|Tuesday, March 2, 2021|
Floor Schedule and Procedure:
Begin Consideration of H.R. 1 – For the People Act of 2021 (Rep. Sarbanes – House Administration)
The bill responds to structural inequities in our democracy that have emerged after decades of disrepair. These fault lines are only growing worse in light of a coordinated campaign at the state level to advance further voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering and big, dark money. To respond to these threads, the For the People Act advances critical reforms across three key policy areas:
Expanding and protecting voting rights: H.R. 1 fights institutional barriers to voting by implementing key reforms such as automatic and same day voter registration, early and absentee voting, and complete restoration of voting rights for individuals who have completed felony sentences. H.R. 1 also prohibits voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia, and elsewhere, and makes our elections safer by bolstering federal support for voting system security. H.R. 1 unrigs the political system by ending partisan gerrymandering so voters choose their Congressional representatives, not the other way around.
Ending the dominance of big money in politics: H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money by requiring big political spenders to disclose their large donors, modernizing online ad disclosure, and ensuring that every political ad includes disclaimers so that Americans know who is speaking and paying for the ad. The bill also modernizes the presidential small donor system and creates a similar system for congressional candidates, strengthening candidates’ focus on everyday Americans rather than wealthy donors. The systems will be entirely funded by new surcharge on corporate law breakers and wealthy tax cheats. H.R. 1 also establishes common-sense coordination limits between Super PACs and candidates, prevents foreign nationals from interfering with our democracy, and ensures that there are cops on the campaign finance beat by restructuring the Federal Election Commission.
Ensuring public servants work for the public interest: H.R. 1 strengthens ethics laws across all three branches of government, bolstering conflict of interest restrictions, slowing the revolving door between government and the private sector, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards, and requiring presidents to disclose their tax returns. H.R. 1 also gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, closing loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, and ensuring that watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law.
H.R. 1 passed with unanimous Democratic support last Congress.
Click here for bill text.
Click here for Section-by-Section summary.
The Rule makes in order 56 amendments and allows for amendments to be offered en bloc. A full list of amendments can be found here. Amendments to be considered today can be found below.
Expands state requirements for early voting locations to include college campuses.
Adams Amendment #2
Requires that, in order to be eligible for funds under the program for institutions of higher education demonstrating excellence in voter registration, institutions must have engaged in initiatives to facilitate the enfranchisement of groups of individuals that have historically faced barriers to voting.
Adams Amendment #3
Requires school districts to describe how they will prioritize access to initiatives for schools serving their most vulnerable students when applying for funds under the “Pilot Program for Providing Voter Registration Information to Secondary School Students.”
Adams Amendment #4
Adams Amendment #5
Inserts a provision requiring the US Postal Service to sweep its facilities and post offices daily to ensure that ballots are expeditiously transmitted to local election officials.
Exempts any state that does not utilize voter registration on enactment date of this Act and continuously thereafter from complying with voter registration requirements in the Act.
Auchincloss Amendment #7
Expands the requirements for states to receive grants for poll worker recruitment and training to ensure the state includes dedicated poll worker recruitment for youth and minors, including by recruiting at institutions of higher education and secondary education.
Auchincloss Amendment #8
Adds “age” to the list of bases upon which voter challenges by persons other than election officials will be presumed as lacking a good faith factual basis.
Protects the ability of third parties to provide an application for an absentee ballot; ensures that election officials can send voter registration applications unsolicited; ensures that the number of drop boxes and geographical distribution of drop boxes provide a reasonable opportunity for voters to submit their ballot; permits for the security of drop boxes through remote or electronic surveillance.
Allows for voter education information at naturalization ceremonies for newly sworn in citizens.
Requires states to include an option for an absentee ballot in the next and subsequent federal elections on a voter registration application form as part of registering for a State motor vehicle driver’s license.
Burgess Amendment #12
Requires the DOJ to submit a report to Congress on the impact of wide-spread mail-in voting on the suffrage of active duty military servicemembers, how quickly their votes are counted, and whether high volumes of mail-in votes makes it harder for those individuals to vote.
Burgess Amendment #13
Requires a report to Congress on the personally identifiable information data collection practices, the required necessary security resources, and the impact of a potential data breach of local, state, or federal online voter registration systems.
Bush Amendment #14
Clarifies that felony convictions do not bar any eligible individual from voting in federal elections, including individuals who are currently incarcerated.
Bush Amendment #15
Expands accessibility requirements for ballot drop box locations to ensure unhoused communities can participate in federal elections.
Directs the Election Assistance Commission to conduct a study on the 2020 elections and compile a list of recommendations to help states administer vote-by-mail elections.
Adds campaign fund disbursement requirements for former candidates registering as an agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Adds provisions requiring the disclosure to Congress of ethics waivers granted to executive branch officials; requiring presidential transition team members to disclose positions they held outside the federal government for the previous year, including paid and unpaid positions; and a provision barring presidential transition team members from working on transition activities who do not disclose information required in the transition “ethics plan”, all of which were included in H.R. 1 as introduced in the 116th Congress.
Rodney Davis Amendment
Strikes Subtitle C of Title III “Enhancing Protections for United States Democratic Institutions” creating a ‘national strategy’ to protect U.S. democratic institutions by establishing a National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions. The amendment strikes key provisions that will be critical to protecting the integrity of our election and preventing foreign interference in our democracy.
Adds the Bots Research Act to the bill, which requires the EAC to establish a task force to study and report on the impact of automated accounts, known as “bots,” on social media, public discourse, and elections.
Exempts cybersecurity assistance, including assistance in responding to threats or harassment online, from limits on coordinated political party expenditures.
Improves voting access for individuals with disabilities in the four corners region of AZ, NM, CO, and UT by making a technical fix to the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) program to include all 57 Protection and Advocacy Systems as eligible funding recipients.
Grijalva Amendment #23
Requires each State to submit to the Election Assistance Commission and Congress a report that includes the number of individuals who were purged from the official voter registration list or moved to inactive status, broken down by the reason for those actions, including the method used for identifying those voters.
Grijalva Amendment #24
Ensures that posting of notices at polling locations take into consideration factors including the linguistic preferences of voters in the jurisdiction.
Implements a recommendation of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission to ensure the security of our elections and resilience of our democracy by creating the position of Senior Cyber Policy Advisor at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and specifying that the duties of the EAC include the development, maintenance and dissemination of cybersecurity guidelines.
Lawrence Amendment #26
Prevents the United States Postal Service from enacting any new operational change that slows the delivery of voting materials in the 120-day period before an election.
Requires the United States Postal Service to appoint Election Mail Coordinators to assist election officials with any voting material questions.
Andy Levin Amendment
Amends Sec. 8042 (requiring disclosures of political donations and fundraising by certain Senate-confirmed nominees and other senior appointees) to add “chiefs of mission,” as defined by the Foreign Service Act of 1980, to the list of covered individuals.
Prohibits taxpayer funds from being added into Freedom From Influence fund.
Directs the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit a joint study to Congress of how to best enforce the fair and equitable waiting times standards set forth in Sec. 1906 of H.R. 1. Requires that no individual waits longer than 30 minutes to cast a ballot at a polling place.
Requires state election officials to undertake accessible public education campaigns to inform voters of any changes to election processes made in response to public emergencies.
Plaskett Amendment #33
Amends the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to equitably include territories of the United States.
Plaskett Amendment #34
Applies federal voter protection laws to territories of the United States.
Plaskett Amendment #35
Permits each of the territories of the United States to provide and furnish statues honoring their United States citizen residents for placement in Statuary Hall in the same manner as statues honoring United States citizen residents of the several States are provided for placement in Statuary Hall.
Plaskett Amendment #36
Includes territories of the United States in the Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2021 in the same manner as the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
Requires disclosure of donations of $5,000 or more to political committees, including super PACs, made 20 days or less before an election in order to ensure transparency of contributions not likely to be disclosed through regular reporting requirements before an election.
Directs the Election Assistance Commission to conduct a study regarding the use of blockchain technology to enhance voter security in Federal elections.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I knew then and I know now, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it.”