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House Should Immediately Pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen is calling on the U.S. House to immediately pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would prevent presidential abuses of power, restore checks and balances, and secure our elections.

“Nearly a half century after the Watergate scandal, and just a few years after the scandals of the Trump administration, Congress is finally grappling with reining in the abuses of excessive presidential power with the Protecting Our Democracy Act,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen. “This measure would strengthen Congress’ power of the purse, check the ability of the president to issue pardons, enrich themselves with emoluments, institute whistleblower and inspector general protections, and much more. This is sorely needed legislation to rebalance power and fix our democracy.”

“Protecting Our Democracy Act is a landmark democracy reform package, picking up where the Freedom to Vote Act leaves off,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “It would restore the balance of powers between Congress and the executive branch and help prevent many of the worse presidential abuses of power we have just seen in recent years.”

The legislation would:

  • Prevent abuse of the presidential pardon power;
  • Ensure that presidents and vice presidents can be held accountable for criminal conduct;
  • Enforce the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution;
  • Strengthen enforcement of congressional subpoenas;
  • Reassert the congressional power of the purse;
  • Increase oversight of presidential emergency declarations;
  • Limit political interference at the U.S. Department of Justice;
  • Protect the independence of inspectors general;
  • Shield federal whistleblowers who’ve uncovered misconduct;
  • Limit the tenure of acting officials and hold them accountable;
  • Ensure the reporting of foreign interference in elections to law enforcement authorities;
  • Toughen Hatch Act enforcement and penalties; and
  • Require the disclosure of tax returns by presidential candidates.