This Wednesday, Republicans continued their campaign of attempting to convince us all that Democrats are the “do nothing” ones despite the literal hundreds of bills that the Democratic majority in the House has passed and Senate Republicans have ignored. Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Tom Udall (N.M.) brought the previously House-passed election security and ethics reform package known as H.R. 1 up for a vote in the Senate this Wednesday, but Republican Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) blocked it under the rules allowing any Senator to bring something up for a vote only if every other Senator agrees. When will the GOP start fulfilling their basic job responsibilities?
‘The For the People Act repairs our broken campaign finance system, opens up the ballot box to all Americans, [and] lays waste to the corruption in Washington. We must unite in defense of our electoral system and in defense of the sanctity of our democracy.’
Some of the provisions include automatic voter registration, availability of public financing for political campaigns that would thereby significantly curtail the influence of dark money in politics, the usage of paper ballots for elections, which would help ensure the security of the voting process — and more. The legislation also includes ethics demands like a requirement for candidates for president to release their tax returns, which Trump has so far refused to do. The documents contain information relevant to those concerned about the president’s financial conflicts of interest.
In one of his rebuttals against H.R. 1, Blunt complained:
‘Apparently the powerful, special interests that my friend, Mr. Merkley, talked about are the state governments, because that’s what we’re taking authority from here… The For the People Act is really the Federal Government Act.’
Republicans arguing against H.R. 1 have used this same attempted argument in the past as if the entirety of electoral processes isn’t already covered by government regulation. Are they really resorting to “free market” and “state’s rights” arguments when it comes to something as fundamental as the security of the electoral process and ethics of those who come out on the other side? Seriously?
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich noted after the Senate debate, ascribing Blunt’s block to McConnell’s handiwork:
‘Mitch McConnell just blocked #HR1 from a Senate vote. He calls it a “power grab” because it would: 1) Empower small donors 2) Establish Automatic voter registration 3) Bolster anti-bribery laws Yes. It’s a “power grab” — grabbing power back for the people.’
This Wednesday debacle surrounding H.R. 1 is not the first recent similar situation. Last week, Republican Senators blocked several other related election security bills, like one demanding that campaigns notify the FBI of offers for assistance from foreigners. How is that a partisan issue? Senate Republicans just keep falling in line behind Trump’s belligerence — how far are they willing to go for him?
This whole mess around these election security bills has unfolded as Democrats have proceeded with their impeachment inquiry. As part of that, they’ve already heard from numerous important witnesses who’ve shared their substantive takes on Trump’s scheme to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens, which sparked the impeachment probe.