In The News

July 9, 2015

So why do we need your idea for campaign finance reform?

SARBANES: Most people are sitting there in their kitchens, and they’re watching cable television, and it seems like every day there’s more news about big money, Super PACs, multi-billion dollar presidential campaigns. And the average person is looking at that and saying, “This is crazy, where do I fit into this? How do I possibly have any kind of role to play or any voice that could match what those other players have?”

And that’s where we come along and say: “Well, actually here’s a system that can give you some power, that can make you a player.” And I think if you offer that to people, they’ll say, “Okay, I don’t have to just be a spectator in my own democracy anymore. I can actually go on the field and play the game.” I think this is a very hopeful message.

July 8, 2015

If our only hope is to amend the Constitution — which requires first a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate and then approval from three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures — then it feels like we’re doomed.

But what if there were a way to approach this hellish problem from the opposite direction? If we’re forbidden by the Supreme Court from limiting money coming from the 0.01 percent, what about amplifying money from the bottom 99.99 percent?

That’s the basis for the Government by the People Act, introduced last year by Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland’s 3rd District.

July 2, 2015

U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes said calling the Red Line a boondoggle was "extremely unfortunate" considering the $288 million already spent on planning, design, engineering and land acquisition. He added the governor's decision did not match previous pronouncements that Baltimore is the state's economic engine.

"It doesn't make any sense if we're gonna try to connect all parts of Baltimore with each other so that Baltimore is truly rising as one community," said Sarbanes.

June 25, 2015

Congressman John Sarbanes also cheered the court’s decision: “Despite more than 60 attempts by Republicans to repeal the ACA and two Supreme Court challenges, it’s been proven over and over again that this law is constitutional and that it’s working. After today’s decision, all Americans – regardless of where they live – will continue to have access to premium tax credits so that they can get the high-quality, affordable health care they deserve.”

June 25, 2015

"The decision from the court means that the coverage debate is now over," said Rep. John P. Sarbanes, a Baltimore County Democrat and member of the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "We're now on to looking at delivery of care, better health outcomes, better cost savings."

June 23, 2015

Calling for a renewed effort to eliminate poverty, federal lawmakers met Tuesday in Baltimore to discuss underlying issues they said contributed to the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent riots: racism, lack of economic opportunity and disparities in education….

June 21, 2015

Many local politicians, environmentalists and Catholics warmly praised Pope Francis' encyclical calling for sweeping transformation in politics and economics in order to protect the environment and deal with climate change….

… "Pope Francis' encyclical about today's environmental challenges speaks volumes about the threat that climate change poses to each and every person," said a statement from U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Baltimore County, who represents Annapolis and other parts of Anne Arundel County.

"I applaud the pope, and other leaders in the faith community, for joining the chorus of global influential voices who are bringing much-needed attention to this issue and urging action."

June 8, 2015

Advocates of campaign finance reform have been understandably glum since Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions all but gutted previous hard-fought-for strictures on big money in campaigns. But a new piece of legislation by Representative John Sarbanes, Democrat from Maryland, crafted for the post-Citizens environment, has picked up moods within the political reform community. Sarbanes recently sat down with Washington Monthly editor in chief Paul Glastris to talk about his Government By the People Act. Here is an edited version of that interview.

June 5, 2015

The Washington region’s congressional delegation is continuing its fight for full funding for Metro after a House committee slashed the transit agency’s allocation by $50 million. But the battle appears to be an uphill one.

Wednesday evening, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), acting on behalf of the delegation, offered an amendment to the Department of Transportation appropriations bill in which he sought to restore Metro’s full $150-million allocation. For the last six years, the transit agency has received $150 million in federal funding, part of a 10-year commitment that was authorized under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. The $150 million is matched by Maryland, Virginia and the District and is designed to fund safety upgrades to the system….

… Connolly, along with the eight other members of the region’s representatives in the House: Don Beyer (D-Va.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), John Delaney (D-Md.) and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), released the following statement Thursday…

June 3, 2015

But Dem Rep. John Sarbanes, a longtime campaign finance reformer, insists it is anything but hopeless. In an interview today, he laid out how he thinks Democrats can make the issue matter to voters.

Sarbanes — who has long championed reform that would give candidates who restrict the size of their donations public matching funds, boosting the influence of small donors — told me that the key to making the issue matter to voters is, above all, not to discuss it in isolation.