House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pushed forward with election overhaul legislation, calling for her Democratic colleagues to seek to pass the bill.
In a letter sent to the Democrats on Tuesday, June 8, Pelosi insisted that the election legislation, known as H.R. 1 in the House and S. 1 in the Senate, “must become law,” citing the basis of democracy and claiming voter suppression efforts by Republicans at the state level.
“H.R. 1, the For The People Act, advanced by Congressman John Sarbanes and passed twice in the House, is awaiting action in the Senate. It is my hope that the passage of S. 1 will create a legacy for all of us who want to strengthen our democracy,” Pelosi wrote.
The speaker pointed to several reasons to stress the “urgent” need to pass the bill, including:
- Reducing the role of big, dark special interest money in politics;
- Stopping the voter suppression and protecting the vote of tens of millions of Americans; and
- Ending political gerrymandering by establishing redistricting commissions.
“Our mission is to amplify the voices of the grassroots, as they vote, advocate for policy and choose to run for office. H.R. 1/S. 1 must become law in order to respect the sanctity of the vote, which is the basis of our democracy,” she argued.
Pelosi’s letter comes two days after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) vowed to oppose the For the People Act, which he claimed is too partisan and would further divide the country.
In an op-ed article posted on Gazette-Mail on Sunday, Manchin said the 800-page bill had garnered zero Republican support, and such a voting and election reform “will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.”
Manchin called on the Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which he said: “there is bipartisan support to pass the latest iteration of this legislation.”
Pelosi on Tuesday acknowledged “it is essential that H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, become law,” but said the bill would not be ready until fall and that it is “no substitute” for the H.R. 1 that already passed the House.
In the letter, Pelosi also expressed her expectation the Senate will try again to pass a bill to form an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol after the chamber failed its passage earlier this year.
“We are still hoping the Senate will pass the January 6th Commission,” she wrote. “If not, we will be prepared to seek and find the truth of the assault on the Capitol, our Congress and our Democracy.”