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House passes reform package to change elections, ethics rules

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at a briefing room at the U.S. Capitol on February 7. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at a briefing room at the U.S. Capitol on February 7. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- Election Day would become a federal holiday and presidential candidates would have to disclose a decade's worth of tax returns under a sweeping reform bill passed by the House Friday.

The For the People Act makes dramatic changes to a number of issues, including voting rights, campaign finance and ethics -- all pillars of House Democrats in last year's midterm election.

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The proposal seeks to "expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics and strengthen ethics rules for public servants and for other purposes."

"H.R. 1 restores the people's faith that government works for the public interest, the people's interests, not just the special interests," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

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The reform package passed with a 234-193 vote. No Republicans voted for the bill.

Many of the proposed reforms would directly target President Donald Trump in his 2020 re-election campaign. It also goes after "dark money" by requiring political groups to publicize their donors.

"This legislation will shine a light on dark secret money that influences campaigns, and it will protect everyone's right to know who is influencing their votes and their views," Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said.

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The bill's prospects are uncertain in the Senate, however. GOP majority leader Mitch McConnell said it would get no floor time "because I get to decide what we vote on." Trump has also threatened to veto the resolution.

IFriday's passage is another example of newly-empowered House Democrats challenging Trump.

"It is no coincidence that the largest freshman class since Watergate is also the class that is leading and pushing on this critical reform measure," said first-year Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado. "We are the class born of voters' frustrations with a broken system."

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