CHN: House Passes For the People Act to Reform Elections and Curtail Corruption

The House on March 8 passed (234-193, along party lines) H.R. 1, the For the People Act. According to the House Democracy Reform Task Force, chaired by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), H.R. 1 will “make it easier, not harder, to vote; end the dominance of big money in our politics, and ensure public officials work for the public interest.” Specifically, the bill would create automatic voter registration across the country, ensure that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full rights restored, end partisan gerrymandering, and make Election Day a federal holiday. The legislation also requires all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors, requires presidents to disclose their tax returns, and creates a code of ethics for the Supreme Court. Advocates from across the human needs community, including many members of CHN, endorsed the bill and applauded its passage.

Vox called the bill “sweeping anti-corruption measures aimed at stamping out the influence of money in politics and expanding voting rights.” However, in an op-ed opposing the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the bill is Democrats’ attempt to “grow the federal government’s power over Americans’ political speech and elections.” Despite House passage, McConnell has reportedly already stated, “That’s not going to go anywhere.” Even if the bill did pass the Senate – an unlikely outcome – the White House has said President Trump would veto it.