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With support of just one Republican, House passes ‘historic’ bill to restore and expand voting rights

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Brian Fitzpatrick

“Brings us one step closer to restoring the Voting Rights Act.”

Just one Republican—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania—joined a united House Democratic caucus on Friday to pass what rights groups hailed as “historic” legislation to restore and expand voter protections that were gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen, said passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) is a “critical step” in combating Republican voter suppression efforts that have proliferated in the six years since the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

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“Numerous state legislatures have undertaken targeted and deliberate steps to limit or impede the right to vote for communities of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities,” said Gilbert. “Americans who are eligible to vote but are denied that right due to fabricated or illegal barriers are being deprived of the full privilege of our democracy.”

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“If we want a true democracy, we must protect the right to vote for all,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The Voting Rights Advancement Act is critical to getting there.”

The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to allow a vote on Democrats’ For the People Act (H.R. 1), to which the Voting Rights Advancement Act was previously attached.

As Ari Berman of Mother Jones reported, H.R. 4—sponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)—would “initially cover 11 states: nine in the South, plus California and New York, which have more recently been found to discriminate against Latinos and Asian Americans.”

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“The bill would also require all states to get federal approval for election changes that are known to disproportionately affect voters of color, such as strict voter ID laws, tighter voter registration requirements, and polling place closures in areas with large numbers of minority voters,” Berman noted.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, applauded the House for passing H.R. 4 and demanded that McConnell bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate as soon as possible.

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“The passage of H.R. 4 in the House of Representatives today brings us one step closer to restoring the Voting Rights Act and undoing the tremendous damage of Shelby,” Gupta said in a statement. “The VRAA is too important—and the right to vote is too fundamental—to end up buried in the McConnell legislative graveyard.”


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Morning Joe’s Mika: Thousands are dying of COVID-19 because Trump is ‘surrounded by inexperienced suck-ups’

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MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski got right to the point on Tuesday morning by saying people are getting sick and dying in the U.S. because Donald Trump is surrounded by a collection of "suck-ups" who won't tell him the brutal truth about what is happening in the country.

As part of a "Morning Joe" panel discussion on the failings of the Trump administration to head off of the COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the country -- despite ample warnings it was on the way -- Brzezinski, as well as co-host Willie Geist, levied some hard accusations against the president and his team.

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika reveal why Trump likely ignored startlingly accurate COVID-19 memos

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski rebuked President Donald Trump for apparently ignoring startlingly accurate warnings from trade adviser Peter Navarro about the coronavirus pandemic.

Navarro's memos were circulated at the highest levels of government in January and February, but the president downplayed the virus until early March, when statewide lockdowns started wrecking the U.S. economy.

"In one worst-case scenario cited in the memo, Navarro warned that more than half a million Americans could die, and, yet, weeks after that, you had Donald Trump at rallies saying that in April when it warms up, this will miraculously go away," Scarborough said. "Put this in context with, I suppose you could say with 9/11, the memos warning of al-Qaeda attacks using airplanes, maybe missed signals FDR didn't pick up on before Pearl Harbor. I really don't know, though, what parallel there can be, because so many more people are going to die because of these missed signals."

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Prince Harry and Meghan to start non-profit in US

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are planning to launch a wide-ranging non-profit organisation named Archewell, reports on Tuesday said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who formally stepped down as senior members of the British royal family last week, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper they were establishing the organization in the United States, where they are now based.

The charitable organization will include emotional support groups, a multimedia educational empire and a wellbeing website among other things.

They said they wanted "to do something of meaning, to do something that matters".

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