House passes sweeping electoral reform bill

by Juliegrace Brufke
March 8, 2019

House Democrats passed a sweeping electoral reform bill in a 234-193 party-line vote on Friday.
The For The People Act, better known as H.R. 1 — spearheaded by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) — aims to expand voting rights, implement new ethics rules and increase transparency in elections, according to its proponents.

The bill includes provisions to enable automatic voter registration, strengthen resources to stave off foreign threats on elections and make Election Day a national holiday for federal workers.

Democrats unveiled the legislation shortly after the start of the 116th Congress, underscoring its importance in their agenda. Supporters of the bill argued it’s necessary in order to tackle corruption and dark money in politics. Under the legislation, the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which got rid of some limits on corporate and union political spending, would be overturned and coordination between super PACs and candidates would be prohibited.

Freshman Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) lamented that Washington is home to 11,000 registered lobbyists — “25 lobbyists per member of Congress,” he said — and recounted a lobbyist dinner he attended on one of his first nights in Washington.

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