March 15, 2021
Senate Gets Landmark Voting Legislation, But Partisanship Poses Steep Challenges
Jennifer Mandato, Capital News Service
A House-passed package overhauling voting, improving election security and reforming campaign finance laws is now in the Senate, where deep partisan divisions spell an uncertain fate for the landmark bill.
H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act of 2021, is sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson, and co-sponsored by every House Democrat. The measure passed the House March 3 on a 220-210 party-line vote.
March 12, 2021
How Many GOP House Members Are Mired in Conflicts of Interest? No One Knows
Jon Skolnik, Newsweek
After Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program last year, pumping billions of dollars into small businesses struggling under the weight of the pandemic, reports surfaced that sizable chunks of that money went right back into the pockets of Congress. A slew of members, many of them already wealthy, received millions in federal aid for their personal businesses ventures under the auspices of job-saving. That reanimated debate about a longstanding, conflict of interest entrenched within the legislative branch: Members of Congress can hold positions in for-profit corporations while officially serving their constituents in Washington.
Senate ethics rules address this conflict —but the House does not. Senators are prohibited from "from serving as officers or members of the board of any publicly held or publicly regulated corporation, financial institution, or business entity." No such stricture applies to members of the House. Rules restrict all members of both chambers from making 15% in excess of their salaries in "outside earned income," but passive income derived from investments and holdings doesn't necessarily count.
In the News: Congressional working group to explore designating a Chesapeake National Recreation Area
March 11, 2021
Congressional working group to explore designating a Chesapeake National Recreation Area
Christine Condon, The Baltimore Sun
Maryland congressional leaders announced a working group that will consider establishing a National Recreation Area for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The recreation area would be managed by the National Park Service, which proponents say would make additional resources available for conservation and recreation in the bay area.
March 10, 2021
As states crack down on voting, advocates look to Congress
Benjamin Barber, Facing South
This past weekend marked the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, when voting rights marchers were brutally assaulted by law enforcement officers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Broadcast on national television, images of state troopers attacking peaceful demonstrators, including John Lewis, a civil rights icon who went on to become a long-serving Democratic congressman from Georgia, shifted public opinion and galvanized Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).
This year's commemoration — the first since Lewis's death last year from cancer — took place as many state legislatures are ramping up an assault on voting rights.
March 10, 2021
Massive national COVID relief bill a ‘lifeline’ for Baltimore, mayor says
Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun
A $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that Congress passed Wednesday contains an “unprecedented” level of funding for Baltimore and other Maryland cities and counties that have been clamoring for help after seeing revenues plunge because of the coronavirus pandemic, state lawmakers said.
“This is my 15th year and I don’t know of a more important bill that we passed,” said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Baltimore. “The aid to Baltimore City is unprecedented. We have not had a bill that provides such a significant amount of help to our urban centers.”
March 5, 2021
Election reform: Judge Sarbanes’ proposal on merit, not partisan advantage
The Editorial Board, The Baltimore Sun
There has always something essentially quixotic in Rep. John Sarbanes’ “For The People Act,” its title as idealistic as anything found on its nearly 800 pages of content. In sum, what H.R.1 attempts to do is fix much of what is broken in this nation’s election system, chiefly by making voting more accessible, ending partisan redistricting, raising ethical standards, and exposing and reducing the influence of big money in politics.
Americans should be celebrating its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives late Wednesday and giving thanks to the 58-year-old Maryland Democrat, the eldest son of the late Sen. Paul Sarbanes, who has made this worthy cause a personal crusade. Don Quixote may have tilted at windmills, but John Sarbanes went after something real and far more daunting: a political system that runs on money and disenfranchises far too many Americans.
March 5, 2021
Rep. Sarbanes: Failure to pass HR 1 'would split our democracy in two'
CNN ('Tonight with Don Lemon')
CNN's Don Lemon speaks to Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) about HR 1, a sweeping government, ethics and election bill that, among other things, would counter state-level Republican efforts to restrict voting access, which was just passed in the Democratic-led House.
November 4, 2020
I am deeply grateful to the voters for re-electing me to Maryland's 3rd Congressional District. As our country continues to face major challenges, I will work my hardest to ensure we have a government of, by and for the people that advances fairness, justice and a decent quality of life for every family and every community.
Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces Nearly $800,000 to Expand Housing Counseling Services Across Maryland
October 27, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in announcing $793,828 in federal funding to expand housing-related counseling, including financial literacy, property maintenance and fiscal management services, across Maryland communities.
Sarbanes, Maryland Delegation Members Write to Governor Hogan Expressing Concern with COVID-19 Impacts on Latino Communities
October 25, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in urging Governor Larry Hogan to increase the state’s focus on halting the disproportionate spread of COVID-19 among Maryland’s Latino communities and delivering targeted relief to Latino families.
Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces More Than $20 Million for Drinking Water Improvement Projects
October 25, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in announcing $20,170,000 in federal funding to improve drinking water systems throughout the state.
“This new federal funding will help state and local governments complete urgently needed projects to enhance the quality of drinking water and modernize public water infrastructure across Maryland,” the lawmakers said. “By investing in our state’s water management and delivery systems, we can ensure that every Maryland community has access to clean and safe drinking water.”
In the News: House Democrats Renew Calls for Bill Giving Election Agency More Funding and Responsibility
October 22, 2020
House Democrats Renew Calls for Bill Giving Election Agency More Funding and Responsibility
Courtney Bublé, The Government Executive
Following news from intelligence officials on Wednesday evening of foreign election interference attempts, several House lawmakers are renewing their calls for the Senate to take up their massive reform bill that would bolster the funding and responsibilities of the nation’s elections clearinghouse.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray gave an unexpected press briefing on Wednesday—13 days out from the election—in which they said that Iran and Russia obtained voter registration information in attempts to meddle in U.S. elections. They said that voting remains secure, but House lawmakers renewed the call for the Senate to take up their “2019 For the People Act,” which the chamber passed in March 2019 and has specific provisions to beef up the Election Assistance Commission.
October 21, 2020
Your Voice: Congressman John Sarbanes
Another coronavirus relief bill isn't looking promising, at least not right now.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the White House not to make a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the November election.
U.S. Representative for Maryland's 3rd congressional district, Congressman John Sarbanes, joins us to explain the holdup, and talk about the second and final presidential debate.
October 20, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) released the following statement today after co-sponsoring a resolution that condemns Azerbaijan's recent military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and denounces Turkey's role in the conflict (H.Res. 1165):
“Azerbaijan and Turkey must answer for the unprovoked offensive launched against Nagorno-Karabakh by the Aliyev government. This attack – which has inflicted casualties deeply anguishing to Armenians everywhere – is a wake-up call for U.S. policymakers who have too often downplayed or excused Azerbaijan's aggressive actions in the region.
October 19, 2020
The Wealthy Getting Less Scrutiny On Taxes
Scott Horsley, NPR ('All Things Considered')
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: A teacher, a small-business owner and a retiree who complained they paid more in federal income taxes than President Trump are now gracing campaign billboards in swing states around the country. The ads follow reporting by The New York Times that Trump paid little or no federal income tax in most of the last 20 years. Trump has denied that report, but as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, the wealthy are getting less scrutiny from the tax collector with each passing year.
Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces More Than $1.6 Million in Federal Funding to Improve Transit Safety
October 17, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in announcing $1,675,000 in federal funding to improve bus safety and prevent hazards on rail systems in Maryland.
“The safety of our regional transportation networks must be a top priority,” the lawmakers said. “This new federal funding will upgrade Maryland’s rail systems with warning technology that helps bolster safety and reliability for Maryland commuters. Our delegation will always work to deliver resources that modernize and expand public transportation in our state.”
October 13, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined in opposition to the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Maryland Delegation Continues to Press State Leaders for Far Greater Transparency, Expediency in Unemployment Insurance Processing
October 12, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in again urging Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) and Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson to redouble the state’s efforts to speed up the processing of Marylanders’ Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims.
Following up on their past efforts and conversations with state leaders earlier this year, the Congressional Delegation also requested that the state provide full and updated information about the numbers of unpaid and/or unresolved UI claims.
Maryland Congressional Delegation Announces $100,000 in Federal Funding for Maryland Public Television Educational Programs
October 12, 2020
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in announcing $100,000 in federal funding for Maryland Public Television (MPT) to develop personalized learning experiences for children, especially those in low-income communities.
Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn (RTL) Grant Program.
Sarbanes Urges Congress to Increase Funding for the IRS to Improve Delivery of Tax Refunds and Stimulus Payments to American Families
October 11, 2020
During a House Government Operations Subcommittee hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) called on Congress to provide more resources to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help improve the delivery of tax credits, tax refunds and COVID-19 relief checks for hardworking American families, and to crack down on wealthy tax cheats and fraudsters who continue to abuse the tax system.