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Clyburn Predicts August Return to Vote on Reform Legislation

July 29, 2021 by Kate Michael
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

WASHINGTON — Reciting Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis from memory, Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., philosophized about fair weather patriots in America today during a discussion with Axios. Claiming that some people only “love the country when everything is going well for them,” he warned, “If we fail to do today as was done in 1776, this country could be lost, and lost forever.”

But to save the country, he said we must all “think about what we can contribute to the overall adventure that I call democracy.” 

And for Clyburn, this includes participating in a reckoning on racial equity as well as coming together on the tough questions of voting rights, police reform, and gun reform. 

Legislation on all three are currently pending, but have stalled in Congress, despite what most consider Democratic control of both houses of Congress and the White House. 

Still, Clyburn said he remains confident there is a path forward.

“I feel pretty good about where we are,” he said. “We’ll go home [to our Districts] later this week, but I suspect we’ll be back here in August. Though we’re not scheduled to be back, we’ll be back.”

Admitting that passing legislation on gun control would be a long shot, Clyburn did suggest “there’s some significant movement on other issues,” though he declined to discuss specific negotiations.

“We have to work very hard to get that other vote that you need to make it bipartisan,” he admitted, “I know that people say we control both [houses of Congress], but that doesn’t sound like real control to me. That simply means that we’ve got the authority to organize and can break a tie.” 

But even while he is focused on consensus building for reform bills, Clyburn chastised Republican colleagues and called them to task both for being like Paine’s “sunshine patriots” and for supporting what he called “repressive laws” making their way through state legislatures. 

“Believe it or not, everybody sitting in office up here does not believe in democracy,” he accused.

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