The Green Party has accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of attempting to “crush alternative” political parties with her signature election overhaul legislation known as H.R. 1.
The environmentalist and social justice-focused Green Party, which Democrats blame for siphoning off liberal votes from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and contributing to her loss to former President Donald Trump, said the bill strangles third parties and is a “poison pill for democracy.”
H.R. 1, which is titled the For the People Act, is billed by House Democrats as a means to curb the influence of money and gerrymandering. The 790-page bill includes a bevy of liberal provisions such as statehood for the District of Columbia and guaranteeing voting rights for felons.
A key provision of the bill relating to the public financing of presidential campaigns, however, raises the threshold to qualify for federal matching funds from $5,000 each in at least 20 different states to $25,000.
That drew the ire of third parties, with Green operatives calling it a “poison pill for democracy.”
Tony Ndege, the Green Party’s national co-chairman, accused Mrs. Pelosi and House Democrats on Monday of attempting to demolish “opposition” from outside the two-party system.
“How can they call this bill ‘For The People’ when they are silencing alternative parties at a time when more people than ever are demanding more political choice,” Mr. Ndege said in a statement this week announcing the Green Party’s opposition.
Gloria Mattera, who serves as co-chairwoman of the Greens alongside Mr. Ndege, went a step further by suggesting that House Democrats were trying to prevent rival parties from forming.
“The Green Party stands opposed to this bait-and-switch legislation that claims to improve access to voting while actually dismantling everyone’s right to organize electorally against the parties of war and Wall Street,” Ms. Mattera said.
Party operatives hope that by speaking out against H.R. 1 they can convince House Democrats to amend the legislation to keep the threshold to qualify for public funding at the same level.
If Mrs. Pelosi and her colleagues, though, choose not to support an amendment, the Greens are threatening to launch a national lobbying effort to kill the measure.
It is unclear whether Mrs. Pelosi or Rep. John Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat and the bill’s co-sponsor, will acquiesce. Neither Mrs. Pelosi’s nor Mr. Sarbanes’ offices returned requests for comment.
This is not the first time that tensions between Democrats and the Green Party have spilled into the open.
The Greens have long been accused of playing spoiler in two presidential elections. The first was the 2000 loss by Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore to former President George W. Bush. And then again in Mrs. Clinton’s loss to Mr. Trump in 2016.
Democrats have contended that the votes garnered by the Green presidential nominee Jill Stein were often larger than Mr. Trump’s victory margins in key states. Most notably, Mrs. Clinton lost Pennsylvania by slightly more than 44,000 votes — nearly the overall total Ms. Stein received in the state.
Mrs. Clinton has indulged in talk that the Green Party cost her the White House. Last year, the former secretary of state claimed that Ms. Stein’s candidacy was boosted by Russia and that she was “totally” a “Russian asset.”