House Democrats Introduce Bill to Limit Executive Power

In this April 21, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump poses for a portrait in the Oval Office in Washington after an interview with The Associated Press.Andrew Harnik / AP
Andrew Harnik / AP

House Democrats introduced a bill on Tuesday to enact limits on executive power exercised by the President of the United States.

The Protecting Our Democracy Act, if passed, is meant to limit the power of the president as Democrats have argued the power has gradually grown over the years, which some believe delivers a threat to the separation of powers.

The New York Times reported the bill, which is being led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), makes it harder for President Joe Biden and future presidents to take a series of actions:

  • Offering or bestowing pardons in situations that raise suspicion of corruption;
  • Refusing to respond to oversight subpoenas;
  • Spending or secretly freezing funds contrary to congressional appropriations;
  • Firing inspectors general or retaliating against whistle-blowers; and
  • Taking “emoluments” or payments while in office, including from commercial transactions.

Reportedly the Democrats have been working with the White House on the proposals. Schiff said in the press release announcing the bill:

While Donald Trump is no longer president, the fault lines he exposed in the foundation of our democracy remain — ready for a future unethical president to exploit. These weaknesses continue to erode the American people’s trust in our democratic institutions and the norms that are essential to a functioning democracy.

“As Congress pursues its mission to strengthen and protect our democracy for future generations, these reforms will help ensure that we can keep our cherished republic,” the Democrat added.

During a press conference with various committee chairs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) did not mention any time frame for the bill. However, Schiff said he hoped the legislation would be brought up “this fall” and hopefully will pass the House.

The bill will meet opposition in the Senate, since to pass the bill, ten Republican senators would need to join all the Democrats in the Senate to bring the bill to a vote.

Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.


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