Today in the United States House of Representatives:
1ST SESSION H. RES. 789 [pdf]
Censuring Representative Paul Gosar.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
NOVEMBER 12, 2021
Censuring Representative Paul Gosar.
Whereas, on November 7, 2021, Representative Paul Gosar posted a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joseph Biden;
Whereas the video was posted on Representative Gosar’s official Instagram account and used the resources of the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials;
Whereas Representative Gosar issued a statement on November 9, 2021, defending the video as a ‘‘symbolic cartoon’’ and spreading hateful and false rhetoric about immigrants;
Whereas the leadership of the Republican Party has failed to condemn Representative Gosar’s threats of violence against the President of the United States and a fellow Member of Congress;
Whereas the Speaker of the House made clear that threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States should not be tolerated and called on the Committee on Ethics of the House and law enforcement to investigate the video;
Whereas depictions of violence can foment actual violence and jeopardize the safety of elected officials, as witnessed in this chamber on January 6, 2021;
Whereas violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon meant to silence women and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted;
Whereas a 2016 survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union found that 82 percent of women parliamentarians have experienced psychological violence and 44 percent received threats of death, sexual violence, beatings, or abduction during their term;
and Whereas the participation of women in politics makes our government more representative and just:
Now, therefore, be it
(1) Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona be censured;
(2) Representative Paul Gosar forthwith present himself in the well of the House of Rep6 resentatives for the pronouncement of censure; and
(3) Representative Paul Gosar be censured with the public reading of this resolution by the Speaker.
Endorsing and supporting Paul Gosar (r):
Vicky Hartzler (r) [2021 file photo].
Billy Long (r) [2021 file photo]
Blaine Luetkemeyer (r)[2021 file photo]
Jason Smith (r) [2021 file photo]
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 379
H RES 789 YEA-AND-NAY 17-Nov-2021 4:27 PM
QUESTION: On Agreeing to the Resolution
BILL TITLE: Censuring Representative Paul Gosar
—- YEAS 223 —
—- NAYS 207 —
—- ANSWERED “PRESENT” 1 —
—- NOT VOTING 3 —
When people show you who the really are – believe them.
Finally, late last night, “Infrastructure Week – Part 1”:
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 369
H R 3684 YEA-AND-NAY 5-Nov-2021 11:24 PM
QUESTION: On Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment
BILL TITLE: INVEST in America Act
—- YEAS 228 —
—- NAYS 206 —
Anyone thinking that all of the projects should go to Kansas City?
Roy Blunt (r) [2016 file photo].
In the Senate, August 10, 2021:
Roll Call Vote 117th Congress – 1st Session
Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 3684, As Amended)
Vote Number: 314
Vote Date: August 10, 2021, 11:17 AM
Required For Majority: 1/2
Vote Result: Bill Passed
Measure Number: H.R. 3684 (INVEST in America Act)
Measure Title: A bill to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
Not Voting 1
Joe Biden (D) [2020 file photo].
From President Joe Biden:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2021
Statement by President Joe Biden on the House Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation.
The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.
It will create good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Jobs that will transform our transportation system with the most significant investments in passenger and freight rail, roads, bridges, ports, airports, and public transit in generations.
This will make it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly and reduce supply chain bottlenecks now and for decades to come. This will ease inflationary pressures and lower costs for working families.
The bill will create jobs replacing lead water pipes so every family can drink clean water.
It will make high-speed internet affordable and available everywhere in America.
This bill will make historic and significant strides that take on the climate crisis. It will build out the first-ever national network of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. We will get America off the sidelines on manufacturing solar panels, wind farms, batteries, and electric vehicles to grow these supply chains, reward companies for paying good wages and for sourcing their materials from here in the United States, and allow us to export these products and technologies to the world.
It will also make historic investments in environmental clean-up and remediation, and build up our resilience for the next superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that cost us billions of dollars in damage each year.
I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15th.
The Build Back Better Act will be a once-in-a-generation investment in our people.
It will lower bills for healthcare, child care, elder care, prescription drugs, and preschool. And middle-class families get a tax cut.
This bill is also fiscally responsible, fully paid for, and doesn’t raise the deficit. It does so by making sure the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share and doesn’t raise taxes a single cent on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.
I look forward to signing both of these bills into law.
Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century.
And from the White House:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2021
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
Today, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure. The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.
This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.
This historic legislation will:
Deliver clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will invest $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and child care centers all across the country. From rural towns to struggling cities, the legislation will invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
Ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet. Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country. And, according to the latest OECD data, among 35 countries studied, the United States has the second highest broadband costs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access.
Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users. In the United States, 1 in 5 miles of highways and major roads, and 45,000 bridges, are in poor condition. The legislation will reauthorize surface transportation programs for five years and invest $110 billion in additional funding to repair our roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal makes the single largest investment in repairing and reconstructing our nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. It will rebuild the most economically significant bridges in the country as well as thousands of smaller bridges. The legislation also includes the first ever Safe Streets and Roads for All program to support projects to reduce traffic fatalities, which claimed more than 20,000 lives in the first half of 2021.
Improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history. America’s public transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. Communities of color are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options. The transportation sector in the United States is now the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation includes $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization. In total, the new investments and reauthorization in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal provide $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years — the largest Federal investment in public transit in history. The legislation will expand public transit options across every state in the country, replace thousands of deficient transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Upgrade our nation’s airports and ports to strengthen our supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation. This will improve U.S. competitiveness, create more and better jobs at these hubs, and reduce emissions. Decades of neglect and underinvestment in our infrastructure have left the links in our goods movement supply chains struggling to keep up with our strong economic recovery from the pandemic. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will make the fundamental changes that are long overdue for our nation’s ports and airports so this will not happen again. The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide. Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination too. The legislation invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will strengthen our supply chains and support U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.
Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. U.S. passenger rail lags behind the rest of the world in reliability, speed, and coverage. China already has 22,000 miles of high-speed rail, and is planning to double that by 2035. The legislation positions rail to play a central role in our transportation and economic future, investing $66 billion in additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak’s creation, 50 years ago and will create safe, efficient, and climate-friendly alternatives for moving people and freight.
Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. U.S. market share of plug-in EV sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. That needs to change. The legislation will invest $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers in the United States. This is a critical step in the President’s strategy to fight the climate crisis and it will create good U.S. manufacturing jobs. The legislation will provide funding for deployment of EV chargers along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. This investment will support the President’s goal of building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers to accelerate the adoption of EVs, reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create good-paying jobs across the country.
Upgrade our power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future. According to the Department of Energy, power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s more than $65 billion investment includes the largest investment in clean energy transmission and grid in American history. It will upgrade our power infrastructure, by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy, while lowering costs. And it will fund new programs to support the development, demonstration, and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies to accelerate our transition to a zero-emission economy.
Make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, power goes down, or schools get flooded. Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. The legislation makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion to protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The legislation is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.
Deliver the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells. In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children’s blood. The bill will invest $21 billion clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned oil and gas wells. These projects will remediate environmental harms, address the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities, create good-paying union jobs, and advance long overdue environmental justice This investment will benefit communities of color as, it has been found that 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for Americans overall.
[emphasis in original]
Anyone think they’ll name a bridge after Josh Hawley (r)?
THE MEGAN REZABEK DIARIES: A THREAD
in MO-03 a candidate named Megan Rezabek won the Democratic Primary on August 4 with 66.9% of the vote. no one knows who she is, where she came from, or how she won. THIS is that story. 9:42 PM · Aug 7, 2020
State of Missouri – Primary Election, August 04, 2020 Unofficial Results
as of 8/7/2020 10:14:39 PM
U.S. Representative – District 3 316 of 316 Precincts Reported
Brandon Wilkinson Republican 15,894 14.761%
Adela Wisdom Republican 3,483 3.235%
Blaine Luetkemeyer Republican 80,585 74.843%
Jeffrey Nowak Republican 3,517 3.266%
Lynette Trares Republican 4,193 3.894%
Party Total: 107,672
Megan Rezabek Democratic 27,809 66.852%
Dennis Oglesby Democratic 13,789 33.148%
Party Total: 41,598
Leonard J Steinman II Libertarian 626 100.000%
Party Total: 626
It’s estimated that at least 1 democrat nominee in Missouri wasted the voters time and money over the last 10 months playing a ghost and now is trying to pretend like she is qualified to run for office or knows the first thing about legislation. Which candidate was that? What is your thoughts on that disrespect and the slap in the face to all the citizens that have donated money to a person that they actually had faith in? What do you think about republicans pulling a democrat ballot in a primary to vote for the least viable candidate against an incumbent.
I want to hear from you. Half of the constituents in my house district want to hear from you. You’re the candidate, but where have you been? Please reach out today. My messages are open.
Ok so let’s get this straight. You have been silent the entire time. And This is is the first item you are going to address as a candidate to go after Blaine Luetkemeyer ? This is important. But this is your issue? No one knows anything about you!!! You only won because you were lucky enough to have the top spot on the ballot. You’re going to have to do more than this to win in November and actually campaign unless you were just a plant after all and you have no intention of even trying to beat Blaine in November and represent the Democratic party.
I will not vote for you. Withdraw so we can have a real candidate not some ghost.
At what point are you going to step up and campaign? You have done absolutely nothing.
These posts are apropos of nothing and don’t demonstrate a legitimate candidacy. You need to start actively campaigning now or else drop out.
Apparently, your campaign is so small, it’s virtually non-existent. Who are you? Why didn’t you make any effort to campaign in the district? What is your stance on issues? Why should we support you?
Blaine Luetkemeyer @RepBlaine
Today I sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff demanding the release of all transcripts from their secret impeachment depositions. Despite promising increased transparency, this investigation continues to happen behind closed doors and completely on Democrats’ terms.
[….] 3:36 PM · Nov 7, 2019
There was much hilarity in the responses:
Where have you been?
Many of the transcripts have been released already!!!!
Reading is hard…
Republicans on these committees have access to it all. Whether or not they choose to exercise that right is their call. Maybe you should pen a letter to those who chose to not attend the depositions.
Hmm, did no one tell you about all the transcripts they released this week? You know, the ones your GOP colleagues participated in? I know, a bunch of them blew the depositions off so they could have talking points but we both know BS when we see it, right?
[….]I’ve only seen this identical tweet by like 12 other Republicans. Working yet?
Absolutely, let’s get all the information about Trump’s wrongdoing out in public.
We see what you did there.
They weren’t secret, the GOP members of the intelligence committee were allow into the depositions, which were held in accordance to the congressional rules republicans concocted and passed. Next week everything will be televised and you’ll complain about something else.
So you mean just like every investigation under GOP control except those turned up absolutely nothing of consequence while this one just keeps rolling out result after result after result? Also, transcripts ARE being released, but GOP folks say they won’t read ’em… Which is it?
That’s gaslighting for you.
How secret are they, Blaine? Meadows was tweeting earlier about the deposition he was present for.
Instead of tweeting about the fancy letters you’ve been writing, just ask Mark.
The WH must have threatened to primary you. Perhaps you should share the number of Republican House members involved in these “secret” investigations. Plus, this tweet seems a bit outdated. Transcripts being made public & open hearings beginning soon.
Wow you wrote a letter? Amazing stuff! Should we tune in tomorrow to see you mail the letter!?! I can’t wait the suspense is killing me!
Actually, the next step is a harshly worded memo.
Does it take effort to be this craven and disingenuous and is this a skill you’ve honed over time? Or does it come naturally?
Every time y’all demand stuff, they release it, and then y’all say the incriminating evidence doesn’t matter. Go gaslight your wife and leave us alone.
They’ve released transcripts everyday this week and public hearings are starting next week. So what exactly was the point of your letter?
Ready for the public hearings? I am!
They’re being released but you’re too busy grandstanding to notice.
You are a dollar short and a day late. Maybe you don’t have a television or access to the internet, so I’ll tell you, they been releasing them! You guys are tragic with your ineptness and inability to find a way to defend the indefensible! Find a new lie to cover the old ones.
They are being released. You know this, yet tweet nonsense anyway. You are a sorry excuse for an elected official.
Who in their right mind voted for you?
Seems like you don’t stay up to date with developments.
BTW: Are you bothering to read the transcripts as they are released?
Bad combover. Check. Too long red tie. Check. Orange spray tan. Check. Tiny hands. Check. Cluelessness. Check…
Bad combover. Check. Too long red tie. Check. Orange spray tan. Check. Tiny hands. Check. Cluelessness. Check…
Today in the United State House of Representatives:
H.J.Res.46 – Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019.
House – 02/25/2019 Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 144 Reported to House. Rule provides for consideration of H.J. Res. 46 with 1 hour of general debate. Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or without instructions. Measure will be considered read. Bill is closed to amendments.
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 93
H RES 144 YEA-AND-NAY 26-Feb-2019 3:30 PM
QUESTION: On Agreeing to the Resolution
BILL TITLE: Providing for consideration of the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 46) relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019
—- YEAS 229 —
—- NAYS 193 —
—- NOT VOTING 9 —
The text of the resolution:
H. J. RES. 46
Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is hereby terminated.
The final vote in the House:
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 94
H J RES 46 YEA-AND-NAY 26-Feb-2019 6:32 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019
—- YEAS 245 —
—- NAYS 182 —
—- NOT VOTING 5 —
Thirteen republicans don’t agree with Donald Trump (r).
So much for the past concerns of Missouri republicans about executive overreach and the separation of powers.
At this still, admittedly, early date, Claire McCaskill, Missouri’s Democratic Senate incumbent, is running eight points, 44-52, behind wet-behind-the-ears AG Josh Hawley, who is probably her best known challenger from among the GOP primary lineup. How can this be, you ask? McCaskill’s got the money, she’s been working hard to make sure that out-state Missourian’s know that she understands rural “Missouri values,” trekking from one town hall to another, tacking carefully and skillfully to the center in an effort to cultivate those famous moderates we keep hearing about – although we rarely seem to see them nowadays.
But recent events leave me wondering if McCaskill’s might have honed in on the wrong issue in order to prove her non-partisan bona fides. I’m referring to her support for a Republican bill that would once again deregulate banks. As Garry Rivlin and Susan Antilla of The Interceptdescribe it:
… the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, […] represents the greatest threat to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law since its passage in 2010. The bill would relieve all but the country’s largest dozen banks of increased scrutiny and ease mortgage rules imposed after the financial crisis. It would undermine fair lending rules designed to counteract race discrimination and weaken the Volcker rule, which limits a bank’s ability to make speculative trades with federally insured deposits. …
In spite of the fact that bank earnings have continuously surged since 2010, proponents speciously insist that, due to the act, banks “are suffering and so, by extension, are consumers, businesses, and the economy at large.” Part and parcel of the GOP belief, reinforced by the Liar-in-Chief in the White House, that if you say it, it will be so, reality be dammed.
Many of the red-state Democrats who support the bill, like McCaskill, purport to buy into the argument that Dodd-Frank needs to be revised to help suffering community banks that the law has, they assert, disadvantaged. However, as Rivlin and Antilla report, “A 2017 FDIC report shows that deposits in community banks have grown in each of the past six years. Another report showed that 96 percent of the country’s 5,294 community banks were profitable, as of the third quarter of 2017.” If you’re interested in learning more about the problems with this legislation, including the effect on community banks, noted economist Jared Bernstein spells some of them out here in greater – but not too lengthy or ponderous -detail.
The issue for McCaskill, though, could go beyond pandering through bad policy, and might actually cost her politically. Consider, for example, the speculation that banking champion GOP Rep. Ann Wagner may be vulnerable this time around. It’s true that there are several reasons other than her dedication to fighting for the banks that so generously fund her that might leave her in a little shakier position than in the past. Her district has changed somewhat, she plays shy with her constituents in an effort to avoid controversy – and dim any potential sunlight on her priorities. There is, of course, also some indication that the hard-core Trumpies may not totally buy her Trump-MAGA conversion and are likely put off by her coy country club Republican aura.
But it’s equally true that there’s somewhat louder discussion than in past years about Wagner’s single-minded efforts to gut the financial rules, the fiduciary rule that protected investors from dishonest financial advisors in particular. People aren’t always as stupid as politicians think they are, particularly when it involves financial survival issues. And don’t forget, lots of Trump’s so-called populist voters were motivated by anger at Wall-street and the big banks – and there are those among them who are feeling a bit disillusioned right now.
McCaskill should take care – linking herself with folks like Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer, big-time Missouri shills for the banking industry, might just prove to be the proverbial millstone that could harm more than it helps with contrary voters. Oh, and there’s always the damage the actual policy may do to all of us. Don’t any of these Democratic fools playing the bipartisan game remember 2008?
ADDENDUM: Kevin Drum points out that the Dodd-Frank roll-back will also gut provisions that prevent racial redlining, voicing his – and my dismay – that any Democrats – are you listening Senator McCaskill – are supporting this piece of drek.
It’s been a couple of weeks since President Racist Moron sent us spiraling down toward a government shutdown by expressing his goal of importing prosperous, wealthy white Norwegians – who have little reason to come to the U.S. – instead of brown folks from S**thole countries – who actually need the haven that the United States has traditionally offered the oppressed, poverty stricken folks who flocked to these shores and helped build a strong, wealthy country where the middle class grew and prospered as never before. During this time, I’ve been monitoring the newspapers and congressional press releases to find out how our representatives in Congress have responded to Trump’s racist babblings – and I’ve found out just about nothing to let me know how our GOP profiles in political cowardice stand on the issue. However, today, Salon has posted an article that tells us what each member of Congress has had to say about this destructive and ugly piece of “telling it like it is,” as some of the more racist “deplorable” Trump supporters would have it:
Although GOP Senator Roy Blunt, as befits a junior member of the Senate Leadership, did make a statement, you might be struck, as I was, that it focused on the pragmatic aspects of Trumps words – addressing his competence in securing GOP goals, rather than his bankrupt moral world view:
Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, suggested the president’s inability to refrain from incendiary statements was detracting from his agenda.
“It’s an unacceptable view of the world, and it’s an unacceptable thing to say,” Mr. Blunt told KMBZ, a radio station in the Kansas City area. “You would expect the president to lead in determining how you filter your thoughts, rather than to continue to say things that take a lot away from what’s actually getting done.”
Compare the measured words of Blunt – who carefully avoided any overt reference to Trump’s racism, to the unequivocal tweet Democratic Claire McCaskill issued,:
It is unacceptable, repugnant, and morally bankrupt for a President of this great nation to call the countries of Africa “shitholes”. #sicktomystomach 9:32 AM – 12 Jan 2018
I understand the need for political pragmatism, going along with a bad deal to avoid a worse deal – and I appreciate Blunt’s willingness to sorta, maybe imply that Trump isn’t really a great “dealmaker,” but for many of us racism, arguably the original sin that lies at the heart of American democracy, is the line that may not be crossed. Which means that I also understand the reticence of our Missouri House members to speak out – Republicans in general, not just in Missouri, have been calling out to more or less covert racism via code words and dogwhistles for years.What can these already compromised politicians do or say to credibly face down the beast they have enabled and continue to enable in order to benefit their wealthy patrons.
Of course that last sentence doesn’t even address the possibility that many of our elected Missouri representative may actually endorse Trump’s nasty racial sentiments.
Last Wednesday 107 members of the U.S. House sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to revoke net neutrality regulations that have guaranteed that the big ISPs must treat all digital content equally, whatever it is and wherever it’s hosted. Without such rules broadband companies such as AT&T and Comcast can favor one website over another and charge users more to view certain material—such as streaming movies. They can potentially even censor political material they don’t like. In short, net neutrality is the backbone of the open internet we have all come to depend on. Without it, the digital community faces bleak times.
And Republicans want to destroy our thriving Internet culture – so much so that they wrote a letter to Trump’s FCC head lackey urging him to get down to business.
The letter was made public by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Vice Media’s Motherboard has – so far- deciphered 84 of the 107 names (the writing is not always legible and a typed list of signatories was not included in the release) and listed them along with the amount of money each has received from the telecom industry over the years.
Two Missouri members are clearly listed among the telecom toadies who signed the letter:
Blane Luetkemeyer (R-3), total telecom payola: $105,000
Billy Long (R-7), total telecom payola: $221,500
Although there are only two Missouri House members whose signatures grace the letter, over the years, there haven’t been too many Missouri GOPers who have been very friendly to the idea of the open internet – and almost all have been liberally rewarded for toeing the telecom line when it comes to net neutrality.
GOP Senator Roy Blunt alone has received $1,283,416 from the big three telecoms over his career (yes, you read that right – over a million dollars). Only John McCain took a bigger payout. And Blunt delivered for his bosses in the past – spouting the usual unsupported twaddle about how net neutrality is bad for jobs and innovation. Jobs. You gotta give it to ol’ Roy – he’s more than willing to mouth whatever predigested magic formula Republicans have decided to use against everything their patrons tell them to oppose whether it makes sense or not.
To be fair, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has taken over $500,000 dollars from the same folks since she went to Washington. As a report prepared by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) has noted, “the industry’s attempt to gain favor with lawmakers is not partisan. Entrenched telecommunications companies liberally spread money and attention to everyone who holds office.”
So, what did they get from McCaskill? While she supported the nomination of Pai as FCC Chairman and has tried to straddle the issue in the past, she has, as of today, indicated that she will support legislation to restore net neutrality – which, of course, can only pass if Democrats succeed in taking back the Congress in 2018. In the long run, though, McCaskill knows that destroying the Internet is a bad deal – both for her constituents and for her politically – and she’s not nearly as mercenary as her GOP opposite number.
Even though Democrats have benefited from telecom efforts to buy congressional votes, it is nevertheless still true that, as the CRP observes, “alignment with the ISPs is currently drawn along party lines.” Republicans take their obligations to their donors seriously, probably because they get lots more money from them. If you’re curious about how many pieces of dirty silver your Missouri GOP House member has received from the telecom industry as the price for selling out their constituents, you can check the CRP tally for every House and Senate member.
Immediately after the recent Equifax hack that potentially put close to 150 million Americans at risk for identity theft, I wrote about how the event proved that Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-2) bias against any regulation of the financial industry, and especially her vendetta against the oversight role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was contrary to the interests of the everyday Americans she ostensibly serves. Surely, I thought, these folks can be made to realize that enabling more disaster in the wake of disaster may be going just a bit too far.
Well no. The concept of wise stewardship always seems to be too difficult for the Republican brain, as evidenced by this little financial tidbit in the LA Times:
Even as millions of consumers grapple with fallout from the Equifax data breach, Republican lawmakers are quietly backing legislation to deregulate credit agencies and make them even less accountable for wrongdoing.
Bills are pending in Congress to limit class-action damages for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and to give credit agencies more latitude in profiting from identity theft protection products.
The legislation is part of sweeping efforts by Republican lawmakers to reduce oversight of banks and other financial-services firms, and to cripple or eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has notched a successful track record of holding industry players accountable for unfair and illegal practices.
And who’s the engineer steering this “quiet” anti-citizen effort? Why no one other than Missouri Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3), a member, along with Rep. Wagner, of the House Financial Services Committee, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, which just held hearings on the proposed legislation – possibly inspired by successful , and, for the profitable credit reporting agencies involved, expensive, oversight exercised by the CFBP in the recent past. Luetkemeyer declared that the new legislation would ” streamline regulatory requirements and eliminate inefficiencies” and “better allow financial companies to serve their customers.”
Sadly for Luetkemeyer’s credibilty, the response of the LA Times reporter, David Lazarus, is closer to the truth when he observes that what “the legislation would do is reward credit agencies with greater regulatory elbow room and diminished accountability for screw-ups.” As far as I’m concerned, they’ve got far too much of that elbow room already – as Lazarus notes:
Consumer advocates say the Equifax breach should serve as a wake-up call for Americans that the three leading credit agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — are focused primarily on earning cash from people’s personal information, not keeping such information under lock and key.
“Consumers are not customers of these companies — they’re commodities,” said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “We have no say over what they do with our data.”
There are, of course, Democrats on on the Financial Services Committee and its various subcommittes; Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay (D-1) serves on Luetkemeyer’s subcommittee, for example. But they’re there as representatives of the minority party in a congress which Republicans have publicly determined to run solely in service of Republican druthers, and, given the amounts of cash that the financial industry throws at sympathetic members of these plum committee posts, the Democrats are not likely to be heard if they do stand up. Same reasons hold when considering the inevitable death march of a Democratic bill offered in response to the Equifax farce, the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act.
Actually, the proposed Democratic legislation, mild as it is, probably doesn’t go nearly far enough. Michael Kevin Drum who has long noted the essentially abusive nature of our credit reporting system and urged greater regulatory oversight of the credit reporting agencies, observesd last week that:
… The credit reporting agencies have gotten away forever with treating consumers like bothersome children: screwing up their credit records, ruining their lives, making it deliberately difficult and expensive to lock accounts, and making money off the whole thing by offering “insurance” against problems that they themselves cause. Someone in Congress who allegedly cares about ordinary working folks should introduce a bill to regulate the hell out of these folks. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s hard to think of any industry that more richly deserves it.
Well somebody in Congress does care – Democrats mainly – but a fat lot of good it’ll do us. Because financial industry toadies like Luetkemeyer and Wagner are sitting pretty in their well-funded catbird seats and they aim to keep that campaign cash cushion well-padded.