This letter is a eulogy for the Protecting Our Democracy Act that died in the U.S. Senate. June 9th will be six months since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the admirable bill and June 13th will be six months since the Senate received it. The Senate has chosen not to pass it as written nor has it offered any suggested changes; it has, in effect, allowed this important bill to die.
The Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA) is a much needed package of reforms. Its express purpose is to strengthen America’s democratic institutions and create guardrails to prevent abuses of power and corruption at the highest levels of government. Our founding fathers’ strong belief in the rule of law created the Constitution to make America a country ruled by laws, not by men. The PODA’s reforms, many of which have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the past, will restore the federal government’s system of checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and protect America’s elections from foreign interference.
I’m not listing all of the dozen reforms, but I will give two examples:
Self pardons by the President are prohibited to ensure that no president is above the law.
The statute of limitations for federal offenses committed by a sitting President or Vice-President is suspended.
The Republican Senators who did not approve of the reforms in the Protecting Our Democracy Act know that it was the misdeeds of Donald
Trump during his presidency that promoted the need for the reforms. In
anticipation of their lack of support of the PODA, the Washington Post’s
Editorial Board wrote on 1/12/21:
“Republican Senators should be willing to work with Democrats to enact rules that advance no ideology except accountable government. Those who refuse only prove that democracy isn’t what they’re interested in protecting after all.”
I appeal to the Senate to uphold their oath to protect the Constitution and to please revive the Protecting Our Democracy Act and vote for it, as written, without delay.
Harriet B. Wertman, Santa Monica