House Democrats are considering bringing up portions of their For The People Act, better known as H.R. 1, for a vote in an attempt to strong arm the Republican-controlled Senate into taking up individual electoral reform bills, Politico reported Thursday.
The sweeping anti-corruption reform bill — which includes provisions to enable automatic voter registration, strengthen resources to stave off foreign threats on elections and make Election Day a national holiday for federal workers — passed the lower chamber along party lines in March.
But Top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (R-Ky.), who dubbed the bill the Democrat Politician Protection Act, blasted the measure as a power grab that failed to address voter fraud and argued allegations of a voting crisis in the U.S. are a fallacy.
Proponents of the piecemeal strategy feel it would allow Democrats to shine a spotlight on their top legislative priority and cast blame on Senate Republicans for gridlock in Washington ahead of the 2020 election cycle.
“House Democrats promised the American people we would pass a comprehensive government reform package to clean up corruption in Washington and return to a government of, by, and for the people,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda House passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi signals she won't move .5T bill without Senate-House deal MORE (D-Md.) said in a statement. “Since Senator McConnell refuses to take up H.R. 1, I am prepared to bring to the Floor and pass individual bills to address the reforms included in the For the People Act.”
Proponents of the bill say the enactment of the package is critical if Congress is going to restore voter trust in lawmakers working in their best interest.
But language advocating for D.C. statehood, a prohibition on gerrymandering a provision allowing federal workers to take up to six days of paid leave to work at polls and the creation of a 6-to-1 federal campaign match on small donations received strong pushback from Republicans.
Moderate Republicans previously expressed openness to certain provisions — including its language to improve election security and to protect our elections from foreign interference — that were in the of the House-passed measure which could amp up pressure in the Senate.
While it remains unclear what will ultimately be brought to the floor, Democrats face an uphill battle in swaying McConnell.
The Kentucky Republican — who has vowed to block progressive policies in the upper chamber — gave an impassioned floor speeches and penned an op-ed published in the Washington Post coming out against major components of the bill.
“But H.R. 1 isn’t just terrible policy. It’s an attempt to rewrite the underlying rules of that political process itself and skew those rules to benefit just one side,” he said on the floor in March.