In the News: Four Annapolis restaurant owners discuss surviving COVID-19 with Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris
May 18, 2021
Four Annapolis restaurant owners discuss surviving COVID-19 with Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris
Danielle Ohl, The Capital Gazette
Four Annapolis restaurant owners who overcame hurdles to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic met Tuesday morning with second gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Emhoff, the nation’s first second gentleman, has been traveling the country as an ambassador for the Biden administration, encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, raising awareness about various pandemic relief packages such as the American Rescue Plan and drumming up support for President Joe Biden’s jobs plan, an ambitious $2 trillion proposal.
May 18, 2021
Federal Lawmakers, City Officials Want Funding to End ‘Highway to Nowhere’
Ron Cassie, Baltimore Magazine
U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, with Maryland Congressmen Kweisi Mfume, John Sarbanes, and Anthony Brown, joined Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday to make the case for infrastructure funding to redress West Baltimore’s infamous “Highway to Nowhere.”
Built in the late 1960s, the long-since scrapped urban highway was once intended to connect I-70 to downtown and link it to I-95 and I-83. Completion of the project was finally halted amid community opposition—in part led by then-community organizer Barbara Mikulski—from threatened neighborhoods along the proposed route. By that point, however, the damage had been done in West Baltimore where more than 970 homes, 60 businesses, and 1,500 local residents were displaced.
May 17, 2021
Maryland Democrats hope to remedy damage from decades-old ‘Highway to Nowhere’
Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun
Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation expressed hope Monday that — for the first time in decades — there may be an opportunity for funding to redress damage done by West Baltimore’s so-called Highway to Nowhere.
U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin stood in a parking lot overlooking a weed-filled field, the site of a project the lawmakers called a “monstrosity” that uprooted surrounding communities. The original plan was to connect Interstate 70 coming from the west with Interstate 95, but the project was halted in the early 1970s amid opposition from threatened neighborhoods along the proposed route and environmentalists.
In the News: As States Add Voting Restrictions, Democrats Say Reform Bill By Maryland’s John Sarbanes Is ‘Vital to Protect Our Democracy’
May 8, 2021
As States Add Voting Restrictions, Democrats Say Reform Bill By Maryland’s John Sarbanes Is ‘Vital to Protect Our Democracy’
Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun
Congressional Democrats are launching a concerted push on behalf of an ambitious voting rights and campaign reform bill sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland that backers say is urgently needed because voter access is being threatened around the country.
Sarbanes’ legislation was years in the making and is a defining bill for the eighth-term lawmaker and son of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes.
March 31, 2021
Sarbanes Emphasizes Election Reform in Meeting With Howard County Lawmakers
Bennett Leckrone, Maryland Matters
U.S. Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) touted his sweeping federal election overhaul to state legislators from Howard County in a Wednesday morning meeting, saying the proposed reforms are the “most requested anti-corruption legislation” ever passed by the House of Representatives.
Sarbanes is the primary architect of the For the People Act, an omnibus proposal that would cut back on gerrymandering, expand absentee ballot access and modernize voter registration. Those are just a few of the slew of election reform efforts included in the legislation, which is currently in the Senate after passing the House in early March.
March 30, 2021
Maryland Lawmakers Announce Emergency Funding For Baltimore's Most Vulnerable
William Smink, WBFF (FOX)
On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen along side Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Kweisi Mfume came together to announce $15.45 million in emergency federal funding to reimburse the delivery of essential goods and shelter to the city of Baltimore's most vulnerable residents.
The award serves as a total federal cost share reimbursement for services that Baltimore city provided to residents earlier in the pandemic.
March 26, 2021
Biden promises tight US-Greek ties
On the occasion of the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, the White House organized an online get-together with President Joe Biden and prominent members of the Greek-American Community Thursday.
The event was coordinated by Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki. Biden regretted not being able to host the event in the White House, adding that he could see a lot of good friends on the screen.
In the News: Md. Congressional Democrats Urge USPS to Fix ‘One of Worst Postal Backlogs in the Country’
March 25, 2021
Md. Congressional Democrats Urge USPS to Fix ‘One of Worst Postal Backlogs in the Country’
Bryan Gallion, Montgomery County Media
Maryland congressional Democrats called on the U.S. Postal Service to address mail delivery problems that the state has faced in recent months following a meeting they had Monday with agency officials.
The state has “experienced one of the worst postal backlogs in the country,” the federal lawmakers said in a statement Tuesday, “and there are no excuses for the widespread breakdown of mail delivery.”
March 24, 2021
Officials break ground on latest phase of Port Covington development
Bryna Zumer, WBFF Online (FOX)
Officials and community leaders broke ground today on the latest phase of South Baltimore's Port Covington project, which promises to bring 1.1 million square feet of new development, including 89 affordable-housing units.
This latest phase is called 1B and will feature vertical construction, according to a press release.
March 24, 2021
Maryland Democrats Pay Tribute To AFA On 11th Anniversary
Dan Shalin, Owings Mills Patch
Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, marked the 11th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tuesday by discussing how the legislation has been strengthened thanks to the passage of American Rescue Plan (ARP), the $1.6 trillion relief package signed into law earlier this month.
Speaking at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Sarbanes said the coronavirus relief bill is another step in achieving the goals of the AFA, helping more Americans gain access to high-quality and affordable health care.
March 23, 2021
Bipartisan, bicameral legislation seeks to support federal firefighters
Douglas Clark, Homeland Preparedness News
Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) reintroduced legislation last week designed to support federal firefighters by correcting disparity between federal firefighters and state, local and municipal firefighters.
The Federal Firefighter Flexibility and Fairness Act would allow federal firefighters to engage in trade time, enabling two firefighters to trade shifts without affecting pay or using annual leave.
March 19, 2021
Federal American Rescue Plan includes millions for county, transit, education
Briana Adhikusuma, Bethesda Magazine
More than $303 million is expected to come to Montgomery County and its municipalities through the new federal American Rescue Plan.
The county also will benefit through hundreds of millions of dollars more for local transit projects serving the region and for local schools.
March 16, 2021
Biden Has One Shot To Stop Republicans’ Voter Suppression Crusade
Eric Lutz, Vanity Fair ('Hive')
Earlier this month, Joe Biden signed an executive order to ensure that Americans’ right to vote is “protected and defended”—a move that came as Republicans across the country intensify their attacks on the voting rights of Black Americans and other marginalized groups, who already face systemic barriers. “We’ve seen an unprecedented insurrection in our Capitol and a brutal attack on our democracy on January 6—a never-before-seen effort to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the people,” Biden said in a video statement. “It’s been followed by an all-out assault on the right to vote in state legislatures all across the country,” he continued, citing the hundreds of bills that have been introduced in 43 states to dramatically roll back voting rights. “We cannot let them succeed.”
But Biden could find himself helping Republicans do just that if he doesn’t change his position on the Senate filibuster. Led by progressives, a growing chorus of Democrats have been calling to abolish or at least modify the filibuster to make it harder for Mitch McConnell and the GOP minority to obstruct their agenda. Those demands have taken on a greater sense of urgency amid Republican disenfranchisement efforts. With state lawmakers across the country using Donald Trump’s bogus election fraud claims to push wildly restrictive voting laws, and the Supreme Court, to which he appointed three justices, potentially on the cusp of dealing another blow to the Voting Rights Act, Democrats and activists have rallied behind HR1, a sweeping bill to secure elections, expand voting access, and restore the pro-democracy law named for the late John Lewis. It passed the House March 3. “At a time when Americans across the political spectrum are demanding real change and accountability from their elected officials, it’s more important than ever to deliver on the promise of HR1 and restore faith in our democracy,” Representative John Sarbanes, who introduced the bill, said upon its passage. “We have no time to waste.”
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.