Last year, House Democrats saw ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a possible (if ultimately disappointing) ally in the fight to rewrite the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century. On Tuesday, Cantor’s leadership successor, Kevin McCarthy, might have revealed himself as another important potential friend to the effort. The California Republican echoed at a pen-and-pad briefing what fellow GOP lawmakers have said before: Any revision of the landmark 1965 law has to start in the Judiciary Committee — a disappointing answer for advocates who know Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., is disinclined to tackle the matter. But McCarthy later said he thinks the time has come for an “overall review.” “On a personal level, I’d like to see the debate go forward,” he said. “I’d like to see [us] have the debate in committee. I think everything, when it’s first written and where the world is today, has changed. So just as most of our bills, how do you modernize? An overall review, I think, it’s the right time to do it,” McCarthy continued. “What the outcome can be, I don’t prejudge.”
McCarthy’s comments came after he was asked what he thought of House Democrats’ calls for Congress to take up legislation in response to the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that dismantled the VRA’s core enforcement provision.
While noncommittal, McCarthy’s remarks are the most optimistic comments on the VRA from any member of House GOP leadership since Cantor’s primary defeat in June 2014.
Before his exit from Congress, Democratic colleagues were skeptical about Cantor, but held out hope for the Virginia Republican’s support, coming on the heels of a 2013 pilgrimage to Selma, Ala., with civil rights icon and Georgia Democrat John Lewis, was sincere.
Full Article: McCarthy Cracks Door, Slightly, on Voting Rights Act.