WASHINGTON, D.C.—Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, the lead Senate sponsor of the For the People Act, released the following statement today following the House passage of this groundbreaking voting rights and anti-corruption legislation:
“The beating heart of America’s democracy—access to the ballot box—was under assault long before the deadly insurrection attempt on the Capitol on January 6. For decades, the powerful and the privileged have been hard at work to increase voter intimidation and voter suppression to advance their own agenda for the powerful. That means commonsense legislation that the majority of Americans support—on everything from strengthening our schools and ending outsourcing of jobs, to addressing climate chaos and protecting workers’ rights—have been pushed away time and time again in favor of tax giveaways for the rich, dangerous safety rollbacks, and the gutting of rules that provide protections and accountability, putting our economy and American jobs at risk.
“Today’s House passage of the For the People Act brings us one step closer to putting the power back in the hands of the American people, by tackling the voter suppression, extreme partisan gerrymandering, and dark money in politics that have solidified wealthy special interests’ grip on our government. A vote for this legislation is a vote for our constitutional vision of a ‘We the People’ America, and for a more perfect union.
“Republicans around the country are trying to take away citizens’ constitutional rights to vote, so it’s no surprise that they are opposed to this bill. But just as Americans from all different races, religions, and backgrounds came together to overcome segregationist filibusters and pass civil rights and voting rights bills in the 1960s, we must not let America’s constitutional promises be held hostage in the Senate. I’ll be doing everything I can to get this bill voted out of the Senate and onto President Biden’s desk.”
In January 2021, Merkley announced that he would be introducing the legislation in the 117th Congress, alongside Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Senate leadership agreed to designate the bill as S.1 to signify its importance to the future of our republic.