Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were mostly no-shows at Wednesday’s high-profile hearing on restoring a portion of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court last month. The Republicans chalked up their absence to scheduling confusion. With a brief appearance, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the only Republican to join Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and a packed room to hear testimony about updating formulas in the 1965 law that required jurisdictions in 15 states to clear changes to voting procedures with the Justice Department. “I actually was asking my staff, I think that may have been an oversight,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who sits on the committee, said. “I think that might have been an oversight because I had other scheduling, other matters scheduled.”
“I’ve got a lot going on and I have been bouncing from meeting to meeting all day long,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said, before hopping into a Senate subway car.
“Actually, I missed it. I didn’t know it was going to be at 1:00 and I had a 2:30,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said, adding that he was at a classified briefing for a subcommittee. “I could’ve been there for a little while.”
Member offices were alerted Friday that the hearing would be an hour earlier, Judiciary Committee spokeswoman Jessica Brady said.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who led a civil rights peace march in Selma, Ala. in 1965, testified alongside Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who chaired the committee when the law was last reauthorized in 2006 by a bipartisan vote. Lewis said the High Court’s decision “broke my heart” and “made me want to cry.”
Full Article: Many Republican no-shows on VRA