White House backs bill to expand voting rights, curb gerrymandering
The White House on Monday formally threw its backing behind a massive voting rights bill that seeks to shore up voting rights and limit gerrymandering ahead of the 2021 redistricting cycle.
“In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy, a never before seen effort to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the people, and a newly aggressive attack on voting rights taking place right now all across the country, this landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen American democracy,” the White House said in a statement of administrative policy.
The For the People Act, also called H.R. 1, was introduced by Democrats in 2019 and passed the House later that year, but it was never taken up by the GOP-led Senate.
The House is now set to take it up again next week, this time with a slim majority in the Senate.
The bill would expand opportunities to vote by mail, require states to establish electronic voter registration, and would make Election Day a federal holiday.
It would also give the Justice Department greater powers to step in and enforce voting rights.
Along with campaign finance reform measures, it would also require states to use independent redistricting commissions, a move that often takes the power to draw political boundaries out of the hands of state legislators.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that the administration would not support nixing the filibuster to help Democrats pass legislation in the Senate.
“The president’s view on the filibuster is well known. He has not changed that point of view,” she said.
“The president is committed to protecting the fundamental right to vote and making it easier for all eligible Americans to vote. His campaign was about fighting for democracy, and we’re going to continue to fight for democracy in the White House.”