House Democrats unveiled Friday the For the People Act, a comprehensive package of democratic reforms and the first major bill of the 116th Congress. The bill is a sweeping combination of election, campaign finance and ethics reforms designed to make voting easier, curb the power of big donors and reduce conflicts of interest in all three branches of government.
The For the People Act was the first major legislative action for Democrats after they voted to end the partial government shutdown initiated by President Donald Trump, a measure he is expected to veto.
The package of reforms was put together in a collaborative process initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2011 and overseen by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) since 2017. The party ran in the 2018 midterm elections on a promise to enact these reforms.
“We carried a message of reform, of fighting corruption, of cleaning up Washington,” Sarbanes said in introducing the bill on Friday. “We made a promise to the American people. The new members who’ve come made that promise and made it clear they wanted this to be the first order of business. [This bill] is delivering on that promise.”
The reforms in the For the People Act would restore the right to vote to millions of disenfranchised Americans and make it dramatically easier for people to vote while also creating a first-of-its-kind public financing system for House elections. It would also require presidential candidates to disclose 10 years of their tax returns.
The bill shortly will go to three committees ― administration, judiciary and oversight ― for hearings. Democrats hope to pass it through the full House in February.
It will then go to the Senate, where a companion bill will be introduced soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a hard-line opponent of campaign finance and election reforms, promised that the bill will not get a vote.
“The American people will know that this is an option that the House has given the Senate of the United States and the president of the United States,” Pelosi said on Friday.
Here is what is in the Democrats’ big reform bill: (Read the full text here.)
David Goldman/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The reform bill aims to reduce voting problems, such as the long lines seen at polling locations on Election Day, like this one in Fulton County, Georgia, on Nov. 6.
The bill includes a requirement that all states automatically register voters who submit paperwork to a state government agency (unless the person opts out), provide same-day voter registration, allow 15 days of early voting with sites located near public transportation, use nonpartisan redistricting commissions to draw new congressional maps, enable online voter registration, count provisional ballots from eligible voters filed at the wrong polling place and use paper ballots in addition to electronic voting systems.
It would also ban post-release felon disenfranchisement. This means that about 5 million Americans ― a disproportionate number of whom are African-American ― would regain their voting rights once their sentence is completed. The bill would, however, still allow states to disenfranchise felons during their imprisonment.
States would be banned from engaging in voter caging, a process in which election officials purge voter rolls by sending out non-forwardable mail and then removing anyone whose mail is returned to sender. It would not be permissible for states to remove someone from the voter rolls for failing to vote in a previous election. The use of interstate cross-checks to purge voter rolls would also be limited under the legislation.
Election Day would become a federal holiday for 2 million-plus federal workers, and non-government employers would be encouraged to give the day off to private-sector employees, too. Colleges and universities would be designated as voter registration agencies. Absentee ballots would no longer require postage. And the bill would also increase funding to help states update and secure election infrastructure and to the Election Assistance Commission to oversee these updates, with mandated reports on its progress. The Department of Homeland Security would be ordered to deem election systems as critical infrastructure.
Additionally, the bill contains declarations and findings on important issues that Democrats aim to advance in separate legislation. These include findings about the importance of fixing the Voting Rights Act to comply with the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision, which gutted a key section of the historic legislation. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) will introduce this legislation, which will move on a separate track through the committees. The bill also asserts support for statehood for the District of Columbia, protects Native American voting rights and the right to vote in U.S territories.
Campaign Finance Reform
J. Scott Applewhite/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) discuss the For the People Act at a news conference on Nov. 18.
Sarbanes built his reputation as a democracy reform advocate through his work crafting and advocating for legislation to create a system of public financing for congressional elections. The legislative language from his previously introduced bills is the centerpiece of the For the People Act’s campaign finance reform section.
The bill creates a public financing system for House elections that provides $6 in public funds for every $1 in funds raised from donations up to $200. Participants in this voluntary public financing system would also be prevented from raising money from large donors. The bill also creates a small-donor matching system for presidential elections. A separate bill covering Senate elections will be introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.).
This small-donor-backed public financing system is based on numerous programs adopted around the country, most notably in New York City. The idea is to create an alternative to the funding from big donors and political action committees that currently dominates politics by making it feasible for more candidates to run on small-donor contributions alone.
The bill also includes the Disclose Act, which mandates that nonprofits and other groups not currently bound by law to reveal donor information must disclose those sources when they contribute to election campaigns. The package’s Honest Ads Act requires the disclosure of digital political ads on tech platforms.
The Federal Election Commission would be reconfigured from six members to five to prevent deadlocks on important issues. The agency’s civil penalty would be made permanent to prevent future legislative battles over its authority. Coordination between super PACs and candidates would be defined in the legislation and banned. Presidential inauguration committees would be required to disclose expenditures and be banned from spending money on anything not related to the actual inauguration. Previously enacted bans on the Securities and Exchange Commission, the executive branch and the Internal Revenue Service from requiring donor disclosure from corporations, nonprofits and government contractors would be repealed.
Like the election reform section, the campaign finance reform piece of the bill contains findings on issues Democrats would like to address in separate legislation. This includes a declaration that the Constitution should be amended to overturn not just the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that empowered corporations, unions and the rich to spend unlimited sums on elections, but also the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision that banned Congress from limiting election spending altogether. Additionally, the bill states an intent to ban anonymous shell companies from funding campaigns to prevent the potential for secret foreign money to seep into elections.
Ethics And Lobbying Reform
Bloomberg via Getty Images
One provision of the bill would ban presidents from contracting with the government. This would prevent President Donald Trump from leasing government property for his Washington, D.C., hotel.
Every presidential candidate would be required to disclose 10 years worth of tax returns under the bill. The president and the vice president would be required to conduct themselves as though the executive branch’s conflict of interest regulations apply to them. Presidential appointees would be required to recuse themselves from any decision in which a party is either the president, the president’s spouse or any entity in which the president or their spouse has an interest. The president and vice president would be banned from contracting with the U.S. government ― a provision that would prevent Trump from leasing the Old Post Office Building that houses his D.C. hotel.
The Office of Government Ethics would get new enforcement powers. Ethics waivers issued by OGE must be publicly disclosed. OGE must also come up with regulations to govern potential conflicts of interest that arise from the political contributions appointees previously made and received. Presidents-elect would be required to come up with ethics plans to govern their transitions.
The bill also features new lobbyist and revolving door reforms to reduce government corruption. Lobbyist registration is extended to anyone “counseling in support of lobbying contacts.” This means ex-lawmakers acting as “consultants” for lobbyists would finally have to register as lobbyists. Federal contracting officers would be banned from accepting any compensation from a contractor that they awarded a contract to for two years after leaving office. Senior federal officials would be banned from contacting their former agency to influence employees for two years after their service ends. Foreign agents would be required to disclose anything of value given to an officeholder. And corporations would be prohibited from making incentive payments to anyone entering government service.
Supreme Court justices would be required to develop a code of ethics to govern conflicts of interest and recusals. Members of Congress would be banned from using taxpayer funds to settle employment discrimination cases. Lawmakers would be banned from serving on corporate boards and from using their position to help the financial interests of themselves or their immediate families.
Democrats see passage of the For the People Act as necessary to keep the promise that they made in the 2018 election to voters to fix democracy and root out corruption in Washington.
The new House Democratic class that pushed the party into power in the 2018 election ran on a message of reform. More than 100 Democratic candidates, many of whom now sit in Congress, sent a letter to the House in October demanding the first order of business be the passage of campaign finance and electoral reforms.
“This package is really a great place for us to start in keeping all of the promises we made on the campaign trail,” freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) said.
“The overall message is one that I hope will show voters that Democrats and many Republican allies who join us in this effort are trying to restore faith in the democratic process and in our government,” freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) added.
This article has been updated to include Sarbanes’ comments.
Financing a Motorcycle
It has never been as easy to get endorsed for a bike credit.
It doesn’t make a difference whether you have a past filled with horrible credit or whether you have been in chapter 11 as of late, you likely feel that you have positively no possibility to get a motorbike advance and that it will be by unthinkable!
Well, fortunately, moneylenders are changing their procedures for bike and an automobile advance so now is your opportunity to check whether you can exploit these uncommon changes!
Online organizations and loan specialists furnish online cruiser and auto purchasers with money without going into an inside and out a credit report.
With awful Credit Can You Get a Motorbike Right Now?
Indeed! Regardless of whether you have terrible credit or no credit at all and you wish to buy any cruiser, so what. You can go underneath and basically fill in the no credit check 60 Second online car advances application and check whether you qualify. It is that basic. Best of all there are no costs, the advance applications are free, and you are under positively no commitment to take a money cruiser quote.
Most online organizations will endeavor to enable you to be in your new or utilized vehicle inside a couple of days and regardless of whether you have past awful credit or insolvency issues.
What is involved with Finance Motorcycle Quotes Online?
With online organizations, it is very basic for you to apply for vehicle advances Once you land at the application you will be asked to quickly fill in a short structure which takes around 2-3 minutes to check whether you are endorsed for financing.
At times you will get a moment endorsement statement of the amount you’re qualified to have lent to you regardless of whether you have awful credit or none by any means.
When you have taken a couple of minutes to finish the application online you will at that point be advised promptly of the result. You might be totally amazed at what the outcomes might be.
Keep in mind, since you have awful credit you should continue hunting down considerably more account bike sites on the web. You should analyze at least three vehicle credit cites so you get the best motorbike advance rate and most reduced regularly scheduled installment plan.
When you secure a cruiser advance you like, you would then be able to go to the merchant and buy a bicycle as though you have money. This permits you to arrange the most minimal cost on the vehicle you need at the most ideal rate.
Many fund bikes cites offer low loan costs that can even be significantly less than what you would pay at a bank. There are effectively available specialists that are online presently prepared to help you through the whole credit process.
Do You Qualify?
Snap beneath to round out the 60 Second online application. Try not to pass up a major opportunity basically in light of the fact that you figure you won’t be affirmed! Commonly when you complete the applications online you will be told inside minutes and get a quick reaction. At that point, you will get guidelines on the best way to go ahead.
It generally looks at least three car advance statements on the web. Obviously, doing it online is particularly less demanding to since you don’t need to leave your home or office to discover them.
When you get your endorsement you will have a vastly improved thought with respect to what your choices are for a bike, how you can reimburse the cash and what your installments will be.
The web has made it exceptionally simple for anybody with great or awful credit to discover advances, not on the web. Pick the most minimal and set aside some cash today!
Go to motorbike finance to see which advances are accessible for you! On the off chance that you fit the bill for a credit, you will be reached right away.
10 ways to save money as a student
When you are a university student, this type of responsibility does not seem significant, either because you are still dependent on your parents or because there is no reason to save you. However, it is important that you know that saving opens the doors to adapt to the management of your own economy and teaches you not to waste your money on unnecessary things to take advantage of what is truly special and necessary for you.
Believe it or not, it is possible to save money when you are a student. It is not an impossible task! You should only use it with intelligence, thinking that saving is what you contribute for future generations. In the end we all want a country with better opportunities. In this article i will share how to save for college tuition fund.
1. Plan your budget
Make a list of daily expenses in which you prioritize your needs: transportation, food, etc. Currently there are several apps that allow you to keep track of your expenses, such as Fintonic and Splitwise, completely free and available for iOS and Android.
The majority of college students live alone, therefore, saving for college is essantial to minimize your expenses, you can share a department with a partner and thus divide the budget destined to the purchase of food or the payment of basic services.
3. Save a percentage of your money
Adopt a savings program from your preferred bank or keep it in a piggy bank or in a safe place in your home, where you can not use it until it is extremely necessary.
4. Motivate yourself
Set yourself a goal or goal that you really want to achieve. A great motivation can be to save money to travel with your friends or to enroll in a university to pursue the career or master of your dreams.
5. Mobilize effectively
Save money using your city’s public transportation or transportation from your university, if you have one. If your city is small or your place of study is close you can walk or use your bike.
6. Avoid unnecessary expenses
Do not fall into compulsive purchases so you do not spend on things that you will not use periodically in your life.
7. Open a savings account
Many times carry money in your wallet, purse or backpack, only encourages you to spend on unnecessary things. To avoid this you can save your money in a bank and only carry a small amount in cash for daily expenses.
Reuse your notebooks, pencils or things that you use for your study, so you will reduce the purchase of all this.
9. Look for an alternate way to earn extra money
You can take risks and undertake some innovative idea as a result of your academic learning or your hobbies and passions. If you study in a face-to-face mode, a good option is to work on your free time.
10. Take advantage of your student benefits
Your student card can give you the possibility of having discounts in some places, like in the movies or in restaurants.
Cheer up! Accept these recommendations and insurance when you realize you will have the money you need to study, build a house, buy a car or travel the world. All up to you.
Mueller Investigation Draws Closer To Oval Office As Trump Abandoned By Confidants
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump has now been abandoned by two of his most powerful protectors, his longtime lawyer and the company that owns the National Enquirer tabloid, bringing a perilous investigation into his campaign one step closer to the Oval Office. Both Michael Cohen and American Media Inc. now say they made…
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump has now been abandoned by two of his most powerful protectors, his longtime lawyer and the company that owns the National Enquirer tabloid, bringing a perilous investigation into his campaign one step closer to the Oval Office.
Both Michael Cohen and American Media Inc. now say they made hush money payments to a porn star and a Playboy Playmate for the purposes of helping his 2016 White House bid, an apparent campaign finance violation.
The women alleged affairs with Trump, and federal prosecutors say the payments were made at Trump’s direction.
The admissions by Cohen and AMI conflict with Trump’s own evolving explanations. Since the spring, Trump has gone from denying knowledge of any payments to saying they would have been private transactions that weren’t illegal.
Though prosecutors have implicated Trump in a crime, they haven’t directly accused him of one, and it’s not clear that they could bring charges against a sitting president even if they want to because of Justice Department protocol.
Nonetheless, Trump’s changing explanations have clouded the public understanding of what occurred and are running head-on into facts agreed to by prosecutors, AMI and Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes and was sentenced on Wednesday.
“You now have a second defendant or group of defendants saying that these payments were made for the primary purpose of influencing the election, and that it was done in coordination with Trump and his campaign,” said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine.
Trump’s first explanation of the payment that would eventually help lead Cohen to a three-year prison sentence came at 35,000 feet over West Virginia.
Returning to Washington on Air Force One, Trump on April 6 for the first time answered questions about the reports of $130,000 in hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, issuing a blanket denial to reporters while saying they would “have to ask Michael Cohen.”
Three days later, the FBI raided Cohen’s office, seizing records on topics including the payment to Daniels. Furious, Trump called the raid a “disgrace” and said the FBI “broke into” his lawyer’s office. He also tweeted that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”
The raid was overseen by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and arose from a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian election interference. At the time, Cohen said he took out a personal line of credit on his home to pay Daniels days before the 2016 election without Trump’s knowledge.
Later that month in a free-wheeling “Fox & Friends” interview, Trump acknowledged that Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal.”
In May, Trump and his attorneys began saying Cohen received a monthly retainer from which he made payments for nondisclosure agreements like the one with Daniels. In a series of tweets, Trump said those agreements are “very common among celebrities and people of wealth” and “this was a private agreement.”
People familiar with the investigation say Cohen secretly recorded Trump discussing a potential payment for former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal two months before the election. On the tape, Cohen is heard saying that he needed to start a company “for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” a possible reference to David Pecker, Trump’s friend and president of AMI.
When Cohen began to discuss financing, Trump interrupted him and asked, “What financing?”
“We’ll have to pay,” Cohen responded.
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that AMI acknowledged making one of those payments “in concert” with the Trump campaign to protect him from a story that could have hurt his candidacy. The company avoided prosecution under a deal with prosecutors.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to Daniels and McDougal to influence the election. That next day, Trump argued that making the payments wasn’t a crime and that the matter was a civil dispute, then took a swipe at his former employee.
“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” he tweeted.
Earlier this week, Trump compared his situation to one involving President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. The Federal Election Commission, which typically handles smaller campaign finance violations, where the actions aren’t willful, with civil penalties that are typically fines, docked the Obama campaign $375,000 for regulatory civil violations. The fines stemmed from the campaign’s failure to report a batch of contributions, totaling nearly $1.9 million, on time in the final days of the campaign.
But legal analysts said the accusations against Trump could amount to a felony because they revolve around an alleged conspiracy to conceal payments from campaign contribution reports – and from voters. It’s unclear what federal prosecutors in New York will decide to do if they conclude that there is evidence that Trump himself committed a crime.
The Justice Department, in opinions issued by its Office of Legal Counsel, has said a sitting president cannot be indicted because a criminal case would interfere with the duties of the commander in chief. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, and with Mueller’s office, would presumably be bound by that legal guidance unless the Justice Department were to nullify the opinions.
Politically, Trump’s shifting claims could harm his credibility with voters, but legally they may not make much of a difference.
“It’s not clear to me that he’s made any false statements in legal documents that could open him to liability for perjury,” Hasen said.
For the payments themselves to be a crime rather than a civil infraction, prosecutors would need to show that Trump knew that what he was doing was wrong when he directed Cohen to pay the women and that he did so with the goal of benefiting his campaign.
Trump has not yet laid out a detailed defense, though he could conceivably argue that the payments were made not for the purposes of advancing his campaign but rather to prevent sex stories from emerging that would be personally humiliating to him and harm his marriage.
That argument was advanced by former Sen. John Edwards, a North Carolina Democrat, in a similar campaign finance case that went to trial. But that may be tougher for Trump than it was for Edwards given the proximity of the president’s payment to the election — timing that, on its face, suggests a link between the money and his political ambitions.
Still, the cases aren’t always easy, as proven by the 2012 trial of Edwards. Jurors acquitted Edwards on one charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions, but couldn’t reach a verdict on the five remaining counts including conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors elected not to retry Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 and a candidate for president in 2004 and 2008.
Tucker reported from Washington.
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