Election Laws Overhaul Bill Set To Clear the House
Washington, March 3, 2021
Spectrum News 1 - Democrats’ longstanding legislative priorities outlined in the For the People Act faces its first real test this month.
The sweeping reform bill targets voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics has support from nearly every Democrat in Congress and backing from the White House. Ahead of the vote in the House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York signaled he’ll bring the bill to the floor for a vote after his predecessor refused to take it up last session.
“There is now in the 21st century, a concerted effort to roll back voting rights and state legislatures across the country,” said Sen. Schumer. “Alarmingly, making it harder, harder for Americans to vote and particularly aimed at Americans of color, African Americans, Latinos, and native Americans. And it's becoming a feature of one of America's major political parties.”
Congresswoman Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee touted the importance of the bill to her constituents.
“This legislation is particularly important for Wisconsinites, including communities of color, who have faced voter suppression tactics for years and even now in the middle of a pandemic,” said Moore in a statement to Spectrum News.
But right now, it appears the numbers aren’t there in the Senate. Republicans like Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville believe it’s too far-reaching.
“This is not the way that we should be moving forward in a period of time, where we're navigating our way through the coronavirus pandemic, where we've had a contentious election,” said Rep. Steil. “This is where we should step back and find ways to strengthen the integrity of our elections. And we're seeing the exact opposite in this bill, which is really gutting some of the key provisions of voter integrity.”
The congressman took to the House floor on Tuesday to pan, among other things, the bill’s proposed public matching system that would encourage lawmakers to rely less on big donors to finance their campaigns.
“I don't think I've talked to any voters who think the problem in our election system is that there's not enough money,” said Rep. Steil. “We’re best served when these decisions are made at the local level. We're best served when elections are run at the state and local level. We’re not best served when we nationalize the election system, when we got voter integrity provisions and when we put more money, public money, into politicians reelection campaigns.”