Much attention has focused on H.R. 1, the comprehensive package of democracy reforms introduced on Thursday by Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) on behalf of the new Democratic House majority. The unprecedented legislation is perhaps the most important domestic initiative of the new Congress.
But it also has the capacity to begin fixing what has been broken in our foreign relations, reassuring our allies that America is on the way back to restoring our democracy, and with it our global leadership.
Since 2016, the United States’ friends around the world have been faced with a dual shock: Russia’s multipronged attack on our elections that year and the ascension of President Donald Trump, who has criticized our longtime partners while embracing authoritarians like Russian President Vladimir Putin—despite his assault on our democracy.
H.R. 1 reforms our broken political system but it also addresses the concerns of Americans and allies alike who are anxious that our elections are vulnerable to future foreign attacks. The bill incorporates election security reforms that are long overdue. It would establish standards for election vendors, provide significant assistance to states to improve and protect their election systems, and bolster federal efforts to assess and respond to threats to election systems.