The tops of heads of people in front of a plaque showing information about John Robert Lewis including his birth and death dates.

People look at a new historical marker remembering former Rep. John Lewis after it was unveiled Friday, July 16, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Earlier this year, Nashville’s Metro Council renamed a large portion of Fifth Avenue to Rep. John Lewis Way. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Biden White House released a statement commemorating the passing of Rep. John Lewis, Friday.

The release comes on the anniversary of the Baltimore icon and institution’s July 17, 2020 death. “Days before he died one year ago today, Jill and I spoke with John Lewis for the last time,” the statement opens. “He was in those final days as he was throughout his remarkable life – at peace and full of dignity and grace. Instead of answering our concerns for him, he asked us to remain focused on the unfinished work – his life’s work – of healing and uniting this nation.

“Healing” in this case being literal and figurative, the statement self-congratulates the administration for its own efforts in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and getting Americans back to work.

Appealing to Mr. Lewis’s name and spirit, the statement calls on Congress to pass the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

President Biden’s party does not hold a majority in the Senate. Forty-eight Democrats are seated in the 100-member Senate, with two independents (Sens. Bernie Sanders and Angus King) caucusing with the party. Even with Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over the Senate and empowered to pass a tie-breaking vote, there has been zero movement on the two acts through Congress.

Rep. Lewis lived as a civil rights activist. He marched with 600 protestors on the infamous Bloody Sunday, a 1965 procession across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in Selma, Alabama. Lewis was beaten by police in response.

“John once said, ‘Freedom is not a state; it is an act,’” the statement continued. “On this day of remembrance, let us continue to act.”

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