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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1 - For the People Act of 2019

March 05, 2019


(House Rules)
(Rep. Sarbanes, D-MD, and 236 cosponsors)

The Administration opposes House passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019. H.R. 1 proposes an overreach of Federal power that would violate constitutional principles of separation of powers, federalism, and freedom of speech.

H.R. 1 proposes to have the Federal Government micromanage elections that are largely and properly within the purview of the States themselves. For example, H.R. 1 would prohibit commonsense efforts to clean up voting-rolls to limit opportunities for voting fraud. The bill would also require States to adopt online registration, same-day registration, and automatic voter registration, thus imposing a one-size-fits-all standard for weighing the competing values of voter access and voting integrity. Furthermore, H.R. 1 would enhance the powers of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chairman and reduce the number of FEC members from six to five, thus increasing the chances that the FEC becomes a partisan entity with undue power to shape and regulate elections nationwide.

In addition, the legislation further advances political redistricting mandates. Specifically, the legislation would force States to create unelected bodies and then delegate redistricting decisions to them. This would suppress the voices of our Nation's citizens and cut off a nationwide debate on how best to pursue fair and ethical redistricting processes throughout the country.

H.R. 1 also chills free speech by creating requirements that would limit the ability of Americans to participate in advocacy without undue compliance costs and without fear of public reprisals. The bill would establish costly and unnecessary programs to finance political campaigns, and force American taxpayers to finance Federal candidates they may not support.

Finally, the legislation would implement a number of well-intentioned but misguided ethics reforms for Government officials. Many of these reforms, such as giving the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) the authority to review and approve decisions throughout the Executive Branch and sheltering its director from removal, are inconsistent with the constitutional structure of the executive branch, and would effectively restrict the ability of the executive branch to fully function as well as its ability to hire and retain an experienced and knowledgeable workforce.

If H.R. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend he veto the bill.

Donald J. Trump, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1 - For the People Act of 2019 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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