Congressional Opposition to Civil Rights Progress Highlighted in New LCCR Report

Media 02.17,06

Washington, DC – As the nation recognizes two Presidents–Washington and Lincoln–for their remarkable leadership and vision, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and its sister organization, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF), are commemorating Presidents’ Day with the release of two new reports on the government’s distressing record on civil rights:

  • LCCREF’s Civil Rights Monitor reviews the state of play for civil rights issues in all three branches of government.

  • LCCR’s annual Voting Record tracks votes on key civil rights legislation for the first session of the 109th Congress.
“Civil and human rights are national, not partisan, issues,” said Wade Henderson, LCCR’s executive director. “While we are well aware of the increasingly polarized political environment in Washington, we’re extremely troubled that it continues to inhibit federal civil rights enforcement and progress at the legislative level. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and in the wake of severe budget cuts in healthcare, housing, and education, people who care about civil rights need bipartisan leadership more than ever.”

LCCR’s Voting Record scored members of Congress on their support for or opposition to civil rights legislation, hate crimes and immigration legislation, bills containing important civil rights protections, and judges hostile to civil rights. The analysis found that only 185 representatives and just 36 senators cast votes supporting civil rights 80 percent or more of the time, while 196 representatives and 49 senators voted against civil rights more than 80 percent of the time.

The report concludes, “Working in concert, the White House and Congress pushed forward a conservative agenda that undermined critical civil rights protections and had a devastating impact on the most vulnerable Americans.”

“Now, more than ever, America needs an administration and Congress to join together on civil rights – not only to honor, but to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King,” added Henderson.

LCCREF’s Civil Rights Monitor reports on civil rights issues that have come before the three branches of government in the last year. The Monitor also provides a historical context within which to assess current civil rights issues.

“One need not look too hard to see that these are troubling times for those who care about equal opportunity and justice,” said Karen McGill Lawson, LCCREF’s executive director. “While the civil rights movement has made many gains, there is still much to do. We need thoughtful and considered approaches to ensure fairness and justice in addressing the needs of immigrants and ensuring the voting rights of all citizens are protected.”

The Civil Rights Monitor is available for download at: /publications/monitor/winter2005/ .
The Voting Record can be downloaded at: /research_center/voting_scorecards/109_1.pdf.

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The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. Its sister organization, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, is the research and education arm of the civil rights coalition. For more information on LCCR and LCCREF, visit