Pelosi, Democrats Renew Push to Overhaul Election, Campaign Finance Laws

November 16, 2020
In The News

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she would press ahead early next year with a campaign finance and elections overhaul, even as the measure may face the same Senate fate it did this Congress: doom. House Democrats passed their signature overhaul measure in March 2019 and dubbed it HR 1, indicating its priority. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked it in his chamber, however. Even though the Senate majority for the 117th Congress hinges on two runoff elections in Georgia, Democrats and their outside allies said they would still push for the measure, spotlighting McConnell’s resistance. “The strategy is to keep pointing out that McConnell is the one blocking the bill,” Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, the lead sponsor of the overhaul measure, said Monday during a call with reporters. “He sort of crossed his arms on the Senate side from Day One and said that this legislation will not see the light of day. That’s not a reason not to continue the fight and to amp it up, which is what we’re doing here. Sarbanes acknowledged that even with a Democrat in the White House, the measure’s future was uncertain. If Democrats had won the Senate majority outright, it would likely have been atop the chamber’s agenda in the new year. As it is, if Democrats win both Georgia Senate seats, the chamber would only be tied with a Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. “We don’t know when and how the opportunity to move this will present itself, but the key is to be ready,” Sarbanes said. Pelosi and Sarbanes said during the call that they expect the House to move early next year to pass a bill similar to the current measure, which stretches hundreds of pages. It would set up an optional program to match contributions candidates receive from small donors with six times that amount from the government. It would also institute same-day voter registration and early voting nationwide, and impose new ethics requirements on government officials, among other provisions.