Delgado, Cartwright support ‘For the People Act’
WASHINGTON, DC — In one of his first press releases since being sworn in, Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado, who represents the district that includes Sullivan County, said he has signed on as a co-sponsor to the For the People Act, also known as House Resolution 1 (HR1).
“Corporate power is commanding way too much attention in Washington,” Delgado said. “It is time that our government be responsive to the will of the people rather than the interests of a wealthy few and big corporations... This historic bill will help strengthen everyday Americans’ power in our democracy and raise the bar for ethics in Washington.”
Democrat Matt Cartwright, who now represents the congressional district that includes Wayne and Pike counties, also signaled his support. “When government and the political system don’t work for everyday Americans, people have a right to demand change,” he said. “The House Democrats’ HR1 is the answer to that demand, and I’m proud to be an original cosponsor. I look forward to voting for it and promoting it to my colleagues in the Senate.”
Joe Ready, of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said that he’s happy to see Congress taking on “the critical issue of big money in politics.”
“For too long, large campaign contributions, which only a fraction of the American public can afford to make, have unduly influenced our politics,” he said in a release. “Big money determines who can run for office, who wins and, once in office, what issues they prioritize. We know voters from both parties want to enact solutions that put everyday people in the driver’s seat of our democracy.”
The legislation is a package of reforms meant to reduce the influence of corporate money in the U.S. political system, strengthen voter rights and end gerrymandering of congressional districts.
Republicans, who control the Senate, have dismissed the legislation and said they will not take it up, indicating that it has little chance of becoming law in the near future. But Rep. John Sarbanes, the main author of the legislation, says with the introduction of HR1, “Democrats are following through on a major midterm election promise to clean up the chaos and corruption in Washington.”
H.R. 1 makes proposed reforms across three areas. Under the category of voting rights, the legislation aims to reduce barriers to voting such as limited voting hours and locations. The legislation also calls for the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, and would prohibit the wide-spread purging of voter rolls as has happened in some states. It would also expand early voting and voting by mail.
In the realm of campaign finance, HR1 would require any organization involved in political activity to disclose its large donors, create a multiple matching system to encourage residents to make small donations, and would reaffirm that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics.
In the area of ethics and accountability, HR1 would expand conflict of interest and divestment requirements, preventing members of Congress from serving on corporate boards and requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns. It would also overhaul the Office of Government Ethics, closing registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring sufficient resources to enforce the law. Lastly, HR1 would also create a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.