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Congresswoman Cori Bush’s Statement on House Passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act

March 3, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), released the following statement after the House passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021. Congresswoman Cori Bush proposed several amendments to the legislation, three of which were passed by the House of Representatives. In a historic vote, one amendment sought to restore the vote of more than 5 million people serving felony convictions. While not included in H.R.1, nearly 100 House Democrats voted in favor of ending felony disenfranchisement.

“The right to vote is supposed to be the foundation of our democracy, but for centuries, it has not been guaranteed to all,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “This right is supposed to be our entry into the conversation and our instrument for change, but those in power have worked tirelessly to systematically deny Black and brown people the right to ever cast a ballot. However, in the face of hatred, discrimination, and white supremacist attacks, Black people — and especially Black women — marched, fought, and bled to uphold our right to participate in this democracy - to make our voices heard at the ballot box.  It was the courage and commitment of abolitionists, freedom fighters, suffragists and civil rights leaders who marched to bring us closer to a more representative democracy. 

“The work of abolitionist and Civil Rights Movement heroes, like Frederick Douglass, Congressman John Lewis, Diane Nash, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was monumental. It is in their footsteps that the 117th Congress continues the struggle to defend our right to vote. Now more than ever, this legislation is critically needed. In state houses all across this nation, Republicans are moving quickly to further silence and suppress Black and brown voices. We need to make H.R. 1 the law of the land now. 

“This legislation is personal to me. As someone who has been unhoused, I’m proud that because of amendments we made to this bill, our unhoused community members will have access to the ballot box. As a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, I’m proud that the privacy and personal information of survivors of domestic and sexual violence will be protected. As a Black woman who knows how difficult it is to ever run for office, I am proud that we will be opening the doors for a diverse, new generation of lawmakers by beginning research into a political voucher program that would open the door for low-income and people of color to run for office.

“Today, we took action, but our work is not done to guarantee this most sacred right. We cannot claim to be a just nation if we continue to disenfranchise our own citizens. Every person - including our community members who are incarcerated - deserve to have their voices heard. We will continue to push until this country lives up to the true promise of its fundamental ideal: one person, one vote.”

Congresswoman Cori Bush Introduced the following amendments to H.R. 1, the For The People Act: 

  • Amendment #87: Expands accessibility requirements for ballot drop box locations to ensure unhoused communities can participate in federal elections. This amendment passed the House of Representatives.
  • Amendment #84: Clarifies that felony convictions do not bar any eligible individual from voting in federal elections, including individuals who are currently incarcerated. This amendment, co-sponsored by Congressman Mondaire Jones, Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib received 97 yea votes, but did not pass the House of Representatives. 
  • Amendment #4:Requires the Federal Election Commission to (1) study the efficacy of political voucher programs in expanding and diversifying who gives to candidates and who runs for office and (2) issue a report on how a national political voucher program could be implemented. Congressman Ritchie Torres’ amendment, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Cori Bush passed the House of Representatives.
  • Amendment #102:Requires states to establish privacy programs to keep personally identifiable information in voter files, such as addresses, confidential to protect survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault and trafficking. For automatic voter registration, requires that individuals receive an explanation of what information is needed to access voter information online, how that information is shared or sold, and what privacy programs are available to survivors. Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s amendment, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Cori Bush, passed the House of Representatives. 

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Congresswoman Cori Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is also a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a registered nurse, single mother, and an ordained pastor. Following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, she became a civil rights activist and community organizer fighting for justice for Black lives on the streets of Missouri and across the country.