In The News
Dozens of people gathered Thursday night on the grounds of Catonsville’s Immanuel United Church of Christ for a rally and prayer vigil to denounce hate groups and white supremacy…. U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Dist. 3, made an unscheduled appearance, taking the podium to declare: “There is no place for white supremacy in civilized society. Period.”
Some residents of the Belair-Edison neighborhood are all smiles today. They’re seeing a big drop in their utility bills because of the sun.... Solar energy has come to the community. Six weeks ago, Wade Watkins has 14 solar panels installed on his roof.... “My energy bill went from basically from a little over $200, down to maybe like $80,” he tells WJZ. “So that’s a great savings to me.” ... What’s happening in Baltimore is part of a growing solar industry.... “Baltimore is leading the way in terms of clean energy initiatives,” says U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (MD-3). “It represents a tremendous opportunity for what we can do as a country.”
Democratic lawmakers have requested thousands of pages of documents pertaining to Jared Kushner’s properties in Maryland.... U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and U.S. Reps. Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Anthony Brown, sent a letter to Kushner Companies LLC, owned by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, on Friday.... News outlets have recently reported that the company routinely seeks to arrest tenants who owe money, and that tenants have reported sub-standard conditions in Kushner’s housing complexes.... Kushner Companies owns properties in which residents use housing vouchers. The lawmakers in their letter told the firm that it must comply with federal standards for “decent, safe and sanitary” housing because it receives federal subsidies.
“This sense of frustration with government and elites and insiders now runs broad and deep across the American electorate, and there’s no question it was a factor in Donald trump’s election,” says House Democrat John Sarbanes, of Maryland. “He tapped into this sense of resentment that people have about the current political system, and the undue influence that big money and special interests have.” … Sarbanes chairs a House Democracy Reform Task Force that recently announced a package of bills focused on campaign-finance fixes, tougher ethics and disclosure rules, curbs on gerrymandering, and plans to strengthen the Federal Election Commission. A key element of the “By the People” plan is a proposal to match low-dollar campaign donations with public funds. The package draws a sharp line between Democrats who have spelled out a proactive democracy agenda, says Sarbanes, and Republicans who reject such reforms.
House Democrats this week are trying to hitch a slate of amendments to the appropriations minibus, all targeting the business, family members and scandals of President Donald Trump…. The amendments, offered in the Rules Committee, are part of the minority party’s larger effort to tie their Republican colleagues to Trump’s possible conflicts of interest stemming from his business holdings and the government’s probe of alleged collusion by Trump campaign officials with Russia to influence the 2016 elections…. “Democrats need to use whatever tools are at their disposal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., his party’s point man on ethics. Using the appropriations process, he added, is “fair game.”
Also on Tuesday: Members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation sent a letter to the Federal Transit Administration urging the agency to sign on to a funding agreement with the Maryland Transit Administration. The letter calls the 16-mile, 21-stop Purple Line a “shovel-ready project” and declared that a federal Court of Appeals decision July 19 cleared the way for construction.... The letter — signed by Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Steny Hoyer, John Delaney, John Sarbanes and Jamie Raskin — said the Purple Line would spur economic growth in the area, providing as many as 6,000 construction jobs and 27,000 permanent jobs.
In a largely party-line 231-190 vote this afternoon, the House passed a Congressional Review Act resolution that, if also adopted by the Senate and signed by the President, would overturn recently finalized rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…. Those rules seek to curb the use of “forced arbitration” in many consumers’ financial contracts. These arbitration clauses dictate that any legal dispute between the customer and the bank must be resolved outside of the legal system. Instead, these matters — no matter the scope of the allegation — must go through a closed-door arbitration process, where the results are often confidential, so there is no public record of the alleged wrongdoing…. Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes questioned the GOP’s reason for trying to undo these protections…. “Who back home is asking for this?” asked Sarbanes. “Who is coming to the town hall and asking for you to repeal this?” … In the end, only one Republican — Walter Jones of North Carolina — voted against repealing the CFPB rule. No Democrats strayed across the aisle to vote in favor of repeal.
Last week, tech companies joined in a day of action that encouraged letter-writing to Congress, our sister site Technical.ly Philly reported. The FCC received 9 million comments in response to the proposed changes. That’s a record, USA Today reports…. In Baltimore, the effort to spread the word is continuing with a public forum this week. Congressman John Sarbanes and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will be at Betamore in City Garage on Wednesday, July 26, discussing the issue in a public forum…. The 11 a.m. forum, titled “The Fight to Preserve a Free & Open Internet,” will also feature remarks from the former FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet and Demand Progress Campaign Director Kurt Walters. It’s open to the public, and will include a chance to ask questions.
Amid the collapse of a signature piece of GOP health legislation and continued revelations about the Trump team’s ties to Russia, House Democrats have turned their spotlight on proposals to revamp ethics, campaign finance and voting rights laws…. “We’re fighting back against the lack of accountability that we see in the Trump administration and from special interests,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, the Maryland Democrat who chairs his party’s Democracy Reform Task Force…. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Sarbanes told reporters during a Tuesday news conference that their party was developing a series of legislative proposals they dubbed the "By the People Project" that would include updates to the nation’s ethics and elections systems…. Some of the measures, such as one (HR 20) to encourage small-dollar campaign donations and another (HR 1134) to require additional public disclosures of political spending, have already been introduced.
Federal employees victimized by discrimination would receive stronger protections under a bill agreed to unanimously by the House on Tuesday, while those found to have discriminated would face stronger repercussions…. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., said the bill was one of many he would support to give federal employees the “workplace protections they deserve.” … “This bill is a tremendous win for our nation’s civil servants, and an important step forward in providing federal employees with equal protections under the law,” Sarbanes said after the House approved the legislation by voice vote on Tuesday.