Civil Rights, Consumer Protection, and Campaign Finance
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have the opportunity to influence legislation related to civil rights and liberties, immigration, criminal justice, and other issues. During the 113th Congress, I have worked on the Judiciary Committee to protect voting rights, advocate for sensible gun violence reforms, fight racial bias in our justice system, and urge more transparency and accountability in domestic surveillance programs.
With the right focus, I believe the House Judiciary Committee could play a powerful role in advancing economic opportunity for all Americans through legislation that would limit the influence of special interests in our elections, protect homeowners and other consumers from unfairness in the banking industry, and combat discrimination in our laws and in the workplace. Unfortunately, the Republican majority in the 113th Congress has too often used the House Judiciary Committee as a vehicle to push through divisive elements of a social agenda that have little to do with what should be our main focus in Congress: encouraging job creation and growing middle class paychecks.
Overturning Citizens United
I have introduced H.J. Res 34, the Democracy is for People Amendment, a joint resolution with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other court decisions that have undermined the right of the American people to limit the influence of big money in our elections. I am honored to have the support of dozens of my colleagues in the House of Representatives for H.J. Res 34, which immediately bans corporations and shadowy front groups from using general treasury funds in our elections, makes clear that corporations are not people, and clarifies that money in our elections is not a protected form of speech. While amending the Constitution is the only true remedy for the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, there are pieces of legislation in Congress that can reduce the influence of special interests in our elections in the meantime and enhance the integrity of our elections. I will continue to advocate for the Voter Empowerment Act, the DISCLOSE Act, and other reforms that will protect the integrity of our democracy.
Equal protection under the law must be upheld for all our citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a proud supporter of marriage equality, I was thrilled to see the Supreme Court finally rule the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. I co-introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would build on this decision and ensure that same-sex couples legally married in one state can relocate across the country, just as heterosexual couples do, without having their marriages invalidated. I have also cosponsored legislation to address bullying and harassment of LGBT students so that all young Americans can receive a quality public education in a safe and supportive environment.