HR 1 Debate Opens With Predictable Partisanship
As the Judiciary Committee held the first hearing on House Democrats' sweeping political process overhaul today, the predictably partisan passions on the panel were overshadowed by efforts off Capitol Hill to kill the bill.
"The general arc of our nation's politics over the last generation has made it easy to be cynical — easy to say that America has, in that time, increasingly tended towards an oligarchy, in which more and more of the political power is concentrated in fewer and fewer wealthy and powerful hands," the new Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler of New York, declared at the outset. And the bill, dubbed HR 1, "helps level the playing field to give ordinary Americans the voice that they deserve in how our country is governed."
But the new ranking Republican, Doug Collins of Georgia, offered a passionate defense of most aspects of the voting, campaign finance, lobbying, government ethics and political mapmaking systems the legislation would alter. And he and others in the GOP chastised the proposals as infringements on free political speech and the primacy of states in setting the rules for elections
The bill's major provisions include requiring donor disclosures by super PACs, boosting lobbying registration requirements, requiring states to create non-partisan redistricting commissions and making voter registration automatic nationwide.
Meanwhile, members of the National Association of Business' political action committee convened Monday to plan their strategies for combating the bill, Vox reported.
At the same time, 154 conservative leaders banded together this week to deride the bill as "the ultimate fantasy of the left," while the libertarian group FreedomWorks is circulating a letter to its members describing the measure as "dangerous." The core of both groups' arguments is that the legislation would throttle free speech rights and increase the odds of Democratic dominance of federal government in the coming decade.
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Molineaux is the co-founder and executive director of Bridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 civic reform groups. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)
I grew up watching reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" in the late 1970s. It always felt to me a little nostalgic for its lessons that simple living was best. I enjoyed the show and still appreciate the values the show exemplifies.
A few years ago, as I was watching our societal divisions widen, I explored the idea of having Sheriff Andy meet Captain Picard of "Star Trek: the Next Generation." I researched and talked with people about how to help these two fictional characters meet and converse. Eventually I abandoned the idea as a fun thought experiment without a conclusion.
Maybe I was pursuing the wrong goal — and seeking something else could help improve our civil discourse.
Efforts to fend off election hackers in 2020 and beyond have revolved around protecting ballot equipment and the databases of registered voters. Little attention has been focused on the vendors and their employees.
But the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice is proposing that the vendors who make election equipment and related systems be subjected to heightened oversight and vetting, much like defense contractors or others involved in national security.
"There is almost no federal regulation of the vendors that design and maintain the systems that allow us to determine who can vote, how they vote, or how their votes are counted and reported," according to a new report from the nonpartisan policy institute.