Democrats Call for a Senate Vote on Elections Reform Package
Democratic congressmen held an event Thursday in Rhode Island to try to pressure Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into allowing a vote on a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package. Maryland Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes, who is the bill's main author, met with Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in North Providence. The influence of big money in politics is impeding efforts to address climate change, gun violence and prescription drug costs, they said. Activists working on those issues attended the event.... The legislation, called H.R. 1 to signify its importance, would make it easier to register and vote, require "dark money" political groups to make their donors public, and create a public financing system for congressional campaigns that Democrats say will cut down on corruption and reduce the power of lobbyists and other special interests.... Sarbanes, Cicilline and Whitehouse all said the reforms are crucial to making the government respond to the needs of the American people, rather than special interests and corporations, and restore the public's faith in government. Sarbanes said they're also asking voters to choose a team of reformers in 2020 and not reelect President Donald Trump, whom he called a "demagogue." "Mitch McConnell is standing at the doors of the United States Senate with his arms crossed, saying to the American people, 'You shall not pass,'" he said. "We're going to keep the pressure on him. The message to him is, if you won't put that the bill on the floor, then we're going to try to change the composition to make sure it gets to the floor. Democrats have made a promise to clean up government."