The House of Representatives passed the For the People Act on March 8, 2019. Nearly a year later, there’s been no Senate action on it or the Udall-Merkley companion bill. This is unacceptable in any year. It’s especially troubling with the 2020 election looming large and a president who has thus far escaped accountability for his anti-democratic actions. People For the American Way and allied organizations are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to remove this critical democracy reform package from his legislative graveyard. It’s time to put the power back in the people’s hands. You can download our coalition letter here.
Dear Senate Majority Leader McConnell:
We write to you today to express our concerns about the state of our democracy following the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump in the U.S. Senate. Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold the president accountable for his attempt to use foreign actors to influence our elections sends a clear signal to foreign leaders, big corporations, and wealthy elites that they too can be above the law. We urge the Senate to look to the future and swiftly act on policy solutions to fix our broken democracy and ensure the cycle of corruption is not allowed to continue.
To rebuild faith in our democracy, we must usher in a new era of accountability for our elected officials that puts the voices of voters over the interests of corporate donors and powerful special interests. The undersigned members of the Declaration for American Democracy coalition call on the U.S. Senate to finally advance the For the People Act (H.R. 1). This set of transformational, comprehensive democracy reforms, which already passed the U.S. House and has the support of 47 Senators, will protect and expand people’s right to vote, take power away from big money and lobbyists, and restore ethics and accountability. It is time for our government to reflect the will of all Americans, not just the wealthy and powerful.
Perhaps most urgently, President Trump’s attempt to coerce a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections highlights the immediate need to secure our elections. H.R. 1 includes critical policies that would protect our elections from foreign interference by using hand-marked paper ballots, risk-limiting audits, and enhanced penalties against entities that provide deliberately false information about elections. In order to restore integrity to our elections and to ensure our vote is secure, the Senate must pass H.R. 1 prior to the 2020 election.
For too long, the wealthy and powerful have manipulated our democracy to serve their own interests. The result is a lack of progress on key issues voters care about, such as lowering the price of prescription drugs, grappling with the crisis of climate change, and reducing the epidemic of gun violence. Without legislative action to curb the current culture of corruption, our country cannot effectively address the challenges everyday Americans face.
Our democracy is at stake. It’s time to take action and pass H.R. 1 to put the power back in the hands of the American people.