Capitol Correspondence - 02.11.19

House Package to Reform Government on the Horizon… But Will Budget Negotiations Delay It?

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ANCOR is sharing this article by ASAE, of which ANCOR is a member, because the large scope of the legislative package mentioned is likely to cover issues of interest to people with disabilities and providers of disability supports. The government reform package, marked H.R. 1 to show its priority to Democratic House leadership, includes voting and redistricting reform. These are issues that speak deeply to the challenges people with disabilities have in being heard and represented in policy and political discussions. However, this package also includes more contentious issues such as campaign finance reform that promise many roadblocks in the Republican-controlled Senate.

As shared by ASAE:

“House Democrats are still planning to advance their government overhaul package (H.R. 1) this month, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). [ANCOR note: learn more about H.R. 1 here.]

House Democrats’ agenda has been delayed by the partial government shutdown that lasted 35 days, but Pelosi signaled in a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter this week that she is intent on moving the broad political package to a floor vote by the end of the month.

There are eight House committees with jurisdiction over pieces of H.R. 1, though not all of them will hold hearings on the measure. H.R. 1 already has 227 co-sponsors, more than enough to pass the bill.

H.R. 1 is intended to kick off what Democrats have termed their “For the People” agenda. The bill includes numerous provisions to reduce the role of “dark money” in politics, to restore ethics and integrity to government, and to strengthen voting laws.

Despite President Trump’s calls for bipartisanship during his State of the Union address Feb. 5, he and the Republican-controlled Senate have signaled no interest in advancing H.R. 1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already strongly denounced the bill as a ‘power grab’ by Democrats and a ‘naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.’

House Democrats’ plans to advance H.R. 1 in the next few weeks could be delayed yet again if a House and Senate conference committee can’t reach a spending deal to keep the government open past the approaching Feb. 15 deadline. With Democrats resisting President Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, Trump has recently declared the negotiations a “waste of time” and has threatened to declare a national emergency to get access to funds to build the wall.

In a news conference today, Pelosi urged Trump to let the conference committee come to a deal and to ‘be as non-interventionalist as I am.’”