GOP Should Bring Reform Ideas To Table
The incoming House Democratic majority has set the right tone with the first bill it will press next year. “H.R. 1” would establish some badly needed political, governance and ethical reforms that would have a major impact on all other aspects of politics and governance. Rep. John Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat, said the bill would require political advocacy groups that advertise during elections to disclose their donors. It would establish automatic national voter registration as a means to increase participation the in political process, expand access to online registration and increase federal financial support for secure state voting systems, and create a system to use federal funds to multiply small donations to federal political campaigns as a means to give more people a greater voice and diminish the influence of wealthy interests. Though not yet defined, it also will include a mechanism to thwart political gerrymandering. The bill also would raise the ethics bar for all three branches of government. It would require presidents to release their tax returns, bar all members of Congress from sitting on boards of directors while they are in public office, and require an ethics code for the U.S. Supreme Court, the only court of the federal judiciary that does not have one. Democrats will pass the bill in the House control only the House. But such reforms should be a bipartisan prerogative as a matter of policy, and arguing against them or defeating them in the Senate or by presidential veto would be politically perilous. Republicans should engage in the debate as soon as the bill is introduced and bring their own reform ideas to the table.