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MARCH 18, 2021
A NOTE FROM FRED

S.1, the For the People Act, was introduced in the Senate yesterday with 47 Democrats and 2 Independent Senators sponsoring the bill.
 
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who cosponsored the bill in the last Congress, is the only Democratic Senator who did not cosponsor yesterday. Manchin also has been a strong defender of the filibuster rule.
 
S. 1 is the Senate version of H.R. 1, which passed the House earlier this month and also passed in the last Congress.
 
S. 1/H.R. 1 is holistic legislation that recognizes that we have a series of fundamental problems in our democracy and provides solutions to them in one place.
 
The democracy reforms in the legislation address Washington political money corruption, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, extreme partisan gerrymandering, government ethics and self-dealing abuses, election security, and foreign interference in our elections.
 
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening a “scorched earth” response if any changes are made in the filibuster rule. Yet it was McConnell himself who, as Senate Majority Leader in 2017, was responsible for the most recent change made to the filibuster rule.
 
McConnell led a successful effort to invoke the “nuclear option” and change the filibuster rule to require only 51 votes instead of 60 to end a filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. The Senate proceeded to confirm three Supreme Court Justices under this filibuster rule change.
 
McConnell has been a serial abuser of the filibuster rule, setting a record for using filibusters during the Obama presidency.
 
While the theory of the filibuster rule is to protect the interests of the Senate minority, McConnell in the past has used the rule as a partisan weapon to repeatedly block the Senate from acting, to paralyze Congress, and to prevent large portions of the Obama agenda from being enacted.
 
If the filibuster rule remains unchanged, McConnell is expected to take the same approach for the Biden presidency and use the filibuster to paralyze Congress and block Biden’s agenda.
 
So, this is what it will come down to on S. 1 for every Democratic Senator.
 
Is a changed filibuster rule more important to confirm a Supreme Court Justice than it is to prevent the greatest suppression and disenfranchisement of voters since the Jim Crow era, to reform a corrupting campaign finance system, to prevent extreme partisan gerrymandering, to stop self-dealing abuses by government officials, and to prevent foreign interference in our elections?
 
The answer to that question must be a resounding no. 
 
Senator McConnell cannot be allowed to change the filibuster rule when it suits his interests and to block filibuster rule changes when it does not, allowing him to prevent the repairing of our broken political system, our corrupting campaign finance system, and our democracy.
. 

MUST READS

D21 NEWS
 
The Bitter Irony In The GOP Trying To Curtail Voting Rights
D21 President Fred Wertheimer: “If Congress enacts H.R 1 and its Senate companion, S.1, in a timely manner, the new federal voting rules would supersede many of the new state laws that would suppress voting and disenfranchise voters,” opinion via CNN.
 
D21 Statement On Introduction Of S. 1, via statement.
 
S. 1 – THE FOR THE PEOPLE ACT

“Failure Is Not An Option.”
 
DEMOCRACY REFORM: H.R. 1 AND S. 1

Senate Democrats Introduce S. 1, Sweeping Election Bill That Would Curb GOP Efforts To Restrict Voting Access, via CNN.
 
Schumer Says “Everything Is On The Table” To Pass Voting Rights Legislation, via CNBC.
 
For Voting Rights Advocates, A “Once In A Generation Moment” Looms
“State and national voting-rights advocates are waging the most consequential political struggle over access to the ballot since the civil rights era,” via The New York Times.
 
The For The People Act Reduces Influence Of Wall Street, Corporate Money In Campaigns … By Empowering Small-Dollar Donors At Zero Cost To Taxpayers, via Repair Our Democracy.

Goodbye And Good Riddance To The Filibuster, opinion by E.J. Dionne, via The Washington Post.
 
Conservative Groups Launch Misinformation Campaign Against H.R. 1
“Ads and social media graphics from two major conservative groups contain misleading and inaccurate information,” via Sludge.
 
H.R. 1 And H.R. 4 Would Reform Our Democracy. They’d Also Help Our Economy.
Robert Rubin: “Repairing that electoral process — if necessary, by bypassing the legislative filibuster — isn’t just about abstract ideas of fairness and equality. It’s also an essential act to advance policies that improve Americans’ well-being, thereby strengthening the foundation of both our democracy and our market economy,” opinion via The Washington Post.
 
S. 1 – THE FOR THE PEOPLE ACT

“We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we’ve ever seen since the Jim Crow era. This is Jim Crow in new clothes. … Access to voting and preempting politicians’ efforts to restrict voting is so fundamental to our democracy that it is too important to be held hostage by a Senate rule, especially one historically used to restrict expansion of voting rights.”
 
IN THE STATES: THE ASSAULT ON VOTING RIGHTS

How the For the People Act Would Thwart State Vote Suppression Legislation, via Brennan Center for Justice.
 
Watch These States As GOP Tries To Make It Harder To Vote, via CNN.
 
ARIZONA: “Everybody Shouldn’t Be Voting” – State GOP Lawmakers Target Voting, With Nearly Two Dozen Restrictive Voting Measures, via CNN.

GEORGIA: State House Committee Hears Newer, Bigger Voting Omnibus 

The new bill would force “most counties to be open longer and add a weekend day of early voting, while preventing larger, more Democratic-leaning counties from having a full slate of weekend voting. Some of the eliminated days include the highest proportion of Black voters during early voting,” via Georgia Public Broadcasting
 
TEXAS: Republicans Declare War On Democracy
“Texas is already one of the toughest states in which to cast a ballot, and Texas Republicans want to make it even harder,” via The Washington Post editorial board.
 
FLORIDA: Uproar Over Florida GOP’s “Rollback Of Voting Rights,” via Orlando Sentinel.
 
CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS
 
Putin Targeted People Close To Trump In Bid To Influence 2020 Election, U.S. Intel Says, via The Washington Post.
 
 “An Explosion Of Secret Donations”: Dark Money Topped $1 Billion In 2020, Largely Boosting Dems, via OpenSecrets.org.

Trump Dives Into Battle For Senate
“Donald Trump sounds like he’s ready for a GOP civil war. But he’s also eager to play a leading role in Senate Republicans’ battle for the majority,” via Politico.
 
House GOP Super PAC Launches Hard-Money Arm
“The Congressional Leadership Fund will now be able to directly endorse candidates and contribute to them,” via Politico.
 
South Emerges As Flashpoint Of Brewing Redistricting Battle
“The states from North Carolina to Texas are set to be premier battlegrounds for the once-a-decade fight over redrawing political boundaries. That’s thanks to a population boom, mostly one-party rule, and a new legal landscape that removes federal oversight and delays civil rights challenges,” via Associated Press.

 
By: Fred Wertheimer, Diane Alexander, and Jackie Howell. Follow Fred and Democracy 21 on Twitter @FredWertheimer.
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