Blog

Restoring democracy is first priority for House Democrats. H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2021

H.R. 1 was introduced into the House on January 4, 2021, just 2 days prior to the horrific assault on the Capital and democracy itself.  This is the stated purpose of this act:

“To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and

implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy,  and for other purposes.”

The Act addresses Voting, Campaign Finances and Ethics.  It includes provisions to make voting more accessible, such as online voter registration, same day registration, requiring voter-verified permanent paper ballots.  It also addresses early voting (requiring 10 hours per day with some hours prior to 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., re-enfranchisement of convicted felons and restrictions on voter purging.  Campaign finance reforms include establishing a duty to report foreign election interference, prohibition on distributing materially deceptive media prior to an election, disclosure of political contributions from government contractors, and stopping coordination between candidates and super PACS.  Major ethics provisions are requiring candidates for President and Vice President to disclose their tax returns, divest their financial interests posing a conflict of interest, and reporting on the cost of Presidential and senior officials travel cost.

These reforms are long overdue and will put us back on the path to a full and functioning democracy.  Please contact your Representative and urge their full support of this bill.

 

The following is a response from Rep. Cooper (D, 5th TN) to a Cheatham county constituent urging his full support of H.R.1:

Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 1.

I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1 and have cosponsored many of its components in the past like the ones that repeal Citizen United, make broad election reforms, and reject big money in politics. People should decide our elections – not corporations, interest groups, or unions. I voted for H.R. 1 last Congress along with every other House Democrat, but the Republican Senate never bothered to take a vote.

For years I have introduced the John Tanner Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act to stop the rigged redistricting process that protects political incumbents. It’s not exactly my language, but very similar redistricting commission language is also included in H.R. 1. We agree gerrymandering has been a hidden political sin for a long time and all we want to do is fix it.

Most importantly, though, we need to stop suppressing the vote. That has been an active political strategy of the modern Republican party since Richard Nixon’s ‘southern strategy.’ Photo ID laws, taking away your driver’s license if you don’t pay your court fees, making it difficult to register or hard for students to vote, things like this are meant to suppress the vote especially in southern states. We have seen the effect that suppressing turnout can have. This is wrong and bad for democracy.

We need this bill to become law. Our elections should empower more voters instead of being controlled by only a few.

Thanks again for reaching out to me. Please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Jim Cooper
Member of Congress