THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: The Next Generation of Nation Building

The full rundown from our July 15, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: The Next Generation of Nation Building

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

INVESTing

The House just passed the INVEST in America Act, legislation aimed at repairing our nation’s transportation. The bipartisan legislation includes almost $20 million in funding for Pete’s district, the Inland Empire, that he requested. The money will go to a variety of improvements from road alignment and repairs, a new bridge, enhanced bus service, and more. These small moves in government don’t usually make big headlines, but have a real impact on local communities and we’re here to make sure you know what’s really going on!

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Bringing Home the Bacon, Almost

Brendan proudly announced over $16 million for his district in the recent infrastructure INVEST in America Act that passed the House. The projects range from road improvements, to street signal modernization, to making local train stations ADA compliant. But recipients will have to wait a beat while the bill makes its way through the Senate. Though it passed the House with bipartisan support, the vote was close (221-201), so swift passage through the Senate is no certain thing. Hopefully Brendan will have real cause to celebrate soon(ish).

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

SSN, Please?

21% of Maine residents are 65 or older, the highest rate of any state in the country. This means that a lot of Mainers rely on social security services to survive. However, all state offices have been closed since March 2020. Jared is calling on the Biden administration to open all six state offices as the lack of in-person services “creates difficulty for people who lack broadband access, have certain disabilities, or are otherwise more comfortable with in-person service.” What in-person services are you looking forward to re-opening?

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

A Part of History

Andy has been in Congress for a while, but was thrust into the spotlight after the attacks on Jan. 6th. At midnight that night, he was photographed quietly cleaning up the floors of the Capitol. It was an image that struck anyone who felt shocked or impacted by that day. Now, the blue suit that Andy wore in the photo is being donated to the Smithsonian, which is collecting items from the riot. Highlighting the importance of that moment, Andy said, “The values [this suit] tries to bring about are very much ones that are rooted in my immigrant family. Having humility, having respect for this country that gave us the opportunities that we’ve had.”

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

Built, then Re-Built

Joe is the co-chair of the bipartisan wildfire subcommittee and, being from Colorado, knows a few things about natural disasters. That’s why he’s introduced bipartisan legislation that ensures homeowners have adequate resources to recover from natural disasters. Working with other politicians, including fellow PP leader Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Joe’s bill would increase the maximum loan amount for physical damage and to replace belongings. These limits have not been increased since 1994 when the average home price in the U.S. was $106k! Whaaaat??? Time for a revamp!

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

Who’s in Charge Here?

The VA police service employs about 4,000 officers and other personnel and is charged with securing more than 170 department medical sites. However, in recent years, its poor leadership structure has been exposed as the service has failed to implement recommendations to simplify the command structure and technology infrastructure. Chris serves as the chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s panel on oversight and drilled into VA police officials on Tuesday. He and other lawmakers want to provide VA officers with more suicide prevention training and other safety measures, but to get there, lawmakers will need to streamline who’s in charge first.

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

Blockchain Makin’ Moves

We’ve kept tabs on Darren’s introduction of a bill that would establish a Blockchain Center of Excellence in the Dept. of Commerce to oversee non-defense activities related to blockchain technology in the federal government. Now, it’s unanimously passed the House and makes its way to the Senate. Blockchain is an encrypted database that, Darren says, ranges from research efforts to protection against cyberattacks. We thought this quote of his was particularly illuminating – Imagine having research from multiple different data points added in through a blockchain on something like climate change or healthcare, and then using artificial intelligence to develop some of the solutions to the most complex problems.” Sounds like a plan!

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

Delivering for Delivering Moms

Maternal healthcare is wildly underfunded in the United States (in fact we have a relatively high percentage of maternal mortality compared to other wealthy countries). Eric has written a letter to Sec. of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to issue guidance that federally-funded and administered health insurers must cover pregnancy and pregnancy-related services. “It would be illogical and contrary to the Affordable Care Act to require coverage of some costs, including prenatal care, but not the most significant costs, including those for labor and delivery,” the letter said. This seems like a fight many lawmakers can get behind, but we all know that when it comes to healthcare the debate is bound to get political.

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Prevent the Preventable

You might recall horrible stories of diabetic Americans dying because they couldn’t afford their next insulin prescription. Stories like these are all too common and Lauren, a former nurse and consistent champion for healthcare policy, wants to put an end to this suffering. She’s introduced legislation that would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for common, life-saving prescriptions (like insulin, inhalers, and other medications) that are used to manage chronic conditions. It would require all health insurance plans to cover the costs. This change, Lauren says, would “improve health outcomes and reduce financial strains on individuals and families.” Do you or someone you love suffer from a chronic condition? What’s that experience with prescription costs been?

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Day of Service

If you’re a young Indiana resident with interest in military service, mark your calendars for July 17th. Jim is hosting a Service Academy Day for students and parents/guardians to meet representatives from each of the five service academies and learn about their academics and admissions processes. As troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan, a new era of American military is upon us and Jim is making sure that the best and brightest from his district are on board!

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Mr. President-Speaker?

Did you know that the Speaker of the House does not have to be an elected member of Congress?? Neither did we. Apparently Matt has been reading up on his civics because despite the fact that every Speaker in history has been an elected member he is planting his flag to make history by nominating his favorite ex-president as the next Speaker. Stay with us on this one… Trump off-handedly mentioned that he would love to be Speaker of the House, though his aides quickly denounced the idea in the press. Regardless, Gaetz is fundraising off the idea of putting Trump in that spot. We don’t call Matt the Surpriser in Chief for nothin!

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

The Twitter Dessert Platter

Lance has been on a Twitter tear recently and the target, unsurprisingly, is Biden and his fellow Democrats. He came out in support of Trump’s decision to sue the Big Tech companies, bashed Biden’s border plan – noting that the president is sending $860 million to house illegal migrants instead of sending the money to small businesses – and is not holding back on his support for the anti-communist uprising in Cuba that’s taking place. If you want a sparknotes of Republican messaging, Lance’s Twitter is a great place to start!

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

Man’s Best (and Maybe Diseased) Friend

Did you know that only 1% of the dogs imported into the U.S. are screened for diseases and infections? And that most rabies deaths in people around the globe are caused by dog bites? The implications of unhealthy dogs entering the country goes beyond one bite, though, and has the capacity to wipe out livestock and destabilize the health of entire communities. Dusty is introducing a bipartisan bill that would require all dogs being imported into the country to have veterinary certificates with up-to-date vaccinations and proof of health screenings. In fact, his co-sponsor on the bill, Rep. Schrader (D-OR) is a veterinarian and knows a thing or two about pup safety.

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

Clinics for All

In 2014 a piece of legislation was passed that created a Medicaid demonstration program to allow states to fund Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics for mental health and addiction services. The program is currently operating in 10 states, but Markwayne and a group of bipartisan colleagues is planning to make the opportunity available to all 50 states with a new piece of legislation. The clinics in question provide round the clock services and, according to Markwayne, have led to a 95% reduction in inpatient psychiatric admissions in the areas they serve in Oklahoma. Hopefully with widespread support and an existing precedence, this new legislation will fly through Congress and become law.

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Setting the Record Straight

It’s been almost a year since the riots in Kenosha, WI – smack dab in the middle of Bryan’s district – after the police shooting of Jacob Blake and Bryan recently penned an op-ed laying into Gov. Tony Evers’ handling of the situation. Bryan called out Evers for stoking racial tensions right after the shooting happened, but before anyone was protesting in the streets. He then called Evers’ comments in the days that followed “offensive” and “dangerous”, leading police associations to write to the governor asking that he “refrain from making statements specific to Kenosha.” Lastly, Bryan pointed out that even though Evers claimed he requested federal assistance, when Bryan called then-President Trump, Trump assured him that Evers did no such thing. What might the timing of this op-ed indicate? A reassessment one year later and/or a targeted jab at Evers who’s in the early days of his reelection campaign.

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Dredge Away!

Lee isn’t slowing down on gaining his party’s nomination for governor of NY, but he’s also keeping his eye on a local, ongoing issue. The Army Corps of Engineers just announced the bid solicitation process for the initial construction of Fire Island to Montauk Point project, which will provide dredging and shoreline projects along 83 miles of Long Island coastline. The project also includes coastal and wetland restoration projects. This project is decades in the making and Lee is hopeful that now that bids are being submitted, it’s becoming a reality. This just goes to show, even as lawmakers rise in the national spotlight, there’s still work to be done at home.

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Books, Ew

Did you know that the average student budget for college books & supplies was $1,240 during the 2020-21 school year at a four-year public institution? That might not come as a surprise to anyone who walked down the halls of their college bookstore, lamenting the cash about to be spent on a hunk of books that (let’s be real) you didn’t really want. Last year, Kyrsten secured $7 million in funding for the Open Textbooks Pilot program to lower textbook costs on Arizona students. Now, she just announced that over $800k from that program is headed to a local community college to help with textbook costs. What would you have done with that extra saved money in college?

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

INVESTing, Soon

The infrastructure-focused INVEST in America Act passed the House with a small margin of bipartisan support and Jake is applauding the measures he secured for his district and state. In addition to specific projects, he also had an amendment included in the Act that will empower municipalities to expand their transit service, which will create more innovation, accessibility and sustainability in transit. Now, the bill heads to the Senate, where it isn’t a sure thing, but we know Jake’s got his fingers crossed.

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

UN-Fair

Before she was a member of Congress, Sara worked for the UN, so it’s no surprise that her most recent legislation has the health of the UN at the center of it. The United States Commitment to Peacekeeping Act permanently repeals the cap on the U.S. contributions to the UN’s peacekeeping operations. As it stands, UN Member State dues are calculated based on the size of each nation’s economy and other factors. However, under current law, U.S. payments are capped at 25%, meaning that America has billions in unpaid dues which, Sara says, weakens the strength and effectiveness of the international body. Just goes to show you – past experience and knowledge matters!

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Shots Then Guns

After Biden’s call for door-to-door vaccination efforts, many right wing conservatives jumped on the opportunity to expose the dangers of such a program. Madison, a rising GOP star and outspoken critic of the president, did not hold back. In an interview at last week’s CPAC event, Madison insisted that if they begin with door-to-door shots, soon they’ll be coming around door-to-door for people’s guns. How would you see this type of vaccination effort unfolding?

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

911 for 911

911 call-takers and dispatchers are the first line of assistance for citizens in need. They’re often faced with traumatic situations and don’t have much by way of mental health treatment on the job. Peter and a group of bipartisan colleagues have introduced the PROTECT 911 Act which would establish a tracking system for 911 phone workers’ suicides, develop practices to identify, prevent, and treat PTSD, give mental health professionals better tools to treat 911 personnel, and establish grants for health and wellness programs in emergency communications centers. Hopefully you won’t be calling 911 anytime soon, but it’s always good to think about who’s on the other end of that line helping you when you do.

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Homegrown Competition

The first Democratic challenger has entered the race to try and unseat Jake in the 2022 midterms. Patrick Schmidt, a formal naval intelligence officer, is running on a message of unity and making healthcare and education more affordable. He has an uphill battle as Jake won the 2020 election by 15 points over his Democratic opponent. Additionally, Jake’s attacks on Schmidt are already underway as it was revealed that Schmidt only moved to the area earlier this year after leaving active duty. A spokesperson for Jake’s campaign said, “we’re happy to recommend a good realtor if that’s helpful.” lol.

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

De-Escalation Station

As conflict around the police continues to rage on after the year we’ve had, Nancy is working hard to find a solution that doesn’t involve much of the rhetoric seen on the Left. She recently visited a local police department to get briefed on their new de-escalation techniques and present the Chief with a Congressional Award for over two decades of service. In learning about the new techniques, Nancy volunteered for a demonstration of ‘bola wrapping’ – a less lethal law enforcement technology that essentially wraps a suspect up in less than a second, rendering them immobile. Want a visual – check out the video in her press release to see Nancy get bola-ed.

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Helping Back Home

Nicole’s mother is a Cuban refugee. She has family living in Cuba. Which is all to say that the current uprisings in Cuba are no small matter to her. The communist regime is cracking down, cutting off social media and other internet services, leaving families like Nicole in the dark about their loved ones. In a recent interview on Fox News, she insisted that Biden has to be stronger, stand with the Cuban people against the dictatorship, and condemn the regime who are living like kings. As for how we can help? Nicole says that sending money is not an option because the regime will take it, but she’d like to see the federal government find ways to send humanitarian aid. With more Cuban-Americans in Congress, we’re sure to see action on some of these issues in the coming days and weeks.

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

Bonk Tax

There are a lot of important things happening in the Senate, but in a break from the gravity we bring you the swath of mostly Gen Zers who have become so obsessed with Jon Ossoff that it’s become a key fundraising tool. Jon is, by all standards, a handsome man. And as the first millennial in the Senate, his looks stand out even more. A group of young voters have harnessed their peers’ affection into donations known as the ‘bonk tax’. The money raised is being directed to Jon’s fellow Georgian, Sen. Raphael Warnock’s reelection campaign and other voting rights initiatives. As for Jon’s reaction to this roundabout good deed? “Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” he said. Though we hope he was chuckling on the inside.

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

Oh, Canada

Being from Michigan, Haley knows a thing or two about travel across the Canadian border. The deadline to decide whether or not to extend the U.S./Canada border closure is approaching, but she’s sent a letter to the Biden administration urging an evidence-based strategy to safely reopen travel. The letter noted how adversely many of Haley’s constituents have been affected by the restrictions on international travel to and from Canada. It remains to be seen exactly how and when the administration will loosen restrictions, but we have a feeling that Michiganders will be hopping over soon for a Tim Horton’s coffee and donut.

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

A Tree Grows in China

As the U.S. attempts to slow down China’s economic development, Kelly and several colleagues are supporting an amendment to a USDA bill that would ban the Chinese state (controlled by the CCP) from buying more U.S. farmland. “There’s no real distinction between large Chinese businesses and the Chinese Communist Party,” Kelly said. Additionally, the amendment would exclude land owned by Chinese state-run companies from receiving taxpayer-funded farm-program payments. On the other side of things, some Democrats are saying that this targeted amendment will only fuel anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. Do you think Kelly’s on the right track with this one?

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

And Then They Fled

You may have heard about the cohort of TX state Democratic lawmakers who left the TX state House and left for DC so that the House couldn’t vote on new voting measures. Dan, unsurprisingly, is not having it and has taken to outing these House members on Twitter, actively dispelling the Democratic narrative of voter suppression, and calling the fled Democrats “delusional” and “pathetic”. God speed for any of these state lawmakers who encounter Dan’s wrath IRL in the future.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

The Guinea Pig

Anthony’s vote to impeach Trump is not new news to anyone anymore. And neither is the wrath he’s encountered from staunch Trumpers both inside and outside the government. However, unlike counterparts like fellow PP leader, Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), he doesn’t flaunt his vote. Instead, he keeps his head down and tries to do his job to get reelected in 2022. What’s particularly interesting about his reelection campaign, though, is that it’s a sort of litmus test for Republicans as to how much of a hold Trump really has on average Republicans. Anthony’s district is Red-leaning, but by no means solidly to the right. A newly crowned guinea pig of the GOP, only time will tell.

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

Broader Band

On a tour around her district to learn about different education needs, Julia landed on one key issue that she’s been sounding the alarm on for a long time – rural broadband. Without connectivity for our country’s most rural and isolated areas, childrens’ education is falling short. She sits on the Education and Labor committee as well as the Agriculture Committee and has cosponsored legislation for more broadband access. This access, of course, is also a part of the most recent bipartisan infrastructure bill that Biden and a group of lawmakers have introduced. Will Julia be supporting that? “I really want to make sure that that infrastructure bill addresses true infrastructure needs. Roads, bridges, ports, rural broadband. Cut the other part out.”

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Voting Rights…Quickly

Colin spoke with MSNBC about the Texas Democrats who fled Texas in an effort to highlight voting rights. Colin said what they have done has “shone light on what is happening in Texas. The eyes of the country are now on Texas,” but Colin wasn’t too sure it would prevent anything from happening. He did say this was a clear message that Congress needs to enact federal protections for the right to vote and that they will move quickly. This is all a shining example of state and federal politics coming to a head around one of the most contentious issues of our time.

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

618,000 Cute Little Kansans

Sharice made sure her constituents were aware of the Child Tax Credit expansion program that starts on July 15th. She shared new resources for families to check their eligibility, track payments, update their information with the IRS and more. The tax cut will benefit 77% of children in Kansas’ third district and more than 618,000 children across the state. Depending on your income, families can expect to receive $300/month for children from 0-5 and $250/month for children from 6-17. This program is set to take place all across the country – are you a parent about to get a boost?

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

May the Best Country Win

This is no question that the U.S. and China are in competition to be THE superpower of the world. To advance the United States’ position, Congress worked together to invest in American science and research. Conor is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, which helped pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act which provides $52 billion in subsidies for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. Conor said, “to really compete with China we have to, in some ways, look at what [China] did, which is to pick a very small list of sectors that they want to dominate.” Let the games begin!

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Contingency Plan?

President Biden announced that the U.S. military will complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan two weeks earlier than the September 11, 2021, deadline. He reaffirmed the U.S. will “continue to make sure that we take on the Afghan nationals who work side-by-side with U.S. forces.” This was a big win in Seth’s eyes as he has been advocating for the withdrawal and to evacuate the 18,000 Afghan interpreters. More importantly, Seth said he will be asking what the contingency plan is if the Taliban overrun the Afghan troops. Are you happy that we are withdrawing troops or not?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

Twitter Banter

Two Political Playlist leaders are butting heads this week, AOC and Lauren Boebert (R-CO). Lauren spoke at the CPAC conference and said “we’re here to tell the government we don’t want your benefits. We don’t want your welfare…” AOC quickly responded. “Tell ‘em loud and proud girl! The GOP will strip your unemployment protections and dismantle any semblance of a public safety net we have left! Then make working people pay way more for everything on low wages while Wall St gets a meal ticket!” We know one thing…this feud is TO BE CONTINUED!

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Dollar Dollar Bills

Better check those bank accounts. Starting July 15, Abigail wanted her constituents to be aware of advance monthly payments of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which is part of the American Rescue Act she voted on. Virginian families can expect to see monthly payments of $300 per child under age six and up to $250 per child ages six to 17. Nearly all Virginia families should receive these monthly payments automatically with no further action required. Depending on your income, couples making up to $150,000 and single parents making up to $112,500 are eligible for the full amount. So, like we said, log in and check those accounts.

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

Not My Face!

In June 2019, Somerville, Massachusetts became the second U.S. city to ban facial recognition technology in public spaces. Rashida, along with Democratic colleagues, reintroduced the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act of 2021. The act will prohibit the usage of facial and biometric recognition in most federally funded public housing projects and will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to submit a report to Congress about how the technology interplays within the public housing sector and its tenants. Previously, facial recognition technology has been known to be inaccurate and disproportionately targeted women and people of color. Have you been a victim of these technologies?

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

China Study Ban

Over the last 10 years, more than 2,500 Chinese military engineers and scientists have studied military related issues in the U.S. and other western countries. Mike introduced the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Visa Security Act, which would require the US government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the PLA and would prohibit individuals employed or sponsored by these Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States. This bill was endorsed by President Biden’s National Security Council director and PP leader Sen. Tom Cotton(R-AR) also introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. Potential bipartisan support on such a consequential issue? Would you look at that!

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

VIP Tickets

Over the past week, Jaime helped introduce legislation called the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act. The VIP Act would give veterans and Gold Star Families free lifetime access to national parks and public federal lands and give active-duty military free annual passes. In 2020, there was the America the Beautiful Act which provided an annual pass to 2,000 federal recreation areas, however, the VIP Act would make these passes for veterans lifetime passes instead of annual passes. Current service members would have annual passes that they can convert into lifetime passes once they leave the military. So the real question, are you a VIP?

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

More Than a Band-Aid

Adam and PP leader Brendan Boyle (D-PA) serve as Co-Chairs of the Friends of a Free, Stable and Democratic Syria Caucus. Last week, the United Nations Security Council voted to extend humanitarian aid in Syria for another 12 months. They released the following statement expressing their relief to see that the international community understands the dire crisis occurring in Syria which has unfortunately taken 600,000 Syrian lives. Just let that sink in…

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Funding Alert

Recently, Guy uncovered that ~$1.1 million was funneled to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) through the EcoHealth Alliance, a New York based non-profit which is focused on research that aims to prevent pandemics and promote conservation in hotspot regions worldwide. The House Appropriations Committee voted to include Guy’s amendment to prohibit federal funding to WIV in the 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill. Guy also introduced legislation in February 2021, the Defund EcoHealth Alliance Act, which would prohibit federal funding to the EcoHealth Alliance. Would you have voted in favor of this?

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

And YOU Get a Task Force

Last week, Greg was appointed to the American Security Task Force. Comprising 14 Republican members, the task force is dedicated to tackling issues that threaten our national security, like the crisis at the southern border, cyberattacks and other violent crimes. Fellow PP leader, Nicole Mallotakis (R-NY) is also a member of this task force. Republican House Leader, Kevin McCarthy created seven issue specific Republican Task Forces to identify and develop policy solutions for a variety of issues related to jobs/economy, big tech, energy, climate, future and China. Do you think these task forces will provide a benefit or more partisan divide?

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Excuse Me, Sir?

Raytheon is one of the largest U.S. government aerospace and defense manufacturers. Tom sent a letter to the Chairman/CEO demanding information about the company’s use of training materials that rely heavily on racial stereotypes and appear to violate federal non-discrimination law. Tom wrote that “Government contractors, as stewards of federal taxpayer dollars, have a special obligation to treat their employees equally, without regard to race.” The training also directed employees to articles advocating for Defund the Police movement. Tom believes that employees should not be subjected to training materials that advocate “radical reading materials.” Do you think this is to be overreaching for a politician and should Raytheon respond?

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

Pay Up!

Ritchie led a group of 12 New York Congressional Democrats demanding that the federal government immediately reimburse the city’s public hospital system for at least $864 million in coronavirus-related emergency spending. The federal government has not been responsive since the reimbursement was first requested in October 2020. FEMA rejected nearly all portions of the request because they said the hospitals needed to differentiate between coronavirus response-related costs and regular hospital expenses. This response only infuriated politicians even more. Other PP New York leaders AOC and Jamaal Bowman also lent their signature to the cause.

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Campaign Finance 2.0

Before becoming a congressman, Jamaal had no political background and minimal name recognition, but somehow through his grassroots campaign, he was able to beat out a longtime incumbent. This is why federal election reform is a top issue for Jamaal. He was a big proponent of For the People Act which included massive election reforms such as instituting a national public campaign financing system. This system would allow many candidates, often young candidates, who are not wealthy and do not have corporate or wealthy donors, to run for office. As Jamaal puts it, “Big money controls our political arena” and we need to put new systems in place to turn away from it. Do you agree with Jamaal?

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Not Free!

Cori sparked controversy on July 4 when she tweeted, “When they say that the 4th of July is about American freedom, remember this: the freedom they’re referring to is for white people. This land is stolen land and Black people still aren’t free.” Other Squad and Democratic members agreed with Cori but, unsurprisingly, Republicans didn’t take well to the statement. Cori went on to explain what problems need to be solved like ending forced labor as permitted under the 13th amendment, the war on drugs, police violence and a healthcare/housing/education apartheid. How do you feel about Cori’s statement?

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

It’s Not Just About the Front Lawn

Governor Newsom called on all Californians to reduce water consumption on a voluntary basis by 15%. Why? Because California is on pace to hit the hottest and driest year since 1977. But the California Republican congressional delegation released a statement pushing the Democrats and the Governor to consider “an all-of-the-above water plan that includes not only conservation, recycling, and desalination, but also critical surface water storage projects, like the proposed shovel-ready Shasta Dam raise.” California is one of the most difficult places to construct new projects because of environmental requirements, but in the effort to conserve water, should these projects move forward?

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

Let Freedom Ring

Kat was recently selected to be a member of the Future of American Freedoms Task Force. Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy setup seven issue-specific task forces to identify and develop policy solutions to the issues facing the American people. The Future of American Freedoms task force will focus on issues related to preserving constitutional freedoms, such as the first and second amendments. Kat said, “whether it’s preserving and defending the freedom of speech or Americans’ right to bear arms, we’re prepared to implement the policies that will propel our country forward.” Can I get FREEDOM on three? One, Two, THREE!

Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)

Wicked Curriculum

Critical race theory continues to be the hot topic for Republicans, especially Byron. He penned an op-ed on how divisive critical race theory spits on the Civil Rights Movement. “Those proposing this wicked curriculum would like to live in an America where every American is judged based on the color of their skin and not the content of their character…Instead, this partisan ideology has one goal in mind, to destroy America from within by indoctrinating our youth and re-damaging America’s Achilles’ heel, race relations.” He pleads at the end – it is up to YOU!

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

You’re a Fraud

There are reports that claim over $400 billion in unemployment relief during COVID was potentially stolen through fraudulent claims, including by organized crime networks based out of China and Russia. Ouch! Ashley, along with 15 of her colleagues, is calling for a full investigation into the amount of federal funds that were stolen. The letter was sent to the Department of Labor Acting Inspector General Larry Turner. We want to be hopeful about this, but do we actually think the government will be able to track down all of the fraudulent claims?

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

The Future Looks Healthy

Victoria will be at the forefront for the Republican agenda related to healthcare after being appointed to serve on the Healthy Future Task Force. Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy created seven task forces to identify and develop policy solutions. The Healthy Task Force will focus on real patient-focused solutions that will lower health care costs, increase competition and value in the marketplace, support patients and spur innovation. This will help shape the next chapter for Republican’s health care agenda. Victoria is also joined by PP leader Jim Banks (R-IN). We feel healthy already!

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

Gitmo on My Mind

Remember Guantanamo Bay? Well, we have not heard much about it, but Tony offered an amendment in the 2022 Appropriations bill that would prohibit funds from being used to close Guantanamo Bay (GB) or house GB detainees on U.S. soil. The amendment has traditionally been bipartisan and has been enacted every year since 2010 but was blocked by Democrats for the 2022 bill. Tony served in the Navy, so he sees GB as much more than a prison. It is a critical piece of national security. Do you think Guantanamo Bay should be closed?

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

Summer Roundtable

Blake is hitting the road and continuing his Summer Roundtable Series talking to community leaders about a variety of issues affecting our country. Not only is he meeting with community leaders, but also hosting various in person town hall meetings across Utah. During some of the earlier meetings, a poll revealed that the immigration crisis was the issue respondents considered most critical for Congress to solve. No better way to understand the needs of your constituents than listening to them!

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

6 Month Check In

August released a report detailing his 6 months in office, specifically focused on his commitment to energy, agriculture, and national security. A couple of the highlights from the report mentioned how August represents the largest oil and gas producing region in the country and was the first freshman member to introduce legislation surrounding energy. He serves on the Texas Ag Task Force and supports numerous legislation pieces to lift up the agriculture industry. And in terms of national security, he has been at the forefront of the border crisis, and imposing sanctions on Iran and Russia. Check out the full report if you get a chance!

Melanie Stansbury (D, NM,1)

Stand for Voting Rights

Did you hear about the Texas State Legislators who flew to D.C. to make a stand for voting rights? Well, if you haven’t it’s quite a story and both sides are coming out in full force either against or supporting them. Melanie took to Twitter to express her support for the Texas Legislators. As she said, “as a former New Mexico legislature, I know how important it is to fight for voting rights. That’s why I am committed to this fight in Congress.” What do you think about this story?

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

Oil Leak

Welcome to your worst nightmare! Oil giants, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, and others are on the chopping block after a secret voice recording was made public of a senior Exxon lobbyist saying the energy giant had fought climate science through “shadow groups” and had been targeting influential senators to weaken President Biden’s climate agenda. Ro called the video “appalling”, and it was the oil industry’s latest effort to “engage in climate denialism and to manipulate public opinion.” Oooooo someone is PISSED!

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Follow the Climate Leader

An environmental warrior, Mike led 130 Democrats (over 60% of the caucus) to send a letter to President Biden pushing for ambitious climate measures in the infrastructure bill. The proposals include investments in clean energy standards, major electric vehicle investment and 10-year clean energy tax credits. While the White House Climate Advisor said they are still backing some major climate initiatives, many progressives are still not happy. Continuing his climate path, Mike penned an op-ed about eliminating the possibility of new offshore drilling. Check it out!

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

Lucky Seven

On May 19, the House passed a bill forming the January 6 Commission with all Democrats and 35 Republicans voting in favor, however, the bill did not pass the Senate. So, Speaker Pelosi put together her own 1/6 commission composed of seven Democrats and one Republican, Liz Cheney. Stephanie is one of the “lucky” seven to be on the committee. She said, “As a Member of the Select Committee, I’ll follow the facts wherever, and to whomever, they lead—through a strictly non-partisan lens. Our democracy needs to be preserved and protected by American patriots of every political stripe.” Do you think this commission will be useful or not?

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

A JOINT Venture

27 states and Washington D.C. have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana possession and 18 states (and D.C.) have legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. But antiquated drug laws are still in place at the federal level. Ilhan and a Democratic colleague are cosponsoring the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE) to eliminate federal criminal penalties, clear criminal records and create social equity programs focused on repairing damage to individuals and communities impacted for decades by criminalization. A similar bill passed in the previous House, but died in the Senate…so do you think this bill can light up (wink wink) this time around?

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Who Wants Ice Cream?

The Child Tax Credit is set to hit peoples bank accounts starting July 15th thanks to the American Rescue Plan. Elissa laid out the changes to the existing plan and that it will be deposited directly into your account if you filed your tax returns this year. The expansion increases the tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for each child under 6 and $2,000 to $3,000 for children ages six to 17 with payments up to $300 for each child 6 years old and younger and up to $250 for children between 6 and 17 years old. Individuals earning up to $112,500 annually and couples making as much as $150,000 are eligible for the full child tax credit expansion. Got kids? It is time to check that bank account!

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA-44)

Winds Of Change

Nanette has always been a vocal advocate for free and fair immigration policy, which is why she’s now vocally pushing the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider the case applications of more than 35,000 migrants seeking asylum. This stems from the 2019 “Remain In Mexico” policy that mandated that asylum seekers, usually let into the country while awaiting a verdict, instead must now remain in Mexico until granted approval of their fate. The Biden administration formally terminated the program in June and the Supreme Court refused to hear any litigation on the matter, now leaving DHS with the task of backtracking on its review of applicants, in large part due to Nanette’s tireless efforts.

Jason Crow (D; CO-6)

Complicated Cocktail

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a good leader is that they can balance extremely complicated personal feelings with the unenviable task of tough, objective decision making. Perhaps no one in Congress embodies that sentiment more when it comes to Jason and the legislative path forward for the US Military in Afghanistan. The chief concern among critics of a troop withdrawal is that it is bound to repeat the power-vacuum tragedies seen at the close of the Vietnam War. But Jason’s sentiment is clear: “There is no way to militarily win this war. There just isn’t.” While he served honorably as an Army Ranger and unequivocally honors those who rose to the call of duty, he also recognizes that legislatively, the President must change the policy course for this engagement. Ultimately, Jason believes it’s about prioritizing the focus on the greatest risks posed to the US, and he no longer sees Afghanistan as such.

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

Got Milk…Reimbursements?

One of the unsung economic casualties of Covid was in agriculture supply chains, particularly among dairy farmers in the northeast, to the estimated tune of roughly $725 million in revenue. Antonio is now leading a group of lawmakers urging the President to authorize financial reimbursements for these Class I skim milk producers who have taken an unprecedented financial hit as a result of the pandemic. For an already unstable industry, the problem is two-fold: the pandemic has made the cost of feed, labor, and transportation more volatile than before, compounded with a change in the price formula stemming from the 2018 Farm Bill. This all adds up to lost revenue, but Antonio is working to make sure that our coffee creamer only dilutes our cup of Joe and not the livelihoods of those who produce it.

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Feels Like Voter Suppression

State legislatures are suddenly taking up voter reform bills at an alarmingly high rate, and in many cases it is simply making it empirically harder to vote. Ruben and fellow under-45er Mondaire Jones (D-NY) have now introduced a bill to restore Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits states from adopting election laws that disproportionately burden the voting rights of people of color and linguistic minorities. Furthermore, a recent Supreme Court ruling cut holes in this law, making the challenge even harder. With many feeling like our Democracy is under attack, this will no doubt be a major campaign issue heading into the 2022 midterms, which–eeeekkkk–are right around the corner! And speaking of which, Ruben has a new book coming out detailing his time in the Marines, serving in a unit that saw heavy action in Iraq.

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

Lift Up Our Kids

Common wisdom would suggest that there’s no getting out of tax season. While that’s indeed true for many, it turns out that if someone earns less than $12,400 in income, they are not required to file a tax return. This seems like an inconceivable number to try and live off of, nevertheless try to support a family. However, in Josh’s central valley district, this accounts for a high number of families. Furthermore, as a result of not needing to file, they also haven’t been able to take advantage of the $3,600 child tax credit eligible to them through the passage of the American Rescue Plan. So Josh is advocating that all justly non-filers apply through the IRS website to receive their rightful Child Tax Credit. It’s estimated that this will help 196,300 children in Josh’s district and will help lift 11,800 of that group out of extreme poverty. The first word that comes to mind is wow. The second is Thank You Josh for looking out for the all-too-often neglected members of our society.

Trey Hollingsworth (R -IN)

Spurring Small Business Investment

Economic recovery was on Trey’s agenda this week when he introduced The Developing and Encouraging our Aspiring Leaders (DEAL) Act. Proponents of the bill say it will spur investments in start-ups and small businesses by making it easier for venture capital funds to seed and invest in emerging funds. Trey says the post-pandemic economy will need greater access to capital in order for businesses to grow and hire more employees, which this bill aims to facilitate. What are some ways you’d like to see our leaders tackle the economic recovery?

Brian Mast (R-Fl)

EAGLE Swipes at China

Brian used strong language to express his concern over China’s rising power this week, saying that “obstruction of investigations on coronavirus, theft of intellectual property, [and] blatant human rights abuses,” are among the offenses that need to be addressed in the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement (EAGLE) Act, which is currently making its way through the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “China is the greatest security threat, not just to the U.S., but to democracy, independence, and the world as we know it,” Mast said. He submitted three amendments to the EAGLE Act, including one that directs the Secretary of State to revoke China’s “developing nation” status which gives it more leniency in trade agreements that are “intended to benefit truly developing nations.” Do you think China should be allowed to keep its developing nation status?

Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

Letters to Canada

In an effort to reopen the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential travel, Elise wrote letters to each of Canada’s territorial and provincial Premiers this week. Canada recently eased domestic quarantine restrictions as its vaccination rates rise, and Elise wants similar relief for the “Americans who’ve been waiting for over a year to visit their homes or loved ones in Canada.” She sat down with members of the Canadian Parliament to discuss the matter and is prepared to introduce the Restoring Northern Border Travel Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to expand the categories of permitted travel into the U.S. across the U.S.-Canada border. Seems like Elise really has a hankering for some maple syrup.

William Timmons (R-NC)

Freeing Up Venture Capital

In an effort to aid the economic recovery, William introduced the Improving Capital Allocation for Newcomers (ICAN) Act of 2021. The bill would modify the existing Qualifying Venture Capital Fund Exemption by increasing the investment cap from $10 million to $150 million and increasing the allowable number of investors from 250 to 600. William hopes this will have an impact “across the country,” citing that “three-quarters of venture capital supports entrepreneurs in just three states: California, Massachusetts, and New York.” Do you think it’s a good idea to aim economic policies at specific parts of the country?

Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Title 42

Title 42 was instituted by President Trump and allows the U.S. to remove “persons who have recently been to a country where a communicable disease was present.” As you might assume this rule was instituted due to the COVID-19 crisis. Josh and other Republican senators want to put this into law with the Securing the Homeland from International Entrants with Life-Threatening Diseases (SHIELD Act). The act would allow U.S. border officials to remove illegal immigrants to stop the spread of COVID-19. Due to the border crisis and the amount of immigrants some health measures have not been as strict. This is an effort to close our borders and stop the flow of immigration, do you agree with it?

Mondaire Jones (D – NY)

Lanes, Trains, and Tunnel Enhancements

All seven of the transportation projects Mondaire requested for his district have been approved for funding as part of the INVEST in America Act. This $715 billion transportation bill also includes an amendment Mondaire added which would direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the economic benefits of commuter rail services between urban and suburban areas. If passed in the senate, the bill would allocate over $10 million for repairs and enhancements to bridges, roadways, bike lanes, and tunnels throughout Jones’ district. NUMTOTs of New York’s 17th, rejoice!

Nikema Williams (D- GA)

Support for Families Affected by Covid-19

Nikema announced an update this week to FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance policy, expanding eligibility for families who lost loved ones during the early months of the pandemic. The new policy will allow families to submit a statement or letter from a certified medical official that attributes the cause of death to COVID-19 without having to file for a new death certificate. Nikema helped pass the funeral assistance program as part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan. It will be a small comfort to the families who have been struggling with loss since the early months of the pandemic.

Lauren Boebert (R-CO)

Fired up About Fire Management

As 44 wildfires rage across the country, Lauren proposed the Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act this week. The bill aims to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires by funding the removal of hazardous trees near powerlines and clearing out the 45 million acres of forest destroyed by the bark beetle infestation. It puts a strong emphasis on supporting rural communities, even going so far as to redesignate counties containing National Forest Service land as Forest Revenue Areas. “Instead of pandering to radical enviros, my bill puts rural communities first,” Lauren said. It’s a bit ironic that in announcing her bill to stop wildfires, she’s still able to disparage environmentalists.

Tracey Mann (R-KS)

Alden, Kansas Gets Much Needed Aid

The city of Alden, Kansas received nearly $2 million in federal aid this week to improve its wastewater infrastructure. The aid includes a $500,000 loan and a $1.4 million grant, both courtesy of the USDA’s Rural Development programs. “Modernized wastewater collection is vital to the health and safety of a community and I will continue to advocate for quality water supply systems in rural Kansas,” said Tracey. Now, if only there were other water crises in this country we could take care of next… *coughcough* Flint.

Andrew Garbarino (d- NY)

Relief for Long Island

Lawmakers in New York took aim this week at BEAT (the base erosion and anti-abuse tax). Their new bill, the Help Our Businesses Recover Act, would provide temporary relief for companies like Canon Financial Services, that “have incurred outsized BEAT liabilities as an unintended consequence of the partisan Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.” Andrew wants to help companies like Canon, “who employ thousands across Long Island.” His ultimate goal with this financial recovery plan is to “get more New Yorkers back to work.” The unintended consequences of the Republican’s tax plan keep adding up, don’t they?