Massachusetts lawmakers touted the U.S. House of Representative’s Friday approval of a wide-ranging and high-priority bill to address voting rights, campaign finance and government ethics-related issues.
All nine members of the state’s U.S. House delegation joined other Democrats in passing the sweeping legislation -- known as H.R. 1, or the “For the People Act” -- on a 234 to 193 vote.
The bill contains several top priority measures for House Democrats, including language mandating that presidents publicly disclose tax information, encouraging elected officials to rely on small donors instead of large corporate contributions and expanding early voting options, among other things.
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, the Democratic Caucus’ vice chair, said the bill seeks to put power “back in the hands of the people" and called its passage “a win for democracy."
The Melrose Democrat noted that the measure includes two of her proposals that would require presidents and vice presidents to divest from their conflicts of interest and to release their tax returns before taking office.
“We’re bringing accountability back to politics,” she tweeted.
Congressman Richard Neal, a Springfield Democrat and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the legislation will help bring more transparency to America’s campaign finance system and “safeguard every citizen’s right to vote, including those who complete prison sentences for felonies.”
“The passage of H.R. 1 is a major step in the right direction. ... Democrats have worked hard to ensure that they keep their promises to stand up to corporations, make sure the government works for everyday Americans and guarantees that all voices are heard," he said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Westford, called the House’s vote “a big step forward in the fight to preserve and expand the right to vote and for the integrity of our elections.”
“I am also pleased that the legislation contained two of my amendments that were aimed at protecting the voting rights and access of the families of our brave service members in uniform, as well as making sure that agents of foreign governments are not able to exercise influence over the drawing of new congressional districts," she said in a statement. “Like so many of my colleagues I campaigned on the issue of making government more open, transparent and fair for the people we represent. This legislation represents a promise kept.”
Congressman Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, said he was proud to see the House pass “a bold ethics reform package created to end the culture of corruption that has overtaken our nation’s capital.”
“We promised to restore our democracy and bring transparency and accountability to Washington, and this is a first step," he tweeted.
Lynch also touted the bill’s inclusion of his “White House Ethics Transparency Act,” which would require presidential administrations to disclose waivers of executive branch ethics rules to the independent Office of Government Ethics.
He argued that the measure, if signed into law, will “ensure the American people know who is working behind closed doors in their government and will stop federal agencies from being flooded with former lobbyists and consultants whose previous work presents serious conflicts of interest.”
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Boston, thanked her colleagues for supporting the legislation, offering that it’s needed as the political system “has become increasingly focused on the privileged and powerful, drowning out the voices, experiences and needs of everyday Americans and their families.”
The bill now heads to the GOP-led U.S. Senate, where it not expected to see any action.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has said he will not bring the measure up for a vote on his chamber’s floor, according to various news outlets.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential hopeful, however, urged supporters to join her in demanding that the GOP leader take action on the House-passed legislation.
“Good news: The House just passed the For The People Act, which includes key elements from my ‘End Corruption Now’ bill, to start cleaning up corruption in Washington,” she tweeted. “I’m joining (End Citizens United) to demand that (the majority leader) give the bill a vote on the Senate floor. Are you with us?”
Original story here.