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Pelosi On D.C. Voting Rights: 'Today Is a Proud Day for This House, the District of Columbia, and our Nation'

Washington, D.C.--Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the floor this afternoon endorsing the D.C. Voting Rights bill, which passed by a vote of 241 to 177.

Below are her remarks:

'Mr. Speaker, four weeks ago, our vote was deferred, but today, we will fulfill our obligation to do right by the citizens of the District of Columbia.

'By doing so, we will do justice for all of our citizens.   Today is a proud day for this House, for the District of Columbia, and for our nation.

'I commend the steadfast leadership and tenacity of the gentlelady from the District of Columbia, Ms. Norton.  I also appreciate the leadership of the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Davis, making this bill one that has bipartisan co-partnership.  I also want to thank Mr. Conyers and Mr. Waxman for their leadership, and Steny Hoyer, who has made this a mission in his life.  It's a proud day for all of us.

'Mr. Speaker, I take some personal pleasure in today's proceedings, because when I was born, my father was a Member of Congress.   He was on the Appropriations Committee and he chaired the District of Columbia subcommittee.  At that time, there was no mayor of Washington, D.C., there was no home rule, and he was a strong supporter for the District to obtain both.  He would never have imagined all those many years ago that it would take this long to get a full vote on the floor of the House for the District of Columbia

'This bipartisan effort to secure full voting representation in this House should command the support of all.  Indeed, 82 percent of the American people support the District of Columbia having full voting rights on the floor of the House.  This vote fulfills the promise of our democracy.  It reflects what we stand for at home, and what we preach around the world.

'As the Supreme Court has said: 'No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which we, as good citizens, must live.'

'Today, we seek to affirm an enduring principle of our democracy: the right to be heard and represented fully.  For more than 200 years, the citizens of the District of Columbia have been denied full voting representation.  This legislation corrects a serious flaw in our democracy.   

'Mr. Speaker, every single day that this Congress is in session, we take a pledge to the flag and to the republic for which it stands.  At the end, we say, 'with liberty and justice for all.'  That 'for all' must include the people of the District of Columbia.

'America is at its best--and honors the cause of justice and freedom--when all voices are fully represented.  And we know that the citizens of the District of Columbia will give their voices to a vision of justice, equality, and opportunity for all.  They already have the voice, now they will have the vote.

'Now is the time to honor our democracy.  We will not rest until full voting representation in the House is granted to the District of Columbia.  That is our obligation and our pledge.'