The GOP is ignoring the will of the American people
© Greg Nash

Three times. That’s how many attempts Senate Democrats have made to pass much-needed democracy reform legislation in recent months, only to have it blocked by Senate Republicans. The latest example was last Wednesday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Republicans blocked a critical vote on H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a groundbreaking democracy reform bill that passed with unanimous Democratic support in the House earlier this year.

Our democracy works best when everybody’s voice can be heard, instead of being drowned out by the voices of corporate interests and dark money. H.R. 1 is a bold, once-in-a-generation democracy reform package designed to realize the promise of our democracy and repair our democratic institutions.

The bill includes three key areas of reform: voting and election laws, campaign finance and ethics. Some of the new changes it proposes include allowing national automatic voter registration, ending partisan gerrymandering, strengthening election security, requiring the president and vice president to disclose 10 years of tax returns, requiring super PACs and “dark money” political organizations to make their donors public, and eliminating loopholes in rules designed to prohibit coordination between candidates and super PACs.

It is deeply concerning that McConnell and Senate Republicans once again blocked H.R. 1. By stopping the legislation from moving forward, Senate Republicans are standing in the way of critical election security measures, ones that will strengthen our laws that prevent interference in our elections by Russia and other foreign adversaries, which takes on particular salience given the impeachment inquiry and the pressure our president put on Ukraine’s leader to influence the 2020 election.

In their refusal to support critical democracy reform legislation, the GOP is ignoring the 77 percent of people who say that “reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington” is either the most important or a very important issue facing the country. They’re also ignoring the 66 percent of U.S. adults who agree that wealthy individuals and corporations have too much influence in our current election system. They’re ignoring the interests of the American people and sticking with a democracy that works for them instead of those they serve.

There should be nothing partisan or controversial about making our democracy more accessible and accountable to voters. The majority of the public wants reform. What are Republicans waiting for?

If the GOP opposes the bold reforms demanded by the overwhelming majority of their constituents, they should have the courage to take a vote. The Senate must bring H.R. 1 to the floor for a vote immediately. This continued obstruction by McConnell and Senate Republicans signal that they are putting special interests over the interests of the American people. 

Jana Morgan is the campaign director for Declaration for American Democracy, a coalition of over 140 good government, environmental, labor, civil rights and other groups.