May 15, 2020
Rick Bright and the Pandemic Path Not Taken
Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker
Many Americans are replaying, in their minds, the steps they have taken and the choices they have made with regard to the coronavirus crisis, but perhaps few with such tragic force as Rick Bright, who testified in a House hearing on Thursday. Bright, who in April was transferred from his position as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, had caused a “commotion,” as one colleague put it, by urging more action at pandemic-planning meetings as far back as January and February. At the hearing, Representative John Sarbanes, a Democrat of Maryland, who had a pewter-gray mask around his neck—the members lowered their masks when speaking or, in some cases, when seated—asked Bright to return to that period. “I am sure that there are specific conversations, e-mails, moments in time that you remember like they happened yesterday,” Sarbanes said. Could he recall any particularly haunting ones that had caused a “sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach?”
May 14, 2020
Lives Were Lost’ as Warnings Went Unheeded, Whistle-Blower Tells House
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times
The whistle-blower who was ousted as the head of a federal medical research agency charged on Thursday that top Trump administration officials failed to heed his early warnings to stock up on masks and other supplies to combat the coronavirus, and that Americans died as a result.... Democrats painted Dr. Bright as a prescient man of courage. “It all adds up to one inescapable conclusion: It didn’t have to be this way,” said Representative John Sarbanes, Democrat of Maryland. “Things are upside down. In you we have someone who made the right call in the early days, who has been removed from your position, when so many people who made the wrong call still have their jobs.”
May 13, 2020
Republicans and Democrats barrel toward collision on voting by mail
Zach Montellaro, POLITICO
Americans want to be able to vote by mail in November — but Democratic proposals to require it appear to be going nowhere fast in Congress.... Democrats argue that the public widely supports their proposals — and that the election security grant funding mechanism included in the HEROES Act is of critical importance. “On balance, [voters] think voting by mail is a good idea, and that we ought to expand that opportunity. They also, based on preference or access or other factors, want to make sure that there’s going to be some meaningful in-person voting opportunities,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who helped shepherd H.R. 1 through the House last year. Sarbanes and other Democrats also said all forms of voting need to be available in November. Those include "expanded vote by mail, significant early voting opportunities, and then safe in-person voting opportunities on Election Day," he said. "We need all three of those things.”
In the News: Democrats push to strengthen stimulus oversight in next round of coronavirus legislation
May 12, 2020
Democrats push to strengthen stimulus oversight in next round of coronavirus legislation
Benjamin Siegel, ABC News
A group of House and Senate Democrats seeking stronger oversight of the massive coronavirus relief programs is introducing a new bill to force companies to publicly report how they're using the funds, and to beef up the oversight of the small business aid program. Introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chris Coons, D-Del., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the proposal would strengthen some of the key watchdog provisions in the original $2.3 trillion CARES Act, according to a review of the bill obtained by ABC News.... The proposal, which is being introduced by Reps. John Sarbanes, D-Md., and Pramila Jayapal D-Wash., in the House, would also codify the Federal Reserve's plans to release the names and amounts borrowed in their coronavirus lending programs and require borrowers to share how the funds are being used, along with information about compensation and their workforce -- such as executive salaries and bonuses.
May 12, 2020
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) on the Oversight of COVID-19 Relief Money
Sirius XM (‘POTUS Press Pool with Julie Mason’)
In the News: John Sarbanes: As our nation recovers we have an obligation to build a more just America
May 8, 2020
As our nation recovers we have an obligation to build a more just America
John Sarbanes(Op-Ed), The Capital Gazette
This November, I’m asking the residents of Maryland’s 3rd District to re-elect me to continue serving as their representative in Congress. I’m running because I believe that my experience and my committee assignments — in particular, serving as a senior member on the House Subcommittee on Health and as a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee — position me well to assist Marylanders in this battle against the coronavirus.
May 7, 2020
Maryland and Virginia Democrats push for more funding for state and local governments
Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post
Democratic members of Congress from Maryland and Virginia put forward a long list of ideas on Thursday that they hope to include in the next coronavirus relief bill. Many of the members said their top priority is additional money for state and local governments, which are struggling to provide social services for their residents during the crisis as they expect to take in far less tax revenue.... Rep. John Sarbanes (Md.) pointed out that local governments need funds to hire contact tracers, as Baltimore County is doing.
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May 5, 2020
Malinowski hosts 'Protecting Democracy' teleconference
Walter O'Brien, The Bernardsville News
Rep. Tom Malinowski , D-7, on Friday, May 1, hosted a virtual forum called "Defending Our Vote & Combating Corruption" on protecting democracy and expressing the need for voting by mail, campaign finance reform, and not forcing voters to choose between voting rights and their health.
Malinowski was joined by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Maryland, chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, and Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United and Let America Vote, for a virtual forum on protecting democracy and defending the vote during the coronavirus pandemic and while combating the influence of special interests.
In the News: Trump's inspector-general purge fuels Dems' call to fight corruption in next relief bill
May 4, 2020
Trump's inspector-general purge fuels Dems' call to fight corruption in next relief bill
Andrea Germanos, Salon
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., pointed on Sunday to President Trump's intention to oust another inspector general — this time a Department of Health and Human Services watchdog — to bolster his call for the next coronavirus legislative relief package to include measures to "forestall fraud and favoritism."
Blumenthal, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Reps. John Sarbanes, D-Md., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., unveiled the details of their proposal to congressional leadership on Friday, urging them to "include strong oversight, accountability, and anti-corruption provisions in any upcoming legislation to provide economic aid, relief, recovery, or stimulus in response to COVID-19 in order to safeguard taxpayer funds and to bolster Americans' faith in government to respond to this crisis."
April 30, 2020
Coronavirus Relief: More Than $9M Going Toward COVID-19 Housing Relief For Marylanders
More than $9 million is being directed to COVID-19 housing relief for Marylanders for tenant-based housing voucher recipients.
The full Maryland congressional delegation, which includes U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone, announced the funding on Thursday.
The funding comes from the CARES Act, which is provided $1.25 billion nationwide for tenant-based rental assistance to help with the Housing Choice Voucher program. It includes $400 million for increased subsidy costs, which are paid directly to landlords and $850 million for administration and other expenses incurred by public housing authorities to “support or maintain the health and safety of assisted individuals and families, and costs related to retention and support of participating owners.
April 30, 2020
Johns Hopkins gets $200K in federal funding for COVID-19 tracker
Will Vitka, WTOP (Online)
Johns Hopkins University’s global COVID-19 tracker, which has served as a valuable tool for tracking the coronavirus since the map was publicly released in January, is getting a $200,000 injection of federal funding.
Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes, Democrats who represent Maryland, made the announcement Wednesday.
In the News: Maryland delegation calls on Trump to allow use of federal facilities for coronavirus testing
April 28, 2020
Maryland delegation calls on Trump to allow use of federal facilities for coronavirus testing
Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post
Members of the Maryland congressional delegation urged President Trump to allow the state to use federal facilities, such as Fort Meade and the National Institutes of Health, for coronavirus testing. In a letter to the president, the delegation said that designating the National Capital Region as a federally supported testing site is critical for the increased testing needed to reopen the region.... The congressional letter is signed by Reps. Anthony G. Brown (D), Steny H. Hoyer (D), Andy Harris (R), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D), John Sarbanes (D), Jamie B. Raskin (D), David Trone (D) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D).
April 24, 2020
What Comes After the Federal Relief Bill?
In the News: After government funding for small businesses ran out, can a new stimulus bill help them?
April 20, 2020
After government funding for small businesses ran out, can a new stimulus bill help them?
Ariane Datil, WUSA-TV (CBS)
This week on #TheQandA we’re focused on getting you answers about resources for small businesses.
So far Congress has passed more than $2.2 trillion dollars of stimulus funding. Part of that funding is being distributed to individuals and small businesses through the CARES Act.
April 15, 2020
If COVID-19 has shutdown much of the country, why hasn't the 2020 Census been delayed?
Larry Miller explores with Congressman John Sarbanes calls for delay of the census and what restrictions the Constitution places on this process.
In the News: Md. Lawmakers Call For Consideration of Hotspots, Rural Areas in CARES Act Hospital Funding
April 14, 2020
Md. Lawmakers Call For Consideration of Hotspots, Rural Areas in CARES Act Hospital Funding
Hannah Gaskill, Maryland Matters
The Maryland congressional delegation sent a letter Tuesday to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, urging him to reconsider how future money is allocated to Maryland hospitals under the CARES Act, which Congress passed late last month.
The delegation specifically has asked department Secretary Alex Azar to consider COVID-19 hot spots and under-served areas of the state in future disbursements, with an eye towards transparency in the decision-making process.
April 13, 2020
Students at Maryland Colleges and Universities to Benefit From Federal CARES Act
Hannah Gaskill, Maryland Matters
Maryland’s congressional delegation said Monday that the state’s colleges and universities will receive over $170 million in federal aid through a measure in the CARES Act that Congress passed late last month.
U.S. Sens. Chirs Van Hollen (D-Md.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andrew P. Harris, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David J. Trone jointly announced that Maryland is in line for $170,544,958 in funding, half of which is to be applied directly to assistance efforts for students confronting emergency expenses in the face of the public health crisis.
April 3, 2020
Van Hollen, Sarbanes Say Maryland Has Received Only a Third of Fema Requested Items
Veronica Canales, Montgomery County Media
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) along with the Maryland Congressional Delegation are urging FEMA to fulfill the state’s request, claiming that Maryland has only received about a third of supplies requested.
As of Friday morning, there are 2,758 confirmed cases in the state of Maryland and the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 are 42.
March 12, 2020
Fighting corruption starts with reducing big donor influence
John Sarbanes, The Baltimore Sun (LTE)
The Baltimore Sun editorial board is right on the money about our city’s brand new Fair Elections Fund (“Here’s how $2.5M can help protect Baltimore residents against public corruption,” March 9). To bolster confidence in our political system, small donors must be empowered to compete with deep-pocketed special interests. Baltimore’s groundbreaking effort to institute a citizen-owned clean elections system can get us there.
The Baltimore City Fair Elections Fund will create a multiple match system for small donations, leveraging the influence of average citizens and giving them a greater voice in the political process. The fund will also enable a more diverse group of candidates to run and compete in campaigns because merit, not money, will determine the viability of their campaigns. Once elected, their allegiance will be to the people, ensuring that they make policy for the public interest, not the special interests.
March 12, 2020
Md. Congressional Dems Make Honor Roll in Green Group’s Annual Report Card
Josh Kurtz, Maryland Matters
The nine Democrats in Maryland’s congressional delegation scored perfect or near-perfect scores from a leading national environmental group in 2019, according to a just-released scorecard of House and Senate votes.
The state’s lone congressional Republican, U.S. Rep. Andrew P. Harris, scored zero on the report card from the League of Conservation Voters.
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