THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Constitution iOS Update Available

A full rundown from our July 1, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Constitution iOS Update Available

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)

Minds of Mamas

Maternal mental health conditions are the most common health complication after pregnancy and childbirth. Spoiler alert – mothers of color are disproportionately impacted. Nanette has brought forth a bipartisan bill that would establish a task force to identify, evaluate and make recommendations to improve federal response to these conditions. “At a time that should be full of joy, we must ensure that women get the mental and physical health care they need.” Nanette is a fighter for impacted and often forgotten groups like new mothers. Check out our conversation with her!

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

Living Proof

We’ve been covering the bipartisan push to move quickly to process over 18,000 visa applications from Afghan allies who served as interpreters and other positions alongside the U.S. military. Jason is one of the veterans leaving that charge and, for him, it’s personal. His deputy chief of staff and Aurora district director was an Iraqi interpreter that was granted a special visa after U.S. troops left Iraq. Maytham Alshadood made his way into American politics and Jason’s office to continue his service for the United States. Now, as this push for other interpreters like himself comes to a head, Alshadood is fighting alongside Jason to make sure Afghan allies and their families are shielded from some of the threats he was able to escape years ago.

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

Racking Up Support

To get 50 cosponsors on a bipartisan bill these days is a heartening sight to see. Antonio has done it with his recent legislation, the Military Spouse Hiring Act, which is exactly what it sounds like – an incentive for employers to hire spouses of military members. A new report shows that military spouse unemployment skyrocketed during Covid, up to 38%. Antonio’s bill would expand an existing tax credit available to employers to include hiring qualified military spouses. This bill follows a long line of veterans-focused bills that Antonio has not only introduced but passed into law during his time in Congress. Keep the ball rolling, Antonio!

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Keeping Home

You may recall, or were even affected by, an eviction moratorium that took place during Covid. The CDC put a ban on certain evictions during the pandemic, but that moratorium is set to expire next week. Ruben is joining the call of many House Democrats to extend the ban and keep protections for renters just a little bit longer. Why? Because “we’re approaching a very good point where the economy is recovering, but there’s a lot of people that are not fully recovered right away,” said Ruben. The American Rescue Plan sent billions of dollars of renters assistance and, insists Ruben, if we extend the eviction ban for a while it will give ample time for those funds to be distributed. The calls worked and it is currently extended through July 31, 2021. Do you think more time is necessary?

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

Fighting Fire with Incentives

“Federal firefighters make less than California minimum wage,” says a recent press release from Josh’s office. He, along with fellow PP leader Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) have sent a letter to the US Forest Service Chief requesting that the department expand incentives to retain and recruit federal firefighters. As the wildfire season continues to get longer and harsher. experts anticipate one of the worst wildfire years in California state history. Beyond not making a decent wage, many firefighters have to wait up to a year to see their pay come to fruition. Well that letter helped and President Biden dedicated to increasing wages for them. It is a good day for federal firefighters.

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

One Small Step for Cybersecurity

During one of our Political Playlist Happy Hours, we discussed the threat of cybersecurity and posed the question if young lawmakers are particularly equipped to handle the issue. Ro and fellow PP leader Nancy Mace (R-SC) are making a strong case for that as their bill to strengthen the federal government cybersecurity workforce has just passed committee and will make its way to the House floor. By enhancing the federal government’s capabilities, a pace will be set for other sectors of American public and private entities to follow suit. “While we don’t agree on everything, the severity of the cyber threat has proven so immediate that both conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats came together to support our bill.”

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Climate is Infrastructure

The heat wave ravaging the country, particularly the Pacific Northwest, is testing the physical limits for many residents. What it’s also testing are the limits of our infrastructure in extreme heat which, studies show, is largely due to human-caused climate change. Mike has been one of the strongest voices on climate legislation and recently tweeted out a picture (that you may have now seen) of a Portland, OR streetcar cable that MELTED due to the heat. “This right here is exactly why we #ClimateAction must be in our next infrastructure plan.” It’s a hard argument to beat when you’ve got the photo to prove it.

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

A Win for Me is a Win for You

Stephanie has cause to celebrate as she just announced $14 million to help the Orlando Sanford International Airport in her district recover from the pandemic losses. She also received the Bipartisan Leadership Award from the US Chamber of Commerce which is given to 20 members of the House and 10 Senators for working across the aisle and legislating with a strong pro-business record. Typically the Chamber of Commerce has held a bit more of a Republican bend, but capitalism-focused Democrats like Stephanie are turning the tide on that one. Congrats, Stephanie!

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

Ready to Sink It

A group of Democrats and Republican lawmakers recently agreed on a sweeping infrastructure bill, but Ilhan is voicing alarm on the bipartisan package on behalf of her Progressive Caucus members. About 40 of the 100 caucus members, she says (as whip of the caucus), are prepared to withhold their vote for the bill unless there is a separate bill that includes climate action, child care, and other progressive priorities that will be passed through the budget reconciliation process (a simple majority). Depending on how many Republicans support the new bipartisan legislation, those 40 votes could be enough to sink the bill in the House. Do you think Ilhan and her progressive friends are making the right move?

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Get Outta Here

Elissa and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow received threats last year via email, voicemails and phone calls. The man at fault recently pleaded guilty and received two years of probation, must get mental health and anger management treatment, and is prohibited from possessing a firearm, consuming drugs or alcohol, or contacting either of the lawmakers. While some might dismiss threats like this as routine for public officials, Elissa noted that she sees people like this “climb the ladder of escalation and go from angry words to threats of violence and violent acts.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the last we’ll hear about public officials fearing for their safety. 🙁

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

Only NINE Percent

Did you know there are no national standards for plastic waste recycling? Haley wants to change that by introducing the bipartisan Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act which would increase federal dollars towards plastic waste reduction, recycling research and development, and developing recycling standards. Last week, Haley, who is the Vice Chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee led a hearing about waste reduction and recycling research. During the hearing Haley said, “Only 9 percent of plastic in our country is currently being recycled.” Let that sink in…

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

Climate Caucus but Not How You Think

For a long time climate change was not an issue taken up by conservatives. But as more young Republicans like Kelly have come into office they’re determined to solve the climate crisis, but on conservative terms. He, along with more than 50 other representatives launched the Conservative Climate Caucus to address the issue without heavy government regulation. They argue that local governments can regulate and free-market innovation will drive solutions to curb carbon emissions. Do you think this business-focused approach will beat out the Democratic federally-focused approach?

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

Obsessed?

If you’ve been watching any of the Olympic trials you may have caught hammer thrower Gwen Berry’s medal ceremony at the track and field trials turning away from the American flag during the national anthem. She donned a shirt that said ‘activist athlete’ and seems hellbent on using her platform to call attention to what she deems as injustices in America. Dan has pounced on the moment and called for Berry to be removed from the U.S. Olympic team saying, “we don’t need any more activist athletes.” Gwen, in response, simply said that Dan and other critics are just obsessed with her. So what do you think? Is he obsessed?

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

That’s Politics

You may have heard that Trump emerged back into the public eye with a rally in Ohio. One of the main points he hit? That Anthony needs to be ousted from his seat. And why would he want that? Because Anthony was one of the handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year. But Anthony seems unbothered by the former President’s wishes, noting that he actually raised a lot of money during the rally for his reelection campaign. He also chastised the so-called ‘Trump effect’, where none of the GOP Senate candidates vying for soon-to-be former Sen. Rob Portman’s seat has contacted him for an endorsement despite some of them privately agreeing that the party needs to move past Trump. His shrugging explanation? “That’s politics, I suppose.”

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

Protection Over Party

Contraception has been a political issue as long as it’s been around. Recently, a bill that would guarantee birth control coverage for female veterans passed the House. Though most Republicans opposed the bill, Trey voted for it along with just 25 of his GOP colleagues. Women are the fastest-growing group of veterans that rely on the VA health care system – do you think Trey is making the right move here to get them access to birth control?

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

It’s a Personal Issue

On the most recent episode of the Political Playlist Happy Hour podcast, we discussed the recent urging of some representatives to aid our allies in Afghanistan before we pull all troops out in the fall. Brian has joined the call with 71 other colleagues to make sure we are taking care of interpreters and their families who face persistent threats from the Taliban due to their service for American forces. As a veteran who served in Afghanistan, the issue is personal for Brian – “I worked alongside these interpreters every day and they were essential in accomplishing our mission,” he said. With the letter sent to the Sec. of Homeland Security, hopefully the visa process for these allies are executed effectively!

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

Gold Starring

Unexpectedly, many spouses of fallen service members get remarried and with that lose many of the benefits they were once entitled to as widows or widowers. Elise and fellow PP Rep. Andy Kim (NJ) having introduced a bipartisan bill that would restore non-monetary survivor benefits to remarried spouses. The programs she and Andy want to reinstate are meant to help Gold Star spouses rebuild their lives, like a VA-guaranteed home loan benefit. Currently, most benefits like this are revoked if a surviving spouse remarries before age 57. There’s a lot of life to live before 57 and these spouses deserve to live it to the fullest!

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

As the Vice Chair of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, William had a big week as the committee held a hearing on how Congress can be more functional. Functional?? What?? Instead of the partisan shouting matches, William and his colleagues are hoping for more constructive debate and discussion (aren’t we all?) and proposed changes like only addressing one issue at a time to hash out solutions and focusing on reducing gerrymandering so that districts are drawn more competitively. Some of this might seem like a pipedream, but William has a front row seat for how we might make the dream a reality.

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

CRT Not For Me

Critical race theory is proving to be the political buzz of the summer as protests of its teaching erupt around the country. Last week, the drama hit a high in the Capitol when VP Harris had to rush to the Senate to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate for Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Personnel Management – sort of like big time HR. Josh was at the center of the vote as he led the Republican charge against Kiran Arjandas Ahuja (the first Indian-American to lead the OPM) based on her previous support for the teachings of critical race theory. As for where Josh stands – “(America) is not defined by the view that we’ve got to level the whole country’s social institutions and start over again.”

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

Awkward Silence

Mondaire is amongst the many Democrats concerned about the failure to pass the most recent federal voting rights bill through Congress. In a recent visit to the White House for the confirmation of the Juneteenth holiday, Mondaire told President Biden that the executive branch needed to be more involved in passing voting legislation. Biden’s response – an awkward silence. “He just sort of stared at me,” Mondaire said. The reaction only made Mondaire more frustrated with the president’s lackluster support. In a bit of a blow, he also said, “President Obama, for his part, has been doing more to salvage our ailing democracy than the current president of the United States of America.”

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

13th

The 13th Amendment officially marked the end of slavery, but an important loophole was written into it which still affects a large number of Americans today. Under the amendment, slavey was banned except as a form of criminal punishment. What that means for us today is that felons can be used as forced, cheap, or free labor and, as we know, many of those felons are black. Nikema is introducing legislation to amend the 13th Amendment to change that loophole which began as a way for Confederate states to target black people. Though the bill has thus far only garnered Democratic support, Nikema is optimistic about it not being too partisan – “I am willing to work with you as long as you are willing to work around making sure that everyone in this country… has access to the full promise of America.”

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

Tweeting Free

If you recall, President Trump was sued for blocking constituents from his personal Twitter account because he used the account to make official announcements. Now, a Colorado judge has made a different ruling when it comes to Lauren’s personal Twitter use. She was sued by a Democrat constituent who had been blocked from her personal account where she makes campaign announcements and policy announcements. The judge made the distinction between Trump’s Twitter use in the executive branch and Lauren’s in the legislative branch. Does Lauren’s Twitter freedom seem reasonable to you?

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

Give Them Some Credit

Republican voters’ views on climate change are shifting in support of environmental efforts, but still remain insistent that any plan proposed also address conservative and industry-focused values. Tracey, a self-proclaimed ‘farm boy’ is making sure that the agriculture industry gets its fair share of recognition. He opposes Biden’s current budget proposal because it discounts voluntary efforts being made by farmers who have taken “far more flak than they deserve for their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. In an email, he noted that the industry has helped reduce its own emissions from 24 to 10%. Do you think views like Tracey’s can align with Democrats’ more sweeping regulatory proposals?

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

Problem Solving

As a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Andrew has played a pivotal role in Democrats and Republicans coming together to get an infrastructure bill passed on a bipartisan basis. The caucus drafted a new framework for the bill and also, importantly, an agreed upon definition of ‘infrastructure’. Now, he and the rest of his caucus colleagues will compare what they have with what comes out of the White House to arrive at agreed upon legislation. “Infrastructure should be bipartisan,” he said. We couldn’t agree more!

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

Bringing it Home

As one of the newest members of Congress, Julia might have something to prove, but she’s certainly keeping her eye on the ball and using her voice on behalf of her constituents. She just announced more than $11 million in federal funding for local airports in her district. Additionally, she voiced her hope that the new infrastructure bill will include plenty of funding for expansion of rural broadband. Not only will this help general connectivity, but other important areas of life, like healthcare. Did you know that in her small town, Julia doesn’t have a healthcare center? She knows a thing or two about the needs of rural communities so we’re glad she’s bringing that experience to Congress.

Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)

The Most Perfect

Byron is joining the conservative criticism against teaching critical race theory, saying that liberals have been pushing their ideologies in our education system for far too long. CRT, he says, discounts the strides that the country has taken since the Civil War and since the Civil Rights Movement. Instead of focusing on race, Byron wants to focus more on how a capitalist system has created more opportunity for Americans and rejects Democrats framing our country through the lens of race. Although America has not been a perfect country, he emphasized, it is the ‘most perfect’. Do you agree?

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

With My Own Eyes

Ashley has been one of the loudest voices criticizing VP Harris’ delayed visit to the southern border. Though the VP finally did pay a visit, Ashley is not letting up on her discussion of immigration and, in fact, just completed a 20-county tour around her district which included a meeting with people who immigrated to the country legally. Many of them face employment challenges as they await their green cards while, she said, “they see people coming across the border illegally and being given a pat.” Do you want Republicans like Ashley to keep it up on this issue at the border?

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

One Step Closer for Grandpa

Under the Trump administration, an Elder Justice Initiative (EJI) was established to deal with elder abuse, neglect, and defrauding. Victoria’s bipartisan bill to make the EJI permanent within the Criminal Division of the Dept. of Justice just passed the House and will make its way to the Senate. This addition will also make permanent a hotline for calls concerning elder abuse. Thus far, the initiative has charged nearly 1,000 defendants with fraud – over $2.2 billion. Hopefully, with its permanent inclusion, many more will find justice.

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

Security Here, Security There

Tony is solidifying his role as one of the top national security lawmakers in the House. He introduced legislation to establish a Commission on Domestic Terrorist attacks, namely to focus on Antifa’s involvement in any protests over the past year. Additionally, he was just named to the American Security Task Force to come up with conservative solutions to secure our borders, defend against cyber attacks, and support military members. Tony was a cryptologist in the Navy and plans to use his national security background to push for American safety. Are you on board with his missions?

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

We Need Their Skills!

Currently, if you’re a retired military member, you must submit a waiver to work as a civilian employee at the Dept. of Defense within 180 days of your retirement. Noting that this waiver process is rather restrictive, Blake has introduced bipartisan legislation that would permanently revoke the requirement and more easily allow veterans to be part of the civilian defense workforce. This would also help federal hiring be more competitive with private industry and retain skilled service members in public service. From the outside, this seems like a no brainer, but we’ll see if it flies with enough lawmakers.

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Expanding the Net

In the constant battle to combat China’s influence in technology, Colin added a new player to the field. The Open RAN Outreach Act is a bipartisan bill designed to enable small communications network providers to finally compete with their larger foreign counterparts. “The future of our nation, and the global economy, depends on protecting the supply chain of vital technologies that power our wireless networks,” said Colin. “This bill directs the [National Telecommunications and Information] Administration to provide necessary technical help to smaller network providers so they can deploy newer, securer wireless networks, free from the influence of Chinese-owned companies and other untrusted vendors.” With bipartisan push behind efforts against China, do you think we’ll finally find ways to compete?

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Go Off, Queen

Sharice made history in 2018 when she became Kansas’ first openly gay congressperson. Since then, she’s been involved with LGBTQ+ issues to defend her rights. But it hasn’t been an easy road. “I will say one of the first times that I realized that I wanted to be at least more informed, if not more engaged, was when Missouri passed the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and I just remember being so both heartbroken and also upset, but I didn’t realize that so many people were going to vote in favor of that constitutional amendment.” Now as a member of Congress, Sharice has joined the fight to pass the Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ+ people are not discriminated against in any aspect of life.

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

Methane Wars

Conor had opposed the EPA rollback of methane standards for years, and things look like they may finally be going his way. Alongside Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Scott Peters (D-CA), Conor led the charge to pass SS.J. Res.14 with bipartisan support in the House. This joint resolution reverses the Trump Administration’s Methane Pollution Standards for new or modified oil and gas facilities. As methane is a significant contributor to global warming, the effort to limit leaks is supported by many environmentalists and energy industry professionals alike. Other than making moves for the environment, Conor (unofficially) seems to be inching closer to jumping into the Pennsylvania State Senate race.

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Breaking the Stigma

Mental health has been a focal point of Seth’s work since 2019, when he disclosed that he is managing post-traumatic stress from his service in Iraq as a Marine. As part of his ongoing efforts to break the stigma of PTSD, Seth reintroduced the Brandon Act, a bill designed to make it easier for service members to seek mental health care confidentially, with bipartisan support. The Act is named after Brandon Caserta, who died by suicide after enduring persistent hazing and bullying from members of his Navy helicopter squadron. June 25th marked the three-year anniversary of his death.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

The $597 Million Question

A group of 21 moderate senators endorsed a framework for legislation that would allocate $579 billion towards infrastructure projects. But AOC warned Democrats against a compromise that prioritizes bipartisan dealmaking over serving lower-income communities. “Are we passing the deal that helps working people the most?” She asked her peers. “Are we passing a deal that brings down the most climate emissions? Are we passing a deal that raises wages and actually improves our infrastructure for the next generation?” What do you think? Should bipartisanship be top of mind here?

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Holy Cow

Abigail partnered with PP Leader Dusty Johnson (R-SD) to introduce the Butcher Block Act, a bipartisan bill aiming to rebalance the cattle market. In an industry with enough supply and demand, the only missing piece has been processing capacity. The Butcher Act proposes to expand daily packing capacity, as well as establish a loan program for new meat processors to drive competition within the market. Abigail has big plans to widen the choke point in the cattle supply chain just in time for those summer barbecues.

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

Thirst Traps

With the passage of the Water Debt Relief Act through committee, Rashida is one step closer to making water a human right. This legislation will establish an emergency relief program for public water systems to ensure clean water is accessible to everyone. The Water Debt Relief Act was headed by Rashida and Representatives Dingell (D-MI) and Rochester (D-PA), and ensures that people who have accrued debt over the pandemic won’t experience disruptions in their water service. As Rashida said, “Bold action that addresses the root causes of water shutoffs and the affordability crisis is long overdue and the committee’s advancement of this bill is an important step towards accomplishing that.”

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Let’s Make It Official

In a world where a tweet can start a war, Mike is looking to make the relationship between America and South Korea legislation-official by reintroducing the United States and Republic of Korea Alliance Act. And it’s no coincidence this bill, which would restrict the President’s ability to withdraw U.S. forces, is being brought to the table on the 71st anniversary of the Korean War. “Alongside our Korean and United Nations allies, American forces fought tenaciously to restore South Korea’s liberty.” Mike said. “Since then, the US-RoK alliance has been a bedrock of security not only on the Korean Peninsula, but throughout the Indo-Pacific. I’m proud to stand with this bipartisan group to make clear America will always stand alongside its indispensable ally.”

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

Bay-bee Watch

Thousands of babies are born every year with health conditions that were detected too late for effective treatment. Jaime’s Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act aims to put an end to that. This bipartisan legislation helps parents and providers prepare for life threatening conditions by expanding newborn screening programs and ensuring laboratory quality and surveillance. “I’m pleased the U.S. House took the important step of approving the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act,” Jaime said, “to ensure infants have access to screenings to prevent long-term complications and save lives.” Jaime’s daughter was born with a rare and dangerous birth condition, so we can only imagine what this legislation means to her!

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

On My Own Island

After the measure failed to pass in the Senate, the House voted on whether to have an independent commission investigate the attacks on the Capitol on Jan. 6th. Adam was one of just TWO Republicans (the other was Rep. Liz Cheney from Wyoming) to vote for the commission and has been defending his decision ever since. “With the number of conspiracy theories being perpetuated by media outlets and spreading wildly online, we have to push back with the facts and ensure what happened on January 6th never happens again,” he said. With a number of primary challengers for 2022, how do you think this vote is going to position Adam politically?

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

No Communion for YOU

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying they will deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. A group of 60 Catholic Democrats, Pete included, released a statement of principles calling on the U.S. Catholic bishops to avoid weaponizing Communion. Most Catholics in Congress are Democrats and President Joe Biden has been outspoken about his Catholic faith. The Vatican even cautioned the U.S. bishops about the recent debate, but the U.S. delegation proceeded anyway. What are your thoughts on the church taking this stance?

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Crime Fighting

In 2021, Philadelphia saw more than 260 homicides, a 37% increase from 2020. While that is a sharp increase, Brendan applauded President Biden for taking actions to combat gun violence and other violent crimes. Sadly, across the U.S. we are starting to see more shootings and in response, President Biden used the American Rescue Plan Act to fund proven community-based violence intervention programs, like Mothers in Charge, who work to reduce gun violence. Brendan believes that providing these groups with direct funding is the step in the right direction. Do you think this will help combat gun violence?

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

Locked Not Loaded

We are bound to see a series of gun reforms presented in this Congress and Jared introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide millions of gun safety kits to Americans across the country and educate more on the importance of gun storage and safety. The bill would provide $50 million in grants to distribute kits with firearm-locking mechanisms and educational materials around gun and prescription drug safety. In Jared’s home state of Maine, the Governor has promised to introduce a similar bill at the state level. Do you think this type of gun reform will help?

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

The Bipartisan Andy Train

Andy had a busy news week and most of it revolved around bipartisan bills. First, Defense Secretary Austin called Andy’s bipartisan Healthcare for our Troops Act, one of the utmost important bills to pass. It would provide free healthcare to over 800,000 Americans who serve in the U.S. Reserve and National Guard. Along the same theme, Andy teamed up with PP leader Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to introduce the bipartisan Gold Star Spouses Non-Monetary Benefits Act which would restore non-monetary survivor benefits to the remarried spouses of fallen U.S. service members. Everyone loves Andy!

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

National Park Appreciation

More than 50% of Joe’s district is composed of federal public lands, including the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the White River National Forest, the most visited national forest in the country. Joe presented three bills to the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The bills help to a) simplify the permitting process for allowing guide services and individual parties to access public lands, b) ensure local communities get their fair share of ski fees paid by resorts, and c) promote the digitization of outdoor recreation mapping records around the country. Who’s ready for a vacay??

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

Pray for Chris

Our hearts and prayers go out to Chris. Unfortunately, his nephew, a 15-year-old boy, drowned in a pond after he used a rope swing to drop into the water. He was a sophomore in high school who loved to play basketball. Chris tweeted, “On Sunday we tragically lost my nephew Charlie. There are no words to describe the magnitude of the loss of this amazing 15-year-old or what he meant to all who knew and loved him.” A life taken too soon.

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

Feel the PULSE

If you did not catch it in the news, President Biden designated the Pulse Nightclub a national memorial. In 2016, Pulse nightclub suffered one of the deadliest mass shootings that killed 49 innocent lives, mostly of the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the Florida representatives signed onto this bill, including Darren and fellow PP leader Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). As well, two bipartisan bills introduced by Darren about blockchain and cryptocurrency passed the House last week. Good news all around!

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

Big Tech – Unanswered Questions

Big tech had a BIG week with 5 bipartisan bills introduced to limit the BIG 4 companies, but there were many politicians who did not think the bills addressed enough. A bipartisan group of colleagues issued a statement following the House Judiciary committee’s markup of the bills. The statement asked various “basic” questions that remain unanswered, such as, “what companies are covered in the scope of the bills? If only four, why? Why are foreign firms not covered? How do the bills protect the data of American consumers?” While there might be bipartisan support on curbing Big Tech, there are still some major questions that need to be answered.

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Momnibus Train

Lauren is riding a tidal wave of support for her Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and is leading 163 members of Congress to urge the House and Senate leadership to prioritize policies that address the U.S. maternal health crisis in the next coronavirus recovery package. The members are pushing for Lauren’s Act and a permanent expansion of yearlong postpartum Medicaid coverage. The total investment in the package would be ~$3 billion. Stay tuned for more news…

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Lean In…But How Much?

As head of the Republican Study Committee, Jim has the Republican delegation at his fingertips. In his most recent memo to the members, he urged them to “lean into the cultural war” and told them that the Republicans are winning the war against critical race theory. And they are definitely winning, with more than 20 states having introduced bills banning critical race theory and other divisive concepts. The issue came to head this week when PP leader Matt Gaetz called out Defense Secretary Austin over critical race theory in our military. How do you feel about critical race theory?

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Critical race theory is a hot button issue, and you can be sure to hear it on the campaign trial come 2022. During a House hearing, Matt raised questions about critical race theory being taught to our nation’s soldiers. Defense Secretary Austin responded by saying, “We do not teach critical race theory, we don’t embrace critical theory and I think that is a spurious conversation.” Many of the military leaders criticized Matt and shot down these accusations. What is interesting to see is how the media has portrayed this situation. Most major news sources mentioned how the military leaders shot Matt down, but Matt posted a video to his website that shows a different side. Check it out.

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

Digital Monopolies

After the Judiciary committee passed the various Big Tech antitrust packages last week Lance said, “Americans are fed up with Big Tech controlling every aspect of our lives. It is past time for Congress to rein in digital monopolies. I applaud the Judiciary Committee for their rigorous debate and advancing this important legislation.” Many Democrats were surprised to see Lance work across the aisle and introduce bipartisan legislation surrounding Big Tech. A couple weeks ago, there were 5 bipartisan bills introduced that limited Big Tech, which we discussed on the previous episode of our podcast! Lance introduced the Ending Platform Monopolies Act which is aimed at reining in Big Tech monopolies. Do you want to see Big Tech regulated?

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

Got Meat?

The cattle market needs help. Currently, there is supply and demand in the cattle market, but the issue is not enough processing capacity. Dusty and PP leader Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Butchers Block Act, which would establish a loan program at USDA rural development for new and expanding meat processors as well as finance producer investment to drive competition within the meat packing industry. Additionally, it would allocate hiring grants to increase processing capacity. This will create more avenues for cattle farmers to sell their product and limit supply chain disruptions in the wake of cyberattacks directed at American processing facilities. Next time you have that steak, think about the process it took to get to your table.

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

The More You Know

With opioid overdoses continuing to rise, it is more important than ever for doctors to understand their patient’s medical history. This is why Markwayne, along with PP Leader Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) introduced bipartisan legislation that would require state Medicaid programs to use their drug review programs to increase access for patients to treatment and boost safeguards for those on Medicaid who have experienced non-fatal, opioid-related overdoses by informing physicians of past addiction. Giving doctors more information when it comes to opioid addiction feels like a win.

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

We Need More Time!

Under current law, veterans who are admitted to a non-VA hospital for an emergency visit are required to notify the VA within 72 hours of their stay for reimbursement. Bryan and a group of Republican colleagues want to change this and introduced the Addressing Care Timelines (ACT) for Veterans Act. This bill would increase the amount of time veterans have to notify the Department of Veteran Affairs of a non-VA hospital admission for emergency care. In Bryan’s district there are over 45,000 veterans and, as Bryan said, federal red tape should never get in the way of a veteran’s health needs.

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Lebanon v. Hezbollah

As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Lee took it upon himself to reintroduce the Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act. This legislation is aimed at breaking Hezbollah’s ties with the Lebanese military by withholding 20% of U.S. security assistance funds until the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) takes effective actions to limit or expel Hezbollah influenced military personnel. In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s presence has continued to grow, mostly in the Southern portion of the country. While this is a strong step to counter Hezbollah, it will be interesting to see how the Lebanese government reacts.

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Infrastructure Woes

Kyrsten is one of the 10 senators who introduced the new bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. President Biden reached out to discuss the topic with Kyrsten which proved to be a way to cement her support as a key moderate Democrat. One thing Biden made clear to the Senators is that he will NOT sign the bill unless Congress passes a budget reconciliation bill containing administration policies on health care, education, climate, and family care. This might prove a roadblock for this bill, what do you think?

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

INVEST in Infrastructure

Jake is not one to shy away from speaking his mind and the topic today is INFRASTRUCTURE. He spoke with a local news group to discuss the desperately needed infrastructure package, The INVEST ACT – a $547 billion investment in repairing and modernizing surface transportation in America. Additionally, Jake, who serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is hopeful that the act’s clean energy investment will help catalyze industry growth in his district to become a staging area for offshore wind and other investments.

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

Great Depression Committee, Rebooted

Sara was just named to the new House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth. This committee is based on the Temporary National Economic Committee which was established by FDR during the Great Depression. Sara is one of eight Democrats on the committee with fellow PP leader Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY-D). The committee will focus on the effects of the tax code, globalization, regulation, and the Big Tech monopolies. It will help understand the widening wealth and income disparity in the United States and how to prioritize an equitable recovery for the country. A hefty task!

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Walls and Doors

Madison introduced a foreign student immigration reform bill that intends to update the current Optional Practical Training Program (OPT). The Responsible Practical Training Act will eliminate OPT program extensions, limit participation to 6 months and limit participation in national security related fields. OPT currently allows foreign nationals to train in a variety of military related fields. In the 2018-2019, 31% of OPT program participants were Chinese nationals and Iran was one of the top 5 participating countries. This new bill would end that entirely and prohibit training in any military-related field. Madison tied this to immigration and said “Our immigration system needs walls and doors. We need walls to stop illegal immigration, but we also need to doors to allow people to come here legally.”

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

Conservative Climate Caucus

A group of more than 50 Republicans in the House formed the Conservative Climate Caucus. This all-GOP caucus is aimed at educating fellow Republicans on climate change and advancing market-based policies to counter the Green New Deal and other Democratic proposals. Peter hopes to bring forward solutions that reduce carbon emissions while remaining aligned with the business community. Peter is joined by fellow PP leaders Andrew Garbarino (NY), Blake Moore (UT), David Valadao (CA), Kelly Armstrong (ND), Lee Zeldin (NY), Markwayne Mullin (OK), Nancy Mace (SC), August Pflueger (TX), and Dusty Johnson (SD). A strong Political Playlist showing!

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Not on the Federal Dime

The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing a rule change that would allow them to compensate for gender reassignment surgery for military vets. A group of GOP lawmakers, including Jake, sent a letter to the Veterans Affairs Secretary saying the rule change would be “dangerous and irresponsible” raising concerns about the suicide and depression rates of those who have undergone the surgery. Furthermore, the letter stressed that federal funding should be focused on “service-related injuries.” Other GOP PP leaders who signed onto this letter were Lauren Boebert (CO), Tracey Mann (KS), Greg Steube (FL), Brian Mast (FL), Byron Donald (FL), Matt Gaetz (FL), and Dusty Johnson (SD). How do you feel about this rule change?

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

Environment is Everything

Nancy helped launch the new GOP lead Conservative Climate Caucus alongside 50 other Republicans. The goal is to educate fellow Republicans on climate change and advancing market-based policies to counter the Green New Deal and other Democratic proposals. As Nancy said, “environment is everything… I promised to make protecting our environment a top priority when I came to Congress.” Nancy is joined by fellow PP leaders Andrew Garbarino (NY), Blake Moore (UT), David Valadao (CA), Kelly Armstrong (ND), Lee Zeldin (NY), Markwayne Mullin (OK), Peter Meijer (MI), August Pflueger (TX), and Dusty Johnson (SD). As well, Nancy wrote an op-ed related to voting in favor of repealing the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which we discussed on the previous episode of our podcast. It is worth the read.

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Asking for More Transparency, Please!

Nicole has been vocal about our border calling the immigration issue a humanitarian crisis. She introduced the Transparency of Migration Act, along with PP leader Greg Steube (R-FL), that would require both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services to list the names of people who were processed at the border, along with their countries of origin and criminal records. After visiting the border, Nicole said one of the most common questions from local officials was they do not know what individuals are sent to their district and if they pose a public safety, public health, or national security risk. We expect there might be some privacy concerns here, but what do you think of this bill?

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

A Solar Leader

Jon was already talking about solar manufacturing in Georgia, but he just took it to a whole new level. He introduced the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act which would strengthen U.S. solar manufacturing, reduce dependency on foreign countries and create tens of thousands of new jobs. The act would provide tax credits for American manufacturers at every stage of the solar manufacturing supply chain. Georgia already hosts the largest solar manufacturer in the western hemisphere and has over 100 solar companies. Jon is focused on making Georgia a national leader in clean energy technology and the U.S. the world leader in clean energy. We are rooting for you Jon!

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Taiwan Turf

Taiwan reported the largest intrusion of Chinese aircrafts in its airspace to date which caused various GOP members like Guy and fellow PP leader Mike Gallagher (R-WI) to reintroduce the Taiwan Defense Act. The act would ensure that the U.S. maintain the ability to defeat any attempted Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Various military leadership expressed concerns that China could act against Taiwan in the next 6 years. PP leader Josh Hawley (MO) introduced companion legislation in the senate. Do you think China will invade Taiwan?

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Defund…More like Refund

President Biden announced new initiatives to control climbing crime rates across the U.S. and Greg had some straight answers for him. “President Biden’s plan completely misses the mark. The only reason why we see violent crime spikes is because the Democrats spent the last year defunding and demonizing the police. Instead of blaming law-abiding gun owners for the rise in violence, Democrats need to look in the mirror and take responsibility for the crime crisis threatening our citizens.” Sadly, crime rates are up everywhere and police retirements have increased by 45%. Do you feel this is attributed to gun violence or calls to defund the police?

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Biden Therapy

Every week you can expect Tom to be criticizing President Biden and he very well should if he is considering a run for President in 2024. This week, Tom blamed Biden for badly behaved airline passengers due to the “stupid mask mandate.” Unfortunately, airlines have had more than 2,900 incidents already this year. In other news, after Tom heard that the Department of Justice was suing the state of Georgia over its voting rights bill, Tom said, “President Biden packed the Department of Justice with left-wing ideologues like Merrick Garland, Vanita Gupta, and Kristen Clarke. Now they’re suing to block Georgia from making it easy to vote but hard to cheat. This baseless lawsuit is a reminder that bad things happen when Democrats use our institutions to push their radical agenda.” Tell us how you really feel, Tom.

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

Bring Travis Home

Positive news for August as his first original piece of legislation passed the House with bipartisan support. August has been vocal and a champion to free U.S. Marine Corp Veteran Travis Reed from prison in Russia. “Today’s vote is a clear condemnation of Vladimir Putin and his regime for Trevor’s corrupt conviction and detainment. We will not tolerate an American citizen being used as a political pawn on the global stage, and I will not stop fighting for Trevor until he is safely back on American soil. The Putin regime must immediately release Trevor Reed and reunite him with his loving family.” Let’s bring Travis home.

Melanie Stansbury (D, NM,1)

Light it Up

While Melanie gets acclimated to her Congressional office, she gave a shout out to New Mexico’s legalization of marijuana. After many years of effort, the legislation, which she threw her support behind as a state lawmaker, went into effect this past week. Now the question will be – will she take this issue up at the national level as well? Either way, it should not be long before we also see sales of potato chips and junk food skyrocket in New Mexico.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

First To The Fight

Ritchie may be the first openly gay Afro-Latino in Congress, but he is paving a way forward to ensure he isn’t the last. In doing so, Ritchie has introduced the first resolution condemning state’s bills targeting transgender people. State’s legislatures have introduced a staggering 100 bills that seek to roll back rights for members of the trans community, making it one of the worst years for anit-LGBTQ legislation. Bills ranging from sport’s bans, to bathroom bans, to healthcare eligibility, the facts remain that more conservative leaning states are implementing stronger measures to stymie the progress that many have been fighting for. One of the most important things anyone can ask for is representation, and for members of the LGBTQ community, they sure have it in Ritchie.

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

F—THAT!

It’s a common sentiment echoed toward many things like mayo on French fries or middle seats on airplanes, but Jamaal aimed the zinger at something far more substantive: infrastructure inequality. After a meeting at the White House with the President, Jamaal joined a rally crowd outside to double down on his calls for sweeping infrastructure reform. “We’ve got to go big…and this is our moment,” he orated to the crowd. He pointed to the historic disparities in infrastructure among communities of color and has been fiercely fighting to combat what he calls “transportation deserts” along with crumbling buildings and schools that are falling apart. Jamaal has passionately championed many progressive causes, including the message of this rally: Biden, stop negotiating with Republicans on infrastructure. Speaking of compromise, is it time for Joe to say “F—that”?

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Public Safety Facelift

Cori is looking to transform public safety and that begins with the new bill she’s introduced called the People’s Response Act. The bill ultimately seeks to limit the number of encounters between citizens and armed law enforcement by creating a new division within Health and Human Services. The proposed Department of Community Safety would hire 50,000 non-police first responders specifically trained to deal with a variety of issues like mental health or substance abuse, thus alleviating the undue burden this often puts on the men and women in blue. The plan would cost $10 Billion over 5 years, and while she doesn’t yet have broad support for it among her caucus, the desire among local communities is steadily growing. Have you noticed policing changes in your town or city?

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

June Drought Brings July Showers

If there doesn’t yet exist a saying in politics “you are your district,” then allow us to crown David as the first recipient of this moniker of praise. David introduced the NEED Water Act, an emergency drought relief bill that would improve water infrastructure in California’s Central Valley. The bill, which features a sunset clause, would also remove some of the red tape that prevents water from being moved between areas. Anyone who follows California agriculture knows that the drought situation in the Central Valley is getting dire by the day, but thankfully David is embodying the job of Congressman by listening to the needs of his district and acting swiftly to address them.

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

Time To Find The Exit

Kat is low-key one of the more interesting freshman Congresswomen among a class of standouts, and this week she continued to plant her legislative flag where she wants, not where she’s told. Among the big bills that passed the House last week was the repeal of the War Authorization Act of 2002, which approved military operations in Iraq. Kat was among a number of Republicans who joined Democrats in voting 268-161 in favor of repealing the bill. In deciding how to vote, Kat recalled one of the first lessons she learned at the Naval War College. “Every military engagement needs a termination plan,” she said of her vote. This vote places the role of deciding military engagements back into the hands of Congress, where they may rightfully debate it, as stipulated in the constitution. But given how long they tend to debate things in Congress, is this a good idea?