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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.

Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez still discussing revolving door bill

Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?

To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."

The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.

The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.

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Open Government
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The United States Capitol

War on lobbying profession is discrimination for political gain

Miller is president of the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics and principal of the lobbying firm Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies.

Attacking lobbyists isn't a new phenomenon, it's been happening for decades. It happens every election cycle when candidates troll for cash and votes. It happens when Washington is gridlocked. It's an easy way for some to dodge the hard questions from constituents about why things aren't getting done in D.C. It's easier to simply blame those damn special interests for shutting down the process than it is to explain your own actions.

What's new is the growing intensity against everyone's right to petition their government — even if it means playing fast and loose with the Constitution. I get that a lot of this is for the public and ensuring candidates get elected.

The problem with that belief is that we are a social-media-driven society that can quickly turn fake news into real news (or reality) within minutes. The concerning part isn't the words, but how quickly the information is shared and how little facts play into it being viewed as truth.

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Where the presidential candidates stand on the top issues of democracy reform

This story has been revised after additional reporting.

Steadily if still softly, anxiety about the health of American democracy has become at least a secondary theme in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Proposals for restoring the public's faith in elections, and a sense of fairness in our governing system, have now earned a place on most of the candidates' platforms. And more and more of them have been including calls for democracy reform in their stump speeches.

To be sure, the topic has not come close to the top tier of issues driving the opening stages of the campaign. In the first round of candidate debates last month, for example, the contenders collectively spent less time talking about democracy's ills than eight other issues: health care, President Trump's record, immigration, social policy, economic inequality, gun control, foreign policy and the environment.

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Ross Marchand takes issue with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who claims that lawmakers cannot afford two homes on their $174,000 annual salary when the median household income in D.C. is half that amount.

It makes no sense to give lawmakers more cents

Marchand is the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

"We want a raise!" is a sentiment that many can relate to ... up to a point. Even though congressional salaries have been frozen for a decade (at $174,000 a year plus generous benefits), taxpayers across the country are understandably outraged that members of Congress are trying to vote themselves a raise. The issue appears to have been shelved for the time being, but will surely be back on the agenda sooner rather than later.

Some supporters of a pay hike argue that even higher compensation would attract better talent and deter members of Congress from pursuing lucrative lobbying jobs at the end of their tenure. In reality, America is stuck with the same jokers whether their salaries are set at $1 or $1,000,000. The best that taxpayers can do is hold members of Congress accountable for their reckless spending. The best Congress can do is to actually do something to prove they have earned the raise.

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