Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) Joins Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) to introduce H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

August 17, 2021
Press Release
Media contact: Daniela Campos Lopez | daniela.campos@mail.house.gov | 202-227-0330

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29) joined Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07) and over 190 House Members to introduce H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore and expand on voter protections from the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This bill comes amid repeated attacks on voters by states like Texas, and attacks on the Voting Rights Act in the courts, especially after Shelby Co. v. Holder (2013) and Brnovich v. DNC (2021).

“Protecting the right to vote is one of our most important duties as members of Congress,” said Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29). “Unfortunately, the Texas state government and many other states are pushing voter suppression bills that would hurt the ability of seniors, voters of color, and young people to get to the ballot box. Voting is at the very core of our democracy, and we need to protect it from these attacks by passing H.R. 4—saying loud and clear that every American has an equal right to make their voice heard.”

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act has been introduced after months of hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, on which Congresswoman Garcia sits. These hearings investigated the effects of Supreme Court decisions like Shelby and Brnovich. As a result, H.R. 4 contains provisions to restore Section 4 of the original Voting Rights Act, which mandated that states and localities with a history of voter discrimination seek approval from the Department of Justice to change their voting laws. H.R. 4 also amends Section 2 of the original Voting Rights Act to remove the heightened standard to challenge voter discrimination imposed by the Supreme Court in Brnovich.

The bill is being introduced amidst the ongoing struggle by Democrats in the Texas House and Senate to prevent the passage of voter suppression bills in the state. Recently, State Senator Carol Alvarado sustained a 15-hour filibuster of a bill on the issue in the Senate, and Texas House Democrats have been preventing the House from passing bills by withholding a quorum.

“The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a step toward honoring the legacy of the late Congressman because it continues the work that he fought so strongly for—equal voting rights,” said Congresswoman Garcia. “There is no more time for us to wait. Many Republican-led states, including my home state of Texas, are pushing dangerous voter suppression bills right now. I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to join this effort so that we can safeguard our sacred right to vote for future generations.”

The U.S. House of Representatives will return to Washington, D.C. on August 23rd to take up H.R. 4 and other essential legislation.

###

Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018, becoming the first Latina ever to represent the Texas 29th Congressional District. She serves on the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees