Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman joined House Democrats in passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act. The bill, a sweeping anti-corruption package to protect and expand voting rights, restore integrity to government and put the needs and priorities of the American people ahead of special interests, passed by a vote of 220-210.
Chairman Nadler issued the following statement in support of H.R. 1:
"Free and fair elections, along with open, ethical, and honest government, provide the foundation of our democracy. But these principles have been threatened in recent years, and H.R. 1 is essential to restoring Americans’ faith in government. For many years, there has been a determined effort to limit voting rights, which have had a particularly pernicious effect on minorities. And those efforts have only picked up after the November elections. In the twisted, anti-democratic logic of those behind these schemes, anything proven to bring more people to the polls must be stopped—that is what keeps them in power. H.R. 1 would reverse this dangerous trend. This legislation also fixes our broken campaign finance system, in which billionaires and corporations are handed a megaphone in the public square, while everyone else is reduced to barely a whisper. If we don’t act, I fear that historians will eventually write that the American Republic, like the Roman Republic, had a good 250-year run with democracy but then it evolved into an oligarchy."
The provisions under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee include:
Ensuring Election Access
- Makes it unlawful to hinder, interfere or prevent an individual from registering to vote.
- Prohibits the use of non-forwardable mail as the basis for removing registered voters from the rolls, and prohibits challenges to eligibility from individuals who are not election officials without an oath of good faith factual basis.
- Prohibits providing false information about elections to hinder or discourage voting and increases penalties for voter intimidation, and prescribes sentencing guidelines for those individuals found guilty of such deceptive practices.
- Declares the right of citizens to vote in federal elections will not be denied because of a criminal conviction unless a citizen is serving a felony sentence in a correctional facility, and requires states and the federal government to notify individuals convicted of state or federal felonies, respectively, of their re-enfranchisement.
- Allows individuals private rights of action and ability to file administrative complaints.
Restoring the Voting Rights Act and Protecting the Integrity of our Elections
- Declares that Congress finds that the Shelby County decision ushered in a new era of voter suppression and that Congress should build a record of voter suppression since Shelby, and declares that, per the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby, Congress should restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act by updating the formula for determining which jurisdictions are subject to federal preclearance.
- Declares Congress' intent to protect and promote Native Americans’ exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, including voter registration and equal access to all voting mechanisms.
- Declares Congress’ view that the right to vote is one of the more powerful instruments that residents of the territories of the United States have to ensure their voices are heard.
Campaign Finance Reform
- Expresses that Congress finds that the Citizens United decision is detrimental to democracy and that the Constitution should be amended to clarify Congress’ and the States’ authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.
Enforcing Ethics Within the Federal Government
- Requires the development of a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices.
- Increases resources for FARA office, creates FARA investigation and enforcement unit in Department of Justice and provides authority to impose civil penalties, and requires Foreign Agents to disclose transactions involving things of financial value conferred on officeholders.
- Clarifies that counseling in support of lobbying contacts is considered lobbying under the Lobbying Disclosure Act and therefore triggers registration.
- Requires all Presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any matter in which a party is the President, the President’s spouse, or an entity in which the President or President’s spouse has a substantial interest.