Thursday, July 13, 2006


Republicans break deal with Democrats to Protect Voters' Rights

A previously agreed upon deal between Democrats and Republicans to renew the Voting Rights Act has been broken by GOP leaders, today's issue of ROLL CALL is reporting. Despite a prior agreement, leaders in the House have agreed to consideration of amendments, stepping away from a deal that had been arrived at during negotiation to renew the Voting Rights Act without any major changes.

Excerpts from the registration retricted article follow.

Congressional Quarterly is reporting today that allowing the passage of the amendments will end hopes of quick passage by the Senate. Excerpts from the registration retricted article follow the Roll Call excerpts.

======= From Roll Call:

Bowing to the demands of rank-and-file Republicans, House leaders granted consideration Wednesday to a bevy of amendments to the Voting Rights Act — including a measure to eliminate mandates for multilingual ballots — drawing the ire of Democrats who claim the move violates a bipartisan agreement over reauthorizing the landmark 1965 law.

On an 8-3 party-line vote, the House Rules Committee agreed to allow debate on four amendments when the VRA renewal reaches the House floor, expected to occur today.


Both of the remaining amendments, sponsored by Georgia GOP Reps. Charlie Norwood and Lynn Westmoreland, target the VRA’s Section 5, which mandates that states with a documented history of discrimination must “pre-clear” any changes to their electoral practices with the Justice Department.

The amendments would, respectively, reconfigure the formula used to apply that section of the law — which the Georgia lawmakers have argued is outdated and unfairly targets states including their own — and establish an expedited procedure for qualified jurisdictions to “bail out” from the law’s requirements.

========= From CQ:

The House will try again Thursday to extend the landmark Voting Rights Act and avoid an election-year embarrassment for Republicans after leaders quieted a rebellious faction in their party that had blocked previous efforts to advance the bill.

GOP leaders were able to broker peace with a group of mostly Southern Republicans by allowing votes on four amendments that bill supporters are confident they will defeat.

Adoption of any of the amendments Thursday could undermine Democratic support for the bill and derail plans to gain quick passage in the Senate and the president’s signature this year.

House and Senate leaders and President Bush have pressed for passage of the legislation without changes.

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