Top priorities for the New Congress: H.R. 1 and a Green New Deal
My name is __________. I am a constituent, and my zip code is _______. I am a member of Indivisible SF.
First off, I want to thank the Representative for her steadfast resistance over the past two years to the extreme right-wing agenda of Trump and the Republican Party.
In the new Congress I have two top priorities:
H.R. 1 should be bold, progressive and comprehensive. I want strong voter rights and access reforms, campaign finance reforms, and corruption fixes.
I also believe that we are at a crisis point for our environment and want a Select Committee formed to create a Green New Deal (GND).
If Rep. Speier: Thank you for publicly supporting the Select Committee!
If Rep. Pelosi: Will Rep. Pelosi publicly support the Select Committee?
Why is H.R. 1 Such an Important Legislative Vehicle?
Bill number 1 is usually reserved for the top legislative priority of the party in control of that chamber. In the last Congress, H.R. 1 was reserved for the GOP’s number one priority: the #GOPTaxScam, a massive handout to corporations and the wealthy.
By choosing to prioritize strengthening our democracy as H.R. 1, the Democrats are signaling that they are ready to fight the big fights and root out the unhealthy parts of our democracy that allowed Donald Trump to be elected in the first place.
This is exactly the right choice, and we want to demand that they follow through with this plan by passing H.R. 1 without watering it down or breaking it up.
What’s Actually in H.R. 1?
We expect H.R. 1 to be a robust package that includes these essential reforms:
Voter empowerment and access. Through measures such as automatic voter registration, same-day registration, restoring the Voting Rights Act, protecting against improper purging of voter rolls, requiring states to upgrade and secure their election systems, restoring voting rights to those with past criminal convictions, providing adequate early voting opportunities, and preventing partisan gerrymandering through independent redistricting commissions, H.R. 1 helps ensure that everyone is included and represented in our democracy, and has unimpeded opportunities to participate.
Money in politics. A constitutional amendment is needed to overturn the chaos that Citizens United and related decisions unleashed into our campaign finance system. H.R. 1 starts that process immediately. Additionally, it further stems the tide of big money in our politics by amplifying small-dollar donations through public financing, encouraging small-dollar donations through tax incentives, eliminating “dark money” by requiring disclosure of all political spending (including online ads), cutting off cooperation between candidates and super PACs, and empowering the Federal Election Commission to truly enforce campaign finance law.
Ethics and corruption. Trump and his cronies regularly engage in self-dealing, corruption, and conflicts of interest, without a single rebuke from the Republican-controlled Congress. H.R. 1 cracks down by making sure that ethics rules apply to all government officials - including Trump. This means demanding disclosure of and divestment from his financial interests that pose conflicts of interest, and then for the rest of the executive branch locking the “revolving door” of lobbyists and government officials, prohibiting bribery, and demanding full disclosure of information revealing potential and actual conflicts of interest.
The Democratic majority’s first order of business: Restore democracy, Nancy Pelosi & John Sarbanes, Washington Post 11/25/18
House Democrats seek voting rights fixes. Senate GOP says it’s already dead, McClatchy, 12/6/18
Democrats Go Into 2019 With Ethics Blazing, Roll Call 12/3/18
Green New Deal
The 2018 midterms swept Democrats into power in the House, and they have brought with them a renewed focus on combating climate change. Sitting Members of Congress (MoCs) and incoming MoCs alike have rallied around a proposal to establish a Select Committee For A Green New Deal as a starting point for making the changes necessary to protect the planet from catastrophic climate change. The Select Committee would be responsible for developing a plan and accompanying draft legislation by March 2020 for a Green New Deal that would be implemented over the next decade.
The Green New Deal is an ambitious, progressive policy framework that would protect the planet and grow the economy. Like the original New Deal, the Green New Deal represents a massive investment in America’s people and infrastructure—but with the additional goals of spending on projects that will transition America to a green economy, and ensuring that these investments are targeted to promote “social, economic, racial, regional, and gender-based justice and equality.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) has released a proposal for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal, a plan that would transform our economy and society at the scale needed to stop the climate crisis.
This committee would have a specific mandate to spend two years building out a comprehensive, detailed plan for how to implement a Green New Deal by 2020. And now that Democrats have control of Congress, Pelosi has the power to set up committees – with no approval needed from the Senate or President.
An important element of the proposal is a requirement that committee members would not be allowed to take donor money from the fossil fuel industry.
So far, 22 House Democrats (including CA-14 Rep. Jackie Speier) have publicly supported the proposal.
The Democratic Party Wants to Make Climate Policy Exciting, The Atlantic 12/5/18
Voters Are Ready for a Green New Deal. Are Democrats? New York Magazine 9/17/18
Why the Best New Deal Is a Green New Deal, The Nation 9/18/18
The Environmental Justice Movement, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Environmental Justice, San Francisco Department of the Environment.