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Rep. John Sarbanes On HR 1, The House's Sweeping Anti-Corruption Legislation47:10
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Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., left, chairman of the House Democracy Reform Task Force, as House Democrats unveil a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package that targets what they call a "culture of corruption in Washington." (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., left, chairman of the House Democracy Reform Task Force, as House Democrats unveil a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package that targets what they call a "culture of corruption in Washington." (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Find our buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.


With Meghna Chakrabarti

The House votes on a sweeping anti-corruption proposal this week. It could have major implications for campaign finance, voting rights and ethics.

Guests

Rep. John Sarbanes, Democratic congressman from Maryland. He’s the lead author of House Resolution 1, and has been spearheading the bill in his chamber. (@RepSarbanes)

David Keating, president of the Institute for Free Speech. (@InstFreeSpeech)

In February, he testified about H.R. 1 before the House Administration Committee.

From The Reading List

Vox: "House Democrats officially unveil their first bill in the majority: a sweeping anti-corruption proposal" — "House Democrats will unveil full details of their first bill in the new Congress on Friday — sweeping anti-corruption measures aimed at stamping out the influence of money in politics and expanding voting rights.

"This is HR 1, the first thing House Democrats will tackle now that a new Congress has been sworn in. To be clear, this legislation has little to no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate or being signed by President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already bluntly stated, 'That’s not going to go anywhere.'

"But by making anti-corruption their No. 1 priority, House Democrats are throwing down the gauntlet for Republicans. A vast majority of Americans want to get the influence of money out of politics, and want Congress to pass laws to do so. New polling from the PAC End Citizens United found 82 percent of all voters and 84 percent of independents said they support a bill of reforms to tackle corruption."

Bloomberg: "Opinion: HR 1 Is Enormous and Necessary" — "The politics of HR 1, the House Democrats’ gargantuan effort to bolster the basic functions of American democracy, are controversial. The facts underlying the legislation’s most important provisions are substantially less so.

"Many of these ideas have been promoted in previous legislation. Not every proposal in the bill is vital, or even necessary. Some, such as a call for public subsidies of campaigns, are familiar sources of partisan rancor. But most of the provisions in this vast bill address genuine weaknesses in American democracy and attempt to make the system fairer, more transparent and, in light of the multifaceted Russian attack on the election of 2016, more secure."

Courier Journal: "Don't be deceived. 'For the People Act' would federalize elections" — "The first two months of a Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has produced a petri dish of longstanding liberal policy desires, appropriately appealing to the left with the comfort of a Republican Senate to provide both scapegoat and insulation.

"In our oft-referenced partisan era, it might seem odd that among all of the possible items that could have been made House Resolution 1 for the new Democrat majority was a series of reforms aimed at elections and voter engagement. The 'For the People Act of 2019”' is a sweeping package of reforms that has been lauded for a few provisions all the while ignoring the more troubling ones, but that demonstrates a broader longstanding ambition.

"Proponents would like us to believe that the only major provision of the bill is to make Election Day a national holiday, a seemingly noncontroversial proposal that would give federal workers the day off and would likely be followed by many corporations. Most Americans can probably get on board with that proposal."

Brian Hardzinski produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on March 6, 2019.

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