H.R. 1 Returns Power to the People

By Chris Pappas | Fosters
Mar 9, 2019
Editorials

In late November, I joined a group of future House colleagues to outline the For The People Act, or H.R. 1, a bill that sets a clear tone for the new Congress. The legislation is the first priority of our history-making freshman class, a group that was elected by focusing on changing the way Washington works.

My first two months in Congress have proved to me that our system is not working the way it was intended. We’ve been through the longest shutdown in American history, witnessed an unconstitutional national emergency declaration that defies the will of Congress and the American people, and seen regular partisan political fights.

Through the dysfunction, there have also been encouraging signs and reasons for hope. The shutdown ended because a bipartisan committee from the House and Senate got in the same room and worked out a compromise, an important roadmap for how to get things done. At the same time, our freshman class is focused on changing the system and not succumbing to it, and we’re proud to have led the effort to pass major legislation to return the power in our nation’s capital to the people.

The For The People Act recognizes that we can’t realize action on urgent priorities if we don’t shore up our democracy. Right now, the outsized influence of big money, corporations, and special interests takes power away from everyday Americans. In addition, members of Congress too often act in their own self-interests and seek to use their position as a stepping stone to lucrative careers after politics. To top it off, voting rights are being eroded and too many Americans are encountering barriers to participate in the democratic process.

H.R. 1 is designed to take common sense steps to address these challenges. If we cast aside the influence of big money, ensure that members of Congress are working for you and not themselves, and protect the right to participate in elections, our democracy will be better for it and our system will serve you better.

The legislation includes an array of pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms that are a breath of fresh air. H.R. 1 tightens requirements for lobbyists, unmasks anonymous dark money donors to campaigns, and incentivizes candidates who raise money from small, grassroots donors.