Issued January 19, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC -- Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement after the filibuster was used for the fifth time in six months to block the Senate from advancing voting rights legislation.
“From marching in the streets to turning out to voting booths in record numbers, working people have sent a clear message that we are ready for change. Tonight, all 50 Republicans and two Democrats drew a line in the sand to say that they have no interest in standing with their constituents and working with the Biden Administration to move our country forward. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act — a legislative package addressing voting rights, racial gerrymandering, and ending corporate big money special interests groups — is too critical to our nation’s progress for these Senators to keep using a Jim Crow relic known as the filibuster to play politics.
“The voting protections included in this bill are necessary to our nation’s recovery from the economic, social, and health crises of the last two years. When voting rights are under attack, so is our ability to pass substantial legislation like the historic Build Back Better Act, to create good jobs, make it easier for working people to join unions, expand access to care for our most vulnerable citizens, build a pathway to citizenship, address climate change and environmental injustice, and reimagine our justice system.
“It’s clear that conservative legislators would rather dismantle our democracy than ensure the voices of workers, young people, people of color, and people with disabilities are heard. It can also not be lost on anyone that the same lawmakers trying to suppress these voters are the same people who receive enormous contributions from corporations that exploit our communities while reaping record profits.
“SEIU members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union refuse to let today’s inaction on voting rights legislation silence working families. We will continue to push Congressional leaders to take action on the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and keep fighting for an inclusive, multi-racial democracy where we all can participate -- no matter where we are from or what race we are. And we will hold accountable those elected officials and corporations who support, stand in silence, or use these arcane Senate rules as an excuse not to act on racist, anti-voter state laws that threaten the very foundation of our democracy."