Rep. Peters Stands Up for Democracy Amid Threatening Political Landscape, Supports Landmark Reform Package
December 8, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act, a sweeping package to strengthen and safeguard America’s democratic institutions. The bill prevents presidential abuses of power, restores the Constitutional system of checks and balances, ensures greater governmental accountability and transparency, and protects our elections from foreign interference.
“In building the pillars of our democracy, the Founders of this country established the separation of powers for a reason,” said Rep. Peters. “As we witness increasingly worrying threats against our democratic system, we must reaffirm Congress’ responsibilities to the American people as laid out in the Constitution. This legislation fortifies our existing system by preventing abuse of power, upholding the importance of accountability and transparency, and protecting the health of our democracy for generations to come.”
The Protecting Our Democracy Act will:
Prevent Presidential Abuses
- Curbs abuse of the president’s pardon power by increasing transparency in the pardon process and clarifying bans on any self-pardon used for corrupt ends.
- Ensures no president is above the law, pausing the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president or vice president so that he/she may be held accountable for criminal conduct.
- Deters foreign interference and blocks personal self-enrichment through improved provisions that prohibit the president from accepting an emolument – namely any profit, gain, advantage, or payment – from a foreign government without Congressional consent, and bars the president from receiving any benefit from the federal or state governments worth more than the presidential salary.
Restore Our System of Checks and Balances & Enhance Federal Accountability and Transparency
- Enforces Congress’ subpoena power so Congress can effectively provide oversight on cases of importance in a timely manner.
- Reasserts Congress’ power of the purse, as expressed in the Constitution, so that the president cannot redirect funds appropriated by Congress without severe penalty. Improves congressional budget oversight tools to prevent federal agencies from misusing federal funds and increases reporting requirements for the Executive Branch.
- Strengthens Congressional oversight of emergency declarations made by the president.
- Improves whistleblower protections so that instances of waste, fraud, and abuse within the federal government can come to light.
Secure Our Elections
- Requires campaigns to disclose offers of illegal campaign help from foreign governments.
- Thwarts additional foreign interference in our electoral process by clarifying that federal law prohibits accepting opposition research and other non-public information from foreign governments.