WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) issued the following statement after House passage yesterday of the bipartisan Protecting Our Democracy Act, a package of reforms to prevent presidential abuses and restore the Constitutional system of checks and balances.
“I have taken a solemn oath to protect and defend our Constitution many times over – first in uniform and now in Congress,” said Houlahan. “That oath is not just words to me. It’s an unbreakable promise to put our democracy above any political misgivings or personal gain. It’s a promise to the next generation that our American spirit and the values upon which it was founded may become bruised, but never broken.”
“Public officials entrusted with serving our nation must be held to the highest standard of character, and this past year has shown us the need to remain vigilant,” Houlahan continued. “These overdue reforms address our weaknesses and vulnerabilities exposed during the attack on our Capitol among other events. I welcome this bipartisan vote and recommit myself to working with all of my colleagues to deliver on our promise to Pennsylvanians and all Americans.”
Specifically, regarding abuses of presidential power, the bill:
- Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the President to submit to Congress specified materials relating to certain pardons
- Prohibits self-pardons by the President
- Suspends the statute of limitations for federal offenses committed by a sitting President or Vice President
- Prohibits the acceptance of foreign or domestic emoluments, and sets forth provisions regarding Office of Government Ethics and Office of Special Counsel jurisdiction and enforcement authority
To address checks and balances, accountability, and transparency, the bill:
- Authorizes specified actions to enforce congressional subpoenas
- Imposes limits on presidential declarations of emergencies
- Requires DOJ to maintain a log of specified communications between it and the White House
- Requires cause for removal of inspectors general, increases whistleblower protections
- Requires a candidate for President or Vice President to submit to the Federal Election Commission a copy of the individual’s income tax returns for the 10 most recent taxable years
- Establishes penalties for political appointees who engage in prohibited political activities.
To protect against foreign interference in elections, the bill:
- Requires federal campaign reporting of foreign contacts
- Requires federal campaigns to establish a foreign contacts compliance policy
- Specifies that foreign donations to political campaigns and candidates of nonpublic information relating to a candidate are prohibited
The full text of the bill can be found here.