Imagine how far gone you must be to end up on the opposing side against a bill meant to strengthen government ethics. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has lost it over a bill House Democrats passed this past Friday that includes wide-reaching reforms in areas like campaign finance. Although the jury’s still out as to whether or not the bill could garner enough support to pass the admittedly still Republican-majority Senate, McConnell has repeatedly insisted he won’t even bring up H.R. 1 for a vote.
He was blatantly partisan in his assessment of the “For the People Act,” telling reporters this past week:
‘This is a terrible proposal… For myself, I don’t see anything in here salvageable. This is a solution in search of a problem. What it really is is a bill designed to make it more likely Democrats win more often.’
McConnell has previously explicitly tied that last claim to the package’s transformation of Election Day in November into a national holiday, which would free people from their jobs so they could more easily actually vote. McConnell suggested on the Senate floor that the change would simply give Democrats more time to campaign — although it’s unclear why Republicans wouldn’t be able to benefit from the supposed last-minute campaigning boon themselves.
The case seems to amount to McConnell acknowledging that greater access to the ballot box means more Democratic victories because of the party’s platform’s wide base of popular support. In recently released polling, a full 72 percent of respondents were on board with a “Medicare for all” program when told it would guarantee health care as a right, although they were much more sharply divided when the plan was explained to possibly raise taxes. (To be clear, taxes would be replacing many private health insurance costs.)
Meanwhile, a full 61 percent of voters were recently documented to support a 2 percent asset tax on the super rich proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and 45 percent supported a 70 percent marginal tax rate on income over $10 million suggested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). A Fox News poll had tax increases for the super rich polling even better, with 70 percent of respondents on board with “increasing tax rates for incomes over $10 million” in general.
In other words, in many cases, Republicans are in the minority.
Trying to get them to confront that fact, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) will be introducing a Senate version of the For the People Act this week. Udall noted that there are “a number of Senators who have almost identical parts of their bills in this bill,” including Republicans. For example, the legislation provides for an up-to-date system for reporting contributions to political campaigns and associated third-party efforts that closely resembles something Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) helped push in 2013.
Other high-profile components of the bill that have come under fire from Republicans include matching government funds for small-dollar campaign donors, although that’s simply an update to a system that’s already in place. The measure also requires that presidents and vice presidents release ten years worth of their personal and business tax returns.
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