Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House passes H.R. 1

Today, the House of Representatives voted through the “For the People Act of 2019” (H.R. 1), the House Democrats’ sweeping legislation that looks to reform voting rights, campaign finance reform, lobbying, and government ethics, among others. The vote was party-line, 234-193.

Of the many measures included in the final bill, H.R.1 includes provisions to overhaul government ethics, enable automatic voter registration, strengthen resources to avoid further foreign influence in U.S. elections, and make Election Day a national holiday for federal workers. The bill also includes provisions on voter purging, early voting, and the use of voter verified paper ballots. Of particular importance to letter carriers, language expanding no-excuse absentee voting (often referred to as vote-by-mail) is also included.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Ranking Member on the House Administration Committee, noted that House Democrats voted the bill through committees and the floor with no outreach to his office or those in his party. The legislation is highly unlikely to progress further as Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated he will not allow the bill to be considered on the Senate floor.

Despite that, Sen. Tom Udall, (D-NM) announced that he intends to introduce his version of the package next week, Wednesday, and intends to seek both Democratic and Republican cosponsors.

"The thing that we’ve seen from the Republican leadership and the lobbyists and K Street is that they are completely against it from day one,” said Sen. Udall. “It’s a real full-court press to stomp this out early."

Should the bill manage to get a vote on the Senate floor and pass, the President has threatened to veto the legislation should it be brought to his desk for a signature. Congressional Democrats intend to use the House passage and Senate activity around the bill as a campaign tool ahead of the 2020 elections.

NALC continues to have concerns regarding funding of the vote-by-mail provisions and will be sure to keep letter carriers informed of any updates.

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