Political Primers: Legislation + Bills

A quick breakdown of a politically complex idea, historical event, hot topic, government process - you get it.

Listen to these below on the Outstanding Political Primer Show!

America Rescue Plan Act of 2021

A $1.9 trillion COVID-relief plan signed into law on 03/11/21. Includes direct payments to citizens ($424B). The PPP program changes so more NPOs qualify.

$350B - state and local aid. $246B - unemployment insurance. $17B - veterans. $25B - restaurants and bars. $40B - renters and homeowners. $109B for farmers, small businesses, +. $176B for vaccines and healthcare. $178B to schools and high education, and more.

If the price tag sounds heavy, President Biden met with historians in March 2021 and they advised him to go "bigger and faster" than people are expecting.

NCSL explains in detail

Axios: Biden talks with historians 

Read the text of H.R. 1319

Congress and Lawmaking

Members in the House of Representatives (435 members) or the Senate (100 members) draft a bill.

The bill goes to a committee where it is researched further and adjusted.

Both chambers debate and vote to approve the bill: The House of Reps with 218/435 votes; the Senate votes to approve it with 51/100 votes. Only a simple majority is needed with both the House then Senate for a bill to go to the President's desk for authorization, or to be signed into law.

The President's pen used to sign a bill into law can be given to the person that did the most advocacy for that new law.

More depth from USA.gov

H.R. 1/S. 1, For the People Act (Outdated, updated to the Freedom to Vote Act)

A sweeping voting reform bill, here are some highlights from the 791 pages.

1) Creates automatic voter registration across the country,

2) restores voting rights fully to felons who complete their felony sentence,

3) improves absentee and early voting, and prohibits voter rolls purges,

4) outlaws partisan gerrymandering and increases election vendor oversight,

5) includes the DISCLOSE Act and Honest Ads Act - bringing more transparency to campaign donations.

6) changes the Federal Election Commission from 6 to 5 commissioners to break voting gridlock,

7) prohibits Congressmembers from using tax money for settling sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits,

8) creates a 6:1 small donor matching system up to $200. A private $200 donation to a candidate would bring $1,200 more in public funds. So a $200 donation = $1,400 total to the candidates that opt-in and qualify. The public funds use $0 in taxes, self-funding off a new H.R. 1 tax to people / corporations that criminally undermine trust in the public,

and there's so much more (and more details) involved in H.R. 1 /S. 1.

H.R. 1 info from Rep. Sarbanes

Read the text of H.R. 1

Brennan Center on donor matching

John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement 

Also known as H.R.4, this would restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

1) Reforms voting rights for Indigenous communities dramatically, 

2) extends federal jurisdiction to monitor states with a history of voting disenfranchisement (preclearance) and brings litigation against states/cities that commit voting rights violations, 

3) provides greater rights to individuals seeking "the fundamental right to cast an effective ballot", 

4) requires the AG to meet with Tribal leaders annually, 

and much more.

Rep. Terri Sewell on H.R. 4

Read the text of H.R. 4