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House Passes Sweeping Tonko-Cosponsored Government Reform Bill

H.R. 1: For the People Act will end culture of corruption in Washington, reduce role of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules and ensure clean and fair elections

“The American people have a right to know that their government is working for them, and to hold officials accountable when they are not."

WASHINGTON – More than two years after President Trump made his signature unfulfilled campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Congressman Paul Tonko and the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives moved forward with historic ethics and good government reforms to clean up Washington and strengthen America’s election systems, passing H.R. 1: the For the People Act by a vote of 234-193 earlier today.

“The American people have a right to know that their government is working for them, and to hold officials accountable when they are not,” said Tonko. “For years under Republican control, we have been forced to watch as the American government was increasingly captured by big money special interests. Fixing these broken systems is a necessary first step in getting us back on track and restoring the faith of the American people in our government. This is exactly what the For the People Act would achieve, and why we gave this effort the special designation of H.R. 1. The Senate and White House need to listen to the voices of millions of Americans and join us in enacting these urgently needed reforms without any further delay.”

H.R. 1: For the People Act

  • Improves access to the ballot box
    • Creates automatic voter registration & online registration tools
    • Expands early voting and makes absentee voting simple, secure and free
    • Permits same-day registration including during early voting
    • Provides states with resources to strengthen election security
    • Replaces partisan gerrymandering with independent redistricting commissions
  • Ends the dominance of secretive big money in politics
    • Creates a small-donor 6:1 matching on up to $200 from each individual donor to a candidate who has agreed to reject high-dollar contributions
    • Requires all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their largest donors
    • Bans contributions and expenditures from mostly foreign owned or controlled organizations
    • Increases disclosure requirements for paid advertising online
    • Repeals several existing prohibitions that restrict transparency rules
  • Strengthens ethics standards for public officials
    • Prohibits members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards
    • Strengthens protections against members or staff using official positions to further their personal financial interests or those of their families
    • Prohibits use of taxpayer funds to settle employment discrimination or harassment settlements by members of Congress
    • Requires a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices consistent with requirements for other federal judges
    • Requires sitting presidents and vice presidents, as well as candidates for both offices, to release their tax returns
    • Prohibits senior public officials from lobbying their former agency for at least two years after their public service ends
    • Sets strict standards for financial disclosure regarding political fundraising by Senate-confirmed officials, presidential transition teams and others


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