In The News
President Donald Trump prepares to release a budget this week that will propose heavy limits on spending, Maryland's congressional delegation wants the administration to maintain a $4.5 billion transportation program that may have a significant impact on the state…. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao made public on Monday, the bipartisan group of lawmakers requested the department move quickly to award a second round of grants approved by Congress in 2015 that are geared toward freight and highway projects…. Maryland applied for three of those grants. One proposal is for the expansion of the 121-year-old Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore…. The other projects involve accommodating increased port traffic on I-95 and a widening of I-81…. The letter was signed by Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen as well as Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, Steny Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, John Delaney, Anthony G. Brown and Jamie Raskin -- all Democrats. It was also signed by Rep. Andy Harris of Baltimore County, the state's sole Republican representative in Congress.
Democrats hope to weaken Trump with his base by highlighting his business holdings and his personal wealth. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have vowed to investigate the many potential conflicts arising from Trump's domestic and international dealings. "He's the king of conflicts," says Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.). Other Democrats say they should withhold votes for any major legislation needing bipartisan support – say, a major infrastructure package – until Trump releases his tax returns and use every policy debate as an excuse to highlight Trump's many conflicts of interest via amendments and floor speeches. "It's not rule of the people," Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) says of Trump's agenda. "It's rule of the plutocrats and insiders and billionaires and the Wall Street crowd."
As the battle over Republican legislation to dismantle the Affordable Car Act rages this week on Capitol Hill, only one member of the Maryland congressional delegation is involved in the minute-by-minute machinations: Rep. John Sarbanes (D), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, one of two House panels working on the GOP’s American Health Care Act…. Sarbanes is not happy…. He’s disgusted by the legislation itself and by the process that produced it…. “They’re coming with a product that’s certainly a nonstarter for the Democrats on our committee and I think would be a nonstarter for most Americans when they learn what’s in the bill,” Sarbanes told Maryland Matters Wednesday during a break in the committee’s round-the-clock markup of the bill.
Some of those Republicans, such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is seeking reelection next year, have not come out in opposition to the new bill. In letters similar to those penned by Kasich, he’s touted the success of Medicaid expansion in his state, where 260,000 Marylanders have healthcare coverage as a result of the current healthcare law…. He said his office is assessing the new measure…. Still, some Maryland Democrats, such as Rep. John Sarbanes, whose district spans Annapolis, called on the governor to speak up…. “The residents of Maryland are looking to you for support in preserving the important ACA reforms that have allowed so many of them to access affordable, accessible and high quality health care,” he wrote in an open letter to Hogan this week.
Maryland Democrats called on Hogan to more forcefully defend coverage for Marylanders.... Rep. John Sarbanes, a Baltimore County Democrat, sent a letter Tuesday to Hogan asking him to make more of a public push against repeal of the health law, as other Republican governors have done in seeking to prevent a rollback of the Medicaid expansion. He also sought an analysis from the governor's office of possible effects of the bill.... Sarbanes sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will begin debating the proposal Wednesday.... "As the only member of Maryland's House delegation to sit on this committee, it is critical for me to have as much information as possible about how this plan may impact our constituents and our state," he wrote. "I am requesting that you and your staff provide an analysis of how the GOP repeal effort will affect Maryland and the more than 400,000 individuals who are at risk of losing their insurance...." Sarbanes said about 290,000 Marylanders have gained insurance coverage under the health law through the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor, and another 150,000 have bought health insurance through the state's exchange. Most have gotten subsidies to afford the coverage.
The Owen Brown Interfaith Center in Howard County was standing room only on Sunday night as three Democratic congressmen held a Town Hall where they spoke about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Congressmen John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, and Elijah Cummings answered questions and concerns throughout the evening and vowed to keep up the fight against the ACA repeal.
Congressman John Sarbanes indicated that a mark-up of the Affordable Care Act could come sometime this week.
“Will money be taken away from other important things? Will there be waiting lists? Will it be harder for people to qualify for Medicaid? Will there be cuts in services,” said Judi Hammett, who attended the town hall.
At a standing room only Town Hall, three democratic congressmen who represent Maryland talked about the potential impact repealing the act could have on the state.
"Maryland hospitals could lose $2 billion,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. "It could lead to layoffs at the hospitals".
"The democracy is at stake here,” Congressman John Sarbanes added.
"This is bigger than us,” Congressman Elijah Cummings told the packed crowd, "We've got to keep up the fight.”
In a united front, Maryland's 10 U.S. Senators and representatives called for quick action to find the culprits and bring them to justice…. "We'd prefer not to be here, of course. We'd prefer not to have these threats and intimidations, but we are here and that's the point," said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Maryland…. One by one, members of Maryland's congressional delegation took the stage in solidarity with the Jewish community after a rash of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish schools and community centers across the country.
Politicians, police and faith leaders convened Friday morning to denounce the recent rash of bomb threats and hate crimes made against Jewish Community Centers, synagogues and schools.… U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D) Maryland explained how terror and hate can quickly eat away at an entire community…. “Fear is corrosive... When your drop your elderly parent at the JCC or at the Muslim community center, you don’t want to have a lump in your throat or that sinking feeling in your gut," Sarbanes said.