News

  • In the News: It's been a busy 100 days for House Democrats

    It's been a busy 100 days for House Democrats 
    Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, CNN (OP-ED)

    In November, the American people elected Democrats to take back the reins of power in the House of Representatives and put it back to work on their behalf. In our first 100 days in the majority, we have begun to deliver on that promise. With a dynamic, diverse and energized freshman class of 63 new members, Democrats are moving ahead with our agenda for the people: Lower health care costs and the price of prescription drugs, increase paychecks by rebuilding the infrastructure of America in a green, modern and job-creating way, and clean up corruption in Washington so that the government works for the public interest, not the special interests.

    One of the first acts of our new majority was to enable the House to defend the Affordable Care Act in court against efforts by Republican-led states and the Trump administration to dismantle it. This was soon followed by the introduction of a comprehensive bill to stabilize our health care system and lower health care costs for consumers. Already, committees are holding hearings and marking up legislation to keep Democrats' promises to take action to make health care and prescription drugs cheaper. 

     

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  • In the News: To Clean Up the Planet, Clean Up Washington

    To Clean Up the Planet, Clean Up Washington 
    John Sarbanes and Michael Brune, COMMON DREAMS(OP-ED)

    For decades, majorities of Americans have favored swift, meaningful action on climate change. They understand that we must transition away from dirty fuels and toward clean, renewable energy. Yet despite this overwhelming support, Congress has repeatedly failed to act.

    This jarring disconnect between what the public wants to see and what Washington is prepared to deliver doesn’t just threaten the health and safety of everyone in our country—it undermines the very principle of representative democracy. 

     

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  • In the News: House Democrats pass H.R. 1, their answer to draining the swamp

    House Democrats pass H.R. 1, their answer to draining the swamp 
    Mike DeBonis and John Wagner, The Washington Post

    The House approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill Friday — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states and, in one of several provisions targeting President Trump, force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.

    Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.

     

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  • In the News: House Democrats Pass Landmark Campaign Finance And Voting Rights Reform Bill

    House Democrats Pass Landmark Campaign Finance And Voting Rights Reform Bill 
    Paul Blumenthal, The Huffington Post

    Democrats’ landmark campaign finance, voting rights and ethics reform bill passed the House of Representatives on Friday.

    The For The People Act, which passed 234-193, was Democrats’ top priority upon winning control of the House in the 2018 elections. It would dramatically expand voting access, create publicly funded House elections, enhance the transparency of money in politics, restore voting rights to millions of ex-felons, strengthen executive branch ethics law and end partisan gerrymandering.

     

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  • In the News: House Passes Extensive Election And Campaign Finance Overhaul Bill

    House Passes Extensive Election And Campaign Finance Overhaul Bill
    Miles Park, NPR

    The House passed an extensive bill Friday that would overhaul the way Americans vote and take aim at the money currently flowing through the U.S. political system.

    The bill was dubbed the "For The People Act" by House Democrats who want election accessibility and weeding out corruption to be core tenets of their majority agenda the next two years. The bill passed along straight party lines, 234-193. 

     

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  • In the News: 'Restores the people's faith': House passes a broad anti-corruption and voting rights bill

    'Restores the people's faith': House passes a broad anti-corruption and voting rights bill
    Ledyard King, USA TODAY

    Create automatic voter registration. Force presidents to make their tax returns public. Turn over congressional redistricting to independent commissions. Bar federal lawmakers from settling discrimination cases with public money.

    The House passed a sweeping anti-corruption and government ethics package Friday that would fundamentally reshape how campaigns are run, how elections are conducted and how officeholders conduct themselves.

     

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  • In the News: Democrats flex power by taking aim at money in politics

    Democrats flex power by taking aim at money in politics
    Matthew Daly, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Flexing their new majority, Democrats are moving to push through the House a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package they say will reduce the role of big money in politics, ensure fair elections and restore ethics and integrity to Washington.

    The legislation, called H.R. 1 to signify its importance, would make it easier to register and vote, tighten election security and require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.

     

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  • In the News: Rep. John Sarbanes On HR 1, The House's Sweeping Anti-Corruption Legislation

    Rep. John Sarbanes On HR 1, The House's Sweeping Anti-Corruption Legislation 
    John Sarbanes, David Keating and Meghna Chakrabarti, WBUR ('ON POINT')

    The House votes on a sweeping anti-corruption proposal this week. It could have major implications for campaign finance, voting rights and ethics.

    Guests

    Rep. John Sarbanes, Democratic congressman from Maryland. He’s the lead author of House Resolution 1, and has been spearheading the bill in his chamber.

     

    Click here to listen.

  • In the News: The Democratic majority’s first order of business: Restore democracy

    The Democratic majority’s first order of business: Restore democracy 
    Nancy Pelosi and John Sarbanes, The Washington Post
    November 25, 2018

    Earlier this month, Americans went to the polls and sent a powerful message: The election not only was a resounding verdict against Republicans’ assault on Americans’ health care and wages, but it also was a vote to rescue our broken democracy.

    In the face of a torrent of special-interest dark money, partisan gerrymandering and devious vote-suppression schemes, voters elected a House Democratic majority determined to bring real change to restore our democracy. 

    During the campaign, Democrats declared unequivocally that we would clean up corruption to make Washington work for the people. We pledged to reduce the role of money in politics, to restore ethics and integrity to government, and to strengthen voting laws. 
     

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  • In the News: Sarbanes Prepares for Elevated Role as Leading Reformer in Congress

    Sarbanes Prepares for Elevated Role as Leading Reformer in Congress 
    Josh Kurtz, MARYLAND MATTERS

    As Democrats push to retake the U.S. House of Representatives in November, government ethics and political reform have become an increasingly important part of their message. And that means an elevated role for Maryland Congressman John P. Sarbanes (D).

    Sarbanes is House Democrats’ apostle of political reform, the chairman of the Democracy Reform Task Force. He’s the architect of the party’s multi-pronged good government agenda. If the Democrats seize the majority, he will play a leading role in shaping the suite of reform bills that Democrats will try to advance through Congress. 

    “I’m focused on trying to map out what a reform package would look like,” Sarbanes said in a recent interview in the Capitol, a few steps away from the House chamber, where votes were taking place. 
     

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  • In the News: House Democrats’ top priority if they win in November is a sweeping anti-corruption bill

    House Democrats’ top priority if they win in November is a sweeping anti-corruption bill 
    Ella Nilsen, Vox

    “I’m hoping that it’s the first or second bill this fall. It’s just that important.”

    If Democrats win back the House in 2018, a consensus is emerging on what they need to do first: Pass a sweeping anti-corruption bill. 

    One specific legislative package has emerged, largely crafted and sponsored by the chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD). The agenda — recently formalized by a House resolution — is designed to rein in the influence of money and lobbying in Washington, expand voting rights in the United States, and increase public financing of campaigns. Democrats are prepping a final version of a bill to be ready to go if they are in charge by January 2019. 
     

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  • In the News: House Democrat: here are 8 scandals Congress should investigate instead of Twitter bias

    House Democrat: here are 8 scandals Congress should investigate instead of Twitter bias 
    Tara Golshan, Vox

    Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is testifying in Congress. Democrats think it’s a waste of his time.

    Congress is wasting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s time when it should be investigating the Trump administration’s wrongdoing, Maryland Democrat Rep. John Sarbanes told Dorsey at one of his two congressional testimonies Wednesday. 

    Dorsey spent Wednesday fielding questions in the House about how Twitter’s efforts to combat dangerous information and misinformation shared on the social media platform is actually censoring conservative voices. 
     

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  • In the News: Trump’s Corrupt Inner Circle Won’t Be Democrats’ New Midterm Focus

    Trump’s Corrupt Inner Circle Won’t Be Democrats’ New Midterm Focus 
    Kevin Robillard, The Huffington Post

    The party will focus on a culture of corruption, not the Trump administration’s wrongdoing.

    The nearly simultaneous, split-screen convictions of President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and one-time campaign chairman on Tuesday seemed designed to give the Democratic Party a powerful message heading into the 2018 elections, the same one Trump successfully deployed in 2016: “Drain the swamp.” 

    The narrative builds itself: The number of close Trump associates linked to criminal wrongdoing is growing, the first two members of Congress to endorse him are both under indictment, his cabinet has already seen two members resign over corruption allegations and Trump has never separated himself from his businesses, turning Mar-a-Lago into an invitation for bribery. And for armies of armchair campaign strategists, railing against the Trump administration’s corruption is a message Democrats can ride to victory in 2018 and 2020. 
     

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  • In the News: Trump, Republican corruption issues give Democrats opening for midterm elections

    Trump, Republican corruption issues give Democrats opening for midterm elections 
    Fredreka Schouten and Eliza Collins, USA Today

    WASHINGTON – Leading Democrats in Congress are seizing on the tidal wave of legal troubles hitting President Donald Trump's allies to cast the Republican Party as deeply corrupt ahead of the fast-approaching midterm elections.

    Democratic leaders say they plan to make ethics a key pillar of their push to take the House majority this fall, arguing their party will serve as a check on what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls the Trump administration's "brazen corruption, cronyism and incompetence."

    Trump and his allies suffered a triple hit Tuesday: The conviction of Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on bank and tax fraud, a guilty plea by his former attorney Michael Cohen that implicated the president in violating campaign-finance laws and the federal indictment of one of Trump's earliest congressional supporters, California Rep. Duncan Hunter. Prosecutors say Hunter and his wife used $250,000 in campaign funds for family vacations, private-school tuition and other personal expenses.

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  • In the News: In fallout from Trump controversies, Republicans warn Democrats will seek his impeachment. Democratic candidates are avoiding the word.

    In fallout from Trump controversies, Republicans warn Democrats will seek his impeachment. Democratic candidates are avoiding the word. 
    Michael Scherer, The Washington Post

    A day after President Trump’s former lawyer implicated him in directing a crime, Democratic leaders sharpened their election-year attack on the GOP as the party of corruption. But in an effort to keep the electoral focus on bread-and-butter issues, they largely steered clear of any discussion of impeachment.

    Party leaders encouraged candidates and elected members to talk instead about demanding protection for the ongoing Justice Department investigations of Trump and his allies, offering a clear sign that they feel confident that grass-roots energy against Trump will show up at the polls without the need for a divisive rallying cry from the stump.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to her caucus members asking them to keep speaking about economic issues, while also urging them to call out what she described as the “cesspool of self-enrichment, secret money and ethical blindness” that exists in Washington under unified Republican rule.

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  • In the News: Pelosi seizes on anti-corruption message against GOP

    Pelosi seizes on anti-corruption message against GOP 
    Melanie Zanona, The Hill

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is moving full steam ahead on a Democratic strategy to paint the GOP as corrupt ahead of the midterm elections, a case that got new legs after the arrest of Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) on insider trading charges last week.

    Pelosi has decided to make ethics a core pillar of House Democrats’ push for the majority this fall, seizing on Collins’s arrest in a way she hasn’t done with past GOP scandals involving Trump administration officials.

    But with Collins, a sitting member of Congress and Trump's earliest congressional backer, Pelosi believes that Democrats have a ripe opportunity to draw a connection between the president and House Republicans who are on the ballot this November.

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  • In the News: Restoring Our Republic

    Restoring Our Republic 
    John Sarbanes, The Huffington Post 
    September 14, 2016

    The story goes that Benjamin Franklin was approached by Elizabeth Powell as he exited Independence Hall in Philadelphia: “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” The 81-year old Franklin replied, “[A] republic... if you can keep it.”

    Keeping our republic has become the passion of millions of Americans who are convinced that their government is broken. They see a Congress captured by special interests and frustratingly unresponsive to the needs of everyday Americans. Whatever else they may disagree about, Democrats, Republicans and Independents have all arrived at the same explanation for the rot in our politics: Big Money.

    According to a recent Ipsos poll, 7 in 10 respondents agreed that our democracy is at risk if action is not taken to address the undue influence of money in politics. The same poll found that 8 in 10 respondents view that influence to be worse than at any other time in their lives and an overwhelming 93 percent of respondents felt that elected officials listen more to big-money campaign donors than to regular voters.

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  • In the News: Sarbanes Working for Veterans in Anne Arundel County

     

    Our say: VA walks back a bad decision about clinic
    Editorial Board, Capital Gazette 
    August 31, 2016

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  • In the News: Solar energy financing program will target low-income neighborhoods

    By Sarah Gantz, The Baltimore Sun

    Baltimore signed an agreement Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Maryland Clean Energy Center to develop a financing model to make solar energy more accessible to low-income residents.

    Existing financing options for installing solar panels require a large up-front investment or high credit ratings, which can be prohibitive for many low-income homeowners. Details of Baltimore's financing model are still to be determined, but city officials said the goal will be to eliminate some of the barriers that prevent low-income residents from making the investment — as much as $15,000 for a typical Baltimore rowhouse.

    "We want to prove the clean-energy revolution in our country can be designed to include everyone," said David Foster, a senior adviser at the Energy Department.

    The new program eventually could serve as a national model, he said.

    Foster was among the officials and lawmakers, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and John Sarbanes, who announced plans for the program outside a Belair-Edison home selected to receive solar panels as part of another city initiative to install solar panels in low-income areas.

    Read entire article in The Baltimore Sun 

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