Press Releases

Rep. Porter Introduces New Legislation to Restore Trust in Congress

Package of five bills would crack down on special interest lobbying, promote bipartisanship

Today, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) introduced five bills that will help Congress function more effectively and curb the influence of special interests in government. Research shows there is a growing appetite from the American people for government reform and modernization. The 118th Congress has been one of the least effective in history, suggesting that Capitol Hill is in need of updated workplace policies and reforms that would help Congress better represent the American people.

“Americans deserve a Congress that works for them—not for special interests or a politician’s personal profit,” said Rep. Porter. “My proposals would help Congress function more efficiently, promote bipartisan cooperation, and reduce the damaging influence of special interest lobbyists in Washington. These bills would strengthen our democracy and go a long way toward restoring Americans’ trust in Congress.”

The Legislative Proxy and Absence Accommodation Resolution would keep Congress functioning and give the American people the representation they deserve when a Member cannot work in-person. This proposal allows Members to take a set number of excused days for sick leave, family and medical leave, parental leave, bereavement leave, public service leave, and adverse weather leave. When Members take leave, which is often unavoidable, this resolution would allow voting by proxy on the House floor and in committees to keep constituents represented. Information about absences will be tracked by the Clerk and publicly available for all to view.

The Majority Rule Resolution updates voting procedures in both the House and the Senate to prevent undemocratic voting thresholds that keep Congress from carrying out the people’s business. It requires each chamber to have a simple majority threshold for procedural votes that bring bills to the floor. 

The Congressional Bipartisan Seating Resolution codifies a bipartisan recommendation from the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to alternate seating during committee hearings with Members of opposite parties. Currently, Members sit with their own party on separate sides of committee rooms. Rep. Porter’s proposal is intended to foster bipartisanship among elected officials and nurture a more collaborative and productive working environment in Congress.

The Lobbying Disclosure Modernization Act consolidates information about who is lobbying Congress into one accessible site. Current law makes it hard for the public to identify federal lobbyists who are paid on behalf of special interests to shape policy in Washington. This bill would establish a single lobbying disclosure database for the public to search. 

The Block the Revolving Door Act creates a uniform, two-year post-employment ban on lobbying for former Members of Congress and other senior government officials. This commonsense legislation would eliminate different standards for various branches of government and prevent former government employees from using their government contacts for commercial gain. 

“It’s imperative that Congressional policies are updated to ensure our government functions efficiently to address the concerns of the American people and meet the ever-evolving demands of our democracy,” said Tiffany Muller, President of End Citizens United // Let America Vote Action Fund, which endorsed Rep. Porter’s legislative package. “Congresswoman Porter’s Government Modernization Package will bring much-needed change to Congress by updating archaic procedures that stall the important work being done to improve the lives of working families. These commonsense reforms will guarantee elected officials are able to work towards good policies, while operating independently of special interests. We applaud her continued leadership in building a better government for the people.” 

Along with End Citizens United // Let America Vote, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Public Citizen, and Project on Government Oversight (POGO) endorsed Rep. Porter’s government modernization package. 

Throughout her time in Congress, Rep. Porter has been a strong advocate for government reform and transparency. As the founder and co-chair of the End Corruption Caucus, she firmly believes that transparency and accountability are the building blocks to restore the Americans’ trust in government. Last month, Rep. Porter introduced the landmark bipartisan Presidential Ethics Reform Act, which would require the president, vice president, and their families to disclose conflicts of interest, tax returns, foreign payments and gifts, loans, and family use of government travel. She also introduced the STOCK Act 2.0 to ban stock trading for government officials and require the disclosure of financial conflicts of interest in Congress and other branches of government. Last year, Rep. Porter reintroduced her Congress at Work Act to provide more visibility into how Congressmembers spend their time and her Transparency in Taxpayer-Funded Travel Act to hold government officials accountable for abusing taxpayer funds when traveling.