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Only Structural Reforms Can Fix Our Political System – and the For the People Act Delivers

Jan. 4, 2019

Only Structural Reforms Can Fix Our Political System – and the For the People Act Delivers

Statements of Public Citizen Experts

Note: Today, U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers introduced the For the People Act (H.R. 1), a broad package of democracy reforms designed to clean up corruption and give voters more say in the political process. The legislation would shut down the worst excesses of the revolving door, in which individuals are rewarded by corporations for going into and out of government; require the president and vice president to divest their business holdings; shut down candidate-specific super PACs; strengthen campaign finance laws; ensure access to the ballot box; and more.

“No one person, least of all the congenitally corrupt Donald Trump, can fix our rigged political and economic system. Doing that will require structural reform, which is exactly what H.R. 1 will do.

“H.R. 1 is the most sweeping and far-reaching pro-democracy and anti-corruption legislation this country has seen since passage of the Voting Rights Act more than 50 years ago. It is a launch pad for the democratic transformation our country so desperately needs and for which the American people have been clamoring.

“Democracy reform is gateway legislation. When our government becomes a government By the People, instead of Big Business and connected insiders, then it will become a government For the People. Then we finally will see action on the policies that Americans overwhelmingly favor, from guaranteeing a living wage to all Americans to providing Medicare-for-All, from slashing drug prices to averting catastrophic climate change.”

– Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

“The broad reforms contained in H.R. 1 represent a clarion call for democracy reform from the public that has become undeniable. Members of Congress will be defined by who steps up to the plate to support the legislation and how hard they push to fix our system. Americans care about having a good-paying job, a safe workplace, clean air and water, a financial system that works, quality education for their children, affordable housing and much more. But without a democracy that represents voters instead of corporate and millionaire donors, achieving the basic goals of the American dream has become a herculean struggle. Across the political spectrum, the public agrees that reform is essential, as the corruption in our government has become untenable, and lawmakers owe it to their constituents to make our democracy function.”

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

“As we move into the second half of the most scandal-ridden administration in history, congressional Democrats are right to make their first order of business H.R. 1, a sweeping legislative reform package designed to address head-on the corruption and cronyism that runs rampant in the Trump administration. Americans are fed up with a government rigged in favor of the wealthy and blind to the principles of fairness. H.R. 1 would tackle the elitism of big money in elections, provide accountability of government officials and bestow a strong code of ethics and civility throughout the federal government, even upon a most scurrilous White House. With H.R. 1, lawmakers are offering Americans a clear choice for the future of our country.”

– Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist, Public Citizen