Sarbanes Joins House Democrats to Announce Bold New Plan to Restore Our Democracy

As Part of the “Stronger America” Agenda, the “By the People” Legislative Package Will Put People’s Interests Ahead of Special Interests
July 14, 2016
CONTACT: Natalie Young | |
(202) 225-4016  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Responding to the demands of American voters from across the political spectrum, House Democrats today announced the “By the People” Legislative Package, a key component of the “Stronger America” agenda that aims to wrest political power and influence away from wealthy donors and special interests, and return us to a government of, by and for the people.

The initiative includes a comprehensive suite of reforms that would revitalize our nation’s voting laws, restore sanity to the electoral process, and empower everyday Americans to reclaim their voice in the political process.

“Whether we want to create good jobs, strengthen our national security, make our health care system more affordable or protect the environment, we’re blocked at every turn by moneyed interests that fight to put their agenda ahead of the needs of the American people,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “That’s why we need to restore our democracy to the way our Founders intended it to be: ‘Dependent on the people alone.’”

The “By the People” Legislative Package has three pillars:

  • Revitalize Our Nations’ Voting Laws. No matter one’s race, creed or color, the right to vote is sacrosanct and should not be blocked, diminished or diluted. Unfortunately, across the country, many states greenlighted laws undermining Americans’ ability to exercise their political voice.

To restore integrity to our nation’s voting laws, House Democrats are fighting to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, correcting the damage done by the Shelby decision. At the same time, House Democrats are committed to modernizing how we vote, working to enact sensible measures to make the voting process more accessible, efficient, and inclusive. This includes passing the Voter Empowerment Act, the Automatic Voter Registration Acts, the Democracy Restoration Act, and the Redistricting Reform Act.

  • Restore Sanity to the Rules Governing Our Elections.  The rise of “secret money” and unlimited outside spending by unaccountable Super PACs is eroding the public’s trust in our elections. Meanwhile, the Federal Election Commission – the agency in charge of upholding the laws that govern our elections – is hobbled by its partisan composition.

House Democrats stand for open and honest elections. To that end, House Democrats firmly believe that we must shine a light on secret spending in our elections, advocating for measures like the DISCLOSE Act and the Shareholder Protection Act. House Democrats also believe we must shutdown the candidate-Super PAC charade and enact sensible reforms to allow the FEC to do its job, with legislation like the We the People Act and Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act. Finally, House Democrats are fighting to overturn the wrongheaded Citizen United decision through the Democracy for All Constitutional Amendment, which would give Congress the authority to restore sanity to our nation’s campaign finance laws and the Supreme Court Ethics Act.

  • Empower Everyday Americans to Reclaim their Voice in the Political Process. The wealthy and well-connected have too much power in our democracy, using our outdated campaign finance system to warp the candidate field and the eventual agenda in Congress to their liking. Good candidates are caught in this bad system, dependent on big money donors to fund their campaigns.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

House Democrats are fighting to build a democracy of the many, not the money, advocating for a bold new system of citizen-owned elections that gives power back to the everyday citizen. The Government By the People Act would build a new system for funding campaigns, enabling candidates to run for Congress without having to rely on the big money crowd. The EMPOWER Act would establish a similar system for Presidential elections.