On Wednesday, the U.S. House passed the “For the People Act,” a series of election reforms backed by Congressional Democrats, on a 220-210 vote.
The bill would drastically change American election laws, including restoring voting rights to felons, loosening voter ID laws and having all states automatically register voters.
With the exception of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who voted against it, the vote broke down on party lines with Democrats backing it and Republicans standing against it.
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., praised the proposal on Thursday.
“Our country is facing enormous challenges — a raging pandemic, devastating job losses, skyrocketing health care costs and voter suppression,” Lawson said. “We must confront these issues head-on by strengthening our democracy and advancing the For the People Act. This transformative legislation delivers on our promise to return us to a government of, by and for the people. This reform effort will put an end to decades of dysfunction in politics, return power back to the American people and put us on an inspired path toward a more equitable, just and prosperous future.”
“The For the People Act is one of the most transformational pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms in a generation,” insisted U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. “It restores American democracy by breaking down barriers to voting, ensuring the integrity of our elections, and holding government officials to a high ethical standard.
“Most Americans want to end the era of powerful special interests preventing Congress from responding to issues like gun violence and climate change. H.R. 1 puts the people back in charge of Washington,” Deutch added. “At a time when our democracy is under threat from foreign influence, from disinformation, from big money, and from attacks on voting rights, Congress must ensure our elections and our government truly serve the will of the people.”
Republicans from the Sunshine State lined up against the bill.
“House Democrats continue to prove that they are here to serve themselves, not you. Today’s vote tramples on the Constitution and steals your taxpayer dollars to pay for their own political campaigns. It’s shameful. No one should ever put politicians before our people,” said U.S. Rep Neal Dunn, R-Fla., who insisted the bill “uses taxpayer money to directly fund congressional political campaigns” and “gives away $25 to every individual in the U.S. to donate to the candidates of their choice.”
U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., also voted against it.
“In another week of partisan hackery, I voted against two pieces of legislation on topics that would have had the potential for bipartisan input in a normally-functioning Congress. I lament the fact that Republicans are not given a fair chance to help craft legislation or any legitimate opportunity to provide amendments on the floor. Instead, we are asked to engage in a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to governing,” Gimenez said. “Rather than bringing Republicans and Democrats to the table on election reform, Speaker Pelosi put forward some of the most egregious attacks on our election systems. H.R. 1 included provisions that take your hard-earned money and give it to campaigns. For every $200 a want-to-be-politician receives in donations, the federal government will use Americans’ taxpayer dollars to give them $1,200. This effectively forces you, the American taxpayer, to finance political campaigns you do not support.
“Ultimately, this bill weaponizes the FEC into a partisan commission and throws out common-sense voter ID laws. As one of the only members of Congress who has actually had to implement election protocols, I speak on authority when it comes to our elections – the bill is a travesty for all Americans,” he added.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.