House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
May 21, 2018

House & Senate Democratic Leaders Unveil A Better Deal for Our Democracy

Washington, D.C. – Today, House and Senate Democrats held a press conference on the steps of the United States Capitol to unveil the newest plank of their bold economic agenda, A Better Deal for Our Democracy, to fix Washington’s broken political system and return to a government of, by and for the American people.  This new plank of Democrats’ A Better Deal agenda focuses on taking back the power from special interests and getting rid of the pay-to-play culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence embodied by the Trump Administration, which has led to political dysfunction and a raw deal for the American people.

“The White House and GOP Congress’ big donor-driven agenda is sticking the American people with a raw deal,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “Republicans are putting special interests and lobbyists before hard-working families – from handing billion-dollar tax breaks to Wall Street and wealthy corporations shipping jobs overseas, to prioritizing dirty energy polluters destroying our clean air and clean water from refusing to stand up to Big Pharma’s outrageous price hikes on sick children, seniors and working families.  Democrats are committed to giving the American people A Better Deal for Our Democracy that will put the power back in the hands of the people and ensure our political system works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

“President Trump famously campaigned on ‘draining the swamp’ but he so far he has filled it up with pay-to-play schemes inside and outside his administration.  From Michael Cohen cashing in more than a million dollars promising influence of the president, to Mick Mulvaney admitting to donors that donations equal access, President Trump has made it clear that draining the swamp is yet another broken promise,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.  “Democrats are proposing a better deal for the American people – one that actually cleans up corruption and loosens the vice-grip that special interests have over Washington Republicans and the Trump administration by strengthening our nation’s ethics laws to restore integrity to government service.”

“Americans are tired of getting a raw deal from Washington.  They’ve had it with all the backroom dealing, influence peddling and special-interest policymaking that goes on in this town,” said Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD), Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force.  “Democrats hear that frustration and we’re committed to delivering real reforms that return us to a government of, by and for the people.  The bold new agenda that we’re rolling out today will clean up the chaos and corruption in Washington and put the people’s interests ahead of special interests.”

“Once upon a time, Donald Trump said he didn’t want Koch money or anything else from them.  It turns out the Kochs and other self-interested billionaires have installed their corporate operatives throughout the Trump administration.  And when the special interests are calling the shots, that can have profound implications for public health, the environment, and the economy,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  “This is not democracy.  This is the corruption of democracy to benefit narrow special interests at everyone else’s expense.”

“You can look no further than the hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars Washington Republicans gave to corporate special interests to see they care more about lining the pockets of donors than the people they were elected to serve,” said Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Co-Chair Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL).  “That is why we are offering A Better Deal, with stronger ethics laws, transparency and real accountability to ensure lawmakers are fighting for hardworking everyday Americans, not greedy special interests.”

“Americans are no longer in charge of their own democracy.  We are being drowned out by billionaires and special interests who can spend unlimited and undisclosed money to flood the airwaves and call the shots.  Now even foreign interests are getting in on the act,” said Senator Tom Udall (D-NM).  “Those big money donors have hired an administration that will betray the public trust in a heartbeat – and a Republican congressional leadership that is rewarding their donors with tax cuts while taking away health care from families.  Americans look at people like Scott Pruitt, and they see a Washington that is not just hopelessly out of touch, but fundamentally working against their interests.  Democrats are taking on this assault on the middle class and stepping up to offer A Better Deal for Our Democracy, with historic reforms to end the stranglehold of big money on our electoral system and put the American people back in charge.  American democracy shouldn’t have a price for entry.  It’s time we took back our democracy and returned it to the hands of all Americans, instead of a privileged, powerful few.”

“We can’t continue letting special interest money pour in and silence the voices of our communities,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).  “This is supposed to be a government by and for The People, not one held hostage by faceless corporations.  So long as groups like the NRA can spend billions to influence Republican legislators, we won’t see the reforms that our nation so desperately needs.  Americans don’t deserve this raw deal – we deserve a better one and we can have it.”

The full A Better Deal for our Democracy can be viewed here.

Pelosi Remarks at Press Event to Unveil A Better Deal for Our Democracy

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House and Senate Democrats for a press event to introduce A Better Deal for Our Democracy. This agenda focuses on taking back the power from special interests and getting rid of the pay-to-play culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence embodied by the Trump Administration, which has led to political dysfunction and a raw deal for the American people. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi. Good afternoon everyone. Democrats are here to take the fight for our democracy to the very steps of the Capitol. The American people are confronted with one of the most compromised, corrupt administrations in history. Instead of delivering on his promise to drain the swamp, President Trump has become the swamp. Republicans, the White House and the Congress are cravenly beholden to big-money interests, and the American people are paying the price.

From giveaways to dirty energy polluters – our children are paying the price in the air they breathe and the water they drink. To the giveaways of tax breaks to Wall Street and wealthy corporations shipping jobs overseas – our workers and the middle class are paying the price. To giveaways to Big Pharma raising drug costs – our children, seniors and working families are paying the price every day. The American people deserve better but Republicans are standing in the way. We want Republicans and their corrupt, big-donor driven agenda to get out of the way. It has given the American people a raw deal. Democrats are offering A Better Deal for our democracy.

To save our democracy we are committed to empowering the American voter to demand responsive government, protecting every citizen’s right to vote and their right to have their vote counted as cast, safeguarding our election infrastructure and ending partisan redistricting. Next, we are strengthening America’s ethics laws to fight special interests, ending the revolving door in Washington and reining in the influence of lobbyists, big-money donors and special interests who drive the Republican agenda. Fixing our broken campaign finance system to combat big money influence, wiping out the scourge of unaccountable, secret, dark money and overturning Citizens United.

Republicans’ special interest and donor-first agenda is part of their DNA. But Democrats have a people-first agenda, to put the power back in the hands of the American people.

We are fixing our broken political system and ensuring government works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected. We are restoring the confidence of the American people in our political system, restoring government of the people, by the people and for the people. And a champion of that statement of our democracy is next. Our distinguished Leader of the United States Senate on the Democratic side, Senator Chuck Schumer.

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Leader Pelosi.
  Thank you very much. Let me extend gratitude to the leadership of Leader Chuck Schumer, [Congressman] John Sarbanes, Senator Whitehouse, Representative Bustos, Senator Udall and Representative Jayapal for their leadership and their statements today.

I also want to recognize other Members who are here who have been working hard on this issue of a government for the people: Congressman David Price of North Carolina, [Congressman] Sablan, Congresswoman Sewell who has worked on the Voting Rights Act, of Alabama, [Congressman] Mark Pocan working for working families and increasing their voice.

Our Members wanted me to acknowledge that what we do on the inside here is only one part of reaching success. The inside maneuvering, very important. The outside mobilization, essential.
What we tried to do today is to present to the American people a road map as to how they can weigh in and the difference they can make. And helping us do that are some of the leadership groups that are here today.

And wave your flag when your name is called. At the end we should all be waving our flags. Democracy 21, Public Citizen, Center for American Progress, Common Cause, Demos, CWA – Communications Workers of America, Every Voice, People for the American Way, Sierra Club, NAACP.

There may be more [that] have come since I’ve turned around. If anyone else is there, please do a shout-out. Center for Popular Democracy. Anyone else?

Thank you all for what you have done over the years for the promise that we are making to the American people together to work with them to have a government of, by and for the people. A Better Deal for the American people. God Bless America. Let’s all wave. Thank you. Thank you all very much.