Stop the poison pills in HR 1 (UPDATED)

HR1 failed to pass but the Dems have a new poison pill bill — go to to learn more

UPDATE: HR1 failed to pass but the Dems have a new bill, the so-called "Freedom To Vote Act" that contains another attempt to kill public campaign funding for Green presidential candidates!

HR 1, also known as the “For The People Act,” is sold as a way to get money out of politics and to protect voters, but it contains several poison pills for democracy and opposition parties like the Green Party. Most alarmingly, HR1 quintuples the amount of money Green presidential campaigns will be required to raise to qualify for federal matching funds: from $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 per state.

The Green Party stands opposed to the anti-democracy poison pills in HR 1, a package that is sold as a “voting rights” bill but would actually undermine everyone's right to organize electorally against the parties of War and Wall Street. In a recent Gallup poll, a record 62% of US voters said we need a new major party.

In addition to quintupling the money presidential candidates must raise to access presidential primary public matching funds, other poison pills in HR1 would:

  • Abolish the general election campaign block grants that parties can access by winning at least 5% of the vote in the previous presidential election. HR1 would eliminate this provision that was created to give a fair shot to alternative parties that demonstrate significant public support

  • Replace the general election block grants (where each qualified candidate receives a set, lump sum of public funding for campaign expenses) with matching funds through Election Day — a huge step backwards for public campaign finance reform — using the above-mentioned criteria designed to squeeze out alternative parties and independent candidates

  • Eliminate the limits on donations and expenditures candidates can receive and make — what kind of campaign finance reform is that?

  • Inflate the amount of money national party committees can give to candidates from $5000 to $100 million, an astonishing increase of 1999900% that would give party bosses virtually unlimited power to flood elections with big money

HR 1 contains some good provisions to combat voter suppression and enact incremental electoral reforms in the right direction. But democracy depends as much on the right to run for office in elections as  the right to vote in elections. As the infamous Boss Tweed said “you can vote for anyone you like, as long I get to pick the candidates!” The anti-democracy poison pills must be removed from HR 1 before it can be passed.

Instead of trying to fool American voters and eliminating alternative party voices, the Green Party calls for real reforms to democratize elections:

  • The Fair Representation Act, introduced in 2018 and 2019, would enact Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) and multi-member districts for Congressional elections, giving voters more power and more choice.

  • Individual state governments should enact RCV for their elections, including the presidential election.

  • Fully-public campaign finance for every federal, state and local office through the Clean Money/Clean Elections model now used in Arizona and Maine

  • It still wouldn't make it easy being Green

Last week the House voted 220-210 to pass HR 1, the Democratic majority's sweeping electoral reform bill intended to strengthen voting rights, enhance campaign finance reform, and address government ethics and corruption in politics. But the legislation also contains a poison pill designed to reduce political competition and voter choice, entrenching the polarizing duopoly electoral system that made Donald Trump's presidency possible.

The “For the People Act” (H.R.1/S.1) is voting rights legislation now pending in Congress. Civil rights organizations are urgently supporting this bill in order to secure voting rights against over 250 voter suppression bills introduced by Republicans this year in 43 state legislatures.

As a GOP lawyer bluntly told the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2 in an Arizona voting rights case when asked why the Republican Party opposed removing a voting restriction, “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.” The voting rights sections of H.R.1 are important federal measures to enact at a time when the Republican Party seeks to restrict voting rights at the state level.

  • In a recent Gallup poll, a record 62% of US voters said we need a new major party.

Stop HR-1, the Voting Rights Bill That Restricts Voter Choice

HR-1 is sold as a way to get money out of politics and to protect voters, but it contains a poison pill for democracy and opposition parties like the Green Party in its campaign finance reform section. HR1 quintuples the amount of money Green presidential campaigns will be required to raise to qualify for federal matching funds: from $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 per state.

The federal HR 1 - For the People Act - is designed to protect and expand voting rights against Republican efforts to curtail at the state level. But the Green Party says that the public campaign finance proposals, rather than reigning in special interest money, will block third parties from participating. Michael O'Neil, Communications Manager for the Green Party of the US discuss this with Mark Dunlea for Hudson Mohawk Radio Network.

RICHMOND, VA – The Green Party of Virginia condemns multiple provisions of the recently introduced H.R.1, otherwise known as the For the People Act, which undermines third parties. The bill, while purporting to expand democracy, includes changes to rules governing the public financing of campaigns that are aimed squarely at limiting the participation of third parties.

Such provisions include section 5202(1)(a) which quintuples the amount of money that campaigns need to raise in order to qualify for federal matching funds. These funds are an incredibly important source of income for third parties, especially the Green Party which takes no corporate money. Raising the threshold for acquiring these funds does nothing to promote democracy, and by limiting the participation of third parties, does much to harm it.

Little-Known Provision in HR1 Will Quintuple the Amount of Money Presidential Candidates Must Raise to Participate in Public Matching Funds Program

WASHINGTON — The Green Party has gone on the record with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules with a request that HR1 be amended to strike a provision that would quintuple the amount of money presidential campaigns will be required to raise to qualify for federal matching funds. HR1 will raise the qualifying threshold for presidential campaign matching funds from $5,000 raised in each of 20 states to $25,000 per state in 20 states.

Have you heard about HR 1, the poison pill sponsored by Congressman John Sarbanes disguised as a bill to get money out of politics? As electoral reform including getting big money out of politics has become more popular among voters, the Democrats are using it as a smokescreen to push for changes that will continue to restrict voter choice and silence opposition parties like the Green Party.

"The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) opposes any provisions in U.S. House Resolution 1 (H.R.1) that would work to vilify or weaken progressive voices, and we are against the proposed changes for the federal matching funds program," stated Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick, chair of the Delaware County Green Party and member of the GPPA Steering Committee.

HR 1 is the premiere legislative initiative of Democrats in the 116th Congress. It contains 571 pages of proposals and findings and such, but only two of HR 1’s dozens of provisions have a reasonable chance of passing the House and obtaining the bipartisan support in the Senate needed to become law.

It’s a new year, and Democrats running the House of Representatives under Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer need to rebrand themselves and prepare for the 2020 elections. So they’ve rolled out what they and their corporate media hacks are calling their flagship bill, HR 1, a 571 page monstrosity with dozens of empty promises they wouldn’t keep even if they could, along with a couple of serious threats against left dissenters in general and the Green Party in partucular that they just might. It’s not on the official House web site yet, but we read the version on the web site of its sponsor, congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland.

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