Fighting the Trump Agenda
Since taking the oath of office, President Trump has continued to issue harmful executive orders, make inflammatory statements, and push a regressive domestic and international agenda. As a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, I am working to preserve our democratic values and critical programs that the White House has targeted. Here are a few ways I am working to combat these counterproductive initiatives:
Why I Filed Articles of Impeachment
I believe that filing Articles of Impeachment was necessary for me to fully comply with my oath to defend the Constitution. I filed H.Res.438 on July 12, 2017, because our Constitution calls for the impeachment of a President who has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Obstruction of Justice is a felony under § 1512 (b)(3) of the United States Criminal Code. It applies when anyone uses threats to hinder a federal criminal investigation. While this section is commonly applied to witness intimidation, the Courts have consistently ruled that it is also applicable when one threatens an FBI agent or other law enforcement official. Click here to read my Op-Ed, 'The Case For Impeaching Donald J. Trump'.
Combating Harmful Executive Orders
Since Donald Trump took office he has signed a long and ever-growing list of harmful executive orders, in an attempt to circumvent Congress, fulfill a number of his campaign promises, and undo many of President Barack Obama's policies.
Last year alone, Trump signed three different executive orders that aimed to block citizens of predominantly Muslim countries from entering and traveling to the United States. Circuit courts and two federal courts struck down these travel bans—ruling that discrimination against someone on the basis of religion or nationality runs contrary to our nation’s founding values.
On June 26 of last year, we experienced a setback. The Supreme Court announced that it would allow the Administration to move forward with a limited version of the ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to the U.S. The court announced that justices will hear arguments this April and issue a ruling by the end of June. Until then, the court said, Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen can be enforced for visitors who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
Due to the destructive nature of these executive orders, I joined with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to introduce H.R.724, the Statue of Liberty Values Act (SOLVE), and H.R.1503, the SOLVE Act 2.0 of 2017. These bills seek to defund Trump’s travel ban by prohibiting federal funds from being used to implement, administer, or enforce any policy related to Trump’s executive orders.
Preserving our Democratic Values
Our democracy is facing many threats. Some are new, like cyberhacking threats to our voting machines. While others are longstanding like crazy gerrymandered districts, the undue influence of money in elections, and the undemocratic structure of the Electoral College system.
Preventing Russian Interference. In 2016, Russian agents tried to mislead voters with phony internet ads and tweets and targeted voting systems in at least 21 states in a hopefully unsuccessful effort to alter the election outcome. This unprecedented attack from Russia has exposed serious vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure. Election security is national security. Ensuring that every election machine leaves a voter-verified paper trail is the most important reform we can make to protect the integrity of our elections. I am proud to report that California keeps a paper trail of votes available for recount.
However, we need to adopt this system nationwide. I have cosponsored the Election Security Act to ensure that foreign agents cannot infiltrate our voting machines. This bill requires voting machine vendors to follow strong cybersecurity standards and provides funding for states to upgrade their IT systems, train personnel on cybersecurity, and use voter-verified paper ballots that can be recounted.
Gerrymandering. Federal courts recently ruled that Congressional maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania were unconstitutional because of gerrymandering. In many states, state legislatures have the task
of drawing the Congressional districts. Unfortunately, legislatures often draw convoluted district borders for partisan gain, disenfranchising voters.
In California, an independent commission draws Congressional districts. I believe that voters should choose their elected officials, politicians shouldn’t choose what voters make up the district. That’s why I joined with colleagues to introduce the Redistricting Reform Act to require every state to form an independent citizen redistricting commission to put this undemocratic practice behind us.
Campaign Finance. Eight years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC, thus opening our elections to a flood of unlimited campaign spending by corporations and wealthy individuals. I have cosponsored the Democracy for All Amendment that would reverse the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that has given corporations and the wealthiest Americans undue influence. This amendment would allow reasonable and fair limits on political contributions.
Electoral College. The Electoral College is fundamentally undemocratic. Today, the people select every important elected office in America, by popular vote, except the President. That is why I have cosponsored the Every Vote Counts Amendment, which would abolish the Electoral College and amend the Constitution to require that the President and Vice President be directly elected by the people. Presidential candidates will then campaign in every state, rather than just a few swing states.