WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Rep. Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), voted to pass S.Con.Res. 14, Advancing the Build Back Better Plan to begin the process of writing the budget reconciliation bill that will enact the Build Back Better Plan into law, and voted to pass H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Build Back Better Plan:

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This plan will deliver life-changing benefits for working families across the nation through creating new jobs, cutting taxes for families and small businesses, and lowering healthcare costs.

“The Build Back Better Plan is a critical investment in American workers and families that will make a difference in the day-to-day lives of my constituents,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “My Democratic colleagues and I have been working with President Biden’s administration to ensure that this framework includes relief for some of the most challenging costs folks are dealing with today. I am proud to vote to advance this plan to lower the costs of child care, invest in maternal health equity and deliver on my longstanding effort to include dental coverage under Medicare.”

The budget reconciliation process first requires both the Senate and House to pass a budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions to committees of jurisdiction. The resolution passed today includes instructions to 13 House and 12 Senate committees to support transformative investments in the health, well-being and financial security of America’s workers and families.

The Build Back Better Plan will:

  • Put money back in the pockets of Americans by cutting costs on child care, home care and college;
  • Close the Medicaid coverage gap, lower prescription drug costs and provide Medicare coverage for hearing, dental and vision;
  • Invest in maternal, behavioral and racial health equity;
  • Provide paid family leave and extend the expanded Child Tax Credit;
  • Create millions of good-paying jobs; and
  • Tackle the climate crisis through critical policies and incentives to reduce U.S. carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030.

No one who makes less than $400,000 per year will see an increase in their taxes. The Build Back Better Plan will be paid for by some of the most profitable companies and billionaires paying their fair share.

John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:

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This bill will restore critical protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect our democracy and ensure the right to vote for all Americans.

“Today we passed historic voting rights legislation; our vote could not have come at a more critical time, said Congresswoman Kelly. “Throughout the past year, lawmakers around the country have introduced more than 400 bills that would restrict the right to vote and in 18 states, anti-voter bills have already been signed into law. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will protect American voters regardless of which state they call their home.

“The right to vote is fundamental, and yet it is under attack. Today we embrace the spirit of heroes like John Lewis, who shed blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the right of all Americans to vote. I am proud to honor their legacy by voting to pass H.R. 4 and protect the rights of voters across our country.”

Named for the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Robert Lewis, H.R. 4 restores Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act by establishing a modern-day formula that requires states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making changes to their voting laws.

For areas to qualify for judicial pre-clearance, they must have the following qualifications:

  • States with a history of 15 or more violations at any level in the previous 25 years
  • States with a history of 10 or more violations, if one violation occurs at the state level in the previous 25 years
  • Subdivisions with 3 or more violations in the subdivision in the previous 25 years

H.R. 4 also restores Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by eliminating the heightened standard for challenging discriminatory voting laws created by the Supreme Court in Brnovich v. DNC.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act also:

  • Allows federal courts to immediately halt questionable voting practices until a final ruling is made. This provision recognizes that when voting rights are at stake, prohibiting a discriminatory practice after the election has concluded is too late to truly protect voters' rights.
  • Gives the Attorney General authority to request that federal observers be present anywhere in the country where discriminatory voting practices pose a serious threat.
  • Increases transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes.
  • Includes a retrogression standard for already-enacted but not-yet-implemented measures.
  • Help plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief for voting rights violations in the lead-up to an election.
  • Establishes a grant program for small jurisdictions to help them comply with the bill’s various notice requirements.

Full text of H.R. 4 is available here.

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