Remarks cames as he opened a House subcommittee
BOSSIER, La. – U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04), Ranking Member of House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today delivered opening remarks as the top-Republican at the subcommittee hearing titled “Protecting the Right to Vote During COVID-19”. Congressman Johnson made the following remarks as delivered on George Floyd, COVID-19, and mail-in ballots in his opening statement.
In response to the death of George Floyd:
“The facts show that George Floyd appears to have been the victim of murder, and I personally don’t believe a closer review of the video can lead to anyone to any other conclusion. The tragedy focused the spotlight once again, as you said, on the deep seated problems we still have in this country. I think all of us agree the crisis necessitates authentic reconciliation and transformative solutions for systematic change. I think we all agree that those are long, long over-due.
“The central idea of America is that we boldly declare the self-evident truths that all men are created equal, and for that reason we’re all endowed, as the founders said by God, Himself with the same inalienable rights. Because each of us is made in God’s image, the founders insisted – and we still believe – that every single person has** an estimable dignity and value. And our value is not related in any way to the color of our skin, or what zip code we live in, or what we can contribute to society. Our value is inherent because it comes from above.”
Regarding the U.S. COVID-19 response:
“The second point I want to make is that all of us recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected our country. Obviously in so many countless ways. We want to express our condolences to the families and friends to all those Americans who’ve lost their battle to this invisible enemy. We want to applaud the doctors, nurses, first responders, state and local health officials, and the Trump Administration too for taking crucial steps that helped to stem the spread of the disease any further.
“I’m grateful that President Trump instituted an early travel ban from China, despite China’s efforts to deceive the rest of the world about the effect of the virus. I’m grateful the President instituted social distancing guidelines, and sanitation protocols, and created a taskforce, led by our Vice President Mr. Pence and several leading medical experts with decades of experience in public health. That’s been very important for the country in our response. While we’re all adjusting to the new normal of our nation, I and the other members of this committee are also – we actually have to say this morning – that we’re disappointed that our Committee is not physically meeting in the D.C. right now to conduct this important hearing. You know, if we believe this, if grocery store workers, health care personnel, and other essential employees can show up in-person to do their job, we believe we ought to be doing the same thing.”
Regarding mail-in ballots and federalizing elections:
“We need to seriously discuss the implications that these practices will have on our elections. And putting aside the technological and logistical concerns about federalizing the election this close to November, we need to also seriously examine the accuracy of state voter registration rolls. There are several examples of states whose voter registration rolls outnumber the actual number of citizens in that state. Registered individuals should only be receiving one ballot, I know we all agree with that. And we need to ensure the United State Postal Service can deliver ballots on time and to the right people.
“While I acknowledge concerns about the pandemic and the election, now is not the time to upend this nation’s election system. There is too much at risk. We should be discussing how to vote in person and to do it safely in light of the new circumstance. We need to thoughtfully consider how the Federal government can best empower states to make their own decisions regarding the election, and to respond to their unique circumstances.
“I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses today, and I hope we can have a productive discussion. I thank you again Mr. Chairman for the tone and the opening, and I yield back.”