Amy Klobuchar on Government Reform
DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender
There are numerous ways in which companies with monopoly market power can engage in anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct, and in digital age we must pass new laws--such as my Anti-Competitive Exclusionary Conduct Prevention Act--to conduct and prevent such acts. As [one analyst] says of that bill's importance, "The proposed legislation would update the previous time Congress passed legislation on the topic of dominant firm conduct, in 1914, when airplanes were new, Archduke Ferdinand's assassination, (that sparked World War 1) was three weeks away, and Ford Motor Company had just instituted an 8 hour workday."
To give federal officials the resources they need to both examine and take action against anticompetitive exclusionary conduct as well as evaluate the potential effects of a merger or acquisition, Congress must act or make appropriations, not just give lip service to the issue. Agency budgets matter, and the president and Congress should be willing to better fund agencies that work on antitrust issues given the importance of stopping anticompetitive product, protecting consumers, and safeguarding the health of America's economy.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, and I think that what we need to do instead of just reviewing everything from the past is talk about where we're going to go forward. Martin Luther King once said that we are all "tied in a single garment of destiny, and that what affects one of us directly affects all of us indirectly." So when there is racism in the criminal justice system, then we need to fix it. And to me that means sentencing reform, like the First Step Act, and extending that to the states with the Second Step Act. It means equal opportunity. Because if we don't pass [that bill] to invest in impoverished communities, we're never going to get to that single garment of destiny.
[Editor's note: this phrase comes from the "Letter from Birmingham Jail", where Martin Luther King writes, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."]
Tom STEYER: I've put together coalitions of ordinary American citizens to take on unchecked corporate power. We have a broken government in Washington, D.C. It's been purchased by corporations. Over the last decade, with the help of the American people, we have taken on and beaten the oil companies, the tobacco companies, utilities, drug companies.
Amy KLOBUCHAR: I'm someone that doesn't come from money, and I appreciate the work of Mr. Steyer. But right now, we have a system that's not fair. I would start a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That's what we should do, so that we stop this dark money and outside money from coming into our politics.
Senator Amy Klobuchar: I agree with what the mayor has said, but this is a good example where he has said the right words, but I have the experience. I think this kind of experience matters. I think having that experience, knowing how you can get things done, leading the bills to take the social media companies to task, to say where these ads come from and how they're paid for, and stop the unbelievable practice where we still have 11 states that don't have backup paper ballots.
CEO Andrew Yang: We have to let Russia know, "Look, we get it. We've tampered with other elections. You've tampered with our elections. And now it has to stop."
Senator Klobuchar: I don't see a moral equivalency between our country and Russia. Vladimir Putin is someone who has shot down planes over Ukraine, who has poisoned his opponent, and we have not talked about what we need to do to protect ourselves from Russia invading our election. This wasn't meddling--that's what I do when I call my daughter on a Saturday night and ask her what she's doing. This was much more serious than that. This was actually invading our election. So to protect ourselves in 2020, we need backup paper ballots in every single state. And then we need to stop the social media companies from running paid political ads, without having to say where those ads came from and who paid for them. That's the Honest Ads Act, that's a bipartisan bill that I lead.
KLOBUCHAR: It is time to pass the Equality Act. Our problem is you can get married in one state and then you can get fired from your job for being gay. That's why the Equality Act is so important. It's passed the House. It is sitting in the graveyard of legislation that is Mitch McConnell's desk. What I would do to get it passed is to bring people together to make the case for it.
11 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Cory Booker; Julian Castro; Tulsi Gabbard; Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren.
Candidates who back federal legislation that would require states use paper ballots, which election security experts overwhelmingly consider the most secure form of voting. That mandate is part of the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act of 2019, which Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), one of the most vocal advocates in Congress for greater election security, introduced in May. His bill would also require that states conduct post-election risk-limiting audits.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar has her own legislation, the Election Security Act of 2019, that would, among other things, also mandate paper ballots.
H.R. 1, the sweeping House reform bill, would also require paper ballots, but does not require that states conduct audits after elections.
Her big idea: She offered a number of proposals during her time on stage [at the SXSW conference]--bringing broadband to rural areas, lowering prescription drug prices and some kind of transactional tax on technology companies that sell information about their users. When I asked her to name her top idea, she opted for one she hadn't mentioned--passing a law automatically registering all citizens to vote when they turn 18.
Her biggest obstacle: Raising the massive amount of money to fund a presidential campaign was her biggest obstacle, she told me. Allegations that she has been verbally abusive towards her Senate staff have dogged the early days of her campaign, however.
”People in positions of power & privilege can’t be above the law. As a chief prosecutor, I’ve approached my job without fear or favor. That means taking on powerful people like CEOs, a judge, and white collar criminals, just as we would any other offender.
“It’s time for the people of Minnesota to send a clear message to politicians who have taken part in the ‘pay to play’ system that rewards powerful interests and hurts the middle class. If Washington won’t change itself, it’s time for us to change Washington.”
Klobuchar favors stronger ethics reform, including aggressive Minnesota-style restrictions on lobbyist-funded gifts, perks, and travel, as well as tougher provisions to limit the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying world. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call said, ”This bill all but shouts to voters that the GOP is not serious about reform & that it values its ties to K Street more than the public’s trust.“
The result of Citizens United was that `Super PACs` spent millions on TV ads in the 2012 election, advocating both issues and candidates. The DISCLOSE Act attempts to reduce the negative effect of Citizens United by requiring disclosure of independent expenditures made by advocacy groups.
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.
Congressional Summary:Fair Elections Now Act--Amends 1971 FECA with respect to:
Statement of support for corresponding Senate bill: (Sunlight Foundation) Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won`t be deterred--as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we`ll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we`ll win.
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.
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:
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.
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.
The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Appointing Judges Who Will Adhere to a Strict Interpretation of the Constitution' Christian Coalition's self-description: "Christian Voter Guide is a clearing-house for traditional, pro-family voter guides. We do not create voter guides, nor do we interview or endorse candidates."
Opposing argument from the Heritage Foundation, 2/1/2019: HR1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process. What HR1 Would Do:
Legislative outcome: Passed House 234-193-5 on 3/8/19; received with no action in Senate thru 12/31/2019
Rep. CONYERS: `Since the late 1950`s, the pernicious practice of `voter caging` has been used to discourage or prevent eligible voters from casting their vote. Recent elections have shown that caging tactics are not outdated, and in fact, have disenfranchised voters in recent midterm and Presidential elections. While caging efforts have traditionally been directed at minority communities, all voters are susceptible to these attempts at voter intimidation and suppression.
`The undemocratic practice of voter caging involves sending mail to voters at the addresses at which they are registered to vote. Should such mail be returned as undeliverable or without a return receipt, the voter`s name is placed on a `caging list.` These caging lists are then used to challenge a voter`s registration or eligibility.
`In my home State of Michigan, I have seen firsthand how caging efforts are used to harass, bully, and ultimately disenfranchise, eligible voters. With a Michigan lawmaker advocating `suppress the Detroit vote,` I cannot help but think that is synonymous with `suppress the Black vote` as Detroit is 83% African American. These voter suppression campaigns always seem to target our most vulnerable voters--racial minorities, low-income people, homeless people, and college students.
`Caging tactics meant to suppress the vote do more than impede the right to vote. They threaten to erode the very core of our democracy. By eliminating barriers to the polls, we can help restore what has been missing from our elections--fairness, honesty, and integrity.`
A bill to prevent Members of Congress from receiving any automatic pay adjustment in 2010.
For purposes of the provision of law amended by section 704(a)(2)(B) of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (5 U.S.C. 5318 note), no adjustment under section 5303 of title 5, United States Code, shall be considered to have taken effect in fiscal year 2010 in the rates of pay under the General Schedule.
S.1 and H.R.1: For the People Act: This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government:
Sen. John Thune in OPPOSITION (9/22/21): This radical legislation would provide for a massive federal takeover of our electoral system, chill free speech, and turn the Federal Election Commission--the primary enforcer of election law in this country--into a partisan body. This radical legislation would undermine state voter ID laws and make it easier for those here illegally to vote.
And, most of all, it would put Washington, not state governments, in charge of elections--for no reason at all. There is no systemic problem with state election laws. And state election officials do not need Washington bureaucrats dictating how many days of early voting they should offer, or how they should manage mail-in ballots.
Biden Administration in SUPPORT (3/1/21): In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy, a never before seen effort to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the people, and a newly aggressive attack on voting rights taking place right now all across the country, this landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen American democracy.
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 220-210-2 on March 3, 2021 (rollcall #62); received in the Senate on March 11; no further Senate action during 2021.
GovTrack.us summary of H.Res.24: Article of Impeachment Against Former President Donald John Trump:
The House impeached President Trump for the second time, charging him with incitement of insurrection. The impeachment resolution accused the President of inciting the violent riot that occurred on January 6, when his supporters invaded the United States Capitol injuring and killing Capitol Police and endangering the safety of members of Congress. It cites statements from President Trump to the rioters such as `if you don`t fight like hell you`re not going to have a country anymore,` as well as persistent lies that he won the 2020 Presidential election.
Bill introduced Jan 11, 2021, with 217 co-sponsors; House rollcall vote #117 passed 232-197-4 on Jan. 13th (a YES vote in the House was to impeach President Trump for inciting insurrection); Senate rollcall vote #59 rejected 57-43-0 on Feb. 13th (2/3 required in Senate to pass; a YES vote in the Senate would have found President Trump guilty, but since he had already left office at that time, a guilty verdict would have barred Trump from running for President in the future)
Legislative Summary: This bill provides for admission into the United States of the state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, composed of most of the territory of the District of Columbia. The commonwealth shall be admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the other states. District territory excluded from the commonwealth shall be known as the Capital and shall be the seat of the federal government. The bill maintains the federal government`s authority over military lands and specified other property. The bill provides for expedited consideration of a joint resolution repealing the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution [the current rule for D.C.].
WETM 18-Elmira analysis: The House of Representatives passed a bill that would make Washington D.C. into a state. While Democrats say it`s time to make D.C. a state, Republicans say the motivation is purely political.
D.C. House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) introduced this bill and says district residents deserve full representation in Congress. `D.C. residents are taxed without representation and cannot consent to the laws under which they as American citizens must live,` Norton said.
While Democrats say this is about fairness, Republicans say this isn`t about the people, it`s about the politics. As a state, D.C. would likely add two new Democrats to the Senate.
`This is about a Democrat power grab,` Congressman Fred Keller (R-Penn.) said. Keller and Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) say Democrats are forcing this issue through for one reason. `HR 51 is not really about voting representation. It`s about Democrats consolidating their power in Washington,` Comer said.
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 216-208-6 on 4/22/21 (rollcall #132); introduced in Senate with 45 co-sponsors but no further Senate action during 2021.
H.R.5314, `Protecting Our Democracy Act,` addresses issues involving
Opinion by Rep. Brooks (R-AL-5) to vote NO, 12/9/21: Brooks voted `No` on H.R. 5314, a bill that perpetuates the now-debunked Russian Collusion claims that have resulted in indictments against the Democrat shills that fabricated it. Brooks said, `Trump Derangement Syndrome does not do justice to the word `obsession`. HR 5314 is a list of grievances against President Trump that go back to 2016.` Brooks concluded, `The American people would be better served if Socialist Democrats spent their time investigating Hunter Biden`s shady art and influence-peddling deals that reek of corruption. The American people would be better served if the House considered border security legislation, welfare give-a-way program rollbacks, or bills aimed at addressing rising prices. Instead, we`re wasting time on partisan, unnecessary legislation that`s going nowhere in the Senate.`
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 220-208-6 on 12/9/2021, Roll no. 440); introduced in Senate on 12/13/21; no further Senate action during 2021.
RESOLUTION: Impeaching Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.
|Other candidates on Government Reform:
|Amy Klobuchar on other issues:
Senate races 2024:
AZ: Kyrsten Sinema(I,incumbent)
CA: Laphonza Butler(D,retiring)
CT: Chris Murphy(D,incumbent)
DE: Tom Carper(D,retiring)
vs.Lisa Blunt Rochester(D)
FL: Rick Scott(R,incumbent)
HI: Mazie Hirono(D,incumbent)
(No opponent yet)
IN: Mike Braun(R,retiring)
MA: Elizabeth Warren(D,incumbent)
MD: Ben Cardin(D,retiring)
ME: Angus King(I,incumbent)
MI: Debbie Stabenow(D,retiring)
MN: Amy Klobuchar(DFL,incumbent)
(No opponent yet)
MO: Josh Hawley(R,incumbent)
MS: Roger Wicker(R,incumbent)
MT: Jon Tester(D,incumbent)
ND: Kevin Cramer(R,incumbent)
NE: Peter Ricketts(R,incumbent,2-year seat)
Deb Fischer(D,incumbent,6-year seat)
(No opponent yet)
NJ: Bob Menendez(D,incumbent)
NM: Martin Heinrich(D,incumbent)
(No opponent yet)
NV: Jacky Rosen(D,incumbent)
vs.Jim Marchant (R)
NY: Kirsten Gillibrand(D,incumbent)
OH: Sherrod Brown(D,incumbent)
PA: Bob Casey(D,incumbent)
RI: Sheldon Whitehouse(D,incumbent)
TN: Marsha Blackburn(R,incumbent)
TX: Ted Cruz(R,incumbent)
UT: Mitt Romney(R,retiring)
VA: Tim Kaine(D,incumbent)
VT: Bernie Sanders(I,incumbent)
WA: Maria Cantwell(D,incumbent)
WI: Tammy Baldwin(D,incumbent)
WV: Joe Manchin III(D,retiring)
WY: John Barrasso(R,incumbent)
Senate Votes (analysis)