In The News

September 27, 2019

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September 27, 2019

As House Democrats pursue an impeachment inquiry based largely on possible campaign finance violations against President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats sought a fresh spotlight for their stalled political money, ethics and elections overhaul measure. The House passed the bill by a vote of 234-193 along party lines on March 8, 200 days ago, the California Democrat noted. “We sent this legislation over to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and it’s been sitting there in his grim reaper role,” Pelosi said at a Friday news conference flanked by several House Democratic freshmen who ran on many of the proposals included in the measure. “We’re saying to him, ‘You may think this is dead over there, grim reaper' — what a nice thing to say about yourself — but it is alive and well in the public.” House Democrats’ mega overhaul bill seeks to remake the nation’s voting, campaign finance and ethics laws and to shore up security at ballot boxes. That’s an especially urgent matter, Democrats argue, with the 2020 elections about a year away. The measure’s lead sponsor, Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, acknowledged that the Senate was unlikely to take up the bill under McConnell's leadership, and he said it would remain a signature proposal for his party’s congressional and presidential candidates in the 2020 campaigns.

September 26, 2019

Baltimore will receive $9.7 million to address lead-based paint in low-income households from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes announced the funding Thursday, which will be awarded through HUD and will work to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in low-income private housing…. $9.1 million of the funds were awarded through HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs to identify and eliminate the hazards in low and very low-income private housing where children six years and under live. HUD explained Baltimore was in part awarded the funding because it is a jurisdiction that has a higher number of pre-1940 rental housing and higher rates of childhood lead poisoning cases. $600,000 of the funds were given through HUD’s Healthy Homes grant program- to address housing-related hazards in a coordinated fashion.

September 26, 2019

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It’s been quite a week in the nation’s capital, even by standards of the chaotic Trump Administration. On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress would begin an impeachment inquiry. On Wednesday, the White House released what they described as an “unclassified memorandum” that summarizes a call between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25, 2019. The memorandum was prepared by note takers who were listening to the call in the White House Situation room. And this morning, just before acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified in open session to the House Intelligence Committee, the Whistle Blower report that set an impeachment inquiry in motion was released. Admiral Maguire began his testimony shortly after 9:00 this morning. That testimony will continue in closed session later today. Tom talks about all of this today with Congressman John Sarbanes, who represents Maryland’s 3rd District. He also serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is chaired by his fellow Maryland Congressman, Elijah Cummings.

September 24, 2019

A growing number of Maryland lawmakers are coming out in support of official impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Tuesday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry into the president, CBS News reported.... Maryland Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes Tuesday called reports that President Donald Trump spoke with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeking dirt about Joe Biden “impeachable conduct,” as the president vowed on Twitter earlier in the day he would release a full transcript of the call. In a statement, Sarbanes called the reports “a blatant abuse of power” and called for a full investigation. “By any measure, this is impeachable conduct on the part of the President. Every House committee of relevant jurisdiction must move aggressively to gather the underlying evidence and press forward with our efforts to hold President Trump accountable,” Sarbanes wrote.

September 24, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday afternoon that federal lawmakers will begin an impeachment investigation into Republican President Donald Trump over allegations he misused his office to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate the family of Democratic political rival Joe Biden. The Trump administration is withholding from Congress a whistleblower complaint at least partly related to that matter.... Sarbanes, a Towson Democrat and a member of the House Oversight Committee, tweeted Tuesday that the president engaged in impeachable conduct. “Trump’s attempt to pressure a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election is a blatant abuse of power. His actions constitute a direct attack on our democracy and signify an unprecedented new level of corruption and lawlessness in the White House,” Sarbanes said in a statement. “By any measure, this is impeachable conduct on the part of the president. Every House committee of relevant jurisdiction must move aggressively to gather the underlying evidence and press forward with our efforts to hold President Trump accountable.”

September 19, 2019

The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Thursday on a bill that would pave the way for the District of Columbia to become the country’s 51st state. The hearing on H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, was the first hearing of its kind in more than 25 years, the Oversight Committee’s Democratic press office said.... In total, 220 representatives — all Democrats — are co-sponsoring the legislation, which was first introduced in January. Among the sponsors are Maryland Reps. Elijah Cummings, Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes.

September 19, 2019

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., said Congress must strengthen federal agencies tasked to investigate nonprofits, political committees or their fundraisers — including the Federal Trade Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission. “If you take cops off the beat, if you dilute oversight, scrutiny, accountability and transparency, you’re asking for the wild wild West, and increasingly that seems to be the reality we’re living in,” Sarbanes said. “And it’s just completely unfair to the average citizen” who expects the federal government to protect consumers. 

September 17, 2019

Congressional Democrats renewed their call for election security legislation during a national day of action on Tuesday, as a Senate Appropriations subcommittee left out funding for it in its annual spending bill.... One of the bills Democrats have called for a Senate vote on is H.R. 1, a sweeping voting rights and election security bill passed by the House along party lines in March. Republicans have blocked this bill....  Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the primary sponsor of the bill in the House, said during the same press conference on Tuesday that in blocking H.R. 1, McConnell “is standing in the way with his arms folded at the gates of democracy and saying to the American public, you shall not pass.”

September 12, 2019

With the growing number of cases of severe pulmonary illness connected to electronic cigarette use, state and federal officials have rapidly sounded the alarm. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, launched an investigation into the four largest vaping manufacturers in late August. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson, who sits on the panel, said he was “committed to fully investigating the health risks associated with vaping products and to holding e-cigarette manufacturers accountable.”

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