Rep. Pete Sessions: Federal voting laws are “very unconstitutional”

The U.S. District 17 Representative believes regulating elections at the federal level sets a dangerous precedent.
Rep. Pete Sessions
Rep. Pete Sessions
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 11:11 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - U.S. District 17 Representative Pete Sessions has a message for the federal government: stay out of our elections.

That comes in response to calls from Democrats in the Texas Legislature for Congress to pass a bill that would prevent Republican state lawmakers from passing a controversial voting bill that’s making it’s way through the special legislative session.

That is until Texas Democrats fled to Washington D.C. in a last-ditch effort to stop the bill. The group of Democratic state lawmakers called on federal lawmakers to pass a federal voting bill that would supersede Texas law in a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday.

Over the past few days, the group met with various federal members of their party, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In response to the Texas Democrats’ actions, Rep. Sessions, a Republican who represents the Brazos Valley in Congress, believes the walkout was done not to serve the right of Texans. Instead, he said it’s a ploy to steer attention towards federal legislation like HR1 otherwise known as “For the People Act of 2021.”

“The walkout is being done to gain national attention to an issue that Democrats have been pushing in Congress, and that is what is the bill is known as HR1,” said Sessions. “HR1, which is the top legislative agenda of the Democratic Party and the President would move all voting rights obligations and responsibilities, away from the states to Washington D.C., it would immediately change the scope and nature of the United States.”

The Representative believes HR1 is a bad bill and that voting rights should be left up to the states.

“HR1 is not a bill that should be passed federalizing all elections to where Washington D.C. controls those in the Department of Justice,” said Sessions. “It is a bad idea for any state in any locality, but especially for anyone that believes in federalism and that is the state’s rights,” said Sessions. “This is a state’s rights issue, and I believe it is very unconstitutional what they are doing.”

Sessions explained that federal election legislation would set a dangerous precedent.

Sessions claimed the bill would take, “take an election and move it to Washington D.C., as opposed to local people being involved and running their own elections in the way that they fit.”

HR1 passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March by a margin of 10 votes.

President Biden said in a statement that he believes this legislation is needed in the United States to protect elections.

“This landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect that right, to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen our democracy,” said Biden. “It will rein in the outrageous gerrymandering that distorts our democracy.

“It will empower the Justice Department to crack down on laws that curtail voting rights along racial lines. It will reform our campaign finance system to amplify the voices of the people — not the powerful. And it will modernize and secure our future elections against all manner of threats.”

The legislation has stalled in the U.S. Senate. Experts say it’s unlikely to pass.

The Texas Democrats and President Biden are hoping federal lawmakers can take action to revitalize the legislation. Similar legislation has been introduced like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

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