WASHINGTON, DC – Greek-American Congressman John P Sarbanes represents Maryland’s Third Congressional District and on December 30 shared the following year in review of his 2021 legislative work:
“As we reach the final days of 2021, I would like to provide an update on several issues I know you care deeply about. In addition to passing bills that will help Marylanders make it through the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild our economy, I have worked to advance these key priorities:
Protecting our Democracy. The House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping package of democracy reforms that I introduced as Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force. Now, the Senate is considering a reformulation of this critical legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA). FTVA would ensure all Americans have a voice and vote in our democracy. It would also increase transparency about the role of money in politics, combat election sabotage and prohibit partisan gerrymandering. Along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, this legislation would safeguard our democracy, and I believe it will be passed into law soon.
Lowering Health Care Costs. I voted to advance the Build Back Better Act which is now awaiting action in the Senate. This legislation would making health care more affordable by capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, limiting cost-sharing for insulin to $35 per month, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, extending the American Rescue Plan’s health insurance premium reductions through 2025 and expanding Medicare to help older Americans pay for hearing aids. It would also allow the federal government to negotiate for lower drug costs for seniors. It’s high time we held pharmaceutical companies accountable for excessive prescription drug costs. It’s the only way to ensure Americans will have access to lifesaving medications.
Fighting Climate Change. I voted for legislation that would transition us to a clean energy economy, create good-paying green jobs, reduce pollution and help to protect our environment. I also supported the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to boost Maryland’s resilience against climate change-related events. Additionally, I have long pushed for the federal government to lead by example in transitioning to energy efficiency. I was glad President Biden recently announced his plan to reduce emissions across federal buildings and vehicles.
Protecting the Chesapeake Bay. My advocacy helped to secure the Biden Administration’s restoration of Clean Water Act protections for the Chesapeake Bay and many waterways, which will curb pollution and support our region’s economy. I also supported legislation to improve ecosystem management and increase environmental education.
Bolstering Student Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants. After years of calling for reform to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, I am pleased that the Biden Administration is overhauling the program. This will increase qualifying payments for as many as 550,000 borrowers with previously consolidated loans and take other steps to make it easier for borrowers to get the loan forgiveness they deserve.
I’ve pushed forward on legislation to support our veterans, protect DREAMers, enhance background checks, empower American workers, close the wage gap and strengthen anti-discrimination protections.
I’ve also been able to help many Marylanders navigate federal agencies or access important federal benefits. To date, my office has: Resolved over 3,110 issues involving federal agencies in 2021, including nearly 650 Marylanders struggling to access unemployment assistance and many applying for passports, experiencing issues with the Internal Revenue Service and dealing with the U.S. Postal Service.
If you or your family need help with these issues, please send me an email or call (410) 832-8890 during normal business hours. My staff and I are here to help.
I look forward to serving you in Congress in 2022. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, healthy new year.”