House Passes Historic Democracy Reform and Corruption Overhaul Legislation

March 8, 2019

House Passes Historic Democracy Reform and Corruption Overhaul Legislation

Statements of Public Citizen Experts

Note: Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 234-193 to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1). H.R.1’s restorative democracy principles earned it the distinction of being the first-introduced bill of the 116th Congress, indicating its importance and urgency. Backed by more than 130 public interest groups, if enacted H.R. 1 expands access to voting by declaring Election Day a federal holiday, raises ethics standards at all levels of government, enacts automatic voter registration, calls for restoration of the Voting Rights Act and replaces a corrupt campaign finance system with one that relies on small donors and public funds.

The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate where U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (N.M.) is expected to introduce a companion bill that Americans and advocacy groups will push to have considered in committee and brought to the floor for a vote. The national push for H.R. 1 parallels a movement in states to fix their politics as well. The coalition supporting H.R. 1 hopes that states like New York follow the lead of Congress and pass ballot reforms like Fair Elections for NY.

“The historic passage of H.R. 1 responds to the public’s overwhelming demand for fundamental and far-reaching reforms to our corrupt political system. Its enactment would remove the political barriers to the policy agenda favored by the public – slashing medicine prices, providing Medicare-for-All, preventing climate catastrophe, providing a living wage, holding Wall Street accountable and more – an agenda currently thwarted by the political power of corporations and the superrich. Now the bill must be taken up in the Senate. If Mitch McConnell wants to bring up the Green New Deal, why is he scared of a vote on H.R. 1?”

– Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

“We have long recognized that fixing democracy must be the first order of business to ensure that the people are represented in the halls of power. The truth is in the name – this bill is called For the People for a reason.”

– Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen

“H.R. 1 draws a clear line of demarcation between those who support democracy and those who favor Trump’s rule by the wealthy. Congressional Democrats today have staked out a united front for democracy reforms to turn control of government back to regular Americans. The choice is now very clear, and the voters in the 2020 elections will decide which path America will take.”

– Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist, Public Citizen

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