On the House Judiciary Committee, I work to protect Americans' civil rights and liberties and ensure our legal system administers justice fairly. I share the concerns of many of my constituents over recent developments in our courts that tilt the playing field in favor of corporations instead of individual Americans, workers, and consumers. I also oppose efforts by the new Republican majority to use 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: the economy.
Overturning Citizens United and Protecting Voting Rights
I have introduced H.J. Res 90, the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, to overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision. I am honored to have the support of dozens of my colleagues in the House of Representatives for H.J. Res 90, and thrilled that Senator Bernie Sanders recently introduced a companion resolution, the Saving American Democracy Amendment, in the United States Senate. Our proposed amendment to the Constitution immediately bans corporations from using their 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 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. Among the bills I support are the DISCLOSE Act, the Same Day Registration Act, and the Voter Access Protection Act.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
Equal protection under the law must be upheld for all our citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I proudly support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, and am committed to working with the LGBT community to fight discrimination in our laws. stand with the LGBT community in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I am proud to have received a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign for my efforts to advance marriage equality, repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and prevent discrimination in the workplace. 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.
Throughout the 112th Congress, I have fought back against efforts by my Republican colleagues to weaken women's access to safe and legal abortion. Despite the fact that current law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion services, House Republicans recently passed H.R. 3, a bill that if enacted, would use the tax code to interfere in the privately funded health care decisions made by women and their families. I have also opposed efforts by the Republican majority to deny federal funding for Planned Parenthood that is intended for breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer tests, sexual transmitted disease prevention, and other basic health services.
During the 111th Congress, I voted for Wall Street reform legislation to safeguard our economy from the kind of risky behavior that wiped out 8 million jobs, sent property values plummeting, and caused untold hardship for millions of Americans in 2008. This year, I have closely followed the implementation of these reforms, including the formation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This new independent watchdog will help prevent banks from taking advantage of consumers through predatory lending practices and overly complex financial products. Like many of my constituents, I oppose efforts by Republicans in Congress to block the nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head this new agency. Click here to learn more about the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.
I have also introduced legislation aimed at cracking down on financial scams targeted towards seniors. With more than $15 trillion in assets nationwide, America's seniors are prime targets for con artists determined to go after their lifesavings through fraudulent investment plans, counterfeit billing, deceitful telemarketing, and fake online sweepstakes and prizes. By creating an office within the Federal Trade Commission specifically charged with preventing fraud against seniors, we can better track these crimes, alert our communities of the latest scams, and protect these hard earned assets.