House passes plan aiming to limit money in politics, require presidents to release tax returns

Key Points
  • House Democrats pass a plan aiming to root out corruption and limit money in politics. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has no plans to take it up, and President Donald Trump has threatened to veto it. 
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol February 28, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

House Democrats passed a bill Friday aiming to reduce money in politics and expand voting rights, following through on their top policy priority since they regained control of the chamber.

The proposal would also require presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns — a clear swipe at President Donald Trump, who broke with precedent in refusing to release his financial information.

The plan, a key plank of Democrats' 2018 strategy known as H.R. 1, passed the chamber by a 234-193 party-line vote. With the proposal, Democrats hope to cast themselves as the party better equipped to root out corruption and boost participation in the U.S. political system. The plan was overshadowed for most of the week by an anti-hate measure passed Thursday in response to comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that various critics deemed anti-Semitic.

The Democrats' ethics reform bill has little chance of becoming law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has lambasted the measure as a federal power grab by Democrats. Trump has threatened to veto the legislation.

The massive legislation would require so-called dark money groups — which do not have to disclose their donors — to reveal their sources of funding, while setting up a public funding method for congressional campaigns. It would create a national automatic voter registration, make Election Day a federal holiday, and boost early voting and same-day registration.

Ahead of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the plan one that "restores the people's faith that government works in the public's interest, the people's interest, not the special interests." She said it "ensures clean, fair elections and fights voter suppression."

McConnell has signaled he will not even bring the bill to a vote. The Kentucky Republican has repeatedly called it the "Democrat Politician Protection Act."

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