THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Lawmaking for Dummies
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)
Justice, the Green Kind
When we spoke with Nanette, she filled us in on all of the work she does for environmental justice – ensuring that underserved communities don’t get left behind when it comes to things like clean water and overcoming the effects of climate change. Now, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate and on its way to the House, Nanette has joined a group of colleagues to write a letter to Congressional leadership urging that investments addressing clean water, clean energy, zero emissions transportation, and more are prioritized to help communities that are historically overlooked. Lacing climate initiatives into this infrastructure bill has been a point of contention – do you think Nanette and her colleagues will have their voices heard?
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
With recent climate change reports that were even more dismal than we could have thought, Jason and a group of Democratic Reps., including fellow PP leader Ritchie Torres (NY), are introducing the Community Vehicle Charging Act which would establish a $375 million grant program at the Dept. of Transportation to address barriers to accessing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Many rural and other lower income communities lack charging infrastructure so, if passed, this could be a game changer for accelerating the EV revolution!
Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)
On the Web in the Woods
Rural broadband has been an important issue for Antonio as much of his district is not only rural, but without high speed internet. “Broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he said as he joined local leaders and state reps to announce almost $1mill in broadband funding through a recent measure that passed the House. The money will be used to connect over 300 homes and businesses across the county. Think back to a time when your internet wasn’t up to par and then imagine that being an everyday reality.
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
Let Them DREAM
Last Congress, the late John Lewis introduced legislation to expand higher education opportunities for Dreamers (immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children illegally, but have been granted legal status through the Dream Act since). In John Lewis’s memory, Ruben and Lewis’s successor, fellow PP leader Nikema Williams (D-GA) are reintroducing the bill to ensure that Dreamers have an opportunity at the college level. Currently, primary and secondary education is ensured for everyone regardless of immigration status, but there are no federal guidelines at the collegiate level. Do you think Dreamers should be streamlined into the college process?
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
Green Thumb for the Modern Age
With climate change on the forefront of everyone’s minds, Josh isn’t wasting any time in reintroducing his Future of Agricultural Resilience and Modernization Act which would establish initiatives to support farmers in implementing climate-friendly methods and technologies. One initiative would provide $2.5 billion in funding to help farmers reduce emissions and improve air, water, and soil qualities among other things. The other would establish a grant program to help tree nut farmers convert by-products into climate-friendly biocarbon products. Something to ponder when you’re drinking that almond milk latte!
Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)
A housing bill cosponsored by Ro has passed committee and makes its way to the House floor for a vote. The Manufactured Housing Community Preservation Act would create grants to help nonprofits, cooperatives and other local entities purchase and maintain properties. Rent at these properties would be required to remain affordable and make sure that the community is managed for the benefits of the residents. As housing prices balloon, especially in Ro’s SF Bay Area, he’s working to ensure that manufactured housing and mobile home communities remain an option for home ownership. What has your housing process been like over the past year?
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
Lending and Leeching
Predatory mortgage lending in America is no secret so we shouldn’t be surprised that loans targeting veterans are being exploited. Luckily, Mike led a letter to the VA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Government National Mortgage Association to review a concerning report from Rep. Katie Porter’s office (D-CA). The report suggested that some lenders are charging huge fees and loan rates to veterans who are looking to refinance a VA loan, saddling them with disadvantageous terms and high costs. No one deserves to be exploited by the mortgage lenders, most of all our veterans.
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
Stephanie is on the defensive as a flurry of TV ads targeting her and other Democrats are hitting the airwaves in Florida. The ads bash Stephanie for wasteful spending which, they say, has led directly to Floridians experiencing inflation. The ad appears to go after Stephanie for her support of Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. The irony here is that most Americans approved of the legislation, despite no Republicans voting for it. Regardless, we’re hitting the ground running into the 2022 midterms!
Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)
Git-Mo Outta Here
Guantanamo Bay has served not just as a prison, but a political football – policy regarding the facility bouncing back and forth from administration to administration. Ilhan is now helping lead a letter to President Biden calling for the immediate closure of Git-Mo. The infrastructure of the prison is in disrepair, posing health and safety risks to prisoners and guards. On February 12th, Biden launched a formal review into the prison with the intention of closing it and on July 19th, it transferred the first detainee out of Guantanamo, who had previously been recommended for discharge but was held there under the Trump administration. Though Biden seems to be on track to close, Ilhan and her colleagues are going to hold his feet to the fire on this one.
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
The Electric Slide
Elissa hosted former Gov. of Michigan and current Energy Secretary Jennifer Granhom on a tour of Magna Electronics, which manufactures vehicle sensors used for lane-changing assistance. The visit was meant to bolster support for the administration’s announcement of a new agreement with car manufacturers to set a goal of 50% of all new vehicles sold to be electric, fuel cell, or plug-in hybrid by 2030. In addition to speaking about this goal, the two women also talked about how important the new bipartisan infrastructure package can be in creating charging stations around the country. And, in true form, as a former member of the CIA, Elissa emphasized how important it is for the U.S. to become a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing for our own national security and in competition with China.
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
Got My Vote!
The bipartisan infrastructure package just passed the Senate and makes its way to the House. While many young progressives are vowing to vote against the package which they don’t think does enough to combat climate change, Haley is marching to the beat of a different, more moderate drum. As soon as the news of the passage was announced she took to Twitter voicing her excitement for the package. Do you think that moderates like Haley are on the right track here or do those to her left have the right idea with pushing back?
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
The Rights of Survivors
Kelly has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce legislation to create a Survivor’s Bill of Rights that would ensure survivors of sexual assault have the same rights at the state level that they do at the federal level. The act would grant states that provide these rights 10% of the grant that comes from the Violence Against Women Act. The rights include not being charged or prevented from receiving a medical forensic exam, having the evidence collection kit preserved, being informed of any findings from the kit, and more. “The collection and preservation of forensic evidence is key to bringing justice for victims, and I am honored to help advance this bipartisan legislation,” Kelly said.
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is in some hot water with much of the American public. Lucky for them, they have a digitally savvy Congressman to give some advice. At the West Texas Legislative Summit, Dan spoke about energy management, consumption, and change. He encouraged leaders in the industry to hire content creators who could help reach a larger audience to educate consumers, insisting that a lot of the tension comes from a lack of knowledge about the industry. Do you think Dan’s influencer-driven solution is the answer for good ol’ oil and gas?
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
This week on the Political Playlist Happy Hour podcast, we revisited an interview we did with Anthony about his time in Congress and where he thinks the political system is headed. Check it out to hear more about Anthony and his pivotal role as a now-target of the Trump camp. None of that flack has deterred him, though, from moving forward and he recently introduced a bill to enhance the educational and research capabilities of nuclear science engineering, to meet the workforce needs in the nuclear industry, and to accelerate the advancement of nuclear technologies. Do you like Anthony’s forward-thinking push on this one?
Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)
Trey is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and thus puts him under extra scrutiny when it comes to financial disclosures. It was recently reported that he spread up to $7 million in stock buys between two oil companies. While this certainly isn’t illegal, any transaction like this from a member of Congress raises eyebrows about any possible special interests. We’ll keep an eye on this story because, sadly, there wasn’t any other news from Trey in the past couple weeks. If you or someone you know lives in his district, give ol’ Trey a ring and see what’s up!
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
When the Sugar Ain’t Sweet
Brian has been at the forefront of confronting the Army Corps of Engineers over the harmful discharges that are going into Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. He’s now letting loose and expressing concerns that the plans are prioritizing the sugar industry over efforts to reduce the harmful discharges that affect nearby residents. He stressed that the east and west coasts of Florida need to work together to ensure all changes “improve public health, the economy and the environment, not put a finger on the scale in favor of the sugar industry.”
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
Double Standard, Much?
It’s no secret that working moms don’t get the respect they deserve and (shockingly…) it’s no different in politics. Elise, who is pregnant, unleashed on a pair of Vermont TV commentators who were speculating, essentially, about her fitness for the No. 3 Republican. “A local news station thinks it’s appropriate for two male ‘journalists/analysts’ to question whether a pregnant woman or new mother can effectively legislate in elected office,” she tweeted. The comments were, no doubt sexist, and many prominent GOP women have stood by Elise’s side. As all women, regardless of party, should… btw.
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
Roads, But At What Cost?
South Carolina got a C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers when it comes to its infrastructure. With a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package having passed the Senate and heading to the House, William and other young Republicans have a calculation to make and, for him, he’s not sold yet. “I fully support an infrastructure package, but the manner in which this is paid for is irresponsible.” The rising debt at the expense of this legislation is surely going to be top of mind for a lot of young Republicans who are concerned about that swelling deficit. What would you do?
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
Highways in Canada
Josh is a hallmark of a far-right Senate politician so it’s no surprise that he was a vehement ‘no’ vote against the infrastructure package that passed earlier this week. “It’s full of pork-barrel spending. Like building highways in Canada. That’s in this bill,” he said as part of a statement on the legislation. To clarify, the highways in question are roads connecting Alaska to Canada so their legitimacy is a bit more suitable than he might imply. However, one thing is for sure, Josh’s anti-woke messaging knows no bounds and is sure to continue full steam ahead.
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
Progress From Progressives
Mondaire joined his fellow Progressives to support continuing the eviction moratorium that was set to expire at the end of last month. In case you hadn’t heard – they succeeded and the ban on evictions will now continue until October 3rd. Mondaire and the others are now vehemently insisting that the unspent Covid relief funds – $46 billion worth – meant to pay for the moratorium be released as speedily as possible. Do you know anyone affected by this ban that might have Mondaire and his peeps to thank?
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
New Home, Same Vote
Moving is stressful enough and often changing our voting registration falls through the cracks. Nikema is trying to solve that problem by introducing the Voters on the Move Registration Act (with a companion bill in the Senate) which would make it easier to register to vote as we change residences. It would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to design a uniform statement that would be included with certain leases, rental vouchers, and mortgage applications addressing how to register at their new address. “Moving to a new home shouldn’t be a barrier to voting,” she said.
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
Mud and Masks
Facing a crisis in her district as I-70, which runs right through Colorado, has been damaged beyond belief by mudslides, Lauren is partnering with CO Gov. Polis to request federal funds to assist in clearing the debris and reopening the important roadway. While she handles things back home, she’s also continuing to rustle feathers at her second home – the U.S. Capitol – reportedly throwing a mask at a staffer who offered her one under the new mandate imposed by the Capitol physician to stem the spread of the Delta variant. This is certainly the Boebert spin on multitasking.
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
Tracey is a self-proclaimed farm guy and always has his finger on the pulse of what’s going right – and wrong – for American farmers. As he embarks on a week-long listening tour in his district, he’s also expressing dismay at the delay in financial assistance for farmers and ranchers from the Covid relief funds they were promised. There were apparently more than 2,000 applicants for support and only about 60 of them have received money. The slow pace of Covid relief disbursement is a common thread across a variety of Americans in need and regardless of political affiliation, it’s a problem that needs to be solved.
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
The Greatest Threat
The increase in cyber criminal activity is, to put it lightly, terrifying. What’s more disheartening is that our government doesn’t seem prepared to take on the fight. Luckily, there are several young politicians in Congress dedicating themselves to this issue. Andrew has introduced the Better Cybercrimes Metrics Act along with fellow PP leaders Blake Moore (R-UT) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) which would establish reporting mechanisms at the FBI to improve data collection on cybercrimes in the U.S. “Cybercrime is rampant,” he said, “but despite the rising number of attacks… we do not have a clear picture of the full scope of the problem.” Yikes.
Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)
We’ve written about this before, but Julia is pleading yet again with the American public to get vaccinated. This time it comes in perhaps her most personal and moving interview yet describing the quick and unexpected decline and passing of her husband Luke, whose Congressional seat she ended up filling. Devastatingly, she talks about how they were so excited that late last year we were all just weeks away from the vaccine becoming available. For Luke, it wasn’t soon enough. If you or someone you know is feeling hesitant about the vaccine, please watch or share this video of Julia – a personal story is always better than a public statement.
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
Your Wait Time Is…
While the border crisis is at the top of many people’s minds, Pete is focused on reducing the immigration backlog that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is dealing with. In May 2021, USCIS received over 60,000 new applicants for DACA, but it had only been able to process 1,900 applications. In July 2021, a federal judge blocked the Department of Homeland Security from approving new DACA applications. Pete introduced a resolution to help support USCIS in reducing this backlog. One thing is for sure, that is a lot of new applicants!
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
North of Ireland Peace
Brendan is the only member of the U.S. House with an Irish-born parent, so issues related to Ireland are, let’s just say, personal. The House passed the Fiscal Year 2022 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act that included Brendan’s amendment to promote peace in the North of Ireland by way of the International Fund for Ireland. Founded in 1986, the International Fund for Ireland is an independent organization that supports economic regeneration and social development projects in areas most affected by violence in Northern Ireland. As Brendan put it in his statement, “maintaining peace in the North of Ireland is critical in the post-Brexit era.”
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
Over half of the lawmakers who left office in 2019 cashed in to become lobbyists. Jared introduced legislation that would ban former members of Congress from ever working as federal lobbyists. Current law allows former members to begin lobbying activities 1-2 years after leaving office. Today more than 400 former members of Congress are currently working as lobbyists. When so many people feel that Washington is broken, this might be the drastic step needed to stop special interests from influencing Washington, but what else will these former politicians do? Podcasts? ha
Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)
With mental health being a hot topic, especially as it related to our veterans, Andy announced a new $60 million Veteran Affair Community Based Outpatient Clinic is coming to his county. Andy stressed, “Since Day 1 in Congress, getting a new health clinic for our honorable veterans in Ocean County has been my top priority.” Andy outlined all the steps he had to take to get this accomplished. It shows that the hard work finally pays off!
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
The IPCC Tropical Storm
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report outlining how climate change is increasing fire weather, with drier, hotter, and longer fire seasons, fueling heat waves, amplifying drought, supercharging tropical cyclones, increasing extreme rainfall, and driving coastal flooding. YIKES. Joe said now is the time to act. His 21st Century Climate Conservation Corps was included in the $3.5 trillion budget resolution unveiled by the Democrats this week and which just passed in the Senate. This will provide $25.6 billion in community resiliency projects and $89.1 billion in Department of Agriculture funding.
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
As New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress, LGBTQ+ issues are important to Chris. He recently introduced legislation to establish an LGBTQ Veterans Advisory Committee at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Committee would include professionals from fields related to health care, and other needs unique to LGBTQ veterans. As well, the committee would include, one lesbian, gay, or bisexual veteran with a service-connected disability; at least one transgender veteran with a service-connected disability; minority LBGTQ veterans, and LGBTQ veterans who have been both voluntarily and involuntarily separated from service. Coming a long way from Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that’s for sure.
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
Save Our Manatees
Sadly, a record number of manatees have died this year than any other year in Florida. Darren and his Republican colleague Vern Buchanan (FL) introduced The Manatee Protection Act which would officially put the manatees on the Endangered Species Act and give them the highest level of federal protection. One of the reasons so many manatees are dying is primarily due to starvation and the loss of seagrass beds. In the last seven months there have been 890 manatee deaths and it is estimated there are only ~6,500 West Indian manatees in the southeastern United States. Save our cute manatees!
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
Let Em’ Write
Attacks on journalists are at an all-time high! In 2020, there were a total of 427 physical attacks, which is higher than the prior three years combined. Eric introduced legislation with his Democratic colleagues, the Journalist Protection Act, which would make intentionally harming a working journalist or with an intent to intimidate them from doing their job a federal crime. With the First Amendment being one of the most coveted rights for citizens, what happens with regards to reports of Fake News reporting and the harm it has on the people they report on?
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
Safety For Mom
324,000 pregnant women experience intimate partner violence in the United States ANNUALLY, with one out of six of those women experiencing abuse for the first time. Lauren is backing her Democratic colleague, Gwen Moore (WI) in introducing the Protect Moms from Domestic Violence Act, which would require a variety of studies examining the effect partner violence has on maternal health outcomes. Due to COVID, sadly domestic violence rates have surged which is a serious risk factor for negative pregnancy outcomes. On a separate note, if you are a Lauren fan, check out this article written about her career and her potential bright future.
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
Taking on China, Our Way
Before Jim left for his August recess, he introduced the Countering Communist China Act with PP Leader Dusty Johnson (R-SD). Nearly 300 pages long, Jim’s bill is a counterproposal to Senator Schumer’s (D-NY) Endless Frontier Act, which House Republicans have been critical of for its cost and not doing enough. The Act draws hard lines with China like prohibiting universities getting grant money, establishing sanctions if caught stealing U.S. intellectual property, among other things. But most importantly, the bill only spends $1 billion as compared to the Democrats $250 billion.
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
Matt came out swinging on the premiere of his new podcast Firebrand where he took aim at Fox News and former speaker of the House Paul Ryan. “Fox News isn’t what it used to be. It probably has something to do with their corporate board member, Paul Ryan.” And on top of that he went against Fox prodigy Tucker Carlson. So, do you think this is a good move on Matt’s part? Going against the Republican majority?
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
President Obama celebrating his 60th birthday just shows how many people are seriously over COVID. Unfortunately, while the new DELTA variant is causing numbers to increase and hospitals to be full, people still do not want to cancel their plans. After President Obama celebrated his “trimmed down” bash, he received criticism from various Republicans, like Lance who said, “If Barack Obama can party maskless with hundreds of guests, our children can go to school maskless.” Do you agree with Lance?
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
$1 Trillion Mental Health Impact
Mental health impacts everyone on some level, even in our last newsletter we talked about various ways politicians are tackling the issue. Dusty teamed up with a Democratic colleague from Washington to introduce the SUPPORT for Mental Health Act. The act would allow states and tribes to move previously allocated money into a trust fund for behavioral health services. Almost up to $1 trillion in COVID relief funds can be repurposed. As well, Dusty joined his Republican PP leader Jim Banks (IN) to introduce the Countering Communist China Act to combat the growing threat of China.
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
Markwayne was one of the few House leaders who stayed on the floor to protect other colleagues. He recounted his story when he motioned to PP leader Jason Crow (D-CO) to help get the other colleagues out who were stuck on the House floor. Markwayne also does not agree that the Capitol police officer who shot and killed one of the rioters should be vilified. As Markwayne said, “he was doing his job. And if you’re going to present your weapon … and give commands and they still don’t listen and they still approach, you don’t have a choice.” In other news with the new infrastructure bill passing the Senate, there could be nearly $5 billion in infrastructure to Oklahoma, so it will be interesting to see what way Markwayne votes.
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
Hey, I’m Listening
During this August recess, Bryan is taking advantage of being close to constituents. He planned 6 “listening sessions” to hear from various people in his district. The first two already happened and the questions Bryan faced related to the January 6 Capitol attack, critical race theory, and COVID-19. Bryan was clear to say that the COVID vaccine is safe, and he encouraged people to receive it. He compared the 1/6 attack to the Kenosha riots that erupted after the shooting of Jacob Blake. While he defended the First Amendment, he said “The moment you cross from First Amendment activity to criminal behavior, you should be held accountable.” We are sure that these listening sessions will bring out some interesting topics and debates.
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
NY Dumpster Fire
If you are a politician from New York, then last week was a total dumpster fire, from the Attorney Generals report on the sexual abuse from Governor Cuomo to New York City’s proof of vaccination requirement. As Lee is running for Governor, he was quick to criticize the vaccination mandate, “This over the top, ‘government knows best’, authoritarian mandate is wrong and must be immediately stopped in its tracks.” And with Cuomo’s resignation how does this affect his run for Governor?
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
I Did It, Now You Do It
Congrats are in order for Kyrsten, as she served as the lead Democrat negotiator on the recently passed $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill. As Kyrsten put it, she is “laser focused on advancing our legislation.” While Kyrsten came under fire from various Progressive Democrats for not putting her initial support behind the $3.5 trillion spending bill, she eventually supported it as it passed along party lines and made its way to the house with the infrastructure package. Now with the Senate behind her bill, Kyrsten might have to do some convincing with her House colleagues. In the meantime, Kyrsten has been updating her website outlining the benefits for Arizona.
Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)
Projects For Grace
With the 2022 House Appropriations package passing Congress, many politicians are seeing some strong wins for their district. Jake has many reasons to celebrate as his district is receiving ~$15 million for projects related to energy, infrastructure, health clinics, shelters, water treatment/supply as well as housing, clean energy, and public education. If this was not enough for a big week, Jake and his wife also welcomed their daughter, Grace, to the family. 😊
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)
While many politicians left D.C. to go back home to their families or on vacation, Sara joined fellow PP leader Cori Bush (MO) and other Progressive Democrats to protest the eviction moratorium on the Capitol steps. These Democrats were successful in getting President Biden and the CDC to extend the moratorium in areas that were highly affected by COVID. As Sara put it, “that’s what our constituents sent us here to do – to push for a better future and to center the voices of those most impacted.”
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
Military Spouse Tax
Before Madison went home to North Carolina for recess, he introduced the Military Spouse Tax Act, which would expand current law to support veterans’ spouses by allowing the military spouse to keep their home domicile for state tax income purposes. Madison was joined by other Republican PP leaders Tracey Mann (KS) and Jim Banks (IN). Madison said, “this bill is a step closer to doing our absolute best as lawmakers to provide the best form of representation to support veteran’s spouses.”
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
For Country Caucus
Were you aware that there is a For Country Caucus that is composed of 25 veterans in Congress? The Caucus was created in 2019 and is a bipartisan group of veterans in Congress committed to national service and working across party lines. Peter and his colleagues are working to pass the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act. The act was introduced by other PP leaders Jason Crow (D-CO) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and it would authorize the construction of the memorial on the National Mall. The memorial is meant to honor the 2.7 million men and women who have voluntarily served in the U.S. Armed Forces over the last 20 years against terrorism.
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
Jake took to the House floor to defend the Hyde Amendment. What is it you ask? In 1980, the Hyde Amendment came into effect as a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Why is it important now? President Biden introduced a budget that omitted the Hyde Amendment, fulfilling a campaign promise to repeal the Hyde Amendment. This is the first time in 40 years we are seeing an important shift in the abortion debate, which highlights a new focus on the health needs of low-income women and women of color but aggravates pro-life politicians like Jake.
Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)
The Green Down Payment
Well, it does not seem like Nancy will be voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that just passed the Senate. In a recent interview, Nancy said that this infrastructure package is just a “down payment for the Green New Deal.” While she may be right, the Green New Deal was much more aggressive at the $10 trillion price tag, but some Republicans have said it could cost as much as $93 TRILLION. Holy Moly. But the real issue here is taxes will be raised which Nancy said is unfair. Do you agree with her?
Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)
Everyone assumed it was coming, but Governor Cuomo finally resigned. As many politicians from both sides of the aisle were calling for his resignation, Nicole had been from the beginning. She released the following statement that simply stated, “New York can start to heal and move on.” While Nicole discussed her good wishes to the Lieutenant Governor, she also mentioned this does not end “his administration’s alleged coverup in the nursing home scandal and the payday he received by utilizing his staff and state resources to write a book.” It will not be the last time we hear about him from Nicole.
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
The Right to VOTE
One thing that Republicans and Democrats do not agree on right now is voting rights. There are various Republican legislatures that are putting measures in place that some would say are restricting voting. Jon and other Democratic senators introduced the Right to Vote Act which establishes the first-ever statutory right to vote in federal elections — protecting U.S. citizens from laws that make it harder to cast a ballot. The bill allows Americans to enforce that right by challenging in court any policy that restricts ballot access. We have seen other voting rights bills crash and burn in the Senate, so we won’t be holding our breath for this one.
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Veterans Affairs, Upgraded
Colin got a law passed this week! His bipartisan bill was signed into law by President Biden and authorizes the construction and renovation of a number of VA facilities, including a new spinal cord injury center in Dallas and a community living center in New York. The Major Medical Facility Authorization Act passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. Coilin’s leadership has made available over $2 billion of funding for the administration. Hip hip hooray for the VA!
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
Drove the Chevy to the Levee in Upper Turkey Creek
Sharice traveled to Upper Turkey Creek to visit the site of the proposed levee project that she’s requesting funding for. Her district is ranked as one of the most vulnerable areas in the U.S. to the effects of climate change, and the levee project would protect hundreds of homes and businesses from dangerous potential flooding. But she didn’t stop there. She also secured funding for the University of Kansas Cancer Center and for Lanexa, KS to invest in a backup generator. All in all, Sharice is gunning for $15 million for her district, should HR 4502 pass in the Senate.
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Sights Set on the Senate
Conor announced this week that he’s throwing his hat in the ring for the Pennsylvania Senate seat that is currently held by Republican Pat Toomey. Conor is a moderate Democrat who won by 20 points in a district Trump had previously carried. In short, Conor has a shot at appealing to moderate conservatives. And although he sometimes criticizes the left wing of the Democratic Party, he still believes “we need to raise pay for working people, protect your retirement and make sure you have health care when you need it.” In such a crowded field, how do you think Conor’s centrism will play?
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
Seth Saves the Whales!
Seth added $16.9 million in funding to the House appropriations bill to help save the whales. If passed, the funding would support scientists, commercial fishermen, and conservation groups as they attempt to protect the North Atlantic right whale population, which is currently endangered. Seth also plans to reintroduce the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act, which will provide government grants that fund efforts to research and restore the right whale population. If passed, we know Seth will be having a whale of a good time!
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)
Alexandria spent several days this week at a sit-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol started by PP leader Cori Bush (D-MO), protesting the end of the CDC’s eviction moratorium. Her strategy was a success, and the moratorium has been extended until October 3rd for most renters, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that an extension would require legislation from Congress. In a statement from the steps of the Capitol, Alexandria said that states and municipalities need time to distribute the $46 billion in rental assistance that has already been given out. Do you think the moratorium is enough to help renters affected by the pandemic?
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
Tough on Cybercrime
This week, Abigail got serious about cybercrime. She introduced the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act with fellow PP leader Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), a bipartisan and bicameral piece of legislation that would improve how the federal government tracks and prosecutes cybercrime. “Our nation’s crime classification system is out-of-date — and [this bill] takes commonsense steps to improve our cybercrime metrics, anticipate future trends, and make sure law enforcement agencies have the tools and resources they need,” Abigail said. After the series of recent cyberattacks against American infrastructure, is this going to be enough to mitigate this growing threat?
Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)
Drowning in Utility Debt
Rashida introduced legislation that would cancel the ever-rising wave of household debt for water, power, and broadband services that has been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. Her plan would offer low-interest loans to service providers that will be forgiven when the provider cancels household arrears. It would also require loan recipients to restore disconnected services and suspend late fees. Americans are estimated to owe tens of billions of dollars of utility debts as a direct result of the pandemic, with families of color disproportionately affected. This bill promises to be a beacon of relief for those drowning in utility debt.
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
Does the CDC have the Authority?
Mike condemned the Biden administration’s decision to extend the eviction moratorium in a statement this week. The Supreme Court stated previously that the CDC does not have the authority to extend the moratorium, which would require legislation from Congress. Even so, Biden directed the CDC to make an extension for most renters until October 3rd. “This is a mess,” said Mike, who also pointed out that Biden had previously agreed that he did not have the constitutional authority to extend the deadline. As the country grapples with the ongoing crisis and states and municipalities rush to distribute the rental assistance that has already been allocated, what should be done about the looming tide of evictions?
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
Jaime is hosting the 10th annual Southwest Washington Jobs Fair for residents of her district. Like previous iterations, this will be free and open to all and will feature employees across a variety of industries. In the post-pandemic economy, workers have an anomalous amount of power in negotiating for higher wages and better treatment. Here’s hoping residents of Jaime’s district will be able to find meaningful opportunities at the fair!
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)
Zero-Emission Cow Farts
Any idea how to turn a dairy farm green? Adam toured a dairy in his district and spoke to the farm’s owner about how they plan to get to zero emissions by 2050. He also commented about his appointment to the January 6th commission, saying “I will have failed at my job if I worried about my re-election… over my duty to the Constitution.” May the cows bear witness to his patriotism.
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
No Pay Copay
Military members and their families are getting some much-needed assistance as a result of Guy’s Stop Copay Overpay Act. The bill would limit mental health copayments under TRICARE, the military’s healthcare provider. In a time when everyone seems to be dealing with mental health struggles, our military men and women are especially vulnerable. Guy’s plan would make it easier for them to access quality mental health services. It’s a small change that would have a big impact for the 9 million Americans who use TRICARE.
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
A Republican Limits Police Authority?
Greg recently introduced a bill that would prohibit the U.S. Capitol Police from operating outside of Washington, D.C., their designated jurisdiction. After the Capitol Police announced that they would establish field offices in Florida and California to investigate the January 6th riots, Greg introduced the Protect the Capitol Act, which would disallow them from operating these and other field offices. You don’t often see members of the Republican party curbing police authority. Do you think Greg is right to try to limit the reach of the Capitol Police?
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
Shotguns out, Arkansas fish farmers. Tom introduced the Cormorant Relief Act as an amendment to the infrastructure package. Though the package was passed without his amendment included, the proposed legislation would have given catfish farmers the ability to kill double-crested cormorants, which are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. The cormorants are said to hunt from fish farms, hurting profits. Though the birds are safe for now, Tom may continue to protect the farmers whose livelihoods the feathered friends might threaten.
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
How to Halt Homelessness
American cities are crippled with a wave of homelessness that hasn’t been seen since the Hoover towns of the Great Depression. Ritchie introduced the Ending Homelessness Act this week to combat this crisis. The bill would both expand Section 8 vouchers and increase the supply of low-income housing by 110,000 over the next five years. While this would be landmark federal legislation, is it enough? What else can be done to mitigate this crisis?
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
Evictions on Hold, Again
Jamaal’s leadership in opposing the end to the CDC’s eviction moratorium paid off this week when the moratorium was extended for most renters until October 3rd. “Thanks to the tireless work of so many activists, community leaders, and elected officials, millions of Americans won’t have to worry about being evicted as the Delta variant rages across the country,” Jamaal said of the victory.
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
A Movement that Moved Mountains
Cori is celebrating a fresh victory after the CDC announced that it would extend the eviction moratorium as a public health measure to combat the Delta variant. For Cori, this fight was personal as she has been evicted three times in her life. “On Friday night, I came to the Capitol with my chair… For 5 days, we’ve been out here, demanding that our government acts to save lives,” said Cory. “Today, our movement moved mountains.”
David Valadao (R; CA-21)
The Central Valley Runs Dry
David hosted a roundtable in his central California district to hear directly from residents impacted by the ongoing drought. Local water stakeholders from Fresno, Kern, and other localities met with David and Ranking House Member Bruce Westerman to draw attention to their worsening conditions. As climate change rages, Western states can expect to see more extreme weather including, unfortunately, severe droughts. Farmers in the Central Valley are looking to Washington to help quench the drought.
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
Sweet, Sweet Sugar
Kat wants to protect American sugar farmers by zeroing out the foreign subsidies that make it difficult for American farmers to compete in the global and even domestic marketplace. Countries like Brazil and India subsidize their sugar exports to the tune of billions of dollars per year, pricing out sugar farmers in the U.S. Kat introduced a resolution to combat foreign sugar subsidies in the hopes of getting us to kick at least one bad sugar habit.
Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)
Calling Out Critical Race
Byron held a press conference in his district this week to voice opposition to Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. Although the controversial curriculum is not taught in his district and is actually banned in the state of Florida, Byron spoke out publicly against it. “[CRT] has crept into too many institutions in our country,” he said at the press conference. He also said he wants to make sure the school district knows it’s being watched by the community. What’s your take on the backlash against CRT?
Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)
Ashley set her sights on encouraging her constituents to get vaccinated this week. She asked members of her Iowa district to watch PP leader Julia Letlow’s interview about her late-husband’s battle with Covid-19 and how the vaccine could have saved his life. Public officials across the aisle are now promoting the vaccines more rigorously as the Delta variant rages across the country. Over 600,000 Americans have died as a result of Covid-19 so far, about the same amount of life lost during the Civil War. For many leaders, getting their constituents vaccinated has become an urgent priority.
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
Fund the Judiciary!
Where did all the judges go? As of March of this year, there were 696,789 pending cases in federal district courts across the country, averaging 803 filings per judgeship. Victoria introduced bipartisan legislation this week to increase the number of judges, an otherwise normal upgrade that typically happens every few years. But the courts haven’t been upgraded in over 17 years, so we’re long overdue. Victoria’s bill would relieve overcrowded dockets and streamline court proceedings by increasing funding to district courts and hiring new judges. “Our judicial system is overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of pending cases. It has long been said that justice delayed is justice denied,” Victoria said about her legislation. If passed, the bill should help to alleviate our jammed up legal system.
Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)
In response to the many cyber and ransomware attacks that hit the U.S. this year, Tony is introducing legislation to establish a National Digital Reserve Corps. The federal agency would be made up of high-skilled civilians who can be called upon for 30 days per calendar year to respond to cyber threats. “The establishment of the National Digital Reserve Corps brings the ingenuity and expertise of the private sector to our federal government,” Tony said. Are your hacking skills good enough to make it in the Digital Reserve?
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
Blake is cracking down on cybercrime. He introduced the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act with fellow PP leaders Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), a bipartisan and bicameral piece of legislation that would improve how the federal government tracks and prosecutes cybercrime. “Aggression we see from cyber criminals and adversaries requires a new era of reporting and collaboration between private and public industry,” Blake said. The final frontier is a wild west, and Blake is hoping to tame it.
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
The Wall Returns
August is trying to resurrect the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He introduced the Border Security for America Act, which would require that the federal government renew border wall construction contracts and hire additional federal CBP officers. If passed, construction on the border wall would resume immediately. August said that the current administration’s border policies have “led to record-numbers of illegal crossings, drug trafficking, and criminal activity.” Which side of the wall debate do you stand on?
Melanie Stansbury (New Mexico).
A Jolt of Energy
The Department of Energy got a jumpstart with the introduction of Melanie’s new bipartisan bill with PP leader Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), the Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act. If passed, it’ll establish a nonprofit foundation under the DOE that channels funding for research and brings energy innovations to underserved communities. One of the orders of the legislation — commercializing the next generation of high-efficiency batteries. This public-private partnership promises to jolt our energy technology into high-gear.