Cummings Expresses Strong Support for H.R. 1, The “For the People” Act

Mar 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 6, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued a strong statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 1, The “For the People” Act.

H.R. 1 includes the Executive Branch Conflicts of Interest Act, which was introduced by Cummings to ban senior officials from accepting “golden parachute” payments from private sector employers in exchange for their government service. 

H.R. 1 also includes the bicameral Transition Team Ethics Improvement Act, which was introduced by Cummings, along with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper, to enhance the ethics requirements that govern presidential transitions.

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 6, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued a strong statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 1, The “For the People” Act.

H.R. 1 includes the Executive Branch Conflicts of Interest Act, which was introduced by Cummings to ban senior officials from accepting “golden parachute” payments from private sector employers in exchange for their government service. 

H.R. 1 also includes the bicameral Transition Team Ethics Improvement Act, which was introduced by Cummings, along with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper, to enhance the ethics requirements that govern presidential transitions.

Below are Cummings’ remarks on the House floor, as prepared for delivery:

 

Statement of Chairman Elijah E. Cummings

Committee on Oversight and Reform

Floor Consideration of H.R. 1, The “For the People” Act

March 6, 2019

I rise in strong support of H.R. 1, The “For the People” Act.  I want to thank my friend, Congressman John Sarbanes, for his vision and for his tenacity in introducing this bold and historic reform package.  This sweeping legislation would clean up corruption in government, fight secret money in politics, and make it easier for American citizens across the country to vote. 

I have heard this bill dismissed as a “power grab.”  In fact, it is a power restoration.

H.R. 1 would restore power to the American people and break the hold of special interests.  For example, Title VIII includes a bill that I introduced, the Executive Branch Conflicts of Interest Act, which would ban senior officials from accepting bonuses and other payments from private sector employers in exchange for their government service. 

H.R. 1 would have prevented Gary Cohn, President Trump’s former economic advisor, from receiving more than $100 million in accelerated payments from Goldman Sachs when he left to lead the Trump Administration’s efforts to slash corporate taxes. 

Title VIII also includes another bill I introduced, the Transition Team Ethics Improvement Act.  This legislation would require presidential transition teams to disclose to Congress the team members they submit to receive security clearances and which team members receive security clearances.  This legislation also would require transition teams to have ethics plans in place and to publicly disclose those plans. 

H.R. 1 gives the American people the power to freely exercise their right to vote.  I believe that we should be doing everything in our power to make it easier, not harder, for American citizens to exercise their constitutional right.

Unfortunately, some oppose our efforts.  They think we should make voting more difficult by cutting back on early voting, eliminating polling places, and taking other steps to reduce the number of people who do vote.  In some cases, they have even engaged in illegal efforts to suppress the vote and target minority communities. 

Just look at what happened in North Carolina.  In 2013, state legislators requested data, broken down by race, on how residents engage in a number of voting practices.  They then used that data to enact legislation that restricted voting and voter registration in five different ways that disproportionately affected African-Americans. 

You do not have to take my word for it—the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the legislation was enacted with discriminatory intent.  In fact, the 4th Circuit said that the North Carolina legislation targeted African-Americans with “almost surgical precision.”

In Georgia, we saw actions—just last year—by officials to remove people from voter rolls and prevent them from registering in the first place. 

H.R. 1 would establish procedures to automatically register people to vote, expand early voting and absentee voting, and give additional funding to states to maintain enough polling sites so that everyone can easily cast their ballot.  This legislation would help make it easier for hardworking Americans to find the time to vote by making election day a federal holiday and encouraging the private sector to follow suit. 

As federal court after federal court has found, there are ongoing efforts to stop people from voting.  I will fight until the death to make sure every citizen—whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Green Party, or whoever—has the right to vote.  The American people gave this Congress a mandate to restore our democracy and clean up our government. 

I urge my colleagues to join this effort to safeguard our democracy and vote for this historic legislation.

Click here to watch the video.

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116th Congress