House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday celebrated the House passing H.R. 1, which the GOP warns will federalize state elections and lead to greater distrust in the U.S. election system, branding it as key to curbing “misinformation” on Democrat priorities such as climate change and gun control.
“We are so pleased with the actions taken by the House of Representatives last night,” Pelosi told reporters at her Thursday press conference, stating that lawmakers made a “giant step for democracy.”
The Speaker claimed that the legislation will “protect the right to vote” by removing “obstacles of participation” — a likely reference to the measure’s federal takeover of state voting procedures, particularly overriding state voter ID laws.
“H.R. 1, For the People, the first 300 pages were written by John Lewis to remove voter suppression tactics from our political system. Some of the rest of it was written to protect the integrity of our electoral system, the physical infrastructure of our elections,” Pelosi said, contending that the measure reduces the role of special interest money — something she seems to believe will help advance her party’s initiatives, from climate change to gun control:
What’s exciting about it is it restores confidence that people have that their vote and their voice is as important as anyone’s. That yes. We can address the climate crisis if big, dark special interest money is not suffocating the airwaves with misinformation about how to protect the planet. We yes can have background checks passed in the whole Congress of the United States to protect our children if big, dark special interest gun lobbying money is not suffocating the airwaves. And yes, we can have lower cost of prescription drugs. The list goes on and on. We can ‘Build Back Better’ for the people in every zip code as we said in our caucus yesterday.
Countless Republicans have warned against H.R. 1 due to the impact it would have on states and their primary role in conducting federal elections for House and Senate and presidential elections. Twenty state attorneys general sent a letter to House and Senate leadership prior to the measure’s passing, highlighting the bill’s many “vulnerabilities” and constitutional red flags.
As Breitbart News reported:
H.R. 1, they continued, “implicates the Electors Clause” by regulating the elections for president and vice president. The state leaders also highlighted the “severe constitutional hurdles” the measure faces due to its “regulation of congressional elections, including by mandating mail-in voting, requiring states to accept late ballots, overriding state voter identification (“ID”) laws, and mandating that states conduct redistricting through unelected commissions.”
The attorneys general identified the measure’s limitations on voter ID laws as, perhaps, the most “egregious” portion of the act, noting that a majority of states have some form of a voter ID law.
The state leaders warned that they will “seek legal remedies to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens” if the bill does, in fact, become law.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is among GOP lawmakers who spoke most forcefully against the bill following its passage, stating that Americans should be “outraged” by House Democrats passing the proposal:
Every single American should be OUTRAGED by this:
Democrats just voted to ban voter ID nationwide and force every state to permanently expand mail-in voting.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 4, 2021