US House passes sweeping voting rights bill over GOP opposition

The bill is a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Trump’s repeated false claims of a stolen 2020 election. | PHOTO: REUTERS
House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation on Wednesday over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the US election law in at least a generation.

House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved on a near party-line 220-210 vote. It would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to a murky campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to anonymously bankroll political causes.

The bill is a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Trump’s repeated false claims of a stolen 2020 election. Yet it faces an uncertain fate in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it has little chance of passing without changes to procedural rules that currently allow Republicans to block it.

The stakes in the outcome are monumental, cutting to the foundational idea that one person equals one vote, and carrying with it the potential to shape election outcomes for years to come. It also offers a test of how hard President Joe Biden and his party are willing to fight for their priorities, as well as those of their voters.

This bill “will put a stop at the voter suppression that we’re seeing debated right now,” said Rep Nikema Williams, a new congresswoman who represents the Georgia district that deceased voting rights champion John Lewis held for years.   

Legislation on H1B visas introduced by GOP lawmakers

Three American lawmakers have introduced a legislation in the House of Representatives that stops employers from hiring foreign H1B workers if they have recently, or plan to, furlough their US workers and requires employers to pay their H1B workers more than their American workers. The American Jobs First Act proposes to overhaul the H-1B visa program by making changes in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

As per the text of the bill, a foreign guest worker may not be admitted or provided status as an H1B nonimmigrant in an occupational classification unless the petitioner employer has filed with the Secretary of Labor an application stating the employer is offering an annual wage to the H-1B non-immigrant that is the greater of the annual wage that was paid to the US citizen or lawful permanent resident employee who did identical or similar work during the 2 years before the petitioner employer filed such application; or $110.



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