WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Vice President Kamala Harris is calling for voting rights action, as she urges the Senate to pass legislation. Harris and other lawmakers say it would be an insult to what the late MLK Jr. stood for if the legislation does not pass.
“Today, our freedom to vote is under assault,” Harris said. “Anti-voter laws are being passed that could make it more difficult for as many as 55 million Americans to vote.”
Harris called on the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, to bolster voting by mail and prevent future voting restrictions.
“If we stand idly by, our entire nation will pay the price for generations to come,” Harris said.
Martin Luther King III wants the Senate to act quickly and roll back state laws that make it harder for many Americans to vote.
“Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, members of the Senate, pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act now,” Martin Luther King III said.
So far, there is no Republican support for the bill in sight, and Democrats would need to change Senate rules to allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says senators should not hesitate.
“If you really, truly, want to honor Dr. King, don’t dishonor him by using a congressional custom as an excuse,” Pelosi said.
The Senate is expected to take up the voting rights legislation this week, but Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Manchin (D-W.Va.) have not changed their positions.