Text: H.Res.975 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/28/2018)

 
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[H. Res. 975 Introduced in House (IH)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
H. RES. 975

  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Americans 
   have a right to fair representation and that America's democratic 
     institutions are in urgent need of repair to provide greater 
   responsiveness and accountability to the people through critical 
reforms that empower the American voter, strengthen our Nation's ethics 
           laws, and fix our broken campaign finance system.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 28, 2018

  Mr. Sarbanes (for himself, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. 
Aguilar, Ms. Barragan, Mr. Bera, Mr. Beyer, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Brendan 
   F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Brown of Maryland, Mrs. Bustos, Mr. 
 Butterfield, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Cartwright, Ms. Castor of Florida, Mr. 
 Castro of Texas, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Mr. Cicilline, Ms. Clark 
 of Massachusetts, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Cohen, Mr. 
  Connolly, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Crist, Mr. Crowley, Mr. Cummings, Mrs. 
    Davis of California, Ms. DeGette, Mr. Delaney, Ms. DeLauro, Ms. 
  DelBene, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Deutch, Mrs. Dingell, Mr. Doggett, Mr. 
Ellison, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Espaillat, Ms. Esty of Connecticut, Ms. Frankel 
of Florida, Mr. Gallego, Mr. Garamendi, Mr. Gene Green of Texas, Mr. Al 
    Green of Texas, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Gutierrez, Ms. Hanabusa, Mr. 
 Hastings, Mr. Heck, Mr. Higgins of New York, Ms. Norton, Mr. Huffman, 
  Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Jeffries, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Ms. 
Kaptur, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Kildee, Mr. 
   Kilmer, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, Mr. Clay, Mr. Langevin, Mr. Larsen of 
Washington, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Mr. Lawson of Florida, Ms. Lee, 
   Mr. Levin, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. 
Loebsack, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Lowenthal, Mr. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, 
 Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Sean Patrick 
 Maloney of New York, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Ms. Matsui, 
Ms. McCollum, Mr. McEachin, Mr. McGovern, Ms. Kuster of New Hampshire, 
Mr. McNerney, Mr. Meeks, Mr. Moulton, Mr. Nadler, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. 
  Nolan, Mr. Norcross, Mr. O'Halleran, Mr. O'Rourke, Mr. Pallone, Mr. 
Pascrell, Mr. Perlmutter, Ms. Pingree, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Polis, Mr. Price 
of North Carolina, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Raskin, Miss Rice of New York, Ms. 
  Roybal-Allard, Mr. Ruppersberger, Ms. Sanchez, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. 
 Schiff, Mr. Schneider, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Serrano, Ms. Sewell 
   of Alabama, Ms. Shea-Porter, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Sires, Mr. Smith of 
   Washington, Mr. Soto, Ms. Speier, Mr. Swalwell of California, Mr. 
 Takano, Ms. Titus, Mr. Tonko, Ms. Tsongas, Mr. Vargas, Ms. Velazquez, 
Mr. Walz, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Ms. Maxine Waters of California, Mrs. 
   Watson Coleman, Mr. Welch, Mr. Yarmuth, Ms. Blunt Rochester, Ms. 
  Bonamici, Ms. Brownley of California, Mr. Veasey, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. 
 Jackson Lee, Mr. Payne, Mrs. Lowey, Mr. Gonzalez of Texas, Mr. Vela, 
  Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, Mrs. Murphy of Florida, Mr. Thompson of 
California, Mr. Michael F. Doyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Engel, Ms. Bass, 
Ms. Rosen, Mr. Costa, Mr. Peters, Ms. Meng, Mr. Ryan of Ohio, Mr. Rush, 
 Mr. Kihuen, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Mr. Ruiz, Ms. Moore, Mr. Carbajal, 
and Mr. Foster) submitted the following resolution; which was referred 
   to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the 
Committees on the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform, for a 
 period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for 
consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the 
                          committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Americans 
   have a right to fair representation and that America's democratic 
     institutions are in urgent need of repair to provide greater 
   responsiveness and accountability to the people through critical 
reforms that empower the American voter, strengthen our Nation's ethics 
           laws, and fix our broken campaign finance system.

    Resolved,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This resolution may be cited as the ``By the People Resolution''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

    It is the purpose of this resolution to express the sense of the 
House of Representatives that Congress should advance a comprehensive 
set of political reforms to restore trust in, and integrity to, our 
institutions of democracy. Such reforms will--
            (1) empower the American voter;
            (2) strengthen our Nation's ethics laws; and
            (3) fix our broken campaign finance system.

                 TITLE I--EMPOWERING THE AMERICAN VOTER

SEC. 101. EXPANDING ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) the right to vote for all Americans is sacrosanct and 
        rules for voting and election administration should protect the 
        right to vote and promote voter participation;
            (2) in recent years, we have witnessed unprecedented 
        efforts to turn back the clock and erect barriers to voting for 
        disabled, minority, young, elderly, and low-income Americans; 
        and
            (3) Congress should respond by modernizing the electoral 
        system to--
                    (A) improve access to the ballot;
                    (B) enhance the integrity and security of our 
                voting systems; and
                    (C) ensure greater accountability for the 
                administration of elections.

SEC. 102. PROMOTING NATIONAL AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) America is stronger when more Americans participate in 
        the political process;
            (2) across the Nation, voter registration models at best 
        are outmoded, and present barriers for eligible Americans to 
        have their voices heard at the ballot box and, at worst, are 
        under assault from attempts to limit access; and
            (3) Congress should advance reforms to automate the 
        registration of millions of eligible voters, thereby improving 
        registration files and election security, all the while helping 
        to build a more representative electorate.

SEC. 103. ENDING PARTISAN REDISTRICTING BY ESTABLISHING STATE-BASED 
              INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONS.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) fair representation demands Congressional districts be 
        drawn without undue political influence and gamesmanship;
            (2) a partisan arms race has broken out, with majority 
        parties in the States crafting district lines to maximize 
        political advantage;
            (3) the public has lost confidence in the way that 
        Congressional districts are drawn; and
            (4) Congress should put an end to this partisan arms race 
        and require all States to establish independent, multi-party 
        citizen redistricting commissions to draw open, transparent, 
        and fair statewide district maps after each decennial census.

SEC. 104. RESTORING THE INTEGRITY OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) we must remain vigilant in protecting every American's 
        right to vote, regardless of race, color, or creed;
            (2) systemic voter discrimination and intimidation still 
        occurs in communities across the country;
            (3) the Supreme Court, in Shelby County v. Holder, struck 
        down core provisions of the Voting Rights Act, undermining 
        decades-long protections for communities of color that faced 
        historic and continuing discrimination; and
            (4) Congress should restore protections for voters in 
        States with a recent history of discrimination and bolster 
        prophylactic protections for those communities with a history 
        of voter disenfranchisement.

SEC. 105. PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF THE ELECTION SYSTEM.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) the security of election systems must be improved;
            (2) attacks from hostile actors, both foreign and domestic, 
        must never compromise the integrity or security of our election 
        system; and
            (3) Congress must advance comprehensive reforms to protect 
        and harden our election system, providing the resources and 
        tools to our State and local partners to ensure attempts to 
        undermine our election system remain unsuccessful.

            TITLE II--STRENGTHENING OUR NATION'S ETHICS LAWS

SEC. 201. ENDING THE REVOLVING DOOR OF SPECIAL INTERESTS INTO AND OUT 
              OF GOVERNMENT.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) the line between public service and private interests 
        is too often blurred, because government positions are 
        regularly filled with industry insiders who work to secure 
        undue access and influence for their former employers, and that 
        this preferential treatment is later used to secure for those 
        same individuals future employment and profit, fueling a cycle 
        of exploitative government service;
            (2) the public is rightly disgusted by this ``revolving 
        door'' into and out of government, and as stewards of the 
        public trust, government officials should be--
                    (A) required to submit to a stringent set of 
                ethical guidelines that restrict their engagement on 
                matters directly related to past employment; and
                    (B) prohibited from seeking immediate employment 
                after their government tenure with private interests 
                with business related to their government service.

SEC. 202. EXPANDING ETHICS LAWS TO APPLY TO THE PRESIDENT AND TO 
              PROMOTE GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) government officials at every level, including the 
        Office of the President and Vice President, should be held to 
        the highest ethical standards;
            (2) government service should not be a means to personal 
        profit, nor should conflicts of interest cloud the judgment of 
        our Nation's leaders;
            (3) all existing and applicable ethics laws and protocols 
        to prevent conflicts of interest should apply to the Office of 
        President and Vice President; and
            (4) candidates for President and Vice-President should be 
        required to disclose their tax returns as a condition of their 
        candidacy, as the electorate deserves to be provided with the 
        necessary information to determine if an individual can pursue 
        the public interest unencumbered by private conflicts of 
        interest.

SEC. 203. REFORMING THE OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) the entirety of the Federal Government, and the public 
        servants who comprise it, must comply with all relevant ethics 
        laws and regulations;
            (2) it has become apparent that--
                    (A) there are significant differences in the ways 
                that certain agencies, government employees, and 
                political appointees abide by the relevant ethics 
                statutes; and
                    (B) the existing enforcement tools are deficient;
            (3) Americans are right to expect their public servants to 
        be free from conflicts of interest; and
            (4) Congress should bolster compliance across the Federal 
        Government and ensure those charged with overseeing the law 
        have the necessary tools of enforcement.

SEC. 204. UPDATING THE LOBBYING DISCLOSURE ACT AND PROHIBITING BUNDLED 
              CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM LOBBYISTS.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) all Americans have the right to petition their 
        government, as granted by the First Amendment;
            (2) the modern-day lobbying industry has abused this right, 
        deploying sophisticated tactics to maximize their influence and 
        to minimize transparency and public scrutiny of their actions;
            (3) the American people deserve to know who is influencing 
        their representatives in Congress;
            (4) professional lobbyists should not be able to circumvent 
        campaign finance contribution limits to gain improper access 
        and influence Congress to advance the positions of their 
        clients; and
            (5) Congress should act to impose stronger lobbying rules 
        and prohibitions.

SEC. 205. STRENGTHENING BRIBERY LAWS TO GUARD AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICIALS 
              PROFITING FROM PUBLIC SERVICE.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) public servants, both elected and unelected, should not 
        use public office for personal profit;
            (2) recent court cases have narrowed the scope of existing 
        bribery laws, inviting unscrupulous public officials to test 
        the outer bounds of the law; and
            (3) Congress must act to ensure public servants do not use 
        their public power for private gain or to enrich themselves, 
        either directly or indirectly.

          TITLE III--FIXING OUR BROKEN CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM

SEC. 301. EMPOWERING SMALL DONORS AND DIMINISHING THE INFLUENCE OF BIG 
              MONEY CAMPAIGN DONORS.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) concentrated money in politics has corroded the 
        public's trust in their representatives and their ability to 
        provide fair representation, and is undermining faith in the 
        institutions of democracy;
            (2) to reduce corruption or the appearance of corruption 
        from the undue influence of the wealthy and well-connected 
        donors in our politics, Congress should enact bold reforms to 
        our campaign finance system that increase and multiply the 
        power of small dollar donors in our democracy; and
            (3) these reforms can provide everyday Americans, and the 
        candidates they support, with the tools they need to compete 
        with big money, enabling a new generation of candidates to run 
        and win office, ultimately building a Congress that is more 
        responsive to the public interest, not the special interests.

SEC. 302. DISCLOSING ``SECRET MONEY'' AND PROMOTING TRANSPARENCY OF 
              POLITICAL SPENDING.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) undisclosed ``secret money'' is a scourge on our 
        democracy and denies voters the information they need to make 
        informed political decisions;
            (2) when individuals or organizations enter the political 
        town-square to voice their opinions, they should do so openly, 
        honestly, and with the full benefit of transparency;
            (3) in recent years hundreds of millions of dollars have 
        poured into our political system from undisclosed sources due 
        to a series of ill-advised court decisions, lax enforcement, 
        and a failure to update donor disclosure laws; and
            (4) Congress should strengthen our campaign finance 
        disclosure laws to shine a bright light on this shadowy 
        political spending and on the sponsors of campaign 
        advertisements, thereby giving Americans the information they 
        need to make informed political decisions.

SEC. 303. AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION TO REASSERT CONGRESS' AUTHORITY TO 
              REGULATE POLITICAL SPENDING AND TO OVERTURN THE CITIZENS 
              UNITED RULING.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) Congress and the States should be able to regulate and 
        set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of political 
        money;
            (2) the Citizens United court case violated this principle 
        by permitting unlimited political spending by nominally 
        independent outside organizations;
            (3) in practice, this has created a new wild west of 
        outside political spending, empowering the wealthiest few to 
        exert even more control over our democracy; and
            (4) Congress should move to restore its authority to 
        regulate the raising and spending of political money by passing 
        a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and 
        other related rulings.

SEC. 304. PREVENTING FOREIGN INTERFERENCE IN OUR ELECTIONS.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) elections in the United States should be the sole 
        province of the American people;
            (2) recent efforts by hostile foreign actors to disrupt our 
        elections, and thereby our democracy, must be met with resolve; 
        and
            (3) Congress should--
                    (A) institute a robust set of reforms to create 
                real-time transparency of political advertisements on 
                all advertising platforms, ensuring all Americans have 
                the information they need to judge the source and 
                content of a given political advertisement; and
                    (B) enact new, stronger prohibitions on political 
                spending by foreign actors and on spending by domestic 
                subsidiaries of foreign-owned corporations.

SEC. 305. RESTORING FUNCTION TO THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) the Federal Election Commission needs urgent repair;
            (2) hamstrung by its partisan composition, the Commission 
        has failed in recent years to live up to its mandate of 
        enforcing Federal election law; and
            (3) Congress should enact sensible reform measures to 
        restore the Commission's ability to police campaign finance 
        violations.

SEC. 306. STRENGTHENING COORDINATION LAW TO PREVENT CANDIDATE-
              AFFILIATED SUPER PACS.

    It is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
            (1) independent political spending must remain independent 
        or else it renders contribution limits to candidates 
        ineffectual;
            (2) the efforts by some to evade or skirt existing campaign 
        finance anticoordination law exposes the nominal independence 
        of supposedly ``independent'' political spenders who are 
        clearly affiliated with particular candidates; and
            (3) Congress should strengthen the anticoordination statute 
        to--
                    (A) shut down candidate-specific super PACs; and
                    (B) effectively prohibit direct and indirect 
                coordination between other outside spenders and 
                candidates and parties.
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