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March 8, 2019




Friday, March 8, 2019



A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.


House Democrats fulfilled their promise to the American people Friday by passing their top legislative priority in the 116th Congress: H.R. 1.


The bill modernizes our voting system; reduces the influence of big money in politics; and “drains the swamp” by reforming our ethics in government laws. 

Democrats voted unanimously “Yes” for H.R. 1 and more democracy; Republicans voted and said “No” to more democracy.


Republicans share the belief of conservative ideologue Paul Weyrich who in August of 1980 told a group of white ministers in Dallas, Texas: “Now many of our Christians have what I call the ‘goo, goo syndrome.’  Good government.  They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote.  Elections are not won by a majority of the people.  They never have been since the beginning of our country, and they are not now.  As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”


Republicans don’t believe in democracy; they don’t trust the people; they don’t believe in transparency; and that’s what this vote was about.  The Democratic bill proposed automatic, online and same day voter registration; made Election Day a federal holiday; restored voting rights to people with prior felony convictions; expanded early voting and simplified absentee voting; prohibited voter purges that kick eligible voters off the registration rolls; enhanced election security with increased support for a paper-based voting system and more oversight over election vendors; ended partisan gerrymandering by establishing independent redistricting commissions; prohibited providing false information about the election process that discouraged voting and other deceptive practices.  That’s what Republicans oppose!


H.R. 1 proposes to reduce the influence of big money in politics by requiring secret money organizations that spend money in elections to disclose their donors; upgrades online political spending transparency to ensure voters know who is paying for ads; creates a small donor-focused public financing matching system so candidates for Congress aren’t just reliant on big money to fund their campaigns; strengthens oversight rules to ensure those who break our campaign finance laws are held accountable: overhauls the Federal Election Commission to better enforce campaign finance laws; prohibits the use of shell companies to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections; and requires government contractors to disclose their political spending.


Democrats also want to slow the revolving door between government officials and lobbyists; expand conflict of interest laws; ban members of Congress from serving on corporate boards; require presidents to publicly disclose their tax returns; overhaul the Office of Government Ethics to ensure stronger enforcement of ethics rules; and require members of the U.S. Supreme Court to abide by a judicial code of ethics.


Now that the House has passed the bill it will go to the other congressional body where Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not even bring it up for a vote.  With Republicans voting “No” in the House and refusing to hold a vote in the Senate the American people might want to contemplate why Republicans are so afraid of democracy.




Frank Watkins


Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.