In The News
Maryland Democrats in Congress asked the Trump administration on Thursday to grant crab shacks temporary relief from a new rule that is preventing many from accepting food stamps for steamed crabs.... Officials warned carryout shops in the Baltimore area last year that they could no longer accept food stamps for crabs unless they sold them live or raw. The shops were also told that they had to provide a variety of food staples, not just the Chesapeake Bay delicacy, to qualify for food stamp transactions.... The letter was signed by Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and John Delaney. All are Democrats.
House Democrats are working to keep a flame to Facebook’s feet ahead of the company’s anticipated responses to lingering concerns over the handling of user data, as well its ongoing efforts to weed out foreign-bought political ads targeting American voters.... “The midterm elections get closer with each passing day, and Facebook has many important questions to answer—without further delay—about how its platform impacts our democratic process,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, Democrat of Maryland. “We need answers in short order.”
Members of Congress in the Baltimore area kicked off an annual competition encouraging students to build their own apps.... The Congressional App Challenge aims to encourage students to learn to code. It’s open to middle and high school students within a given district. In the area, the districts of Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. John Sarbanes and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger are participating.... Students can compete in teams of up to four people. The app that’s created can run on a variety of devices, from phone to robot.... Winners get recognition from members of Congress, and the apps get displayed on Capitol Hill.
Emergent BioSolutions, a Gaithersburg company that develops and produces vaccines and other drugs, plans to expand one of its Baltimore plants, bolstering the state’s status as a biotech hub and adding high paying jobs in the city.... The company plans to announce today it will invest $50 million over the next three years to expand its production capabilities and create up to 60 new jobs.... Rep. John Sarbanes, the Maryland Democrat who represents the district in Baltimore, called Emergent BioSolutions’ expansion “a testament to Maryland’s leadership in biotechnology.” ... “This new facility will not only bring jobs to our community and boost our local economy,” Sarbanes said in a statement, “but also propel new medical advancements that will improve public health across the country.”
Some Democrats are annoyed with the cable news fixation on every twist and turn of the Russia investigation. Others think the party needs more focus on the issue. But Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), the chair of the congressional Democracy Reform Task Force, thinks he’s found a way to thread the needle.... “I mean you can basically say ‘Look, nobody should be interfering with our democracy, with our elections,” Sarbanes said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Monday. “So foreigners shouldn’t be doing it, special interests shouldn’t be doing it, big money shouldn’t be doing it. It belongs to you, the people. It’s your campaign, it’s your politics, it’s your government.” ... Sarbanes, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), unveiled a broad anti-corruption platform on Monday meant to serve as a supplement to the Democrats’ economic messaging in the “Better Deal” platform. Riffing on President Trump’s own successful slogan “drain the swamp,” the platform is intended to fix the campaign finance system, strengthen ethics laws and facilitate better access to the ballot box for every American voter. It harkens back to a successful messaging platform of 2006, a year in which Democrats won majorities in both the House and Senate.
Democratic lawmakers unveiled a new reform-minded agenda Monday that’s billed as “a better deal for our democracy.” It builds on the “Better Deal” economic blueprint Democrats introduced last summer.... “We got to do things that make everyday Americans empowered in the democracy so they are calling the shots, not sitting in the bleachers,” Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., the chair of the Democratic group that spearheaded the effort, said in an interview.... The plan centers on three broad reforms: improving election security; enforcing lobbying ethics regulations; and changing campaign finance laws to reduce influence from deep-pocketed interest groups and individuals.
Today the Democrats unveiled a new plank in their Better Deal agenda, an anti-corruption platform that both depicts the broken nature of the political system and puts reform at the forefront of any campaign to give regular people a voice in our democracy. It brings together the anti-Trump and populist-economics messages in a way that makes them inextricable. “Creating jobs, raising wages, contributing to people’s quality of life, is an important and powerful message,” said Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD), who chairs the party’s Democracy Reform Task Force and has been highlighting anti-corruption policies since entering office in 2007. “But people are right to say, how can we get an economic agenda that’s good for the country enacted if we don’t fix the institutions?” ... Sarbanes has for years championed the Government By the People Act, which would give all Americans 25 “democracy dollars” for campaign contributions and use federal matching funds to amplify the overall impact. “We should be creating a system that allows the public to be power players, so the $50 and $100 donor is most important in the campaign.”
Democrats are planning to make Washington corruption a central focus of their midterm messaging, reviving a successful theme from when they took control of Congress in 2006.... The anti-corruption push is the second part of Democrats’ “A Better Deal” platform. The first part, released last summer, focused on an economic agenda. The newest part is “A Better Deal for Our Democracy,” which puts forward proposals to increase access to the ballot box, fight special interests and combat big money through campaign finance reform.... Democrats unveiled their agenda Monday during a press conference on Capitol Hill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were joined by other lawmakers who have been working on these issues, including Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
House and Senate Democrats rolled out their campaign platform Monday, taking aim at corruption and pay-to-play politics in Washington under the Trump administration. They’re betting this message will help them win voters in the months leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, when the party hopes to regain control of the House — and maybe even the Senate.... “We make voting in this country more complicated than it needs to be,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), the chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, which led the effort to write this agenda, told me.... “Way too many ethics lines are being crossed by the administration,” Sarbanes said. “That’s not an opinion. That’s an observation.” ... To counter it, Democrats plan to hit the campaign trail with policy proposals aimed at tightening lobbying rules.... Among these proposals would be legally requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns. That’s a direct reaction to Trump, who has yet to release his financial records, bucking decades of political precedent and breaking his own promises of transparency.... Sarbanes also cited a proposal that would tighten lobbying rules and institute statutes against former lobbyists becoming Cabinet officials in agencies that have purview over industries that previously employed them.... 3) Democrats take a swing at campaign finance reform. This third pillar focuses on transparency in campaign donors. Sarbanes also cited a proposal that would create a 6-1 small-donor match program — a federal public financing system aimed at bolstering donations under $175.... “We will be talking about how the institutions are not as responsive as they need to be,” Sarbanes said. “We will talk about how the Trump administration and the GOP and Republicans in Congress are … aggravating the problem.”