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US Senate Votes to Silence Lawmaker Elizabeth Warren


Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. reacts to being rebuked by the Senate leadership and accused of impugning a fellow senator, Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,Feb. 8, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

This is What’s Trending Today.

The Twitter hashtag #LetLizSpeak was trending on social media Wednesday.

And over 6 million people saw a video from Elizabeth Warren, a member of the United States Senate. She posted her video on Facebook Tuesday night.

Warren is a member of the Democratic Party from Massachusetts. And Liz is a nickname for Elizabeth.

On Tuesday, the Senate was considering whether to approve Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican, as the next U.S. Attorney General. Sessions is President Donald Trump’s choice for the position. The attorney general is a member of the president’s cabinet and heads the Department of Justice.

During the Senate debate on Sessions’ nomination, Warren read a letter written by Coretta Scott King.

King was the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King [Junior] She wrote the letter in 1986, when Sessions, then a lawyer for the federal government, was being considered for a federal court judgeship.

Tuesday night, Warren was reading Coretta Scott King’s letter aloud on the Senate floor. King wrote that Sessions used his power in Alabama to “chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens...”

That is when Senator Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, intervened. He warned Warren that Senate rules bar one senator from speaking badly about another.

Warren was permitted to continue reading the letter. But she was stopped again, this time by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Warren was told she could not continue reading the letter. She said, “I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate.”

Warren asked to continue speaking, but her appeal was rejected. A majority of senators voted to bar her from speaking about Sessions until after his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Warren left the Senate floor, went to a nearby room and continued reading the letter. She posted the video to her Facebook page. By Wednesday afternoon, the 15-minute video received over 400,000 comments.

Some of them included: “We love you,” “Thank you so much for displaying what real leadership is,” and “Standing strong and proud beside you from Kentucky, Senator Warren.”

Warren then said “I think (the letter) is relevant to everyone who is about to vote on Jeff Sessions.”

The Democratic leadership in the Senate accused the Republican senators of only enforcing the rule because a Democrat was speaking.

Many people also used the Twitter hashtag #LetLizSpeak to express their support for Warren.

Wednesday morning, the Massachusetts senator met with civil rights leaders and Democratic Party supporters outside the Senate.

At the same time, other senators, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, read King’s letter on the Senate floor without being stopped.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What do you think about Warren being banned by the senate? Let us know in the comments section.

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Words in This Story

chill – n. a cold and unfriendly quality

suitable – adj. having the qualities that are right, needed, or appropriate for something

relevantadj. of or relating to evidence to prove or disprove an issue under consideration

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