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House passes Protect Our Democracy Act to curb presidential abuses of power

<i>Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images</i><br/>The House voted 220-208 on December 9 to pass the
Getty Images
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
The House voted 220-208 on December 9 to pass the "Protect Our Democracy" Act

By Kristin Wilson, CNN

The House voted 220-208 on Thursday to pass the Protect Our Democracy Act, which addresses presidential abuses of power and reinforces the checks and balances between the branches of government.

One Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted with all the Democrats for the bill.

The bill now faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where 60 votes are required for passage.

The bill, which has support from the White House, aims to strengthen guardrails that were tested by former President Donald Trump, including limitation on presidential pardons, the requirement for candidates for president and vice president to submit their personal tax returns for 10 years, and the acceptance of any foreign or domestic emoluments.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation, originally introduced in September 2020 and reintroduced this past September, echoes changes that were made following the Nixon presidency.

“Just as after Watergate Congress worked to enact reforms, so we must now examine the cracks in the Democratic foundation and address them,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference after the bill passed that it “ensures the strength and survival of a democracy of, by and for the people, defending the rule of law, revitalizing our system of checks and balances and restoring our democratic institutions.”

“This legislation ensures that no one, not even a president, no matter who he or she may be, is above the law,” Pelosi said.

House Republicans railed against the bill, saying it is just another attempt to attack the former President.

“This bill is yet another attempt by the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, to retroactively attack President Trump, even after the Democrat Russia collusion allegations have been repeatedly debunked,” Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas said.

Republicans also suggested that, should they regain the majority, they would wield investigative power into the executive branch.

“I’m very happy that in all of the investigations conducted by the Intelligence Committee, Oversight Committee, that they did not find one ounce of wrongdoing committed by the (former) President,” Republican Rep. Jim Comer of Tennessee said. “I’m also happy they investigated the (former) President’s children — President Trump’s children. I think that’s fair game, and I can promise the American people that very soon, there will be that type of oversight for the Biden administration, and the President’s son, Hunter.”

“So, that’s coming,” Comer said.

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

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CNN’s Clare Foran contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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