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Nancy Pelosi on Government Reform

Democratic Representative (CA-8)

 


Campaign finance reform to reduce role of money in politics

Q: Why do you think progress for women in Washington has been so slow?

A: We have to change the environment we're in. The environment I would like to see is one where the role of money is reduced and the level of civility is heightened. If you have less money and more civility, you will have more women. And that's one of the reasons--not the only reason, but to protect our democracy--that we are pushing for campaign finance reform to reduce the role of money in politics. I can guarantee you: if you lower money and increase civility, you will have many more women. And that's what we have to do: create our own environment. We've been operating in an environment that has not been friendly to the advancement of women, especially now that it's become so harsh and so money driven.

Source: Make A Woman President?, by Marianne Schnall, p.170-171 , Nov 5, 2013

Convert Congress from auction house to arena of ideas

We will achieve [Congressional reforms] with civility, with honesty, and with fiscal responsibility, because on the very first day, we will pass our reform package, “Honest Leadership, Open Government,” to make the most corrupt, closed Congress in history the most honest and open Congress in history. We will pass our civility package, which will again turn Congress into an arena of ideas instead of an auction house where legislation goes to the highest bidder.
Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference , Jun 14, 2006

Voted NO on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.

Requires that to vote in federal elections, an individual present a government-issued, current, and valid photo identification. After 2010, that ID must require providing proof of US citizenship as a condition for issuance. An individual who does not present such an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, and then present the required ID within 48 hours. Exempts from this requirement the absentee ballot of any eligible overseas military voter on active duty overseas.

Proponents support voting YES because:

The election system is the bedrock that our Republic is built on and its security and oversight is of paramount concern. Only US citizens have the right to vote in Federal elections, but our current system does not give State election officials the tools they need to ensure that this requirement is being met.

This bill is designed to increase participation by ensuring that each legitimate vote will be counted and not be diluted by fraud. There are many elections in this country every cycle that are decided by just a handful of votes. How can we be certain that these elections, without measures to certify the identity of voters, are not being decided by fraudulent votes?

Opponents support voting NO because:

There is something we can all agree on: only Americans get to vote, and they only get to vote once. But what we are talking about in this bill is disenfranchising many of those Americans. It is already a felony for a non-American to vote. We had hearings and what we found out was that the issue of illegal aliens voting basically does not occur.

The impact of this will disproportionately affect poor people and African Americans, because many are too poor to have a car and they do not have a license. We have no evidence there is a problem. We have ample evidence that this will disenfranchise many Americans. This is the measure to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans. It is wrong and we will not stand for it.

Reference: Federal Election Integrity Act; Bill H R 4844 ; vote number 2006-459 on Sep 20, 2006

Voted NO on restricting independent grassroots political committees.

A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say:
  • This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.
  • This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.
  • H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.
  • H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
    Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act"; Bill H.R.513 ; vote number 2006-088 on Apr 5, 2006

    Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.

    The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
    Reference: The Cheesburger Bill; Bill HR 554 ; vote number 2005-533 on Oct 19, 2005

    Voted NO on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.

    Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
    1. a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
    2. a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
    3. a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA]; Bill S.5 ; vote number 2005-038 on Feb 17, 2005

    Voted NO on restricting frivolous lawsuits.

    Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
    1. require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
    2. disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
    3. require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
    4. authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
    5. make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]; Bill H.R.4571 ; vote number 2004-450 on Sep 14, 2004

    Voted YES on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions.

    Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Overhaul: Vote to pass a bill that would ban soft money contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT, and Meehan D-MA; Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2002-34 on Feb 14, 2002

    Voted NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties.

    Support a ban on soft money donations to national political parties but allow up to $10,000 in soft-money donations to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the vote activity.
    Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2001-228 on Jul 12, 2001

    Voted YES on banning soft money and issue ads.

    Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT; Bill HR 417 ; vote number 1999-422 on Sep 14, 1999

    Reject photo ID requirements for voting.

    Pelosi co-sponsored rejecting photo ID requirements for voting

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Expresses the sense of Congress that:

    1. a requirement that U.S. citizens obtain photo identification cards before being able to vote has not been shown to ensure ballot integrity and places an undue burden on citizens' legitimate voting rights; (
    2. the Department of Justice should challenge any state law that limits a citizen's ability to vote based on discriminatory photo identification requirements; and
    3. any effort to impose national photo identification requirements for voting should be rejected.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: I am submitting a resolution to express the Senate's strong disapproval of recent efforts to disenfranchise Americans. Unfortunately, too many electoral reform efforts seem intent on limiting access to the ballot as opposed to expanding it. In the mid-20th century, the poll tax was the preferred means of disenfranchising large minority populations, specifically African Americans. Today, the poll tax is taking on a new form--a photo identification requirement for voters.

    According to the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, such a requirement would "impose an additional expense on the exercise of the franchise, a burden that would fall disproportionately on people who are poorer and urban." Nevertheless, a number of States, including Georgia, have recently passed laws mandating government-issued photo identification for voters at the polls. Nationwide, at least 12% of eligible drivers do not have a driver's license. And Georgia has made it difficult for rural and urban folks to obtain their voter photo identification.

    The Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform acknowledges that there is "no evidence of extensive fraud in U.S. elections or of multiple voting."

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; never came to a vote.

    Source: Resolution on Voting (S.CON.RES.53) 05-SC53 on Sep 20, 2005

    No photo IDs to vote; they suppress the vote.

    Pelosi signed Voting Rights Amendment Act

    Congressional Summary:Amends the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with respect to the requirement that a federal court retain jurisdiction for an appropriate period to prevent commencement of new devices to deny or abridge the right to vote. Expands the types of violations triggering the authority of a court to retain such jurisdiction to include certain violations of the Act as well as violations of any federal voting rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. [This bill would ban requiring photo IDs in order to vote].

    Opponents recommend voting NO because:Sen. Bob Dole (on related bill from 2007, whether to add an amendment allowing photo ID): I am proposing a commonsense measure to uphold the integrity of Federal elections. My amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls would go a long way in minimizing potential for voter fraud. When a fraudulent vote is cast and counted, the vote of a legitimate voter is cancelled. This is wrong, and my amendment would help ensure that one of the hallmarks of our democracy, our free and fair elections, is protected. Opinion polls repeatedly confirm that Americans overwhelmingly support this initiative.Proponents support voting YES because:Sen. Dianne Feinstein (on related bill from 2007): If one would want to suppress the vote in the 2008 election, one would vote [for Dole's amendment] this because this measure goes into effect January 1, 2008. It provides that everybody who votes essentially would have to have a photo ID. If you want to suppress the minority vote, the elderly vote, the poor vote, this is exactly the way to do it. Many of these people do not have driver's licenses. This amendment would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to actually carry out. It goes into effect--surprise--January 1, 2008 [to affect the presidential election]. I urge a "no" vote.

    Source: H.R.3899/S.1945 14_H3899 on Jan 16, 2014

    Establish "My Voice Voucher" small campaign contributions.

    Pelosi 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.

    Pelosi 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

    No separate contribution limits for party activities.

    Pelosi co-sponsored H.R.154

    Congressional Summary: To repeal the Federal Election Campaign provisions which established separate contribution limits for contributions made to national parties to support Presidential nominating conventions, national party headquarters buildings, and recounts.

    Supporters reasons for voting YEA: Rep. KILMER. This legislation repeals the last-minute changes to campaign finance law that were tacked into a 1,600-page bill to fund the government. As a result of this legislation, the wealthiest donors can now each contribute more than $750,000 per year to a political party, more than seven times the previous cap. Worst of all, these changes were buried in a bill with no hearing and no public debate. This bill protects the interests of "We the People" and make sure that the wealthiest donors don't get another chance to flood our elections with even more money and to undermine our democracy.

    Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Washington Post article, Oct. 9, 2014): The FEC said that contributions to presidential convention committees will not count against the annual limit on donations to national parties--allowing wealthy donors to double their support for party operations. The FEC's move came in response to a rare joint request by the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, which argued that they needed a new avenue to raise funds for the events after a federal law eliminated public funding for the conventions. But critics of the decision said the FEC created an end-run around federal contribution limits. Under the current rules, individuals can give up to $32,400 per year to a national party committee. Now, donors will be able to give an additional $32,400 each year to a separate committee set up to finance the quadrennial convention. That means that a single donor could give nearly $130,000 to support a party and its convention in a two-year election cycle.

    Source: Close the Floodgates Act 15_H154 on Jan 6, 2015

    Automatic voter registration for all citizens.

    Pelosi 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

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Nancy Pelosi on other issues:
    CA Gubernatorial:
    Antonio Villaraigosa
    Eric Garcetti
    Hilda Solis
    Jerry Brown
    Jerry Sanders
    Neel Kashkari
    CA Senatorial:
    Dianne Feinstein

    Newly-elected Democrats taking office Jan.2015:
    AZ-7: Rep.-Elect Ruben Gallego
    CA-11:Rep.-Elect Mark DeSaulnier
    CA-31:Rep.-Elect Pete Aguilar(R⇒D)
    CA-33:Rep.-Elect Ted Lieu
    CA-35:Rep.-Elect Norma Torres
    FL-2: Rep.-Elect Gwen Graham(R⇒D)
    HI-1: Rep.-Elect Mark Takai
    MA-6: Rep.-Elect Seth Moulton
    MI-12:Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell
    MI-14:Rep.-Elect Brenda Lawrence
    NE-2: Rep.-Elect Brad Ashford(R⇒D)
    NJ-12:Rep.-Elect Bonnie Coleman
    NY-4: Rep.-Elect Kathleen Rice
    PA-13:Rep.-Elect Brendan Boyle
    VA-8: Rep.-Elect Donald Beyer
    Seated in special elections 2013-2014:
    AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
    FL-13:David Jolly(R)
    FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
    IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
    LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
    MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
    MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
    NC-12:Alma Adams(D)
    NJ-1: Donald Norcross(D)
    SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
    VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

    Newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
    AR-2: Rep.-Elect French Hill
    AR-4: Rep.-Elect Bruce Westerman
    AL-6: Rep.-Elect Gary Palmer
    CA-25:Rep.-Elect Steve Knight
    CA-45:Rep.-Elect Mimi Walters
    CO-4: Rep.-Elect Ken Buck
    FL-26:Rep.-Elect Carlos Curbelo(D⇒R)
    GA-1: Rep.-Elect Buddy Carter
    GA-10:Rep.-Elect Jody Hice
    GA-11:Rep.-Elect Barry Loudermilk
    GA-12:Rep.-Elect Rick Allen(D⇒R)
    IA-1: Rep.-Elect Rod Blum(D⇒R)
    IA-3: Rep.-Elect David Young
    IL-10:Rep.-Elect Robert Dold(D⇒R)
    IL-12:Rep.-Elect Mike Bost(D⇒R)
    More newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
    LA-5: Rep.-Elect Ralph Abraham
    LA-6: Rep.-Elect Garret Graves
    ME-2: Rep.-Elect Bruce Poliquin(D⇒R)
    MI-4: Rep.-Elect John Moolenaar
    MI-8: Rep.-Elect Mike Bishop
    MI-11:Rep.-Elect Dave Trott
    MN-6: Rep.-Elect Tom Emmer
    MT-0: Rep.-Elect Ryan Zinke
    NC-6: Rep.-Elect Mark Walker
    NC-7: Rep.-Elect David Rouzer(D⇒R)
    NH-1: Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta(D⇒R)
    NJ-3: Rep.-Elect Tom MacArthur
    NV-4: Rep.-Elect Cresent Hardy(D⇒R)
    NY-1: Rep.-Elect Lee Zeldin(D⇒R)
    NY-21:Rep.-Elect Elise Stefanik(D⇒R)
    NY-24:Rep.-Elect John Katko
    OK-5: Rep.-Elect Steve Russell
    PA-6: Rep.-Elect Ryan Costello
    TX-4: Rep.-Elect John Ratcliffe
    TX-23:Rep.-Elect Will Hurd
    TX-36:Rep.-Elect Brian Babin
    UT-4: Rep.-Elect Mia Love(D⇒R)
    VA-10:Rep.-Elect Barbara Comstock
    WA-4: Rep.-Elect Dan Newhouse
    WI-6: Rep.-Elect Glenn Grothman
    WV-2: Rep.-Elect Alex Mooney
    WV-3: Rep.-Elect Evan Jenkins(D⇒R)
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    Page last updated: Feb 26, 2016