In the News

What They’re Saying: Statements on Senate Introduction of the For the People Act

Mar 27, 2019

Today, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and the entire Senate Democratic Caucus introduced a Senate companion to the For the People Act, the robust democracy reform package that recently passed in the House of Representatives. The bill will help fix our broken political system and curb the culture of corruption so that we can effectively address the very real challenges America faces.

The members of Declaration for American Democracy, a broad coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to fixing our broken democracy, resoundly praised today’s Senate companion bill introduction, and called on Senate Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he won’t allow the bill to come to the floor, to have the courage to stand up and take a vote.

“The For the People Act responds to the public’s overwhelming demand for fundamental and far-reaching reforms to our corrupt political system. Its enactment would remove the political barriers to the policy agenda favored by the public – slashing medicine prices, providing Medicare for All, preventing climate catastrophe, providing a living wage, holding Wall Street accountable and more – an agenda currently thwarted by the political power of corporations and the superrich. Now the bill heads to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought up the Green New Deal. Why is he scared of a vote on the For the People Act?”
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen [Press Release]

“The For the People Act, passed earlier this month in the U.S. House of Representatives, represents a transformative vision of democracy reform in our country. We commend the many Senate champions of this legislation, call for hearings, and urge Majority Leader McConnell to bring it up for a vote. Our elected officials – no matter their party affiliation – are responsible for protecting every eligible person’s ability to participate in our democracy. Passage of this essential legislation, as well as restoration of the Voting Rights Act, are needed to ensure that elections in America are free, fair, and accessible for all.”
Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights [Press Release]

“Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and his 46 colleagues who cosponsored the bill are to be commended for introducing this sweeping set of democracy reforms which serves as the companion bill to H.R. 1 which was passed by the House earlier this month. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) move to pre-emptively block a vote on this companion bill reveals once again that he is firmly entrenched with deep-pocketed special interests in Washington and willing to ignore the will of the people. The bill contains the most sweeping set of pro-democracy reforms since those passed in the wake of the Watergate scandals. It includes reforms restore the rule of law, empower the voices of all Americans, curb abusive partisan gerrymandering, and strengthen the right to vote for every eligible American.”
Karen Hobert Flynn, President, Common Cause [Press Release]

“Usually people are afraid of the dark, but Senator McConnell seems to be afraid of sunlight. The For the People Act would pull back the curtain on the dark money that is destroying our politics and Sen. McConnell should let this important piece of legislation come to the floor for an up or down vote. The House has done its job, now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs.”
Tiffany Muller, President, End Citizens United [Press Release]

“This is the democracy reform bill the American people want and deserve. The For the People Act will make voting easier and more accessible by modernizing our elections and putting power back in the hands of the American voters. It’s time to pass this legislation and make it law of the land in time for our next election.”
Virginia Case, CEO, League of Women Voters [Press Release]

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will undertake the political equivalent of standing in the schoolhouse door to maintain the status quo and prevent us from repairing the political system. Senator McConnell has been beaten on democracy reforms in the past at a time when Republicans controlled the White House and the House and were within one vote of controlling the Senate. Senator McConnell will be beaten again.”
Fred Wertheimer, President, Democracy 21 [Press Release]

“Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to oppose this people-powered legislation, CAP urges the Senate to support this reform package. Despite McConnell’s attempts to block these reforms, the For the People Act is already influencing politics far beyond Capitol Hill. Curbing the culture of corruption has become a major theme in the 2020 presidential race. Many progressive 2020 candidates have embraced money-in-politics reforms and decided to reject all corporate PAC money.”
Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress [Press Release]

“These reforms are not pie-in-the-sky. Similar recently-adopted reforms are successful and popular in multiple states and cities. After an unmistakable call for change from the public, and after the House passed a companion bill, it is simply unacceptable that Leader McConnell has pledged to keep this bill from getting a vote. Americans deserve to know where their representatives stand on these issues. The future health of our democracy depends on it.”
Wendy Weiser, Director of the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice [Press Release]

“Just a few weeks ago, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the For The People Act (H.R.1) with all 235 Democrats co-sponsoring the bill. With every House and Senate Democrat co-sponsoring this once-in-a-generation legislation, Democrats have made it clear that restoring power back to the people is a priority. Mitch McConnell has preemptively refused to bring the For The People Act to the floor for a vote and we have to ask why–what is he so afraid of? Afraid of making the political system more fair and accountable?”
Alex Morgan, Executive Director, Progressive Turnout Project [Press Release]

“The Sierra Club applauds Senator Udall and Senate Democrats for continuing the drive toward protecting and preserving the foundation of our democracy. For far too long, corporate polluters and the wealthy elite have exploited our broken political system to corrupt our nation’s laws for their own financial benefit. That trend has gone from bad to worse during the Trump Administration. This legislation will strengthen the integrity of our democracy by returning power to where it belongs: to the American people. We urge all Senators to support this bill and we demand Mitch McConnell stop playing games with our democracy.”
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club [Press Release]

“Now more than ever, Americans demand real reforms to our democracy to create a political system and government that is responsive to the needs of all people, not just the privileged and powerful. We commend Sens. Udall and Merkley, along with their many colleagues who have signed on as cosponsors, for introducing the Senate For the People Act. Following this legislation’s passage in the House of Representatives, it is critically important that the American people see their elected leaders continuing to work to advance this sweeping, bold package of reforms that can transform American politics for good.”
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way [Press Release]

“Momentum is building and the path to reclaim the power of the people is clear. Leader McConnell owes it to the nation to allow a vote in the Senate so people can know where their elected leaders stand on this critical legislation. His refusal to allow debate and consideration reveals his affinity with the status quo: a broken political system and a culture of corruption. The will of the people and the movement of the Spirit are ushering the “For the People Act” forward.”
Sister Quincy Howard, OP, Government Relations Advocate, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice [Press Release]