In The News

January 7, 2021

Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat, who represents Maryland’s 3rd District, said he also sheltered in his office during the Capitol lockdown Wednesday afternoon. He said, “There’s no question there’s going to be an inquiry” into the security breakdown. Sarbanes said the breach of the Capitol was alarming to lawmakers. “We start from a place of thinking that it’s very secure, and to see the breach that occurred yesterday, I think, was quite jarring,” Sarbanes said. Sarbanes said he expects “hyper vigilance” from Congress about the use of the 25th Amendment or any “measures are that we have at our disposal to respond quickly if we see the need for it.” Sarbanes said he is also focused on the upcoming presidential transition and to “get Joe Biden and Kamala into the White House, where, I think, they can begin the very arduous task, but critical task of pulling our country together.”

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January 6, 2021

A group of pro-Trump demonstrators breached the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon as lawmakers were convened to certify the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election, sending lawmakers into lockdown. Maryland lawmakers were among those ushered to safety as the protesters entered the Capitol building.... Inside his office on capitol grounds, Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes condemned the violence. “It was sad to see that happen,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever encountered something like this.”

January 6, 2021

Among the House-passed measures that stalled in the Senate was a political reform bill sponsored in 2018 — and again this year — by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat who represents parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties, as well as a section of Baltimore City. The sweeping bill contains ethics reform, campaign finance reform and voting rights protections and was designed, Sarbanes said, to “drain the swamp” in a way GOP President Donald Trump has not. The legislation was reintroduced this week with an announcement by Sarbanes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others with the unstated hope that the Senate would flip to Democrats who would approve the bill.

January 6, 2021

The U.S. Capitol is under lockdown. A mob seeking to overturn the results of the November 2020 presidential election breached the Capitol building Wednesday afternoon as Congress was set to certify President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s victory. Lawmakers were locked down, Vice President Mike Pence was moved to a secure location and The Associated Press was reporting that at least one person has been shot and taken to a hospital.... Rep. John Sarbanes tweeted at 7 p.m. that "the Capitol is now secure." He decried Trump's rhetoric and the actions of his supporters and said lawmakers would proceed with counting Electoral College votes.

January 6, 2021

A bill aimed at closing health disparities and honoring the medical contributions of Henrietta Lacks was signed into law. President Trump on Tuesday signed H.R. 1966, the “Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act of 2019.” The measure requires the U.S. Government Accountability Office to complete a study on barriers to participation in federally funded cancer clinical trials by populations that have been traditionally underrepresented in such trials. The bill was sponsored by Maryland’s U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D), as well as Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), who has sponsored the bill since the death of his predecessor Elijah E. Cummings, who originally championed the legislation. Co-sponsors include Maryland Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D), John P. Sarbanes (D) and David J. Trone (D).

January 5, 2021

President Donald Trump signed a bill Tuesday inspired by the late Henrietta Lacks, a Baltimore County woman whose cells were used for medical research without her consent. The Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act requires the federal government to publish a report on government-funded cancer research trials, including the amount of participation by underrepresented populations and describing the barriers to participation. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approved the bill in December before it headed to Trump’s desk to be signed about two weeks before he leaves office. The late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, championed the bill before his death in 2019. Cummings was worried about the lack of participation by people of color in clinical trials for cancer research. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who succeeded Cummings in the 7th District, took up the cause in the House. Maryland’s U.S. senators, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, supported it in the Senate. Other Maryland members of Congress, including Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. John Sarbanes and Rep. David Trone, also supported the bill.

December 22, 2020

The long-awaited federal coronavirus relief bill — paired with an expansive government spending package — contains millions of dollars specifically for initiatives in Maryland, but President Donald Trump threw its fate into question Tuesday night when he blasted the bipartisan package and suggested he may not sign it.... The spending bill also would fund smaller programs authorized through the conservation act, such as the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Program, a National Park Service initiative that aims to increase public access to environments in the bay watershed. That program was given $3 million. “I’m particularly proud of our successful effort to secure record-level funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program and to include funding for several other beneficial Bay initiatives,” Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat, said in a news release."

December 19, 2020

A bill inspired by the late Henrietta Lacks, a Baltimore County woman whose cells were used for medical research without her consent, is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk following a push by Maryland lawmakers. The Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act would require the federal government to publish a report on government-funded cancer research trials, including the amount of participation by underrepresented populations and the barriers to participation.... Other Maryland members of Congress who co-sponsored the bill include: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, all Democrats. Lacks’ oldest son, Lawrence Lacks Sr., said in a statement that his mother is now finally getting her rightful due for her role as “the Mother of Modern Medicine. “As the world celebrates Henrietta Lacks’ 100th birthday this year, it is only fitting that this law builds upon her legacy by ensuring equitable access to advances in cancer treatment for all people,” he said.

December 17, 2020

The Sackler family, which owns opioid drugmaker Purdue Pharma, "placed insatiable taste of personal wealth over lives of families they have destroyed," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Thursday. Purdue Pharma "launched an incredibly destructive, reckless campaign to flood our communities" with OxyContin, the company's extended-release oxycodone product, she said during a hearing on the role of the Sackler family and the company in the opioid epidemic.... Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) asked Sackler about the "patient saving cards" that he said were "supposedly intended to expand access to OxyContin" but "were consistently tracked and evaluated because Purdue knew these cards were a powerful way to keep patients on opioids longer. Is that right?" "My understanding was the patient saving cards were designed to help people afford their medication," Sackler replied. Sarbanes called that "a perfect answer, because it represents the way in which the narrative you put together -- everything that was in fact designed to take advantage of people and exploit their weakness was presented by Sackler and Purdue as trying to help those patients ... This is why thousands of people across the country became addicted, because of the rosy story and narrative that you painted."