House Democrats Introduce H.R. 1, First Bill of 116th Congress >>

January 9th, 2019

House Democrats Introduce H.R. 1, First Bill of 116th Congress

On Friday, House Democrats introduced a sweeping anti-corruption bill as the first piece of legislation in the 116th Congress. The bill covers three main planks: campaign finance reform, strengthening the government’s ethics laws, and expanding voting rights.

The House is working with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) to introduce a companion H.R. 1 bill in the Senate. While the legislation will pass the House, it stands little to no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate or being signed by President Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the press bluntly, “That’s not going to go anywhere.” Below is a breakdown of the various provisions included within the bill. A PDF of the 500+ page bill is attached below.

Campaign finance provisions

  • Creates a 6:1 public financing model for contributions $200 or less.
  • Calls for a constitutional amendment to end Citizens United.
  • Passes the DISCLOSE Act, which would require Super PACs and “dark money” political organizations to make their donors public.
  • Passes the Honest Ads Act, championed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) in the House, which would require Facebook and Twitter to disclose the source of money for political ads on their platforms and share how much money was spent.
  • Mandates government contractors disclose any political spending.
  • Restructures the Federal Election Commission to have five commissioners instead of the current four, in order to break political gridlock.
  • Prohibits any coordination between candidates and Super PACs.


  • Requires the president and vice president to disclose 10 years of his or her tax returns. Candidates for president and vice president must also do the same.
  • Stops members of Congress from using taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment or discrimination cases.
  • Gives the Office of Government Ethics the power to do more oversight and enforcement and put in stricter lobbying registration requirements.
  • Creates a new ethical code for the US Supreme Court, ensuring all branches of government are impacted by the new law.

Voting rights

  • Creates a new national automatic voter registration that asks voters to opt0out, rather than opt-in, ensuring more people will be signed up to vote. Early voting, same-day voter registration, and online voter registration would also be promoted.
  • Designates Election Day a holiday for federal employees and encourages private sector businesses to do the same, requiring poll workers to provide a week’s notice if poll sites are changed, and making colleges and universities a voter registration agency (in addition to the DMV, etc), among other updates.
  • Ends partisan gerrymandering in federal elections and prohibits voter roll purging.
  • Beefs up elections security, including requiring the director of national intelligence to do regular checks on foreign threats.
  • Recruits and trains more poll workers ahead of the 2020 election to cut down on long lines at the polls.

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