WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) joined House Democrats to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act — a sweeping package of reforms that will strengthen America's democratic institutions and protect them against future presidents who seek to abuse the power of their office.
"Nothing is more fundamental to protecting our democracy than ensuring the integrity of our government. Because the President and Executive Branch members have the power to affect how our tax dollars are spent, who the federal government does business with, and the integrity of America's standing in a global economy, the American people must trust that they will prioritize families and voters before personal gain," said Assistant Speaker Clark. "This comprehensive legislation will restore the government's system of checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and protect America's elections from foreign interference no matter who is occupying the White House."
The Protecting Our Democracy Act was first introduced in 2020, and reflects Congress' determination to restore the guardrails of our democratic systems. This year, the bill also stands as the third pillar of the 117th Congress' efforts to protect, support, and restore the people's faith in America's democratic systems — complementing both H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The package includes a provision authored by the Assistant Speaker that would prohibit the President, Vice President, and Cabinet members from contracting with the federal government.
Specifically, the Protecting Our Democracy Act will:
- Prevent Presidential abuses:
- Prevent abuse of the pardon power
- Ensure no President is above the law by suspending the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president or vice president
- Enforce the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution
- Restore our system of checks and balances, strengthen accountability, and transparency:
- Enforce Congressional subpoenas
- Reassert Congressional power of the purse by enhancing the Impoundment Control Act (ICA)
- Strengthen Congressional oversight of Presidential Emergency Declarations
- Provide security from political interference in the Justice Department (DOJ) by requiring reports of communications between DOJ and the White House and ensuring that any inappropriate communications are reported to Congress
- Protect Inspector General independence
- Protect whistleblowers
- Provide accountability for acting officials
- Strengthen Hatch Act enforcement and penalties
- Promote efficient Presidential transitions
- Require Presidential and Vice-Presidential tax transparency
- Protect Our Elections
- Ensure reporting of foreign interference in elections
- Prevent foreign interference in elections by clarifying that the definition of a "thing of value" in the Federal Election Campaign Act
Original story HERE