One Year After House Passage, Durbin Calls On Senate To Pass For The People Act
Landmark Bill Would Help Repair Our Broken Politics, Restore The Promise Of American Democracy, And Make Government Work For The People
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined members of the Senate Democratic Caucus to call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the For the People Act to the Senate floor for a vote one year after it was passed by the House. The For the People Act is a sweeping package of comprehensive reforms that would fix our broken politics and make government work for the people. The landmark legislation aims to restore the promise of American democracy by making it easier, not harder, to vote; ending the dominance of big money in politics; and ensuring that public officials work for the public interest.
This comprehensive democracy reform plan includes Durbin’s Fair Elections Now Act—a bill that he has introduced in every Congress since 2007. Durbin’s bill would provide qualified candidates for the U.S. Senate with grants, matching funds, and broadcast vouchers from the Freedom From Influence Fund to replace traditional campaign fundraising. In return, participating candidates would agree to limit their campaign spending to the amounts raised from small-dollar donors plus the amounts provided from the Fund.
“I think it is outrageous that we live in an America where people are dreaming up ways to restrict and restrain people’s right to vote. If there is anything fundamental to a democracy, it is the vote of those legally entitled in America,” Durbin said. “Let’s make sure the American people have the voice, the most important voice in this process through their right to vote.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.
The For the People Act would:
Make It Easier, Not Harder, To Vote
- Improve Access and Secure Voting Rights – Expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at institutional barriers to voting, such as cumbersome registration systems, limited voting hours and many other roadblocks. The bill creates automatic voter registration across the country, ensures that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full rights restored, expands voting by mail, promotes early voting and online voter registration, and modernizes the U.S. voting system.
- Promote Integrity – Fights back against the assault on voting rights by reaffirming Congress’s commitment to restoring the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere, and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent Americans citizens from exercising their rights. This bill would also end partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and making Americans feel like their voices do not count.
- Bolster Election Security – Ensures that American elections are decided by American voters without interference by foreign adversaries. The bill creates a national strategy to protect our democratic institutions, increases oversight over election vendors, and enhances federal support for state voting system security upgrades, including paper ballot voting systems.
End The Dominance of Big Money In Politics
- Guarantee Disclosure – Shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring all political organizations to disclose their donors, which will break the nesting-doll system that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide their spending in networks of so-called “social welfare” organizations; expands “Stand By Your Ad” provisions; and harmonizes internet disclosure rules with existing broadcast rules.
- Empower Citizens – Builds a 21st century campaign finance system to increase the power of small donors, reaffirms Congress’s authority to regulate money in politics, and pushes back against Citizens United. This bill levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, creating a multiple matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics. The new system of citizen-owned elections will break special interests’ stranglehold on Congress and the White House and lay the groundwork for an agenda that serves the American people.
- Strengthen Oversight – Repairs and restructures the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to break gridlock and enhance enforcement mechanisms, tightens rules on super PACs, and repeals policy riders that block sensible disclosure measures.
Ensure Public Officials Work For The Public Interest
- Fortify Ethics Laws and Slow the Revolving Door – Breaks the influence of special interests in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slows the revolving door, prohibits members of Congress from serving on for-profit corporate boards, limits first class travel for government officials, ends taxpayer-financed settlements for officeholders, and requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
- Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – Gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, requires the Supreme Court to create a new ethical code, and closes registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents.
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