Pelosi and Sarbanes Outline H.R. 1 of the 116th Congress

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Nancy Pelosi / Flickr nancy pelosi...
Nancy Pelosi / Flickr

Nancy Pelosi and John Sarbanes penned this op-ed in the Washington Post. It describes the outline for H.R. 1, which will be the first legislative vote of the 116th Congress. It will be focused on three main Democratic priorities — to reduce the influence of money in politics, to restore ethics and integrity to government, and to strengthen voting laws.

Here are some highlights —

During the campaign, Democrats declared unequivocally that we would clean up corruption to make Washington work for the people. We pledged to reduce the role of money in politics, to restore ethics and integrity to government, and to strengthen voting laws.

We now have our marching orders. The new Democratic House is ready to deliver with H.R. 1: a bold reform package to restore the promise of our democracy — a government of, by and for the people.

  1. First, let’s end the dominance of money in politics. So let’s rein in the unaccountable “dark money” unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision by requiring all political organizations to disclose their donors and by shutting down the shell game of big-money donations to super PACs.
  2. Next, let’s make sure that when public servants get to Washington, they serve the public. To do so, we will expand conflict-of-interest laws, ban members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards, revamp the oversight authority of the Office of Government Ethics and prohibit public servants from receiving bonus payments from their former employers to enter government.
  3. Finally, let’s make it easier, not harder, to vote.  We must renew the Voting Rights Act to protect every citizen’s access to the ballot box and restore the vital safeguard of pre-clearance requirements for areas with a history of voter suppression. We will promote national automatic voter registration, bolster our critical election infrastructure against foreign attackers, and put an end to partisan gerrymandering once and for all by establishing federal guidelines to outlaw the practice.

And with a system that works for the people, we will deliver policy outcomes that make life better for all Americans: We will lower health-care costs and out-of-control prices for prescription drugs. We will rebuild the United States’ infrastructure, raise the minimum wage and put leverage back in the hands of workers and consumers. We will finally advance common-sense, bipartisan solutions to prevent gun violence. We will confront discrimination with the Equality Act, pass the Dream Act to protect the patriotic young undocumented immigrants who came here as children, and take the first step toward comprehensive immigration reform.

Do read the full article to get the full picture and also read between the lines. This is just an outline or a blueprint, not a full bill. There is a long list of Democratic priorities to come, but we do not control the Senate or the White House, so the strategy has to be one that helps win popular support in red states and to win the Senate and the WH in 2020.

As the article at www.npr.org/… points out, Republicans, who control the Senate, have zero likelihood of passing the bill and trump will never sign it. But the bill will provide a blueprint for action by Democrats in the next two years, shine the spotlight on trump and Republican corruption, help energize the Democratic base and bring more Independents into the Democratic tent. It will also force Republican lawmakers to vote on the bill and make them answer to their constituents, as to why they think these ideas are not good for the People.

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