The For The People Act: Sweeping Reforms

By Adam Schiff | The Los Feliz Ledger
Jan 31, 2019
Editorials

The ideals of American democracy are under attack through a combination of dark money, gerrymandered districts and voter suppression.

With the new Democratic Majority, we are taking immediate action to reform and fix our broken political system, from voting rights to campaign finance transparency to requiring disclosure of political online advertising.

If we’re actually going to solve the problems facing our nation, like affordable health care or climate change or creating good paying jobs, we need to make sure our political system works for all Americans, not just the wealthy and powerful.

Upon our return to Congress this January, our first order of business was introducing legislation to combat big money in politics, strengthen our ethics laws and protect the right of all American citizens to vote.

On January 3rd, my Democratic colleagues and I introduced “H.R. 1,” the “For the People Act “ a sweeping anti-corruption and democracy reform package that will help ensure the government is working for ordinary Americans, not special interests.

This legislation will empower voters and strengthen our democracy by:

• Ending partisan gerrymandering by requiring states to establish independent commissions when redrawing congressional districts, like we have in California, so that voters choose their elected officials and not the other way around 

• Upgrading online political ad transparency and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose large donors and funding sources, while also tightening requirements around lobbyists for foreign interests

• Creating a 21st century campaign finance system that will amplify small donors with public matching funds and allow candidates to run competitive races without relying on big money

• Simplifying voter participation by encouraging automatic voter registration, expanding absentee and early voting and making Election Day a national holiday

Our bill will restore ethical responsibility across all three branches of our government and also lay the groundwork to restore the integrity of the Voting Rights Act by protecting every citizen’s right to vote. 

We should be doing everything we can to make it easier, not harder, to vote in our state and national elections. If one person is discouraged or denied access to the ballot box, it goes to the very heart of the integrity of our entire election system.

We promised to clean up the culture of corruption in Washington and these are the critical, systemic reforms that will revive our democracy and ensure it’s working for our citizens. 

There’s a reason we’re prioritizing substantive reforms to strengthen our democracy. Everything else we want to do for the American people—reducing health costs and prescription drug prices, creating better-paying jobs, preventing gun violence and combatting climate change—all follow from a democracy that puts people first.

As we begin our work in the new legislative session, House Democrats will work to restore trust and transparency in our government and give back to the American people their voice and their power.