Schumer Floor Remarks Urging Leader McConnell To Stop Blocking H.R. 1, The For the People Act, On The One-Year Anniversary Of Its Passage In The House

March 10, 2020

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor following the first anniversary of House passage of H.R.1, the For the People Act, and urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to stop blocking this critical legislation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This past Sunday marked one year since the House passed H.R.1, the For the People Act. This bill takes urgent and long overdue steps to renew our democracy. It will reverse the corrupting effects of Citizens United. It will restore protections for voting. And it will take aim at Washington’s culture of corruption, which has run rampant under this administration.

It could not come at a better time. Every election, we see the sweeping power of big money. State legislatures have found new ways to deny Americans, often minorities, access to the ballot. Our adversaries—including the Russians—work day and night to influence our elections and sow confusion in the public sphere. H.R.1 would forcefully and directly address each of these issues.

But, like virtually every other bill passed by the House over the past two years, it has been buried in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard. We must move it. This bill is about making our democracy work and giving American citizens some faith in the future.

Republicans, rather than working with Democrats to strengthen our democracy, have stood in the way. They have blocked election security legislation and sanctions to deter foreign adversaries from trying to interfere in our democracy. They have enabled President Trump’s assault on the separation of powers through their silence on the president’s many abuses of power. Even today, the Republicans are putting forward a nominee for the Federal Election Commission who expressed doubts regarding the benefits of even the most reasonable restrictions on campaign spending, including disclosure.

When H.R.1 first passed the House, Leader McConnell called this bill to restore voting rights and get money out of politics a “terrible proposal” and a “power grab.” Well, if Leader McConnell thinks that getting big money out of politics is a “terrible idea,” if he truly believes making it easier for Americans to vote is a “power grab” by Democrats, then God help the Republican Party, and God help this country.

M. President, Democrats will not stop fighting for this bill, nor will we ever stop fighting to restore the democratic values that have guided our nation for two and half centuries. In the United States, each person’s vote should have the same weight as everyone else’s. That’s a hallmark of our democracy. A free and fair election is the wellspring of our democracy. It’s what Americans have died for in battlefields around the world, what civil rights activist have marched for across the bridges and the generations. And though the Republican Leader has been adamant in his opposition to this legislation, the American people, thank God, will have a chance this November to elect a new Senate that will move this country in a dramatically different direction.