Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
Tonight in passing the For the People Act (H.R. 1), Members of the U.S. House of Representatives made it clear that democracy must put people first and should represent everyone. The Senate must follow suit in listening to the people, and Senators must not let the filibuster stand in the way of safeguarding our democracy.
We applaud House passage of the For the People Act, a sweeping package of democracy reforms that will expand and protect voting rights for all, end gerrymandering, break the grip of big money in politics, and strengthen transparency and accountability in our government. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) are to be commended for crafting and shepherding this transformative piece of legislation through passage by the House Democratic Caucus.
It is troubling, though, that not a single Republican voted for the legislation. A stronger democracy should never be a partisan issue, and the American people don’t see it as one. National polling has shown that 67% of Americans support the For the People Act – including a majority of Republicans, a majority Independents, and a majority of Democrats.
The reforms in this legislation are tested and proven solutions in effect in red, blue, and purple states, cities and towns across the nation. We know these solutions work because we have led efforts to pass and implement these reforms and we know they have an impact. It is time to enact them on a national level to strengthen our democracy by ensuring every American is able to make their voice heard.
Over the last several months, Common Cause supporters have brought their voices to bear in the calling for reforms, generating tens of thousands of phone calls and emails into congressional offices, submitting hundreds of letters to the editor in their local papers, and publishing numerous op-eds in support of the For the People Act.
The For the People Act was not passed in a vacuum. The legislation is headed to the Senate at a moment when Republican legislators in 43 states have introduced more than 250 bills to make it harder for Americans – particularly Black and Brown Americans – to exercise their freedom to vote. The lies being used to try to justify those voter suppression bills are the same lies that fueled a violent insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead as an armed mob attempted to overthrow our government while Congress met to certify the results of the presidential election.
As we hold accountable those who subvert democracy, so too must we strengthen it. The American people voted for change, and a Jim Crow relic like the filibuster must not be allowed to impede it. Americans expect and deserve a government that is responsive to the people. The For the People Act advances this goal. Common Cause and our 1.5 million members will now pivot to the Senate to pass the For the People Act, which has been designated as S. 1, there.