What’s the story?
- The House on Wednesday voted to reject an amendment to the For the People Act (H.R. 1) offered by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) that would’ve lowered the voting age in federal elections from 18 to 16. The congresswoman spoke on the floor and said the voting age should be lowered because:
"Our young people are organizing, mobilizing, and calling us to action. They are at the forefront of social movements and have more than earned inclusion in our democracy."
- Pressley’s amendment failed 125-302 and all Republicans were opposed, but the amendment was supported by a majority of the Democratic caucus, with 125 lawmakers (or 57% of Democrats who voted) casting a vote in favor while 93 Democrats voted against it.
- That’s a wider margin of support within the Democratic caucus than when the House voted on Pressley’s amendment in the last Congress. At that time, Democrats voted 125-108 in favor of the amendment while it failed 126-305 overall.
- As was the case in Tuesday’s vote on allowing felons to vote while they’re in prison, Democratic leaders ended up on both sides of the roll call. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) voted against the amendment, while Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) were in favor.
- Lowering the federal voting age would open the door to treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in other aspects of public life. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) spoke in opposition to the proposal, which he called "a horrible amendment" and added:
"I find it interesting that our friends across the aisle don't want to have 16 and 17-year-olds tried as adults when they commit violent adult crimes."
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / adamkaz)
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