WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is calling on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a debate and a vote on a comprehensive campaign finance and ethics package passed by the U.S. House earlier this year.
“Across the country, the American people have made clear that they want Congress to enact meaningful anti-corruption reform,” wrote Spanberger and 61 freshman Democrats in a letter to McConnell. “That’s why we pledged action on robust campaign finance, ethics, and voting reforms as the first priority for the 116th Congress. As newly sworn-in Members, we got right to work on the For the People Act (H.R. 1), the most comprehensive set of pro-democracy reforms in a generation, passing it out of the House in March. Following a campaign season in which corruption and the power of special interests was a central theme, H.R. 1 delivered on our promise to clean up Washington and create a democracy that works for all of us.”
Spanberger is a cosponsor of the For the People Act, which would strengthen transparency in the U.S. political system and help limit the oversized influence of special interests and undisclosed donors in the democratic process. The legislation includes an amendment Spanberger introduced and led to strengthen the integrity of U.S. elections and prevent foreign interference in the U.S. political system.
“Earlier this year, the House took action to combat the unmitigated political power and corruption of special interests. By introducing and passing H.R. 1, we followed through on promises we made to the people we serve—including the people of Central Virginia. But our work isn’t finished, and right now, the Senate is blocking a potential victory for the American people,” said Spanberger. “That’s why I’m urging Leader McConnell to take up our legislation. Currently, Leader McConnell is unwilling to help fix our broken system, but debating a package of reforms should never become a partisan issue or devolve into a game of scoring political points at all costs. This legislation is long overdue, and Leader McConnell needs to stop standing in the way of progress and prioritize the people over mega-corporations and their lobbyists.”
“In the 2018 midterms, the American people demanded reform and elected leaders who would fight against the special interests controlling Washington,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “By passing the For the People Act so swiftly, the new Democratic majority proved they are accountable to voters, not special interests. The House has done its job, but because of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate hasn’t even held a hearing on the bill. Mitch McConnell is acting like a puppet in the hands of the Big Money corporate special interests that keep him in power. McConnell should listen to the people and allow the Senate to vote on the For the People Act.”
The letter to McConnell was signed by 62 of the 64 freshman Democrats and also led by U.S. Representatives Colin Allred (D-TX-32), Jason Crow (D-CO-06), Sharice Davids (D-KS-03), Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19), Andy Kim (D-NJ-03), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07), Chris Pappas (D-NH-11), Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), Katie Porter (D-CA-45), Max Rose (NY-11), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08).
Click here to read the full letter.
Prior to the House passage of H.R. 1, Spanberger spoke at a press conference and focused on the need to strengthen transparency and integrity across the U.S. political system. During the House Democratic Caucus weekly press conference, she called on her colleagues to take swift action to limit the influence of special interests in the democratic process, restore the faith that the American people have in our government, and pass H.R. 1. Click here to watch the full press conference.
Specifically, H.R. 1 would help end the reign of special interest money in American politics by:
- Upgrading online political ad disclosure and strengthening large donor disclosure rules;
- Cutting off the flow of foreign money into our elections;
- Committing to overturning Citizens United; and
- Demanding the special interests who broke the political system bear a significant cost of fixing it.
H.R. 1 would also expand access to the ballot box and enhance federal support for voting system security to protect future U.S. elections by:
- Promoting automatic, online, and same-day voter registration;
- Expanding early and absentee voting;
- Recruiting and training more poll workers;
- Supporting adoption of paper ballot systems to bolster election security;
- Protecting voting systems against cyber attacks; and
- Requiring independent redistricting commissions to help combat partisan gerrymandering.
Additionally, the Spanberger-backed legislation would encourage accountability among elected officials by:
- Tightening rules on lobbyists and foreign agents;
- Slowing the special interest revolving door between Capitol Hill and corporate lobbyists;
- Reforming the Office of Government Ethics; and
- Prohibiting Members of Congress from serving on for-profit corporate boards or using public dollars to settle harassment lawsuits.
In March, Spanberger also spoke on the floor of the U.S. House in support of the bipartisan amendment to H.R. 1 she cosponsored to strengthen the integrity of U.S. elections and prevent undisclosed foreign influence in the political system. The bipartisan amendment would require the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to conduct an audit on foreign campaign contributions in U.S. elections. Additionally, it would require the FEC to report these findings to Congress. Click here to watch her full speech.