Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 4 reintroduced the For the People Act (H.R. 1). This legislation, the first bill introduced in the 117th Congress, reaffirms the commitment of leadership and most members of the House to getting rid of “dark money” and political corruption. It also demonstrates a commitment to ensuring votes cast by Americans – especially those from communities of color – are protected against voter suppression, gerrymandering and other tactics that have been used to deny millions of people the fundamental right to vote.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Administration Chairperson Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), and other members of the House have shown strong leadership in advancing this critical and voting reform legislation – for that they must be commended.
This bill comes following a national election that was fraught with blatant assaults on the right to vote and insidious and undisguised attempts to suppress the votes of millions. The system was also flooded and corrupted with “dark money,” or political contributions by nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors. For these reasons, the social work profession must call on all Members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 1 and immediately vote for these urgently needed reforms.
Americans have recently experienced a system of government that has been deeply dysfunctional and beholden to the privileged and the powerful. We are experiencing one of the most serious threats to democracy in history with President Trump and his supporters’ refusal to accept the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election. Without far-reaching voting reforms and voter protections our system of government will be hanging on a thread. Such reforms must extend to vigilant oversight over our entire election process to ensure smooth and equitable transitions to governing after the people have spoken.
“By passing H.R. 1, we can take a bold and transformational step toward making our political system more just, fair and equitable — and more responsive to the pressing needs of American families. We must return to government of, by and for the people. H.R. 1 will get us there.” – Declaration for American Democracy