WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) applauded House Democrats’ introduction of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a comprehensive democracy reform package to fight corruption and fix our broken politics. Udall and Merkley will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks. The legislation builds off of the We The People Democracy Reform package, which Udall and Merkley introduced in the 115th Congress. Udall and Merkley issued the following joint statement:
“Today, Democrats are opening the new Congress by fulfilling our promise to the American people — moving forward with bold action to return our democracy to the hands of its rightful owners, the American people. It is time to end the dominance of big money in politics; make it easier, not harder, to vote; and ensure that politicians actually serve the public interest. The For The People Act is a landmark and urgently-needed reform package to repair our badly-broken politics, and we will be proud to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in the coming weeks and press for Senate action on reform.
“American democracy has reached a crisis point. The 116th Congress is convening under the cloud of the Trump shutdown and a host of scandals — the exact kind of destructive and corrupt politics that have too many Americans understandably convinced that their government is not answering to or working for them. Disastrous Supreme Court decisions have opened up the floodgates for secret, special interest money to drown out the voices of regular people. Foreign adversaries continue to interfere in our elections and our policy-making. Cynical politicians who think winning is more important than democracy continue to attack voting rights across the country, and disenfranchise minority and Native communities. The president’s family businesses continue to seek profits at home and abroad with no transparency in violation of the Constitution. And big money donors continue to buy special access, high-ranking positions in government, and policies designed to enrich them rather than promote the public interest.
“Working families are sick of government of, by, and for the powerful. In our current system, pharmaceutical companies drive health care policy. Polluters write environmental regulations. Wall Street sets financial policy. Predatory loan corporations and for-profit colleges determine how working families pay for higher education. And our entire tax system is designed to move money from working families to giant corporations and the ultra-rich. Enough is enough.
“Americans spoke loudly and clearly in the November elections that they want to us to end the culture of corruption that has swept through our politics. There is no more important issue to address in this Congress than restoring the integrity of our democracy and bringing accountability to our politics, and H.R. 1 is the precise medicine that we need to cure what ails our once-proud system of governance. We are looking forward to leading a coalition in the Senate that is fully allied with House Democrats’ efforts. Despite their past reluctance, Republican leadership in the Senate would be wise to heed the resounding calls of the American people – and recognize that Democrats and the American people will not rest until these badly-needed reforms are enacted into law.”