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Chairman Nadler Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 5314, the Protecting Our Democracy Act

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following statement, as prepared, on the House floor in support of H.R. 5314, the Protecting Our Democracy Act: 

"Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Protecting Our Democracy Act.

"Transparency and accountability are the bedrock of our democratic system.  They are the essential guardrails that protect against unchecked executive power.  Unfortunately, the Trump Administration exposed certain vulnerabilities in the fabric of our democracy by engaging in conduct that was once unthinkable, and—like the reforms enacted post-Watergate—we must act now to prevent similar abuses from a future president.

"Although many of these provisions were informed by our experience with the prior Administration, they are pointedly not 'anti-Trump' measures.  Rather, they are forward-looking, and they protect against abuses by any president of any party.  Importantly, many of them are also based on proposals that have bipartisan support.

"I am especially proud of the provisions in this bill that fall within the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction.

"These include requiring an expedited, streamlined process for enforcing congressional subpoenas in court.  This would prevent an Administration from stonewalling congressional oversight and then evading accountability for years while the courts resolve the issue.

"To address abuses of the clemency power, the bill requires additional transparency, and it reaffirms that abuses of the clemency power can form the basis of a bribery scheme and that self-pardons are prohibited.

"It pauses the statute of limitations on federal offenses during a president and vice president’s term in office to ensure that they can be held accountable for criminal conduct—just like every other American.

"And it addresses improper communications between the White House and the Department of Justice—an all-too-common occurrence under the last Administration.  

"Madam Speaker, when the nation’s founders wrote the Constitution, after having just fought a war against a tyrant, they stood fast to a key principle—that the Executive must not be a king and must, instead, be accountable to Congress, to the people, and ultimately, to the rule of law.  It is vital that we reassert this important principle.

"The Protecting Our Democracy Act would restore these and other checks and balances that are so fundamental to our democracy. I urge all Members to support this vital legislation and I yield back the balance of my time."
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