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Rep. Anna Eshoo touts her proposal to make Election Day a federal holiday during House debate on HR 1 in March. Behind her is fellow California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, who quietly cut the language from the bill.

The curious tale of the disappearing Election Day holiday bill

Making Election Day a new federal holiday has been one of the highest-profile parts of the Democrats' sweeping package for reforming elections, campaign finance and government ethics.

Plenty of prominent members of Congress such as Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who is in his 13th term and a committee chairman, praised the holiday provision when the House debated the bill this spring.

The Associated Press mentioned the holiday language in stories about passage of the legislation, known as HR 1. So did CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Leading good-government advocacy groups, including Public Citizen, shined a light on the possibility of a holiday in praising the measure's advancement.

And what do all of them have in common? They all got it wrong.

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When Rep. John Sarbanes (left) led the push for HR 1, reformers knew it was part of a multi-year strategy, writes Wertheimer.

Don’t give up on HR 1. The battle lies ahead.

Wertheimer is the president of Democracy 21, which works to strengthen democracy by ensuring the integrity of our elections and more.

The House passed historic reform legislation to repair and strengthen the rules of our democracy on March 8.

HR 1 is unprecedented, holistic reform legislation to fix our broken political system. It passed on a 234-193 party line vote, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Sarbanes. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Udall with all 46 of his Democratic and independent colleagues as sponsors.

HR 1 provides essential reforms to address what's broken in our political system — money corruption, voter suppression and discrimination, extreme partisan gerrymandering, and government ethics abuses.

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Where the presidential candidates stand on the top issues of democracy reform

This story has been revised after additional reporting.

Steadily if still softly, anxiety about the health of American democracy has become at least a secondary theme in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Proposals for restoring the public's faith in elections, and a sense of fairness in our governing system, have now earned a place on most of the candidates' platforms. And more and more of them have been including calls for democracy reform in their stump speeches.

To be sure, the topic has not come close to the top tier of issues driving the opening stages of the campaign. In the first round of candidate debates last month, for example, the contenders collectively spent less time talking about democracy's ills than eight other issues: health care, President Trump's record, immigration, social policy, economic inequality, gun control, foreign policy and the environment.

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Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Mueller stresses gravity of Russian meddling, but election security secondary at hearings

The extensive Russian interference in the 2016 election still "deserves the attention of every American," Robert Mueller reiterated Wednesday, but the gaps in election security permitting a foreign adversary to influence the presidential outcome received minimal attention during the former special counsel's day testifying to Congress.

While his testimony was dominated by terse one-word answers or halting sentence fragments affirming the contents of his report, Mueller was crystal clear and emphatically in his own voice on a singular point.

In fact, it was the one thing the former FBI director said, almost word for word, in his opening statements to both the House Judiciary and House Intelligence committees.

"Over the course of my career, I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious," he told Judiciary at breakfast time. "This deserves the attention of every American."

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