Now that the American Rescue Plan has passed both Houses of Congress and heading for Joe Biden;s signature to combat the wide effects of the COVID pandemic, it’s way-time for passage of For the People Act H.R. 1, which will protect our democracy:
This historic legislation responds to twin crises facing our country: the attack on democracy, epitomized in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, and the urgent demand for racial justice.
It is based on the key insight that the best way to defend democracy is to strengthen democracy.
If enacted, it would be the most significant voting rights and democracy reform in more than half a century.
Yet, due to COVID and Republican bullshit, HR1 is not getting the attention the bill deserves, especially with the nationwide voter suppression antics of GOPers in their ony avenue to win elections — cheat:
If an asteroid were headed our way, and saving Earth required spending $10T, but Republicans were asteroid denialists and promised to filibuster the asteroid rescue bill, I think Dems would abolish the filibuster. This is more or less why I think the For the People Act will pass. https://t.co/XlQ4ExVdnu
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) March 5, 2021
And this cheating can be cut way back with HR1 — in general, For the People Act encompasses the three major points of our democratic system: voting and elections, campaign finance, and ethics. (Actually, the whole ball of wax). Read here and here for details. In reality, America as we know it depends upon HR1.
This morning, Dan Froomkin at Salon writes that with HR1 ‘There is no bigger political story in America right now.’
However, it’s on the MSM-cycle backburner:
Unlike when it passed the House in 2019, this time around the bill has a chance at winning Senate approval and has the enthusiastic support of the White House.
But the modest coverage of H.R. 1’s passage in major outlets was quickly submerged beneath other news.
There was no mention of it on front pages or the evening network newscasts.
For big-media political reporters, democratic reform is boring. It’s old news. It’s painfully earnest. It is not sexy.
But the dearth of coverage of H.R. 1’s passage was a terrible disservice to the American public, and not just because it should have produced major headlines after the vote.
Political reporters should be writing about H.R. 1 — as a reflection of the need to bind the injuries our democracy has suffered — every single day, because those injuries are the underlying cause of all the political dysfunction they report on every single day.
H.R. 1 is a huge deal because it speaks directly to the ways American democracy has been warped — and that warping is what makes all the strange things that happen in Washington explicable.
Why is there so much gridlock?
Why don’t measures with widespread public support make it into law?
Why do the wealthy so often get their way?
Why are some votes worth more than others?
Why aren’t liars and radical extremists held accountable?
All of that would be different if more people voted, if their votes were counted more equally and if big money didn’t corrupt elections and governing.
Republicans know it. That’s why, after decades of spreading disinformation about voter fraud to suppress voting, they are now weaponizing the Big Lie that the election was stolen from Donald Trump to push for literally hundreds of bills in 43 states to even further limit the franchise, part of their increasingly overt attempt to subvert majority rule.
In 2019, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t even let the Senate consider it.
Now, as David Hawkings reported for The Fulcrum, “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to force a vote on the measure,” but “has not signaled how quickly he will do so … or whether there’s a chance he might use that debate as the moment to undo the decades-long power of 41 dissenting senators to block legislation.”
Indeed, although the Biden White House issued a strong statement of administration policy describing the bill as “landmark legislation … urgently needed to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen American democracy,” the only way H.R. 1 could conceivably get passed in the Senate is if it can’t be stopped through a Republican filibuster.
And here we stand on it. HR1 needs to be passed, signed into law and used as a roadblock on the GOP’s war on democracy.
Hopefully soon — voting needs a level of reasoning:
(Illustration: ‘Shelter in the Storm,” found here).