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Chairman Nadler Joins New House Democratic Majority to Introduce Historic Pro-Democracy Reforms

Jan 4, 2019
H.R. 1, the For the People Act, Will Clean Up Corruption in Washington, Make It Easier to Vote, and Give Hard-working Americans More Power in Our Democracy

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, joined the new House Democratic majority in introducing H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping package that offers the most transformational and comprehensive pro-democracy reforms in more than four decades. Rep. Nadler issued the following statement on the introduction of this legislation: 

"Many Americans already believe that their elected leaders do not care about them, and that officeholders care only about raising money and prioritizing the interests of the moneyed class. They believe that their participation, their voices, cannot count against the power of big money, and recent experience shows that they are often right.

"Without H.R. 1, our democracy will find itself more and more at the mercy of large moneyed interests. If we do not pass this critical legislation, the history books may eventually say that, like the Roman Republic, the United States has a good 200 to 250-year run at democracy, and then degenerated into an oligarchy like all the rest. We must not let that happen. We must pass this legislation."

The issues that will be referred to 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.

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116th Congress