House approves Clyburn proposal to rename Voting Rights Act after John Lewis

Rep. Jim Clyburn wants the bill renamed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act

Left to right: Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and the late Rep. John Lewis. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images/Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images)

Following the death of lawmaker Congressman John Lewis, several events have been planned to memorialize his legacy. But now it’s been reported that House Democrats are also taking steps to rename a voter rights bill after the civil rights leader.

According to CNN, Rep. Jim Clyburn, House Majority-Whip and the third-ranking Democrat in Congress submitted the request on Monday.

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Rep. John Lewis
Respected Rep. John Lewis has passed away. Lewis announced in December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. (Photo from 2013 by Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images for U.S. Postal Service)

“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 Sunday in a statement.

CNN reported, “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.”

On Monday, the House approved the measure by Clyburn by unanimous consent, The Hill reported.

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Congressman Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional district for more than three decades but it’s his work as an activist that really pushed him onto the national stage.

Rep. Lewis began his career alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He participated in lunch counter sit-ins, joined the Freedom Riders in challenging segregated buses, and at the age of 23, was a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington.

He died on July 17 at the age of 80 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Rep. John Lewis
(Credit: Getty Images)

Sunday, Lewis’ memorial traveled to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama via a ceremonial procession on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, followed by a receiving ceremony. 

His body lay in state on Monday in the Capitol rotunda, becoming the first Black lawmaker to have that distinction.

On Wednesday, there will be a formal lying in state and Lewis’ fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, will hold a service. Then on Thursday, there will be a final celebration of life and interment.

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