Current Position: US Representative for MD District 3 since 2007
Candidate: 2021 US Senator
Former Position(s): Lawyer from 1988 – 2007
This week, I’m joining my colleagues in passing federal spending bills that will create jobs, grow opportunity and provide a lifeline to working families. #ForThePeople
Grassroots Democracy: John Sarbanes at TEDxBaltimore
Government Website – August 24, 2021 (Short)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that would restore and protect voting rights across the country.
This historic legislation builds on the momentum of H.R. 1, the For the People Act – a once-in-a-generation transformational package of reforms to clean up corruption in Washington, expose secret foreign money in our politics, crack down on lobbyists, strengthen election security, return power back to the American people with citizen-owned elections and protect the right to vote. The Voting Rights Advancement Act fulfills the promise of H.R. 1’s findings section, which affirms Congress’ commitment to restore the Voting Rights Act, and honors the legacy of civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis.
“The American people should not face obstacles to exercise their right to vote,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who authored H.R. 1. “After the Supreme Court’s misguided decisions in Shelby vs. Holder — and more recently Brnovich vs. DNC — voter suppression efforts have ramped up in states across the country. These harmful measures deny many Americans the sacred right to vote.”
“This historic bill honors the legacy of its namesake, the late Congressman John Lewis, who devoted his life to securing the sacred right to vote for every American – and all those who sacrificed for this noble cause,” Sarbanes continued. “I want to thank Representative Terri Sewell, Speaker Pelosi and Chairs Lofgren, Nadler and Butterfield for their leadership to advance strong voter protections. I am committed to continuing this fight and bolstering the voice of the people.”
Source: Government page
Congressman John Sarbanes has represented Maryland’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. Congress since 2007.
He currently serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. He serves as Vice Chair of the House Subcommittee on Health. Congressman Sarbanes also serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its Subcommittee on Government Operations. He chairs the Democracy Reform Task Force, which has assembled HR1, the For The People Act, to reform and strengthen our democracy.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Congressman Sarbanes has experience working in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He and his family live in Towson, giving him the opportunity to drive home every night and hear from the people he serves in Congress. Listening to their concerns allows him to better represent Maryland and has shaped his work in the House of Representatives.
Fighting for More-Affordable, Higher-Quality Health Care
Congressman Sarbanes is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because he believes it has reduced the cost of health care, improved our nation’s health care system and provided access for those who previously did not have insurance. He will continue to oppose any efforts to repeal the ACA unless a replacement is offered that maintains affordable coverage for the 20 million Americans who gained insurance under the law and that includes critical consumer protections – like the requirement that insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions and the ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits. While the ACA is not a perfect bill, it was a crucial step in the right direction – away from the influence of powerful special interests and toward commonsense solutions for American families. Additional healthcare priorities include a focus on prevention and primary care, ending racial disparities in health care and stemming the opioid epidemic.
Giving Students the Tools They Need to Succeed
Congressman Sarbanes has fought to expand higher education opportunities through financial assistance programs like the Pell Grant and has authored laws to help students repay their college loans after they graduate. In this effort, Congressman Sarbanes wrote a law to create the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Option, which provides graduates with forgiveness of remaining student loan debt after 10 years of work in public service or the non-profit sector. The new law helps teachers, nurses, first responders and other public servants pay for college. It allows more people to follow their dreams in careers that are important and rewarding, but not always particularly lucrative.
Life Before Congress
Before coming to Congress, Congressman Sarbanes served for seven years with the Maryland State Department of Education, working to make Maryland’s public school system one of the best in the nation. He practiced law for eighteen years, representing hospitals and senior living providers in their mission to deliver high-quality health care to the people of Maryland. Congressman Sarbanes also worked with public interest organizations in Maryland, like the Public Justice Center, where he championed efforts to protect consumers, provide decent public housing and ensure fair treatment in the workplace.
Congressman Sarbanes graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and studied law and politics in Greece on a Fulbright Scholarship. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he returned to Baltimore, where he clerked for Judge J. Frederick Motz on the federal district court.
Since childhood, Congressman Sarbanes has attended the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Baltimore and he has also been active with his wife and children in the Bolton Street Synagogue.
Democracy Reform Task Force
The Democracy Reform Task Force – chaired by Congressman John Sarbanes – is a bold effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to clean up Washington and put the public’s interests ahead of special interests.
The Democracy Reform Task Force:
- Conducts Oversight of Ethical Violations – Brings together Congressional resources to ensure that government officials abide by our nation’s ethics laws and the U.S. Constitution.
- Challenges Special-Interest Policy – Fights back against egregious special-interest giveaways that benefit wealthy donors, corporations and well-connected Washington insiders at the expense of everyday Americans.
- Advances Positive Democracy Reforms – The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform. Americans across the country were forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voice in our democracy. It shouldn’t have to be this way. That’s why House Democrats are committed to advancing HR1, the For the People Act – a transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package – in the 117th Congress. We will clean up corruption in Washington, empower the American people and restore faith and integrity to our government. HR1 will get us there.
Our Republic’s strength is built on the American people’s trust in our institutions of democracy and it’s earned through fair elections, responsive governance and a robust system of checks and balances. The Democracy Reform Task Force works tirelessly to preserve and renew the public’s trust in our great Republic.
Learn more at https://democracyreform-sarbanes.house.gov.
Hours: Monday – Friday
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11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
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John Peter Spyros Sarbanes (// SARR-baynz; born May 22, 1962) is an American lawyer and politician who is the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 3rd congressional district, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes the state capital of Annapolis, central portions of the city of Baltimore, and parts of Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery, and Baltimore counties.
John Sarbanes is the eldest son of former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977 and as a United States Senator from 1977 to 2007) and Christine Dunbar Sarbanes, a teacher. He was born in Baltimore, having Greek origin on his father’s side and English on his mother’s, and graduated from the Gilman School there in 1980. He received a B.A., cum laude, from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1984, after completing a 194-page long senior thesis titled “The American Intelligence Community Abroad: Potential for a Breakdown Case Study, Greece, 1967”. Sarbanes then received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was co-chair of the Law School Democrats, in 1988.
After college, Congressman Sarbanes served for seven years with the Maryland State Department of Education, working on Maryland’s public school system. He later clerked with Baltimore Judge J. Frederick Motz on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Sarbanes spent his professional legal career at the law firm of Venable LLP in Baltimore from 1989 to 2006, where he was chair of health care practice from 2000 to 2006 and a member of the hiring committee from 1992 to 1996.
U.S. House of Representatives
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Committee on Oversight and Reform
- Armenian Caucus
- Congressional Public Service Caucus (Co-Chair)
- House Congressional Hellenic Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Joint Congressional Human Rights Caucus
- Pakistan Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus
Congressman Sarbanes has introduced H.R. 2054, the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI). This Act seeks to both improve education in the nation’s public schools and to protect the environment by “creating a new environmental education grant program, providing teacher training for environmental education, and including environmental education as an authorized activity under the Fund for the Improvement of Education.” NCLI also requires states that participate in the environmental education grant programs to develop a plan to ensure that high school graduates are environmentally literate. This legislation is supported by a “coalition of over 1200 local, regional, and national organizations representing millions of concerned citizens who are anxious to see a new commitment to environmental education.”
Following their victory in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats in the House unveiled its first House bill for the 116th Congress. This bill, entitled the “For the People Act“, was primarily authored by Sarbanes. It passed the house in 2019, but died in the Republican controlled Senate. The bill was introduced again in the 117th Congress and passed the House.
The bill was a package of Democratic electoral goals and would enable small-dollar public funding of congressional elections, establish automatic national voter registration, expand early and online voter registration, and provide greater federal support for state voting systems. The bill proposed banning members of Congress from serving on corporate boards, and called for requiring political advocacy groups to disclose donors. It also required presidents to disclose their tax returns, and the establishment of a Supreme Court ethics code. It also included a provision to decrease gerrymandering by creating independent commissions, this is despite the fact that Sarbanes’ district is one of the most gerrymandered districts in the United States.
Sarbanes sought the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 3rd congressional district after 10-term incumbent Ben Cardin gave up the seat to run for the Senate seat of John Sarbanes’ father, Paul Sarbanes. The primary campaign included State Senator Paula Hollinger, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson, and former Maryland Democratic Party Treasurer Oz Bengur. Sarbanes won the nomination on September 12, 2006 with 31.9% of the vote. His Republican opponent in the general election was Annapolis marketing executive John White. However, the 3rd is a heavily Democratic district that has been in that party’s hands since 1927, and few expected Sarbanes to have much difficulty in the election. Sarbanes also benefited from name recognition; his father represented the district from 1971 to 1977. On November 7, 2006, Sarbanes won the general election with 64% of the vote, while White received 34% of the vote and Libertarian Charles Curtis McPeek received 2%. He has been reelected six times with no substantive opposition.
- “S. Doc. 109-34. Tributes Delivered in Congress to Paul S. Sarbanes”. www.gpo.gov. 207.
- “John P. Sarbanes, U.S. Representative”. Maryland State Archives. Archived from the original on 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
- Sarbanes, John Peter Spyros. Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (ed.). “The American Intelligence Community Abroad: Potential for a Breakdown Case Study, Greece, 1967”. Cite journal requires
- “Biography of Congressman John Sarbanes”. Office of Congressman John Sarbanes. Archived from the original on 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
- “Our Members”. U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- “Membership”. Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- “Members”. Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- “John Sarbanes Official Biography”. Archived from the original on 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
- “House Democrats’ 1st bill aims for sweeping reforms”. AP NEWS. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
- Meyers, David (7 November 2019). “The 12 worst House districts: Experts label gerrymandering’s dirty dozen”. The Fulcrum. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
- “Dina Eve Caplan, Lawyer, to Marry”. The New York Times. August 21, 1988. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
- Congressman John Sarbanes official U.S. House website
- John Sarbanes for Congress
- John Sarbanes at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
Source: Government page
House Energy and Commerce Committee
Congressman Sarbanes has been appointed to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce where he serves on the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change and where he serves as Vice Chair of the House Subcommittee on Health.
Serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee gives Congressman Sarbanes the opportunity to be at the forefront of debate on some of the most important issues facing Americans today. Because of its broad jurisdiction, the Energy and Commerce Committee is considered an exclusive committee, which prevents members from serving on any other committees without special permission from the Democratic Caucus.
Jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee includes:
- Biomedical research and development;
- Consumer affairs and consumer protection;
- Health and health facilities (except health care supported by payroll deductions);
- Interstate energy compacts;
- Exploration, production, storage, supply, marketing, pricing and regulation of energy resources, including all fossil fuels, solar energy and other unconventional or renewable energy resources;
- Conservation of energy resources;
- Energy information;
- The generation and marketing of power (except by federally chartered of federal regional power marketing authorities); reliability and interstate transmission of, and ratemaking for, all power; and siting of generation facilities (except the installation of interconnections between government waterpower projects);
- General management of the Department of Energy and management of all functions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission;
- National energy policy generally;
- Public health and quarantine;
- Regulation of the domestic nuclear energy industry, including regulation of research and development reactors and nuclear regulatory research;
- Regulation of interstate and foreign communications; and
- Travel and tourism.
House Oversight and Reform Committee
Congressman Sarbanes also serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its Subcommittee on Government Operations.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. It has authority to investigate the subjects within the Committee’s legislative jurisdiction as well as “any matter” within the jurisdiction of the other standing House Committees.
Jurisdiction of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform includes:
- Federal civil service, including intergovernmental personnel; and the status of officers and employees of the United States, including their compensation, classification, and retirement;
- Municipal affairs of the District of Columbia in general (other than appropriations);
- Federal paperwork reduction;
- Government management and accounting measures generally;
- Holidays and celebrations;
- Overall economy, efficiency, and management of government operations and activities, including federal procurement;
- National archives;
- Population and demography generally, including the Census;
- Postal service generally, including transportation of the mails;
- Public information and records;
- Relationship of the federal government to the states and municipalities generally; and
- Reorganizations in the executive branch of the government.
The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform. Americans across the country were forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voice in our democracy. It shouldn’t have to be this way. That’s why House Democrats are committed to advancing HR1, the For the People Act – a transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package – in the 117th Congress. We will clean up corruption in Washington, empower the American people and restore faith and integrity to our government. HR1 will get us there.
The American Rescue Plan will help Marylanders prevail over the pandemic.
It’s an unfortunate fact that drug abuse and addiction are on the rise, but we must be committed to providing effective resources and treatments to those in need. Congressman Sarbanes is collaborating with state and other local leaders to identify opportunities for federal assistance to Maryland. Congressman Sarbanes is also working together with other concerned Members of Congress to strengthen available federal resources and support.
Congressman Sarbanes is a national leader in the movement to promote environmental education, which he believes is critical to empowering and inspiring the next generation of scientists, teachers and environmental stewards.
Congressman Sarbanes shares the same passion for the environment as the people of Maryland’s Third Congressional District, who have a strong history of environmental advocacy for, and stewardship of, the Chesapeake Bay.
In this increasingly complex and fast-paced world, Americans deserve a government built for the 21st-century. That’s why making the federal government operate efficiently and effectively is a priority for Congressman Sarbanes. Congressman Sarbanes is committed to putting policies in place that improve government operation, help our nation’s dedicated federal workers succeed, and increase the efficacy of our civil-service.
Congressman Sarbanes is a strong advocate for reforming our nation’s health care system. He has introduced and supported several bills that will expand affordable health coverage and improve the quality of care for all Americans.
Congressman Sarbanes believes a strong economy means all Americans have the opportunity to succeed and make a better life for themselves and for their families. He supports policies that foster job creation, improve pay and benefits, build stronger communities and secure America’s role as a global economic leader.
Congressman Sarbanes knows that our nation’s seniors make enormous contributions to our civic life and to the success and prosperity of our nation. That’s why he works to find ways to ensure that all seniors are treated with respect, that they receive the health care and retirement benefits they have earned and that they have meaningful opportunities to contribute to the workforce.
America’s veterans have made every sacrifice to protect our country. Although we can never fully repay the debt we owe them, it is our duty as a nation to fulfill our commitments to them. Congressman Sarbanes has worked hard to ensure that veterans receive the compensation, health care, educational opportunities and employment assistance they deserve. He has fought to increase the veterans’ health budget and to pass a new GI Bill for the 21st century, increasing educational benefits so all our veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can attend college and thrive in the civilian workforce.