On Jan. 4, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) reintroduced the For the People Act (H.R. 1), the most comprehensive democracy reform bill in decades. The measure rests on three pillars: reaffirming and expanding voting rights, strengthening oversight to end big money in politics, and ensuring an ethical government. Measures to achieve these goals include automatic voter registration, voluntary public financing of campaigns, placing new limits on partisan practices like gerrymandering and purging voter rolls, and requiring candidates for president and vice president to release their tax returns for the previous 10 years. H.R. 1 also makes a strong argument for the District of Columbia to become a state.
Passed by the House nearly two years ago, H.R. 1 was among hundreds of measures consigned to the legislative graveyard of then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Democrats have renewed the push for action now that they control both the House and the Senate—albeit by razor-thin margins. The full House could vote on H.R. 1 the first week of February.
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