For the People Act

These are only my opinions and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.

The House passed a new anti-corruption and voting rights bill on Friday, which is an expansive measure that aims to make it easier for people to vote but also put an end to big money in politics. The new bill would also impose stricter ethics rules on federal officials. What’s incredible about the new legislation is that it passed 234-193, and it makes good on the campaign pledge by the Democrats to clean up Washington. It was this campaign promise that helped put Democrats into the House ahead of the 2020 election. But the bill has virtually no chance of passing the Senate.

The bill is incredibly ambitious and includes nearly 700 pages of proposals of which includes designating Election Day as a federal holiday, automatically registering citizens to vote, and restoring voting rights to people who have served felony sentences. In addition, it creates a six-to-one matching system for donations of up to $200 to congressional and presidential candidates who reject high-dollar contributions, funded by an additional fine on corporations found to have broken the law.

Republicans have spent more time trying to define this bill in order to underscore its primacy, and to tear it down, than the Democrats have spent trying to promote it. The bill is known as the For the People Act, or H.R. 1, but Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has branded it the Democrat Politician Protection Act. He’s also suggesting that Republicans shouldn’t take up the legislation. In addition, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California has also criticized the legislation, calling those who support it the “new, Democrat, socialist majority”.

But would this kind of bill really be so bad? The provisions certainly come across as extreme, but I think that’s because we’ve been used to the opposite for so long. Change isn’t always a bad thing. That said, some of the most debated provisions are intended to reveal who funds online political ads. The Disclose Act, part of the bill, would require super PACs and nonprofit organizations that spend money in elections to disclose the names of donors who contribute more than $10,000. Democrats say such disclosure is broadly popular with voters across the political spectrum.

As much as this bill looks good on the outside, there are groups on both sides of the political spectrum are urging members to vote against the bill – including the American Civil Liberties Union. Democrats have also used the legislation to make it clear that they believe that the problem (and the solution) is in the White House. These provisions also take aim at many of Trump’s alleged ethical abuses. Namely, requiring Trump and MikePence to release at least 10 years of federal tax returns, knowing that Trump refuses to disclose his.

An amendment sponsored by Representative Raul Ruiz of California would prohibit federal funds from being spent at businesses owned or controlled by the president, the vice president or any cabinet official. Federal agencies spent about $13 million on four of Trump’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in early 2017, according to a report by a nonpartisan congressional watchdog agency issued last month.

Whether or not this bill will get passed, remains to be seen, but it’s good to see the Democrats taking a stand and not backing down from this fight. The entire bill might not be something that the American people can stomach, but I suspect there’s enough good in there that will make a difference in future elections.

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