Rep. Castor, Congress Pass For The People Act to Return Power Back to the American People
As the GOP-Controlled Florida Legislature Aims to Make it More Difficult for Floridians to Vote, Congress is Standing Up for Ethics in Government and Voting Rights for All
Tonight, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) and House Democrats passed H.R. 1 – the For the People Act - a bold reform package that is focused on: cleaning up corruption, protecting and expanding the right to vote, restoring integrity to government, and elevating the American people’s interests over of the special interests.
"We learned this year how fragile our democracy is – and how much citizens value the right to participate. Floridians are fed up with outsized, monied special interests, and the ceaseless attempts to make voting more complicated. While the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature is doing all it can to make it more difficult to vote, the For The People Act is ambitious and transformative legislation to put power back in the hands of the people and restore the faith that government works for them, not the special interests," Castor said. “By focusing on fair elections, restoring the Voting Rights Act, fighting rampant voter suppression, and ending the dominance of big money in politics, the For the People Act will strengthen and safeguard our democracy.
“Importantly for Florida, this legislation ensures that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full rights restored. In 2018, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to restore the voting rights of returning citizens. Yet, in a slap in the face to Florida voters, the GOP erected more voting barriers to block an estimated 1.4 million people from being able to vote in the 2020 election. It’s a shameful modern-day Jim Crow disenfranchisement effort by GOP politicians and must be addressed.
“The For The People Act will take sweeping action to fortify ethics laws and increase accountability from public officials and candidates, including prohibiting Members of Congress from serving on for-profit, corporate boards; slowing the revolving door between public service and special interests; prohibiting Members of Congress from using taxpayer dollars to settle harassment lawsuits; and requiring all presidential and vice presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns.
“The legislation also includes my longtime effort to end ‘Zombie Campaigns’, a practice where ex-lawmakers hoard and convert their campaign funds for personal use years after their campaigns have ended. My amendment to increase transparency and integrity by requiring former candidates to disburse their campaign funds before registering as foreign agents also will help clean up corruption.
“In the past two months, over 250 bills to restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states. This happens as the Supreme Court hears Republican-led cases on striking down what’s left of the Voting Rights Act, a shameful encroachment on our nation’s democratic values that H.R. 1 will fight against. This legislation reaffirms Democrats’ commitment to ensuring fair elections, fighting voter suppression and restoring, not eradicating, the Voting Rights Act. It improves access to the ballot box by combatting institutional barriers to voting, creates nationwide automatic voter registration, expands early voting and absentee voting, and modernizes the U.S. voting system. The For The People Act also protects our election systems from attack by enhancing federal support for voting system security, increasing oversight over vendors and developing a national strategy to protect our democratic institutions.”
“President Biden has voiced his support for this legislation, and I am confident that passage of the For The People Act will make the promise of our nation more accessible for all Americans and clean up the corruption that has ensconced our nation’s capital for far too long.”
The For The People Act will:
• Expand automatic voter registration and same day registration.
• Strengthen vote by mail, early voting and ballot access.
• Combat voter intimidation and voter suppression.
• Protect elections from foreign interference.
• Fix partisan gerrymandering.
• Promote digital ad transparency.
• Force disclosure of dark money.
• Rein in lobbyist influence.
• Enforce ethics and conflict of interest rules for all government officials.