The For the People Act Would Help
Two GOP walls are now inactive: Donald Trump’s stupid and wasteful border wall, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stone wall against H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which was introduced as the first bill in the 116th Congress. It passed the House in 2019, but McConnell immediately said it’s “not going to go anywhere in the Senate,” and it died on his desk. But 2021 is a new time for “we the people,” and a huge setback for the reactionary GOP. H.R. 1 (and the Senate version, S. 1) are now before the 117th Congress, and McConnell — now the Senate minority leader — cannot simply block it. The For the People Act, would help strengthen campaign finance reform and government ethics — for four years now an oxymoron — and expand and improve voting rights. It features these steps to improve democracy to benefit us all: Require presidential and vice presidential candidates to show tax returns; put stricter limitations on foreign lobbying and revolving doors; disclose “dark money” donors; improve bipartisanship in the Federal Election Commission; overturn Citizens United; establish public financing for campaigns, with a 6-1 match for small donations; require elected officials to pay harassment settlements out of their own pockets; establish an ethics code for the Supreme Court; create a national voter registration program; designate Election Day as a national holiday; reduce or eliminate partisan gerrymandering; limit efforts to purge voter lists — a darn good set of improvements, to put the swamp behind us. All are anathema to the GOP, and all support values that are crucial to reducing the many enormous inequities in our country. I hope this bill gets the support it deserves, in both the House and the Senate, in the 117th Congress.