House Dems First Actual Accomplishment
Written by WPVR on March 9, 2019
Yesterday, the House passed HR-1, one of the Democrats’ top priorities, in a strictly party-line vote. Every Democrat voted for it and every Republican voted against it. Ari Berman, reporting for Mother Jones, called it “the most significant democracy reform bill introduced in Congress since the Watergate era.” What the Democrats were so enthusiastic about and what the GOP was so uniformly opposed to is a bill that “would massively expand voting rights, crack down on gerrymandering, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and require sitting presidents and presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax returns.”
Trump and McTurtle are both opposed so it won’t become law until the Democrats retake the Senate– McConnell said he won’t even allow a vote– and the White House. They especially oppose the part of the bill that makes Election Day a national holiday since that will encourage more people to vote– and more people voting is always a bad thing for conservatives. Although the Republicans are not talking about it, another part of the bill they hated– public financing of elections– changed from being financed by taxes to being financed through fees generated by fines for corporate malfeasance.
The last desperate attempt of McCarthy and the Republicans to stop the bill in the House was a parliamentary procedural proposal– a motion to recommit with instructions to have hearings with the intention “recognizing that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues and diminishes the voting power of American citizens.” It wasn’t germane and normal Democrats don’t fall for these Republican maneuvers to gum up the works. In 1974 Joe Biden told a reporter from The Washingtonian that “A lot of us sit around thinking up ways to vote conservative just so we don’t come out with a liberal rating. When it comes to civil rights and civil liberties, I’m a liberal but that’s it. I’m really quite conservative on most other issues.” That was 45 years ago. These Democrats are still operating the same way today! They voted with the Republicans to sabotage HR-1. (McBath doesn’t really belong with these 5 Blue Dogs; maybe she pushed the wrong button.):
• Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY)
• Joe Cunningham (Blue Dog-SC)
• Kendra Horn (Blue Dog-OK)
• Lucy McBath (New Dem-GA)
• Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
• Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog-NJ)
The League of Women Voters urges you to vote YES for final passage of HR1, the For the People Act. The League will be paying close attention to debate on this bill and the final vote on the House floor. We implore you to reject any amendments to this legislation that would weaken our democracy.
Throughout our nearly 100-year history, the League of Women Voters has worked to “level the playing field” of our election system by registering new citizens to vote, fighting unfair district maps in court, and advocating in Congress for fair election processes. Key provision in HR1 that should be maintained include:
1. Break down barriers that prevent Americans from registering to vote. The Act requires states to allow same-day registration, establishes an opt-out system of automatic registration, and includes the establishment of an online voter registration for all eligible voters.
2. Restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and strengthen our elections by cutting back the obstructive laws that have kept eligible voters from exercising their right at the ballot box.
3. Establish independent, citizen redistricting commissions at the state level to draw congressional districts allowing voters to pick their politicians not the other way around.
4. Empower small donors by creating a public financing system to match small contributions to presidential and congressional candidates. It will also close disclosure loopholes that allow outside groups to flood elections with millions of dollars of secret money.
HR1 is an historic opportunity to put power back into the hands of the people. The League has worked tirelessly over the last few months to support and promote this legislation to all members of Congress.
Vote YES on final passage of HR1.
Vote NO on weakening amendments and the motion to recommit.
Meanwhile, Swampy K. McCarthy made the anti-democracy case for the suckers who believe Republican politicians.