ICYMI: House Passes For the People Act, Momentum Continues to Build
ICYMI: House Passes For the People Act, Momentum Continues to Build
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of national polling that found 67% of Americans—including a majority of Republicans—support the For the People Act, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday night in a 219-211 vote.
Following the legislation’s passage, the bill’s lead Senate sponsor, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, and Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that the Rules Committee would host a Senate hearing for the legislation on March 24, 2021.
This week, President Biden issued a statement of strong support for the bill, emphasizing that the “sacred and fundamental” right to vote “is the right from which all of our other rights as Americans spring.” Former First Lady Michelle Obama also stated that she was “thrilled to see the House of Representatives pass the For the People Act” and urged the Senate “to follow suit and pass this bill as soon as possible.”
Here’s what they’re saying:
Statement by President Joe Biden on the House of Representatives Passage of H.R. 1 (President Biden)
…In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy; a coordinated attempt to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the American people never before seen in our history; and a new wave of aggressive attacks on voting rights taking place in states across the country, I applaud Speaker Pelosi and the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021.
The right to vote is sacred and fundamental — it is the right from which all of our other rights as Americans spring. This landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect that right, to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen our democracy. It will rein in the outrageous gerrymandering that distorts our democracy. It will empower the Justice Department to crack down on laws that curtail voting rights along racial lines. It will reform our campaign finance system to amplify the voices of the people — not the powerful. And it will modernize and secure our future elections against all manner of threats.
I look forward to working with Congress to refine and advance this important bill. And I look forward to signing it into law after it has passed through the legislative process, so that together we can strengthen and restore American democracy for the next election and all those to come.
Statement by Michelle Obama on the House of Representatives Passage of H.R. 1 (Michelle Obama)
…Make no mistake—the idea that we cannot both hold secure elections and ensure that every eligible voter can make their voices heard is a false choice. It’s based on lies and it flies in the face of our history. It is sad. It is infuriating. And it is a genuine threat to our future that must be taken seriously.
That’s why I am thrilled to see the House of Representatives pass the For the People Act. This bill will make it easier for ordinary Americans to register and cast a ballot. It will ramp up election security and end partisan gerrymandering. And it will do much, much more to make sure that our system of government remains in the hands of all the many, and not the few… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
It’s too difficult for ‘ordinary’ people to run for office. The For the People Act can change that. (Matt Keller, America Magazine)
…With Mr. Biden’s leadership today, and with the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting real reform for our institutions of government, we may well succeed in what has been a multigenerational struggle for a just and equitable system of governance.
Part of this desire for real reform stems from the fact that we are coming off the heels of the most corrupt administration in U.S. history, one that destroyed and desecrated democratic norms and exploited every known loophole in order to advance its own interest at the expense of the common good.
Comprehensive reform legislation, called the For the People Act (H.R. 1 and S. 1), is now before the House and Senate. This transformational legislation would restore just and equitable governance by focusing on three main areas: restoring and enhancing voting rights and election integrity, with a special emphasis on combating voter suppression; establishing a small-donor matching fund system that would end candidates’ dependency on big donors, allow citizens of average means to run for federal office and help make Congress more representative of the U.S. population; and overhauling ethics rules that apply to all three branches of government… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
House Approves Major Election Reform And Voting Rights Bill (Alan Wise and Deirdre Walsh, NPR)
…President Biden praised the House action in a statement Thursday morning, saying it comes in "the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy."
He added that the right to vote is "sacred and fundamental" and said "this landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect that right, to safeguard the integrity of our elections and to repair and strengthen our democracy." CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
But even as momentum for the sweeping anti-corruption legislation grows—including among Republican voters and thought leaders—Republican elected leaders continue to spread fabricated claims of voter fraud, and are doubling down on an un-American, disturbing electoral strategy: an attempt to win elections not by winning policy debates, but by blocking millions of Americans from voting.
More on that:
Republicans Are Pushing A Wave Of Voter Restrictions. Democrats’ Top Priority Would Stop Them. (Paul Blumenthal, Huffington Post)
…Ex-President Donald Trump’s lies about election fraud did not just lead to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol meant to overturn a free and fair democratic election. His lies also led to a new wave of more than 250 voting restriction bills introduced by Republican governors and state legislators across the country that would make it harder to vote…
Republican lawmakers have introduced more than 250 new bills to limit voting, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a pro-voting rights nonprofit that supports the For The People Act. These bills would limit early, absentee and provisional voting, introduce new voter identification restrictions, expand voter roll purges and make it harder to register to vote.
There’s an explosion of Republican activity, governors and legislatures across the country, working to pass bills to keep people from voting,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a lead sponsor of the For The People Act, said. “To me, this is entirely anti-democratic.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Democracy on the Brink (Andy Kroll, Rolling Stone)
…Republican lawmakers in state capitals across the nation are introducing hundreds of bills to restrict the right to vote, using former President Donald Trump’s lie about a stolen election as a rallying cry and as political cover. This wave of legislation, experts say, will disproportionately restrict access to the ballot box for young, black, and brown voters — the most reliable voting blocs for the Democratic Party.
Without major change in Washington, the GOP backlash at the state level could lock in draconian new laws disenfranchising huge swaths of voters while gerrymandering state and congressional political maps for another decade. These anti-democratic maneuvers, political analysts say, could all but ensure that Republicans retake some or all of Congress in 2022, and make it easier to win back the White House in 2024… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Fact check: Pence echoes Trump's Big Lie in dishonest op-ed on election rules (Daniel Dale, Holmes Lybrand, and Tara Subramaniam, CNN)
…Pence's op-ed, published on the Daily Signal website run by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, was mostly filled with attacks on a Democratic elections reform bill known as HR 1.
But Pence also made claims about what happened in the 2020 election. Most notably, he began the article by claiming that the election involved "significant voting irregularities."
Unlike Trump, Pence did not say the election involved significant "fraud." But he left his vaguer claim about "voting irregularities" wide open for readers to interpret as an endorsement of Trump's fraud lie… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Michelle Obama tears into Senate Republicans for ‘unpatriotic’ efforts to block voting rights act (Stuti Mishra, The Independent)
…Former first lady Michelle Obama hit out at Republicans in the Senate who are trying to “make it harder for people with every right to vote to cast a ballot,” in a statement released on Twitter.
Ms. Obama took to social media on Wednesday to celebrate the passing of the For the People Act in the House, saying that she is “thrilled” and would “urge the Senate to follow suit.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
- Merkley, Sullivan Announce Resolution Shining a Bright Light on Environmental, Humanitarian, and Economic Challenges Facing the Mekong River
- Cassidy, Merkley, Colleagues Reintroduce Bicameral Bill to Provide Medicaid Due Process for Americans Awaiting Trial
- Wyden, Merkley: $2.1 Million to Oregon Farmers
- Salinas, Merkley Lead Oregon Congressional Delegation to Amend the Grand Ronde Reservation Act
- Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $38 Million Coming to Oregon for Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Outdoor Access