WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, July 27, House Democrats reintroduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA), a large-scale package of pro-democracy reforms. The bill seeks to strengthen congressional oversight of the executive branch, limit foreign interference in elections and strengthen ethics and accountability laws, among other provisions.
The bill was first introduced in 2020 in response to abuses of presidential power by former President Donald Trump, and then reintroduced in 2021. It passed the House last Congress in a bipartisan vote, but was filibustered by Republicans in the Senate. Two provisions of PODA separately became law through an omnibus spending bill in 2022, one which clarified that inspectors general alone can determine whether a whistleblower report presents an urgent concern and the other which increased transparency for how the Office of Management and Budget allocates money for agencies.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Limit corruptive presidential pardons by preventing presidents from pardoning of their family and friends,
- Strengthen Congress’ ability to enforce congressional subpoenas,
- Require federal campaign reporting of foreign contacts,
- Prevent abuse of the National Emergencies Act, which paved the way for congressional oversight of presidential emergency declarations,
- Reinforce protections for federal whistleblowers,
- Require inspectors general to be removed only with cause,
- Strengthen the enforcement of the Hatch Act and more.