ICYMI: On Eve of First Senate Hearing, For the People Act Needed Now More Than Ever

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Last week, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced S.1, the For the People Act—a sweeping democracy restoration bill that would protect voting rights, break the grip of dark money in politics, and ensure public officials work for the public interest.

This afternoon, Senators Merkley and Klobuchar led a group of their Senate colleagues in speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate about the importance of passing the legislation to protect Americans from the onslaught of 253 voter suppression bills being introduced by Republicans in 43 state legislatures across the country. And tomorrow, Senators Merkley and Klobuchar will participate in the For the People Act’s first-ever Senate Rules Committee hearing.

Researchers and thought leaders continue to point to the need to pass the legislation to protect Americans’ access to the ballot box, strengthen trust and inclusion in our government, ensure that the congressional maps drawn this year are fair, and even boost the American economy.

Momentum continues to build ahead of tomorrow’s hearing. Here’s what they’re saying:

Opinion: H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 would reform our democracy. They’d also help our economy. (Robert E. Rubin, The Washington Post)

…Faith in democracy and faith in markets go hand in hand. People support pro-growth policies when they believe they will share in the benefits of growth. For these benefits to be widely shared, we need an inclusive growth policy agenda. This can be achieved only if elected officials feel accountable to the broader public. And there is broad accountability only if voting is widespread.

…In business, government and life, bad processes inevitably lead to bad outcomes. The process by which our leaders are elected is broken and growing worse. Repairing that electoral process — if necessary, by bypassing the legislative filibuster — isn’t just about abstract ideas of fairness and equality. It’s also an essential act to advance policies that improve Americans’ well-being, thereby strengthening the foundation of both our democracy and our market economy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Opinion: This is no time to compromise on democracy reform (Lawrence Lessig, The Washington Post)

…The breadth of its ambition is a strength, not weakness. Americans are deeply skeptical of their government. Overwhelmingly, they believe that Congress serves not them, but the special interests who pay for campaigns. Many are deeply and rightly angry at the efforts by states to suppress their vote. Others are frustrated with legislatures that draw districts to permanently entrench a political minority as a majority. And practically everyone thinks that every branch of our government must commit to higher ethical ideals. We are told we have the greatest democracy in the world. Yet very few who know anything about how it actually functions believe this.

H.R. 1 responds to these frustrations by addressing each aspect directly. Not every American is concerned with every part. But any American awake to political reality is convinced of at least part. Voters in Iowa are less concerned with gerrymandering – because that doesn’t happen in Iowa. But many voters in Iowa are appalled by a campaign funding system that just gave them the second-most-expensive Senate race in U.S. history, with 75 percent of the money coming from outside the state. The strategy of H.R. 1 is to address the common perception that our government doesn’t work for us, even if the particular flaws that might anger any group of citizens may be different… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

For the People Act Is Needed to Stop New GOP Voter Suppression Bills (Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue)

…For years, many Black people knew the GOP used “conservative values” as a mask for supporting sexist, racist, xenophobic legislation. But what has been revealed to me over the last several years, especially through the party’s continued suppression of voters, is that Republicans would rather dismantle our democracy than embrace the identities, perspectives, and needs of Americans. America isn’t some ideal or image that these leaders have in their minds. It is the people who inhabit it. We are the blood and the oxygen that flows through this place and keeps it alive. We are Black, brown, white, wealthy, poor, disabled, men, women, gender non-conforming, people who love whoever we choose to love. We are so many things, but we are one. The Republican Party’s dismissal of one is a dismissal of us allCLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Being in college shouldn’t disenfranchise me from democracy. HR 1 defends voters like me. (Lily Jackson, USA Today)

… However, the voting process is hardly straightforward, especially for students voting in New Hampshire (we have a higher percentage of college students than any other state and are ground zero in the GOP war on student voting rights). But H.R. 1, the For the People Act, will implement much-needed reforms if passed and signed into law.

…For political systems to be representative, all parts of society must be included. When young people are disenfranchised or disengaged from political processes, a significant portion of the population has little or no voice or influence in decisions that affect our lives.

…As an American, I believe in free fair elections. I believe in our democracy. I believe we need to pass H.R.1. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.