WASHINGTON, D.C. – Committee on House Administration Chairperson-designate Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and the new House Democratic majority today introduced H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping package of pro-democracy and anticorruption reforms to put power back in the hands of the American people by ending the dominance of big money in politics; making it easier, not harder, to vote; and ensuring that politicians actually serve the public interest.
H.R. 1 offers the most transformational and comprehensive democracy reforms in more than four decades, following through on Democrats’ election promise to clean up the chaos and corruption in Washington.
“The American people feel the political system is rigged against them – that their vote may not count or matter,” said Lofgren. “But in November, voters went to the polls to change the status quo. They voted to put an end to politics as usual. House Democrats are answering their call and delivering on our promise to bring accountability and transparency to Washington DC. The For the People Act promises to deliver the change that American voters demanded on November 6th.”
Oversight of federal elections is one of the chief tasks of the Committee on House Administration. Historically, the committee has had a hand in shaping legislation that touches on any and all aspects of federal elections. Issues concerning corrupt practices, contested congressional elections, campaign finance disclosures, and credentials and qualifications of House Members also fall under its purview.
H.R. 1 makes critical reforms across three key areas:
1) Voting Rights
- Improve Access – H.R. 1 expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at key institutional barriers to voting, such as burdensome registration systems, limited voting hours and many other roadblocks. H.R. 1 creates automatic voter registration across the country, ensures that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full rights restored, expands voting by mail and early voting and modernizes the U.S. voting system.
- Promote Integrity – H.R. 1 fights back against Republicans’ assault on voting rights by committing Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act; prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere; and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent Americans citizens from exercising their rights. H.R. 1 also ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and lets American voters instead choose their elected officials.
- Ensure Security – H.R. 1 promises that American elections to be decided by American voters without interference from foreign entities. The bill enhances federal support for voting system security, particularly paper ballots, and increases oversight over election vendors.
2) Campaign Finance
- Guarantee Disclosure – H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring any organization involved in political activity to disclose its large donors, which will break the nesting-doll system that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide their spending in networks of socalled “social welfare” organizations.
- Empower Citizens – H.R. 1 levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, empowering individuals with a multiple matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics. The new system of citizen-owned elections will break special interests’ stranglehold on politics and enable Congress to advance an agenda that serves the American people.
3) Ethics and Accountability
- Fortify Ethics Law – H.R. 1 breaks the influence economy in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slowing the revolving door, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards and requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
- Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – H.R. 1 gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, closing registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law and creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.
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