Swalwell Launches Petition Demanding Floor Vote on Bill to Create Independent Commission on Russian Interference
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Co-Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on Wednesday launched a petition to force a House Floor vote on H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act.
Swalwell and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced the bill in December and again in January (for the 115th Congress) to establish a 12-member, bipartisan-appointed, independent commission that would investigate Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 elections, and recommend how to prevent this from happening in the future.
H.R. 356 is co-sponsored by all House Democrats and by two Republican Members, but has been denied a hearing in committee. This petition, if signed by a majority of House Members, would move the bill directly to the House Floor for an up-or-down vote.
“The time to answer Russia’s attack on our democracy is now,” Swalwell said. “Mounting questions about the President’s ties to Russia, and his continued efforts to obstruct investigations, has come at a steep cost. It has made a mess of our country and has brought our ability as lawmakers to help our economy to a halt. It’s time to have an independent commission look at what Russia did, tell us whether any U.S. persons were complicit, and recommend reforms to make sure this never happens again.
“Russia intends to attack us again,” Swalwell added. “And by the look of things around Washington – the failure of Republicans to protect our democracy – they’ll be even more successful next time. This petition is a courage call for Republicans to unite with Democrats and say that we will do everything we can to protect our country.”
Swalwell and Cummings, along with Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14), House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (CA-28), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Rep. Ruben Kihuen (NV-04), announced the petition at a news conference Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.
The discharge petition process is rarely used, but has been successful in compelling votes on bills in the past – most recently, a bipartisan group of members signed a discharge petition in 2015 that led to the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.