The things we should do to make us safer, healthier, and more economically secure.
The beginning of this year, the GOP assumed control of all three branches of government. Since then, I along with hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon and millions across America have been fighting to protect our countries’ values and ideals. This resistance is critical as we face assaults on health care, the environment, and vulnerable communities – and continue to get to the bottom of serious questions that remain unanswered about Russia.
At the same time, there are important areas that we need to keep pushing forward to make progress.
Every day through the House’s five-week in-district work period, beginning on July 29, I will share on this page one issue area that we should address to make sure our community – and communities across America – are safer, healthier, and more economically secure.
#1: Establishing health care for all
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the most important health care accomplishment since Medicare. It has led to the lowest uninsured rate in history and the slowest growth in health care costs in 50 years. I will continue to fight against its repeal, and work to improve it. It has become increasingly clear, however, that the ACA alone will not resolve health inequality or guarantee access to care. The United States needs a truly universal, single-payer health care system – similar to the less costly and more effective systems in Western Europe, Australia, and Canada. We must recognize health care as a right, not a privilege. Ultimately, we need a universal system that covers everyone from cradle to grave. This is a starting place. We all need to help refine our approach and build public understanding. That is why I’ve helped introduce H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which establishes a single-payer health care system. I will continue to support a single-payer system and urge my colleagues in Congress to provide health coverage for all Americans.
#2: Making prescription drugs more affordable
Drug companies have been taking advantage of Americans for too long. As drug prices have risen at an alarming rate, we need to protect the affordability of necessary medical treatments. New drugs for cancer and rare diseases can cost more than $100,000 a year, causing many to choose between their health or their family’s financial security. Even generic medicines for chronic conditions, such as insulin, have seen prices triple or more between 2002-2013. Big Pharma continues to get rich while Americans are being gouged. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is currently the only agency that is allowed to use the power of the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. We must also allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate drug prices to get a better deal on behalf of patients. I am a strong supporter of the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would legalize these negotiations and lower drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
#3: Improving and expanding Medicaid
The ACA provided health care to millions of people across the country. In Oregon, the ACA helped drop the state’s uninsured rate by 65 percent, granting access to affordable healthcare to nearly half a million people. We need to continue reducing the number of uninsured and find ways to improve Medicaid. This is not only about flexibility—it’s about expanding coverage in exchange for better performance. In states that didn’t expand Medicaid, a family of three earning just $8,870 a year makes too much to qualify for the program, but too little to qualify for a subsidy to purchase coverage on the health care exchange. This is a glaring gap in coverage for those who need it most. It’s crucial to give these so called “non-expansion” states more flexibility to expand Medicaid past this arbitrary line. In Oregon, the expansion of Medicaid was coupled with reforms to better coordinate health care and cover social services. As a result, Oregon covered more people while spending less. We need to allow more states to follow Oregon’s lead, and invest in reforms that expand coverage to aid more children, women, seniors, and people with disabilities. This will take us one step closer to expanding Medicaid for more Americans, in hopes of one day providing health care for all.
#4: Protecting women’s reproductive rights
Government should not interfere between health care decisions made between women, their families, and medical care providers. Throughout my career, I've worked to protect, support, and expand women’s reproductive rights. I have repeatedly voted against attempts to undermine a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, and I strongly oppose efforts to limit access to reproductive health services and defund Planned Parenthood. I am proud to represent Oregon, which recently passed legislation to protect a woman’s right to abortion care. Oregon insurers are also required to cover contraception, prenatal and postpartum care, screenings for reproductive cancers and STIs, and counseling for survivors of domestic violence. These comprehensive services should be available and affordable for all women and families in the United States, without burdensome costs and requirements or arbitrary waiting periods. As a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I’ve worked with my colleagues to introduce the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act and the Women's Health Protection Act. Together, these bills would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which currently prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion, and prohibit states from imposing strict and costly barriers on abortion providers and the people they serve. I also strongly support the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently block the Global Gag Rule, also known as the “Mexico City policy.” This current misguided policy, reinstated by the Trump Administration, bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services or that merely provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. Making sure the federal government is a stronger ally and partner to women and supports their reproductive rights is essential to a safer, healthier, and more economically secure America.
#5: Improving mental health care
We see more and more evidence that individuals in our community aren’t receiving critical, necessary mental health services. Emergency rooms and jails, sadly, are becoming primary sites of care for individuals in the midst of a mental health crisis. We must find better, more compassionate ways to help our most vulnerable who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. I was proud to help pass the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act last year. This legislation was a starting place for expanding federal resources and removing barriers towards mental health treatment. But more must be done. We need to invest in prevention, funding treatment, and building tools to provide care and healing for individuals with mental illness. Mental health treatment can be difficult to find. Oftentimes patients who seek help are placed on waiting lists or turned away for a lack of space or providers. There simply aren’t enough providers or mental health facilities. To address this, I support the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act, which would provide more funding and better loans to create new mental health and substance abuse treatment clinics. I also support the Medicare Mental Health Access Act, which would expand the types of mental health providers who can treat Medicare beneficiaries. Finally, I’m a strong advocate for the Medicaid Bump Act of 2017, which would increase funding for state Medicaid programs in order to provide more mental and behavioral health services. Together, these bills will help increase the number of clinics, providers, and incentives for states to provide services. I will continue to fight in Congress for better resources for mental health systems. These are issues that affect us all in our communities – it’s far past time that we stop ignoring them and find solutions that promote healing.
#6: Improving end-of-life care
Every patient should be empowered to receive health care consistent with their values, goals, and informed preferences and to have those care decisions honored by their family and providers. During passage of the ACA, I saw an opportunity to apply lessons learned in Oregon with its landmark comprehensive palliative care programs, which give patients more of a say about the medical treatment they want at the end of life. I worked to make sure that Congress included a payment for doctors to talk to patients and families about advance care planning in the ACA. Unfortunately, this provision wasn’t included in the final legislation due to a breakdown of the legislative process. After years of advocacy, Medicare finally designed a benefit allowing doctors to receive reimbursement for voluntary advance care planning conversations with their patients. Last year, for the first time, Medicare paid for these critical doctor-patient discussions in the same way it pays for any other medical service. My work to improve end-of-life care, however, is far from over. This year I introduced the bipartisan Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017. This legislation builds on our successes and will provide high-quality care for individuals with advanced illnesses and enhance training, resources, and tools for providers, patients, and their families. I’m proud to represent Oregon, which pioneered the death with dignity movement. Oregon law allows terminally-ill Oregonians to choose to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications prescribed by a physician. Patients and their doctors should have the ability to make these personal and private end-of-life decisions without federal interference. Everyone deserves to have their wishes for care understood, respected, and enforced.
#7: Advancing a thoughtful & compassionate approach to immigration reform
I’ve long supported a more rational, compassionate approach to immigration, including: 1) Comprehensively reforming our immigration system: We need comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the 11.3 million people currently living in the United States without documentation, providing them a clear path to citizenship. This is something that three-quarters of all Americans support, for undocumented residents who are law-abiding, tax-paying, and already part of the fabric of American life. 2) Keeping our commitment to DREAMers: Because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children were protected from deportation and able to work for a specified period of time. I have personally met many of these DREAMers, and they are some of the most determined, brave, and inspiring people I’ve ever known. They put their faith in us by registering for this program. We need to keep our commitment to them. Immigrants have always added to the diversity, character, and economic vitality of our communities. This diversity is what makes our country great. A compassionate and thoughtful approach to immigration reform is long overdue. I will continue working to make such reform a reality.
#8: Encouraging innovation in health care
As we debate changes to our overall health care system, there are things that we can do now to bring health care costs down and improve care. How we deliver care to patients with kidney disease – specifically end-stage renal disease (ESRD) – can be improved. Most patients suffering from kidney failure visit dialysis clinics three times a week. These visits are time-consuming, and typically are not the only medical services dialysis patients require on a weekly basis. I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to let kidney disease patients receive primary care and other necessary health services while they’re at dialysis clinics – improving their care while saving valuable time and money for patients and providers. Often, it’s not necessary to spend more money to deliver care. Rather, we need to spend our dollars more wisely to improve the value of care delivered. I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to implement Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID) in our health care system. This legislation would lower or remove out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and services for patients with chronic conditions, helping to reduce long-term costs and improve health overall. It is an efficient, common-sense way to provide an economic incentive to help more people receive the care they need. Congress needs to challenge conventional thinking to develop innovative, cost-effective, and compassionate policies that make a real difference for patients across the country. Kidney care and Value-Based Insurance Design are just two examples and a good start.
#9: Addressing income inequality & ensuring a living wage
It’s no secret that income inequality is a major issue plaguing America today. The richest 400 Americans have more money than the combined wealth of the bottom 61 percent of the country, more than 194 million people. It is clear that we need to create a more equitable society, where every American earns a living wage for their honest work. In 2016, nearly 48 million people earned an annual income of $15,000 or less. That’s barely enough to live on, and certainly not enough to support a family. Today’s federal minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour. It’s out of date with the modern economy, and it’s not keeping up with inflation. Raising the minimum wage would help lift American families out of poverty and encourage spending, investment, and economic growth. It’s promising to see individual cities and states – including Oregon – take steps to help workers, but Congress must act as well. That’s why I joined Reps. Keith Ellison and Bobby Scott to introduce the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage incrementally to $15 an hour by 2024. People also need to be compensated fairly for overtime work. I support reducing the exceptions to overtime pay requirements in the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires businesses to pay workers time and a half if they work more than 40 hours in a week. But employees with a salary over $23,660 aren’t eligible for overtime pay, a figure that has not been adjusted for inflation or revisited since 2004. This needs to change. Another way to lift living standards and worker’s pay is to increase and expand the earned income tax credit (EITC). This tax credit is targeted to increase the wages of the lowest income workers, particularly those with children. It is simple, effective, and has bipartisan support. It’s time to raise and expand the EITC, using the tax code to help people who deserve it most. In addition to these steps, we must once and for all fix our broken tax code to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
#10: Ensuring paid family leave
Americans should not be forced to choose between taking care of a sick family member or earning an income. Whether it’s taking care of an aging parent, a sick spouse, or a newborn, paid family leave creates a positive work-life balance. We are the only industrialized country to not have paid family leave on the national level, and that is an embarrassment. I support the FAMILY Act, which would ensure that workers can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member. Having a family member who requires extra assistance is a heavy responsibility on its own, and with the added stress of balancing a job, it can be entirely overwhelming. We should not require employees to choose between their familial responsibilities and their paycheck.
#11: Holding Wall Street accountable
The 2008 crisis was among the greatest challenges that our country ever faced. Eight million jobs were lost. Housing values crashed, leaving millions of families faced with foreclosure, bankruptcy, and homelessness. Billions of dollars of retiree savings were wiped out, while massive taxpayer-financed bailouts were implemented. The crisis also ushered in a financial anxiety that threatened the entire world’s financial system. The resulting panic hindered growth and negatively impacted the global economy for over six years. To make sure that a crisis like this doesn’t happen again, we should regulate, prosecute, and defend. We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era bank regulation that helped promote stability in the financial industry. Not only would it remove unnecessary complexity from the financial markets, but it would also limit some types of risky bets that contributed to the Great Recession. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) was created to rein in Wall Street, end taxpayer bailouts of big banks, and protect consumers. Among the most important provisions of this legislation is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Just as American consumers are protected from products that can cause serious physical harm, they should also be protected from products that can cause financial ruin. Extending homeowners the same financial status in bankruptcy as speculators is another simple protection we should put in place. People who speculate in multiple real estate properties can use bankruptcy laws to alter their loan balances and interest rates. If homeowners were treated similarly, we could have kept hundreds of thousands of people in their homes and forced banks to be more responsible lenders. We should prosecute wrongdoers. Sending people to jail will send a message. All of the people in U.S. prisons collectively have not stolen as much with guns as the American public, pension funds, and businesses lost in the near meltdown of the economy. Every time someone illegally profits from a financial transaction, someone else loses. Crooks, whatever the color of their collars, should be held accountable. Finally, we must defend the progress we made during the Obama administration, and block the concerted effort by some in the finance industry to hijack consumer protections and rebuild them in their favor. Regulation like Dodd-Frank and regulatory agencies like the CFPB protect people from irresponsible business practices and ensures that they do not pay the price for others’ illegal actions.
#12: Accelerating to a clean energy future
Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time, and the United States is a major contributor to this problem. We have an obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and lead in clean energy development. That’s why I’m fighting to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency in Congress. I’m proud to represent Oregon, long recognized for cutting-edge development and support of renewable energy industries, energy conservation, green building, sustainable transportation, and smart growth. My state, along with others, is committed to acting on climate and upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Congress should heed these examples and continue America on the path toward a clean energy future. Whether through tax provisions that level the playing field for renewables, increasing energy efficiency, or pricing carbon, our ultimate goal should be a 100% renewable energy economy. I support legislation that lays the groundwork for this transition, as well as legislation that invests in energy efficiency upgrades for our schools and public buildings. I strongly support taxes on carbon emissions to ensure that polluters pay their fair share and that renewable energy industries have a chance to thrive on a level playing field. The renewable energy sector is growing faster than ever, but we have no time to waste. We must invest in these technologies and complementary initiatives to move our economy toward 100% clean, renewable power. Let’s lead the world in conservation and clean energy production.
#13: Putting a price on carbon emissions
As a nation, and as a world, we are far too reliant on burning fossil fuels for energy. Consuming this wasteful, expensive energy source degrades our environment and creates harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The scientific evidence and consensus behind the impact of these emissions is clear – climate change is bringing record temperatures, erratic and dangerous weather patterns, social disruption, and more severe ocean acidification, drought, disease, and wildfires. We have a moral responsibility to reverse this trend and drastically limit the carbon pollution from our energy sector. It’s past time for the federal government to put a price on carbon emissions. A carbon tax is a starting point to reduce emissions and support a more rapid transition to a clean energy future in a straightforward, cost-effective manner. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation that would impose a fee on America’s biggest polluters. Making sure that fossil fuel companies pay their fair share helps level the playing field by pricing dirty energy accurately – so clean energy can better compete. To ensure that the American people aren’t hurt by this price on carbon, part of the fee would be returned to the public every year as a refundable tax credit. Additional funds would be used to help vulnerable communities who might be impacted by higher heating and electricity bills. Another portion of the revenue would be used to help us avoid the looming Social Security crisis. When paired with investments in public transit, affordable housing, and clean energy jobs, particularly in those communities most impacted by climate change, this bill can kick-start much-needed climate action. A carbon tax could generate trillions of dollars, replacing expensive and often conflicting energy subsidies. We could reduce the threat of climate change while making the tax system simpler and fairer. This is a non-partisan, non-ideological, widely-supported and critical step forward. Instead of debating policies of division and denial, it’s time for us to come together and support a carbon tax that can solve multiple problems and meet our obligations to future generations.
#14: Protecting our public lands
America’s public lands are national treasures, and we all share responsibility for their conservation. Millions of acres have been set aside to protect cultural resources, wildlife habitat, water quality, outdoor recreation opportunities, and more. These public lands – mountains, rivers, forests, deserts, and cultural sites – belong to all Americans and should be preserved for the use and enjoyment of future generations. From defending our National Monuments to supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund to advocating for more Wild and Scenic Rivers and other conservation designations, I am working to protect special and wild places. Our public lands should be kept in public hands, and Congress should expand designations to protect wildlife habitat, water quality, outdoor recreation, and cultural resources.
#15: Banning offshore drilling
The United States must act to protect fragile and vulnerable areas from offshore drilling. We need to preserve natural ecosystems across the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, which is why I strongly support permanently protecting these waters from drilling that could irreversibly damage habitat, impact water quality, and affect natural processes in our oceans and on our shores. My colleagues and I have developed legislation to ban offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and off the U.S. West Coast. We must protect our oceans. Rather than drilling in some of the most ecologically sensitive regions in the world, we should support programs that reduce pollution and quickly transition our economy and energy sector to a clean, sustainable future. Our legacy should be one of conservation, careful investment in preservation of precious natural resources, and protection of human health and our fragile climate.
#16: Making housing affordable for EVERYONE
America has enjoyed a resurgence of urban centers and increased demand for walkable and livable neighborhoods. But communities, including my hometown of Portland, have struggled to keep pace with building and preserving affordable housing as market forces drive up prices and fuel redevelopment. This hits seniors, low-income people, and even middle-income families, especially hard. This requires a swift, decisive, and comprehensive response. I will continue to strongly support efforts to help struggling homeowners and improve access to affordable housing. We need to give communities the tools to incentivize building low-cost housing and protect or even expand Section 8 housing vouchers. We all must continue supporting programs like the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program. These investments are particularly important for the Portland metropolitan area. Housing, just like highways and schools, is critical infrastructure. It requires maintenance and development. I worked with the Federal Transit Administration to make it easier to build affordable housing along transit routes so that livable communities are accessible to people of all income levels. I’ve also sponsored legislation to improve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to better leverage private investment and spur affordable housing development. With the right combination of ingenuity and resources, we can solve this problem. Both citizens and government need to take an active role in developing affordable housing.
#17: Making college affordable
With rapid changes in technology and the relentless pace of automation, now more than ever, Americans want a college degree to compete in the global economy. That said, the skyrocketing cost of tuition puts college out of reach for too many people. Nationally, the average student attending a four-year college leaves with over $30,000 in student debt. This should be unacceptable. This crisis is why I support the College for All Act, which eliminates tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for families making under $125,000 a year. It also allows Americans to refinance their student loans, and prevents the government from profiting from student loan programs. I will continue to advocate for strong and consistent federal support for education and initiatives that invest in the next generation. This also means we must reign in for-profit colleges, which often leave students with mountains of debt, worthless degrees, and little to no transferrable skills to get a job. Every American should have the opportunity to get an education, regardless of socioeconomic status. Access to a quality public education is critical to create a level playing field for all and a stronger America.
#18: Establishing more rational nuclear policies
I’ve worked throughout my career to reduce the development and threat of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are dangerous, costly, and don’t help us deal with the strategic challenges we face today. For the sake of our safety, global stability and fiscal sanity, and for future generations, we need a more rational approach: 1) The decision to use a nuclear weapon should never be made by one person alone. Earlier this year, I joined Representative Ted Lieu to introduce H.R. 669, legislation prohibiting any president—including the present one—from conducting a first-use nuclear strike without prior authorization from Congress; 2) Our defense budget is already bloated, yet we’re going to spend over $1 trillion dollars over the next 30 years on upgrading our entire nuclear arsenal. We need to stop this madness. The United States already has enough of these weapons to destroy the earth multiple times. This nuclear weapons escalation will build a force far beyond what we need, can afford, or should use. I introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act to reduce or eliminate redundant nuclear weapons programs, while saving the United States more than $100 billion over the next 10 years. This money would be better spent on helping veterans and supporting our troops, not to mention on roads, bridges, schools, and education; and 3) The United States should also lead efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, not encourage proliferation. We must support key international treaties that hold countries accountable and lead by example. Establishing more rational nuclear policies is the best expression of American leadership for a more peaceful future.
#19: Ensuring people are rewarded—not punished—for pursuing higher education
Over 44 million Americans are faced with student loan debt. With rising tuition prices, students are struggling to pursue an education without jeopardizing their future. In Oregon, over 40,000 students take out need-based loans every year, and the average college student’s debt is $14,000. Students graduate, hopeful for their future, but are burdened by an overwhelming amount of student debt they may never be able to pay off. We need to increase support for higher education and grants for students, but that’s not enough. While banks and businesses can refinance public and private loans at a lower rate, students cannot refinance student loans. I support the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to allow students to take advantage of lower interest rates and save money. I also support the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act to encourage employers to provide educational assistance, including loan repayment, for employees. This way, individuals can both make a living and pay off their debt in a reasonable time. Educational debt is holding back an entire generation. Congress must do everything within its power to change the system so that young people will be rewarded, not punished, for pursuing a higher education.
#20: Keeping dark money out of politics
“Dark” special interest money is a direct threat to our democracy. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC was a radical step toward unraveling the modest campaign finance controls that were in place, and escalated the campaign spending arms race. Citizens and their issues are drowned out by hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on political campaigns, with no limits, transparency, or accountability. The numbers don’t lie. In the 2008 election cycle, before the Citizens United ruling, outside spending accounted for $338 million. In 2016, six years post-decision, outside spending was at $1.4 billion. That’s a 300 percent increase. Corporations are not people. We must keep dark money out of politics, and make elections and campaigns about the people’s issues. That is why I am a strong advocate for the following three critical bills: H.J.Res. 48: Amends the U.S. Constitution to provide that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only, not corporations. H.J.Res. 31, the Democracy for All amendment: Amends the U.S. Constitution to reverse highly controversial Supreme Court decisions, like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC, which have given corporations and America’s wealthiest donors the right to buy unlimited influence in our elections. H.R. 1134, the DISCLOSE Act: Requires all corporations, unions, and Super PACs to report to the FEC within 24 hours of making a $10,000 campaign expenditure and requires that corporations paying for public communications and advertisements are publicly disclosed. We need to make sure that people have faith that their government works for them. Without rolling back Citizens United and enacting broader campaign finance reform, this will be difficult to achieve.
#21: Expanding access to the ballot
The individual right to vote, the cornerstone of our representative democracy, is under threat across America. In 2016, 14 states had new restrictions on voting in place for the first time in a presidential election – disproportionately targeting minority and low-income voters. I’m working to remove barriers to voting by promoting Oregon’s successful automatic voter registration and vote-by-mail systems at the national level. Senator Ron Wyden and I introduced the Vote By Mail Act to expand automatic voter registration and vote by mail to all. I also joined Rep. David Cicilline to introduce the Automatic Voter Registration Act. Automatic voter registration and vote-by-mail are commonsense solutions that are highly effective, reduce opportunities for cheating and mistakes, cost less, and provide more reliable voting results. Oregon voters are given almost four hundred hours to examine the issues and return the ballot either by mail or in person, leading to some of the highest voter turnout in the nation. With the implementation of automatic voter registration in Oregon in 2016, voter turnout among eligible young (age 18-29) voters increased by 7 percent since the 2012 election – evidence that this reform is useful in increasing access to the ballot for these highly mobile new voters. More and more states are following Oregon’s lead. It’s time to expand these programs nationally. We must protect voting as a fundamental right – and any attempts to undermine it must be stopped.
#22: Publicly funding campaigns
“Dark” special interest money has infiltrated our campaigns in the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. FEC decision. It is critical that we make our elections about the people, not about ultra-rich special interests. One way to reduce special interest influence is to publicly finance campaigns. I joined my colleagues to introduce the Government By the People Act. This legislation would substantially reduce the influence of dark money, diversify the pool of political candidates, and encourage campaigns to build bases of small donors and real people. By publicly funding campaigns, along with other reforms, we can ensure that money does not act as a barrier to democracy. Everyone should have an equal chance, regardless of support of secret mega donors.