Top lawmakers and new representatives-elect promoted a government and election reform package that was unveiled by the incoming House leadership on Friday. Labeled as H.R. 1, the comprehensive bill will include provisions for voting rights, public financing, redistricting, and ethics reform. The elected officials acknowledged the overwhelming voter support in the midterm elections for democracy reform.
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland)
“A lot of people out there feel that Washington doesn’t listen to them, that democracy doesn’t work for them, that they are left out and locked out… [H.R. 1] is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a bold, proud declaration back to the American people that we get it, we hear you, we want to give you your voice back.”
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama)
“In the 116th Congress, our first order of business is giving democracy back to the people. That means starting work on day one to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That means passing legislation to end partisan gerrymandering, reform our campaign finance systems, and strengthen ethics reform.
“This past election we saw Americans in state after state speak in one voice demanding reforms that make it easier, not harder. The Voting Rights Advancement Act does just that by restoring protections for voters in states with a history of discrimination. We believe that no matter what state you live in, Democrat or Republican, you should have a fair voice in our elections. Your vote is your voice.”
Rep.-elect Dean Phillips (D-Minnesota)
“It’s time to tackle the culture of corruption in Washington. It’s time to elevate the common interest over special interests. And it’s time for a return to a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. It’s as simple as that. That’s what the people want. That’s why we’re here. And that will be the first order of business beginning on day one amongst my freshman colleagues.”
Rep.-elect Veronica Escobar (Texas)
“If we are going to accomplish the bold, aspirational things that everybody wants in America, what we’ve heard from our constituents about, we have to have a government that they can trust. And this is the first step to building a government they can trust: a government that they know is not ruled by dark money, and a government where they know there is one vote for every person regardless of interests that might be happening behind the scenes, that we can have elections we can trust.”
Rep.-elect Mary Kay Scanlon (Pennsylvania)
“[H.R. 1] will address many of the barriers to democracy that prevent too many people from having their voices heard, including seniors, communities of color, service members, college students, and low-income families. But it’s up to us to see it through. My home state of Pennsylvania has been a prime example of the rise of modern-day voter suppression with things like extreme gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, and absentee voting deadlines.”