With their first full week in control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency underway, Congressional Democrats are prioritizing the For the People Act, a comprehensive set of reforms to end special interest control of Washington.. That’s cause to celebrate. In a recent 2020 poll of voters across party lines, a whopping 67% said they support the bill, including a majority of Republicans and independents. Clearly, Americans of all stripes are tired of big money controlling our political system, and they’re right to demand change.
Americans have seen the impact of gerrymandering, racially motivated voter suppression, and unhinged campaign finance systems on our democracy in the past several election cycles, with reports of limited access to voting, the return of poll taxes, and the steadily escalating price tag of federal elections. H.R. 1 is a wide-reaching bill that takes aim at current voter suppression tactics and helps restore voting rights to many disenfranchised Americans. It is time for swift action to heal our Democracy and immediately pass H.R. 1.
Two-thirds of Americans want to limit campaign spending and stop playing an uneven game of tug of war for politician’s attention with big donors. H.R. 1 will put the power back into the people’s hands and shed much-needed light on dark money contributions by forcing corporations to disclose political spending. After years of extreme disinformation on digital platforms, it would also require digital companies to create public databases. The digital companies would have to publicly list political ad purchase requests above $500 or more, and block foreign nationals from buying political ads.
Small-donor public financing provisions in the bill would bring us a more reflective and equitable representation of our population into the House and Senate. More women and people of color would have a substantial chance of winning elected offices. Public matching would match contributor donations 6:1 and force candidates to reject large contributions to be eligible. The bill would also create oversight commissions to finally enforce a ban on candidates and super PACs coordination.
Additionally, H.R. 1 would restore the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, reforming voting systems by allowing for more accessible voting and countering voter suppression at the state level. It would make Election Day a federal holiday, a move backed by over 65% of Americans according to a 2019 poll. The bill would also enable much easier access to the polls for millions of Americans by creating automatic voter registration and offering internet registration.
The January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a symptom of a much larger system failing its citizens. By putting public interest before the interests of the super-wealthy, H.R. 1 serves as a signal to Americans that its leaders are committed to strengthening democracy for all citizens, not just the wealthy few. H.R. 1 brings back the critical building blocks of democracy- the right to vote, government dependence on the people and not special interests, and the idea that public officials act for the people’s interest.
Although it does not soothe all of our nation’s wounds, H.R.1 provides the country with an act of restorative justice. Democracy is the heart of our nation. H.R. 1 gives our elected leaders a shot at restoring political power into the communities denied that power. America needs leaders to take these steps if we want to rebuild after the damage we have seen.