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Congressman Lloyd Smucker

Representing the 11th District of Pennsylvania

Smucker Statement on House Passage of H.R. 1

March 8, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker issued the following statement on the passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019:

“Democrats have marketed H.R. 1 as a necessary election reform measure – but the ugly truth is this bill is a massive federal overreach which won’t make our elections safer or more democratic,” Smucker said. “This is an unconstitutional power-grab, written with zero input from anyone across the aisle. It would limit Americans’ free speech and alter the very fundamental principles of our elections system, all at a significant cost to taxpayers.” 

A major provision of H.R. 1 – a 571-page bill – is providing political welfare for politicians, giving candidates a taxpayer subsidy — $6 for every $1 – ultimately forcing the American taxpayer to fund the campaigns of politicians, regardless of whether they support or oppose them. As of February 2019, the U.S. is currently $22 trillion in debt.

The legislation would force states to adopt automatic and online voter registration, with no safeguards or options to maintain the integrity of voter rolls. The legislation also does not require or encourage states to remove inaccurate voter information – including duplicate records or ineligible voters – and fails to criminalize fraudulent registration, increasing voter fraud. The bill would make Election Day a public holiday and would force states to establish a redistricting commission to draw congressional district lines based on the criteria in the bill. 

H.R. 1 sets a dangerous precedent and infringes upon states’ and individuals’ constitutional rights, since the U.S. Constitution puts primary responsibility in the states to set the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections.

The legislation also decreases the number of commissioners on the Federal Elections Commission from six to five, thus ending the Commission’s longstanding history as a bipartisan body and weaponizing it against certain political speech.

Conservative and liberal groups alike have blasted the proposal, expressing grave concerns about the impact of H.R. 1 on American democracy. Even the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union said the bill was unconstitutional and would “harm public discourse” and “silence necessary voices.”

Beyond the repercussions of H.R. 1 on political speech, implementation would also be costly. In a report released Friday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the cost of H.R. 1 would be $2.6 billion over the next five years.

“I voted against this measure because I believe we should reject this overreach,” Smucker said. “Passing a measure like this only allows more power for the politicians – not for the people.”