WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, a bill to restore the rights of working people, limit the power of the corrupt and expand voting rights:
“During the 2020 election, Americans had to fight just to have their votes counted. Across the country, numerous voters waited in line for hours to cast their ballots. Rampant voter suppression of the historically marginalized, systematic gerrymandering, and special interest money all worked overtime to stifle the voices of people who only hoped to participate in their democracy. Add to that the unchecked chaos and division that has seeped into our political system and left government mistrust at an all-time high, and you have the recipe for a democracy in disrepair.
“Thankfully, with this bill, the 117th Congress has made repairing our democracy its priority. H.R. 1 ensures fairness in our electoral process, expands voting access and the rights of working people, and limits corporate power and corruptive influence in government. It’s time for every family and every community in this country to have a fair shot, a voice at work, a voice in their democracy and an opportunity to thrive.
“H.R. 1 lays the groundwork for that. It addresses the very real threats to the foundation of our democracy by strengthening the government’s ethics laws, imposing important restrictions on campaign finance regulations, and expanding voting rights so all Americans can have a voice at the ballot box. It is one huge step toward ensuring the soul of our democracy remains intact and restoring power to those it belongs to—the people. With the passage of this legislation, the House of Representatives is responding to the will of the people, who voted in record numbers for representatives, senators and a president who believe our democracy works best when every vote is counted and every voice is heard. We hope the Senate will follow their lead.”