WASHINGTON — Democrats are set to take over Congress after new members are sworn in early next year.
Washington correspondent Drew Petrimoulx reports a top priority is a broad-ranging voting rights bill
Alabama Democratic Congresswoman Terri Sewell says there were countless efforts to block people from voting in the midterm elections.
“We’ve seen photo ID laws, we’ve seen voter suppression laws, that put up barriers,” Sewell said.
Now that her party is taking control of the House of Representatives, Sewell says Democrats will introduce a comprehensive voting rights bill.
The bill will include Sewell’s plan to once again require states with a history of racial discrimination to get permission from federal officials before changing voting laws.
“We do need to put the enforcement teeth back into the voting rights act,” Sewell said.
“I have great respect for Miss Sewell, but I completely disagree with her,” Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-AL, said.
Fellow Alabamian Byrne says states should not be singled out.
“To pick out Alabama and say, ‘bad Alabama we’re always gonna make you do pre-clearance and all these other states don’t have to do it,’ I will not support that,” Byrne said.
And it’s that sentiment that will make Sewell’s effort a tough sell in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“I know that but I think now more than ever the nation is crying out for democracy reforms,” Sewell said.
The democratic bill will also include anti-corruption, campaign finance and voter registration changes.
Sewell says it’ll be the first bill filed when democrats take control in the new year.