Communities

This is the first bill Democrats will pass in the next Congress.

by Leo Shvedsky

November 12, 2018
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When American voters went to the polls in November they had two overriding issues on their minds: President Trump and healthcare

Reforming and protecting healthcare might have to wait. But House Democrats just announced they are using their very first bill to push a series of major, controversial legislative reforms that they say would strengthen democracy and provide safeguards against President Trump.

“H.R. 1” is what NPR calls a “magnum opus” of proposals, including:

  • Tightening campaign finance laws
  • Taking away responsibility for drawing congressional district maps and handing it over to independent committees
  • Making voter registration automatic
  • Expanding congressional ethics laws that cover bribery and other crimes to include the White House

"It's three very basic things that I think the public wants to see," Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD.) told NPR, saying ethics rules, increasing voter access and campaign finance reform will "demonstrate that we hear that message loud and clear," coming from voters who want to see a more ethical approach to politics on both sides of the political spectrum.

Of course, Republicans still control the Senate and the White House. Even Sarbanes acknowledged the bill will almost certainly die before it reaches President Trump. Nonetheless, he said it’s a good faith gesture from those eager to see real reform now. Even though it almost certainly means waiting until the next election.

"Give us the gavel in the Senate in 2020 and we'll pass it in the Senate," Sarbanes said. "Give us a pen in the Oval Office and we'll sign those kinds of reforms into law."

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This is the first bill Democrats will pass in the next Congress.