In The News

July 25, 2020

Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has received $821,257 in federal funding, secured by Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressmen John Sarbanes and Kweisi Mfume. The funding was awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters – COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) program, which provides funds for the purchase of PPE and related supplies for our nation’s first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic…. “Maryland’s first responders and firefighters are serving on the frontlines of our state’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This new federal funding will help ensure that our firefighters have the equipment and resources they need – including PPE and other critical supplies – to stay safe and healthy while they continue protecting our communities during this crisis.”

July 22, 2020

Leaders of the companies working on some of the top candidates for COVID-19 vaccines predict they should have shots available by early 2021, but said they will rely on the federal government to determine how to distribute them. The heads of five biopharmaceutical companies with promising vaccine candidates told members of Congress Tuesday that they think they will be able to produce a safe and effective vaccine by next year…. Trump has promised a vaccine by the end of the year,  raising concerns among some Democrats that his administration would rush to approve one. But company executives said there has been no political pressure to speed up a vaccine and compromise safety or efficacy. “The FDA is not loosening any standards,” said Gerberding. But Rep. John P. Sarbanes, a Democrat who represents Maryland’s 3rd District, was skeptical. “There is a tension between safety and speed,” Sarbanes said. “Tell me why it is you are able to move so fast without sacrificing safety, when we lay that against what the normal procedures would be?” Company executives replied that their unusually fast timelines for vaccine development are a result of collaboration, extra funding for research, and prioritization from the FDA, including clear guidelines ahead of time on what will be needed for approval.

July 20, 2020

The Baltimore delegation announced nearly $425,000 is being dedicated to federal funding for COVID-19 research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Kweisi Mfume (D-Md) said the funding will provide “crucial support” in the effort to discover new breakthroughs to help with the fight against the virus. The funding, which comes from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will advance studies of the virus through autophagy – the body’s natural process of breaking down damaged cells and regenerating new and healthy cells.

July 20, 2020

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) today announced $424,875 in federal funding for the University of Maryland Baltimore to support critical medical research in the fight against COVID-19. The funding, which comes from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will advance studies of the virus through autophagy – the body’s natural process of breaking down damaged cells and regenerating new and healthy cells. “Researchers and scientists have made it their mission to discover new breakthroughs in understanding the novel coronavirus,” the lawmakers said. “This funding will provide crucial support in that effort as the University of Maryland Baltimore explores new methods in autophagy to study the virus. We will continue working to ensure that Maryland’s scientific community has the tools it needs to combat this deadly disease.” Autophagy has been used in earlier cancer cell studies and has shown promising results in other fields of research. Scientists at the University of Maryland, Baltimore – who have been studying the novel coronavirus, including its components, effects and possible vaccines – will use autophagy to gain new insights into the virus.

July 19, 2020

After the death of Rep. John Lewis, stalwart of the Civil Rights Movement and powerful voice in Congress, condolences poured in from around the globe. Lewis, who faced extreme violence and often arrests as he fought for equality, was 80-years-old, and had been battling pancreatic cancer. Maryland politicians joined the sorrowful yet triumphant chorus with their own messages Saturday, lauding Lewis for his life’s work: ... Rep. John Sarbanes: “America is fortunate to have been graced by John’s leadership, goodwill and spirit. May his memory constantly inspire us to build a more just and equitable society – and to redeem the soul of America.” 

July 16, 2020

Maryland’s federal legislators announced July 16 the awarding of almost $400,000 for firefighters in Montgomery County to continue purchasing personal protective equipment. Montgomery County will receive $357,800 and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad will receive $45,780 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters – COVID-19 Supplemental program. Van Hollen, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Representatives  Jamie Raskin, Steny Hoyer, John Sarbanes, Anthony Brown and David Trone – all Democrats – helped secure the funding.

July 10, 2020

The nine Democrats in Maryland's 10-member congressional delegation sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday expressing worry over his latest plans for Election Day. This week, Hogan said he intends for all polling places to be open and asked the Maryland State Board of Elections that all eligible voters be sent an application for an absentee ballot. “Maryland voters expect and deserve free, fair, and safe elections, and we are alarmed that your directive does not meet that basic standard,” the lawmakers wrote. “We call on you to rescind the directive and issue new guidance designed to maximize both safety and voter participation by mailing ballots for the general election to all registered voters, as was done in the primary." Rep. John Sarbanes told C4 that the plan is burdensome on election officials who will have to field two sets of mailings from voters and could confuse voters who were sent ballots for the primary election and special congressional election without having to send an application. "I agree that we need to have meaningful opportunities for in-person video because some people prefer that. Some people don't have access to mail pretty well," Sarbanes told C4 on Friday. "But the best way to offload a lot of voters from in-person voting is to make the mail-in voting process as easy and accessible as you possibly can." He said that no matter how many polling places open in November, election officials will be faced with a deluge of absentee ballots. He suggested Hogan use federal coronavirus relief funding to support hiring and equipment to facilitate changes the fall election.

June 28, 2020

Baltimore’s congressional delegation on Thursday announced the region will get more than $450,000 to help support minority- and women-owned businesses and create jobs. The money will come from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the Opportunity Zones Assistance Project, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Kweisi Mfume, John Sarbanes and Dutch Ruppersberger said in a joint news release. Local funding will also help cover some of the initiative’s costs. “As a result of systemic and entrenched injustices in our society, businesses located in underserved communities – and especially businesses owned by women and people of color – have faced tremendous barriers to accessing the financial resources and technical support they need to succeed,” the lawmakers said in the release. “With strategic investments, more minority-owned and women-owned businesses can get off the ground, prosper, and boost local economies with good-paying jobs. We will continue working to deliver federal resources that help small business owners and strengthen Maryland’s economy for generations to come.”

June 19, 2020

Several Maryland Democrats are backing a plan to help the United States confront the legacy of centuries of racist policies: a reconciliation process used by South Africa after apartheid and by dozens of other countries after civil wars and other societal schisms. The proposal would establish a federal commission on “truth, racial healing and transformation….” “This is an ‘inflection point,’” said U.S. Rep. John P. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who is white. “I think the expressions of outrage and anguish that you’re seeing on the part of the broad public reflects that this moment is different….” The proposal to create a truth and reconciliation commission has garnered much support within the Maryland delegation. Four of the state’s eight members of Congress are cosponsoring it: Brown, Sarbanes, Trone and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin. All are Democrats…. Sarbanes said he hopes the commission will provide the country with “truth telling” and recommendations for action. He also hopes it will help the public maintain its focus on the racial divides that are driving protests and legislative proposals. High-profile efforts to address racist policies have languished because the public loses interest after commissions and task forces complete their work, Sarbanes said. Meanwhile, Americans have developed a “culture of apologism,” in which they apologize for past actions without rectifying them, he said. A truth-and-reconciliation process — especially one that is open to the public — could help Americans better recognize and address long-standing problems, Sarbanes hopes. “The more outward-facing and public these conversations and discussions can be, the better,” Sarbanes said. “There are so many stories to be shared and told,” he said. “When those stories and experiences begin to cascade and be shared, that could be the momentum we need to get ourselves to a different place.”

June 17, 2020

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) on the GOP Police Reform and COVID-19 Response

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