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Adriano Espaillat on Government Reform

 

 


Establish "My Voice Voucher" small campaign contributions.

Espaillat co-sponsored Government By the People Act

Congressional summary:

Proponent's argument in favor (by Reps. Nancy Pelosi & John Sarbanes): Citizens United shook the foundation of our democracy: the principle that it is the voices of the people, not the bank accounts of the privileged few, that determine the outcome of our elections and the policies of our government. Most members of Congress would leap at the chance to fund their campaigns without having to turn to a familiar cast of big donors and entrenched interests. Today, that's virtually impossible. But we can and must break the grip of special interests on our politics: rally around H.R. 20.

Opponent's argument against (The Examiner): The proposed legislation seeks to undo the Citizens United v. FEC ruling which has been a thorn in the side of progressives ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that political spending was "a form of protected speech under the First Amendment." Although the "Government by the People Act" innocently claims to want to get big money out of politics, the real goal is to smash the Tea Party. The fear that conservative groups would have access to funds typically granted to progressive groups and unions was too much to bear.

Source: H.R.20 14-H0020 on Feb 5, 2014

Public financing of federal campaigns by voter vouchers.

Espaillat co-sponsored H.R.20 & S.366

Congressional Summary:<

Supporters reasons for voting YEA:Rep. Sarbanes: Big money warps Congress' priorities and erodes the public's trust in government. This bold new legislation returns voice and power back to the American people:

  1. Empower everyday citizens to fuel Congressional campaigns by providing a My Voice Tax Credit.
  2. Amplify the voices of everyday Americans through a 6-to-1 match.
  3. Prevent Super PACs from drowning out small donor-backed candidates.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY:(Bill Moyers, Feb. 19, 2015): This citizen engagement strategy, particularly when used to court small donors, is not without its critics. Small donors, at least in the current system, often tend to be political ideologues. That trend leaves many asking: won't moving to small donors just empower extremists? Sarbanes counters, if Congress changes the political fundraising rules, they will also change the calculus for "the rational small donor who right now isn't going to give $25 because they've figured out that it's not going to matter." The prospect of a 6-to-1 match might very well impact how those less ideologically extreme potential donors think about political giving.

Source: Government By the People Act 15_H020 on Jan 21, 2015

Statehood for the District of Columbia.

Espaillat co-sponsored H.R.317

Congressional Summary: Sets forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (DCist.com, Sept. 2014): The Argument Against: Congress does not have the authority to grant statehood to D.C.; the 23rd amendment, which gave D.C. three electoral votes, would have to be repealed before statehood was granted. Washington is a wholly urban, one-industry town, dependent on the federal government far in excess of any other state. Moreover, with Congress no longer having authority over New Columbia but dependent on it, New Columbia could exert influence on the federal government far in excess of any other state.

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: [Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC; the District of Columbia has one representative to Congress and no Senators; Rep. Holmes can introduce bills but her vote does not count]: This 51st state would have no jurisdiction over the federal territory or enclave that now consists of the Washington that Members of Congress and visitors associate with the capital of our country. Those would remain under federal jurisdiction. The New Columbia Admission Act was the first bill I introduced in 1991. Statehood is the only alternative for the citizens of the District of Columbia. To be content with less than statehood is to concede the equality of citizenship that is the birthright of our residents as citizens of the United States.

Source: New Columbia Admission Act 15_H317 on Jan 13, 2015

Automatic voter registration for all citizens.

Espaillat co-sponsored H.R.12 & S.1088

Congressional Summary:

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (BrennanCenter.org): Too many Americans go to vote on Election Day only to find their names are not on the voter rolls--often, wrongly deleted. The US is on the verge of a new paradigm for registering voters: automatic, permanent registration of eligible voters, which would add up to 50 million eligible voters to the rolls.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Gov. Christie's veto message on the "Democracy Act", Nov. 2015): Christie called a provision establishing automatic voter registration that requires New Jerseyan to opt out a "government-knows-best, backwards approach that would inconvenience citizens and waste government resources for no justifiable reason." Automatic voter registration would have added 1.6 million people to the state's voter rolls.

Source: Voter Empowerment Act 15-H12 on Mar 19, 2015

Replace electoral college with direct election of president.

Espaillat co-sponsored the Joint Resolution on abolishing Electoral College

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President.

Resolved that the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution, which shall be valid when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4 of the States within seven years:
  • The President and Vice President shall be elected by the people of the several States;
  • The pair of candidates having the greatest number of votes for President and Vice President shall be elected

    Opponents' viewpoint by Washington Times 3/28/19: The Founding Fathers dreamed up a way to elect a president by overriding the popular will, and some people want to fix something that ain't broke. The Founders were not at all confident that voters would pay sufficient attention to the job at hand, studying the men and issues to come to a correct evaluation of the candidates. The genius of the Electoral College is that it guarantees that the states' electors elect the president, as instructed by the people. Without this guarantee, a presidential candidate would spend all his time in CA, TX, and FL, with only grudging nods to the states of flyover country. The guarantee of attention to both large and small states enforces federalism, the sharing of powers between the central government and the states.

    Source: Resolution H.J.Res.7 for Constitutional Amendment 19-HJR7 on Jan 3, 2019

    Holiday on election day; revamp for easier voting access.

    Espaillat voted YEA For the People Act of 2019