CHA Democrats Reject 28 Amendments to Partisan Election Reform Bill
WASHINGTON – The Committee on House Administration considered 28 amendments to the 571-page Democratic legislation, H.R. 1. Not one Democratic Member voted in favor of a single amendment before final committee passage of H.R. 1.
“The greatest threat to our nation’s election system is partisanship,” said Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) during his opening remarks. He went on to say H.R. 1, “was created without input from any Republican Members of Congress and without the consultation of officials or election administrators. In fact, there isn’t a single Republican cosponsor.”
According to a Dear Colleague letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, H.R. 1 was set to advance this month, now rumored to be voted on next week. When discussing whether the other committees of jurisdiction will have opportunities to markup and amend H.R. 1, Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said, “it is going through several committees as we know, and amendments will be made in all of them.” However, the other nine committees of jurisdiction over H.R. 1 are not set to hold any markups or offer amendments before it goes to the House Floor.
Some of the amendments offered during the committee markup attempted to strike down many of H.R. 1’s mandatory changes to registration and voting processes that take power away from states and implement a “one size fits all” federally mandated approach. “I personally participate in early voting three of the last four election cycles, I’ve cast my vote early. I think it’s a great process, but we have to make sure there are safeguards in place,” said Ranking Member Davis.
Republicans introduced many amendments that would remove provisions in H.R. 1 that misuse taxpayer dollars, including the 6:1 small-dollar government match provision and the voucher pilot program that create a campaign ATM with taxpayer dollars. Republicans also pointed out H.R. 1 has yet to receive a CBO score, despite requests from CHA and House Budget Committee Republicans.
While Democrats choose to implement changes to election and campaign finance reform from a federal level, they decided to leave one practice up to the states. Over the past several weeks, Democrats have raised multiple concerns with illegal ballot harvesting allegations in North Carolina. However, they voted down an amendment to H.R. 1 that would prohibit the unreliable practice of ballot harvesting. “Most recently we saw a new election ordered in the North Carolina 9th Congressional District because of ballot harvesting allegations. In California, this practice is actually legal, and we saw it affect multiple races,” said Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC).
Republicans also raised concerns with H.R. 1’s provision to weaponize the Federal Election Commission by making it a five-member, partisan commission. Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) mentioned his concerns for the H.R. 1’s unintended consequences to the American people saying, “If things aren’t right, it takes a lot to undo it, and that’s what I’m afraid will happen if this bill goes forward.”
In a statement, Ranking Member Davis said, “More than anyone else on this Committee, I know what difficult elections with slim margins look like. It is the worst of partisan politics. It’s personal. I know what it looks like when people take well intentioned laws and use them to their political advantage. I don’t want that to happen with this bill.”
For more information on H.R. 1, you can view our document on H.R. 1: Myth vs. Fact HERE.