Speech ● For The People
For Immediate Release: 
March 2, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this morning in support of H.R. 1, the For The People Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery.
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“Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, Ms. Lofgren, for the work she and her members put into this bill.  And I want to thank Rep. Sarbanes, whose tireless work to reform how federal campaigns are financed is a main pillar of H.R. 1.

“This is a very, very important bill.  One could say that everything else we do depends on it.  Because in our democracy, government only works if those it serves have faith that it is truly government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’  Of course, it was Abraham Lincoln who spoke those words, mourning those who gave their lives in a great struggle to preserve our union as it faced the evils of slavery, sedition, and secession.  Even in that dark moment, when so many were losing hope for the success of our great American experiment in democracy and constitutional government, President Lincoln encouraged us to renew our faith as Americans in that project.

“Now, in 2021, though the crises we face are different than in 1863, our nation is facing grave challenges.  A pandemic has led to the deaths of more than half a million Americans.  Its subsequent economic crisis has put more than 10 million out of work and millions of families and small businesses are struggling to get by.  Deep racial and political divisions threaten to tear our country apart, with misinformation and mistrust as dangerous to our republic as any virus or recession. 

“The American people must have faith that their government is truly their own; that it is an expression of their collective will; and that it can deliver results that improve their lives and offer them hope for a better future.  That is what H.R. 1 – the For
The People Act – aims to do: reassure the American people that their government will always work for them.

“First, it will protect the sacred right to vote by ensuring that every American can participate equally and without undue barriers to casting their ballot.  H.R. 1 would be the most consequential piece of voting rights legislation enacted since the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which I was proud to sponsor.

“Second, this bill roots out corruption in government by increasing ethics standards and limiting the corrosive effects of dark money in our political campaigns.  By forcing SuperPACs to disclose their donors, H.R. 1 will ensure that American voters know exactly who is paying for the campaign ads they see or hear.  And by requiring presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release ten years’ worth of tax returns, it will provide voters with information critical to ensuring that those seeking our highest offices are free from conflicts of interest.

“Third, H.R. 1 will end partisan redistricting, whereby politicians choose their voters instead of the other way around.  Too many voting districts are drawn in a way to limit voters’ voices in our democracy.  That has to end, and the only way to do it is through a national approach that creates, as this bill does, a nonpartisan process in each state.

“And, lastly, H.R. 1 includes a number of provisions to increase transparency and accountability so that the American people can see what their elected officials are doing and make sure they are doing their jobs properly.  Through all of these steps, House Democrats will deliver on our pledge to renew Americans’ faith in government by making sure it works for the people.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation, so consequential to our democracy and our ability to deliver results for our constituents.  But I also ask the American people to join me in believing in what government can achieve when we take steps to make it work in the way our Founders intended.  With the challenges we are facing, with the divisions and mistrust that abound, let us seize this moment – as Lincoln once did – to rededicate ourselves to the work of ensuring that ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.’

“Let us do so with a strong, bipartisan vote today for H.R. 1.”