(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
After two trips to the Deep South alongside civil rights icon and Georgia Democrat John Lewis, the pressure is on Eric Cantor to deliver on the Voting Rights Act.
The majority leader has made a major, personal investment in connecting to the civil rights movement — something that ultimately could prove important for a GOP that regularly polls in the single digits among African-Americans and poorly among other minorities.
But translating participation in the Faith and Politics Institute’s annual pilgrimage into legislative text that can win support from the bulk of the Republican Conference isn’t an easy task.
And so far, Cantor hasn’t laid out a clear path for a bill nine months after declaring his support for a congressional response to the Supreme Court decision striking down the VRA’s core enforcement mechanisms.
Democrats have signaled that they trust Cantor, a Virginia Republican, on this issue, and that the extent to which he is able to help advance a VRA fix depends largely on his ability to mobilize his flock, many of whom are hostile to the idea.
“A lot of what is happening on the other side of the aisle wouldn’t be happening if it were up to Cantor,” said the House’s No. 3 Democrat, James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, adding that many far-right Republicans “relish in gumming up the works.”