at stake. we know that the future of voting for our children and families is at stake and unless we take action, unless we see model legislation passed, our voices will be silenced. over 50 democrats left the state of texas to break quorum, to come to washington dc and to support efforts passed before the people act. we left our families, our full-time jobs to be here and make sure everybody has that chance to have their voices heard. 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 robert rosa parks saying she did not ask for all of this. that she did not realize what she was doing when she did not give up her seat and some of us may not understand the gravity and the impact that we are making across this nation, but it is a great movement and we are going to continue that. and we invite those states that are also under attack to join us in washington. take a stand for democracy, come let the senders know that we support their effort to pass the for the people act because without them, we will be silenced and we will not have any opportunity to have model legislation. so we want to thank you, to thank our senators for continuing the conversation. we did not have that in texas. our republican legislature did not want to work with us. they wanted to spend three hours
here from 500 people, 400 were against the measure they were hearing and only 65 for it and they ignore the voices of the people. and we will not allow that we will not back down or stand out but we will stand up for our democracy. >> very good. does anybody have questions of any of us? >> he said voting rights are the most important thing. [inaudible] >> no, i am not disappointed. we can walk into gum at the same time i'm not saying that by passing voting rights we can't do anything else i'm saying that
just because we are doing these of the things doesn't mean we can't pass voting rights. i had the opportunity to talk about this. i think you saw in the speech yesterday that the president shares a sense of urgency that we do on this issue and we've got to make sure we get this done. >> and all of us have talked to the president and vice president and they arced about it to this. -- are devoted to this. look at what happened yesterday, including meeting with texas legislature. so they are leading on this just as they are leading on the texas package. >> the fact that he is speaking about it and promoting involvement and allowing support behind passing voting rights legislation, that's very encouraging and helps us fight
as well. >> the reason we were able to have the announcement last night about progress being made towards a bill for things like the ability to provide childcare and housing and medicare, reason why his voting rights were protected across this country what we are saying is that we fail to protect, we will not have other opportunities to address the fundamental issues facing americans. [inaudible] >> we have pledged to them behind closed doors in here that we are not giving. to the contrary, we are going to georgia and the rules committee
there are many around success -- many routes to success. we have the for the people negotiation. not every t's crossed and i dotted but there are a number of important things. same-day registration from -- registration, ethical provisions that are very important. we are continuing to work with im on that. also going on is the john lewis bill. that is another route and you can also add provisions to that bill that you are looking at. you have the upcoming reconciliation package which will allow us to put funding for elections which in many states is sorely missing and we will go to the max for whatever we can do with that reconciliation package. we have work being done in the justice department that is significant.
we have people over there who are going to be leaders on bringing up cases that we never had during the trump administration. there was a lot of work being done between congress and the administration. they have dropped many times about the standing filibuster. to me, this is just not a vote you just referred to, it is the beginning. [inaudible]
>> that is not all they are doing. in the state of georgia, they have a provision that would allow the state board of elections to overturn what the local boards have done, make it -- making it almost impossible to certify elections in georgia. in texas, volunteers can be harassed by so-called poll watchers. there is a smorgasbord of provisions in these bills with the intent of making it difficult for certain parts of the electorate to vote.
some people don't want some people to vote. that's what this is about. we have been averting in georgia long before this. >> let me tell you this, texas has one of the highest voter turnout in the last election. and our republican appointed to -- secretary of state said that those elections were safe, secure, and successful. so any type of effort -- let me tell you suppression is not always overt. it can be subtle, subtle in the form of empowering partisan poll watchers who get a warning for they can be removed. but the poll workers face immediate criminal sanctions. so we don't even have to say it. we can just tell you the provisions of the bills and you can know for yourself that they are not interested in fairness. they don't want the elections to
be free. they want you to cut through a bunch of red tape and then cancel your ballot if you make a mistake. they want to criminalize poll workers who make simple mistakes. so we are angry and we have courage. >> i would remind you that minnesota has the highest voter turnout in the country and we have elected public and -- republican governors, democratic governors, and jesse ventura. so my answer is it does not always benefit one party. but people are part of the process, they get to vote. they are not shut out of the process no matter who wins. [inaudible] >> it struck me as an act of courage. from people who said we have fought the fight here, we have done everything we can, and just as happened in the 1960's when
people were being denied jobs and housing and people were being denied education, at some point, and yes lyndon johnson and vice president hubert humphrey, understood this. they said at some point, the federal government stepped in. that is their job. so i don't know how much clear you can than to have them -- clearer you can than to have them actually come to the place where it is there only point of salvation because their governor is not going to do it for their people. >> we are handing the baton to our senate colleague to finish this race for us. >> we are often occupied to work on policy but what really makes an impact is when people are on the front lines and coming here to the capital to share their experience. that is what the texas legislators have done and i'm so proud they have come to share
the exact provisions that in texas are designed to rip up their vote, including attacking registration, attacking early voting, attacking vote by mail. we led the country in voting, but do you know who else did? utah, a republican state. it has served well every citizen of the country to have their voice heard in the direction our country goes and that's what we are fighting for, the division of our constitution. >> from the northstar state the lone star state, thank you very much. >> thursday, nominees for census -- >> we are funded by these television company's and more, including comcast. >> do you think this is just a community center? it is way more than that. >> comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers.