Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House Democrats’ H.R. 1 package would introduce major government overhauls

On the first day of the 116th Congress, House Democrats took the opportunity to outline their priorities by introducing H.R. 1, a legislative package that would reform voting rights, campaign finance, and government ethics. In most Congresses, H.R. 1 is typically reserved for the party in power to showcase their intentions and goals, providing a platform for lawmakers to communicate and organize around.

Introduced by Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD), the legislation would create automatic voter registration, expand early absentee voting/vote-by-mail, address partisan gerrymandering, tackle election security, increase political disclosures for all political organizations, increase campaign finance oversight, and institute greater ethics laws and enforcement, among others.

“Last year, the American people elected a new Democratic House majority with a mandate to end the culture of corruption in Washington and return to a government of, by and for the people,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The bold, transformative set of reforms that we introduced today will strengthen our democracy and return political power to the people by making it easier, not harder, to vote, ending the dominance of big money in our politics and ensuring that public officials actually serve the public.”

Of note to letter carriers, the legislation would expand no-excuse-absentee voting (also referred to as vote-by-mail). While NALC appreciates the inclusion of no-excuse absentee/vote by mail, we are primarily concerned about the bill’s means of providing funding for the expanded vote by mail provisions and that coordination with states, among other issues.

On a whole, the package would “clean up elections and restore integrity to government,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

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