The For The People Act: One Year in Purgatory

This week marks one year since the House of Representatives passed H.R.1, the landmark For The People Act. What’s happened to the bill since? It’s sat in Mitch McConnell’s legislative purgatory in the Senate.

The For The People Act sought to combat some of the greatest challenges facing our democracy. To name a few:

  • It proposed a voluntary public campaign financing system for congressional campaigns, matching donations under $200 at a ratio of 6:1.
  • It called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United and stamp big money out of politics for good.
  • It would have required super PACs and dark money organizations to disclose their donors.
  • It sought to create a national voter registration program, make Election Day a federal holiday, establish independent commissions to draw electoral districts and curb partisan gerrymandering, and limit efforts to purge voting rolls.
Source: Common Cause

Following its passage in the House, the For The People Act was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who argued that it was purely in the Democrats’ self-interest and vowed that it “will not get any floor time in the Senate.” So far, he’s kept that promise.

In the meantime, our democracy continues to crumble. The Federal Election Commission, without a quorum to vote, is rendered powerless to reign in big money in 2020 elections. This year’s presidential election is on track to be the most expensive in U.S. history. A small handful of wealthy individuals, who rarely reflect the issues affecting the larger public, are responsible for the majority of campaign spending. The interests of corporations and the wealthy outweigh those of the vast majority of Americans, who are being shut out of their own democracy.

As long as the For The People Act languishes on McConnell’s desk, these trends will inevitably grow.

That’s why it’s critical that we don’t stop making our voices heard.  Keep stamping, keep calling your representatives, and keep demanding action to fix our democracy!