House Democrats Pass Sweeping Ethics And Democracy Reform Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Screengrab/Washington Post/YouTube

House Democrats passed a proposal for numerous changes, including an end to the practice of partisan gerrymandering.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping ethics and democracy reform bill on Friday, according to Axios.

H.R. 1 would “strengthen federal ethics laws, expand voting rights and require presidential nominees to release their tax returns.”

It is highly unlikely that the bill will progress through the Senate, however, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already saying he will not bring it up for a vote.

McConnell has repeatedly criticized the bill, saying the plan amounts to a Democratic power grab.

In a January Washington Post op-ed, the Republican leader said bill is a "sprawling proposal to grow the federal government’s power over Americans' political speech and elections” and suggested it be renamed the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.”

What does H.R. 1 propose?

Axios reported that the bill would “create a small donor, matching-fund system for congressional and presidential candidates; expand the prohibition of foreign political donations; require super PACs and "dark money" political groups to make their donors public; and restructure the Federal Election Commission.”

The bill also requires that presidents and vice presidents release 10 years of their tax returns, prohibits members of Congress from serving on corporate boards, and would create a code of ethics for the U.S. Supreme Court.

In terms of voting rights, the bill would allow automatic and online voter registration as well as make Election Day a federal holiday.

It would require congressional districts to be drawn by independent commissions to avoid partisan gerrymandering and would also forbid the purging of voter rolls.

Despite McConnell and other Republicans’ attempts to kill the measure, polling shows that Democrats are likely on the right track with voters.

Axios noted that a September WSJ/NBC survey found 77 percent of registered voters said "reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington" is either the most important or a very important issue facing the country.

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