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Pelosi on D.C. Voting Rights Act

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House Floor today about the D.C. Voting Rights Act.  Below are her remarks as prepared:

'Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and his leadership in bringing this very important legislation to the floor.

'This is a happy day indeed. It is an historic day. It is a day when the people of the District of Columbia will finally have their voices heard and represented.

'This is a personal joy for me as well, because when I was born all those many years ago, my father served in the Congress, and he became the Chair of the District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee. As such, that was a time when there was no Mayor, no home rule, no anything; that committee practically ran the District of Columbia. My father was a strong advocate for home rule for the District, and, of course, we had hoped eventually, and still do, statehood.

'It took a long time, but at last today we will get a vote once again for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. She has really been a champion for the District. Even without the full vote, her impact is felt here, but it is the right thing to do for her to have the vote.

'Congressman Davis, as Chairman Davis and now as ranking member, has always been a strong advocate for this, as has Henry Waxman, the Chair of the Government Reform Committee, and you, Mr. Chairman, from the standpoint of the Judiciary Committee.

'How impressive it was to see the Iraqi vets, these young people, coming back from the Iraq war, and those serving in Afghanistan, where they were willing to make any sacrifice for our country. Their courage and patriotism is honored by all of us. They came and pled to us for the District of Columbia to have the vote. They live here, they went to war from here, they wanted to come home to the fullness of democracy for the District of Columbia.

'Today's vote affirms an enduring principle of our democracy, the right to be heard and represented. They fought for that in Iraq. They should have it here in the District.

'For more than 200 years, the people of the District of Columbia have been denied full representation. This carefully crafted, bipartisan legislation corrects a serious flaw in our democracy. America is at its best honoring the cause of freedom and justice when all voices are fully represented.

'The effort to politicize the issue of fundamental fairness disrespects the ideals of this Nation and the people of the District of Columbia. We must honor our democracy. House Democrats will not rest until full representation in the House is granted to the District of Columbia.

'This is an important day on which I congratulate Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and the people of the District of Columbia for having this right come due.'