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Merkley Joins Other Democrats In Calling For 'Restored Democracy'

Brian Bull

As the 116th Congress gets underway, a pair of legislative proposals are being announced – including one by Oregon’s Senator, Jeff Merkley - that Democrats say are key to restoring American democracy.

House Democrats say HR 1 is their primary agenda item. Advocates of the bill say it aims to eliminate gerrymandering, ensure transparency for political donations, and ensure fair elections…among other things.  

Senator Jeff Merkley is also unveiling a similar package this session, which he says tackles big corporate interests within politics.

“So I’m laying out the way we can restore the vision of our Constitution and produce government for and by the people," Merkley tells KLCC. "Right now if you look at the bills that’ve been passed, largely what we’re seeing is, government by and for the privileged and the powerful.”

Merkley concedes that Senate Republicans aren’t likely to act on his legislation, nor is President Trump expected to sign off on it. But the Democratic packages – deemed the “We the People” platform – are expected to serve as blueprints throughout the session and into the next campaign season.

And while Democrats have officially taken control of the House of Representatives as of today, the partial government shutdown seems no nearer a resolution than it was last month.

Credit California National Guard / Flickr.com
President Donald Trump, while visiting California last year.

Merkley says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t putting the House Democrat’s measure to end the shutdown onto the Senate Floor, as it lacks President Trump’s approval.

"This Trump and Republican shutdown is absolutely horrific for 800,000 American workers, many of which are being forced to work without pay.  It’s all due to a temper tantrum from the President.”

The stalemate is over funding levels for security along the U.S. – Mexican border. Trump wants $5 billion  to create a wall, while Democrats are proposing roughly a quarter of that amount.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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