THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: AARPolitics

The full rundown from our October 22, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: AARPolitics

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Hey, You’re Eligible!

We all know how frustrating and confusing dealing with bureaucracy can be, but for some that confusion can mean missing a key lifeline. In the case of disabled veterans, Colin joined forces with fellow PP leader Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) to introduce the Informing VETS Act which would direct the VA to provide more information to qualified service members about programs they’re eligible for. We hear a lot about wasting taxpayer dollars, but for the dollars already being spent, let’s make sure those in need can take advantage!

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Laaaddiiieeess!!

With Democrats’ pushing each other’s buttons to agree on the large ‘human infrastructure’ spending bill, one of the benefits that seems to be at risk of not making it in is child care. Sharice, in a recent interview, defended why keeping child care and other family-focused initiatives in the bill is so important. She noted how so many women have left the workforce and need that safety net for their children in order to go back. As Sharice put it quite simply, “When women are included in the policymaking, the outcomes are better.”

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

Pay it Down

The crisis of student loan debt is not something that is lost on any of our young politicians, many of whom are still making loan payments themselves. Conor just introduced the Pay Down Upskill Act which would direct the Dept. of Education to provide eligible borrowers with a $10,000 education credit to either pay down loan debt OR be used towards additional education or workforce training. What would you do with your $10k if this passes?

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Finance Woes

Many members of Congress, especially higher-profile ones like Seth, have PACs which primarily help raise money for like minded candidates. However, Seth’s Pac, Serve America, has been called out by a campaign finance watchdog group as a very small percentage of the funds from the PAC have gone directly to candidates and instead were spent on travel, dining, and events. Seth defended the spending, saying that the PAC works to “direct donations from individuals to political candidates” which requires these operating expenses. There’s no official investigation yet, but all of this does beg the question about the complexity of our campaign finance system and whether there’s a better, less prone to corruption, way to go about funding political races.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

The Memo

Student loan debt has been a hot button issue, especially amongst young progressives like AOC. The Biden administration has voiced its desire to eliminate student loan debt without congressional authorization and the Dept. of Education says it is preparing a legal memo saying as such. AOC and fellow young leaders like Ilhan Omar (D-MN) are urging Sec. of Education Cadona to release the memo by October 22nd. While some Democratic party leaders like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer think Biden has this wide-scale authority, AOC’s own mama bear Speaker Pelosi does not. Do you think loan cancellation is a reality or a pipe dream?

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Make it Swift

Abigail isn’t one to beat around the bush and she has made her position clear about the impending infrastructure vote in Congress. She joined Gov. Ralph Northam last week, along with representatives from several Virginia labor and business organizations, in calling for the swift passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that is awaiting action in the House. “Physical infrastructure – as an issue – is one that unites Americans across the political spectrum.” Clearly, Abigail and other moderate Democrats are getting impatient waiting for the larger ‘human infrastructure’ spending package to be sorted out!

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

It is, Indeed, Better

A typical Michigan family of 4 with one infant and one child in full-time center-based child care would save $18,040 each year. That is not an insignificant number which was determined by a recent analysis from the House Committee on Education and Labor yesterday. Rashida says that the study only validates what she and other progressives have known all along – that BOTH the bipartisan infrastructure bill AND the Build Back Better Act must be passed. The real question as Democrats are in talks right now is, will these child care provisions survive?

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Cold War, Take Two

Mike has always been on the forefront of sounding the alarm when it comes to our relations with China. Recently, China conducted a hypersonic missile test which was a big ol’ shocker to the U.S. and means their military capability is greater than expected. In response, Mike released a statement chastising, primarily, the fact that American-derived technology contributed to the new missile program. He called on the U.S. to end any joint ventures, research, and investments that could result in military solutions with China. “American entities have a clear choice,” he said, “they can side with our country or they can side with the genocidal communist regime that now threatens our cities.”

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

Whoaaa, We’re Halfway There

Jaime certainly sticks out in Congress for her moderate conservative politics, impeachment vote, and overall calm demeanor. So, unsurprisingly, she is drawing challengers in her 2022 race which is just about halfway over. Most notably is Joe Kent, a Trump-endorsed Republican and Army Special Forces veteran running on a strong ‘America First’ platform. Though Jaime still holds a strong lead, namely in fundraising, Mr. Kent is also raking in cash and making the usual MAGA circuit of appearances on Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon’s War Room, and the like. Jaime has held her seat since she was elected in 2010 so we’re guessing she’s not so spooked by the challenge, but in this day and age it will be an interesting race to watch!

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

Speaking Up and Speaking Out

Adam, an outspoken critic of Trumpism, is one of only two Republicans sitting on the Jan. 6th Committee, which just found Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt after he failed to respond to a subpoena. Watching the events of the committee unfold, one might ask the question why no other Republicans (many of whom condemned the siege) have spoken up. Adam’s response? They’re afraid of getting replaced by someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the controversial, far-right representative from Georgia. But for Adam, this moment is too important – “We have this sense as Americans that somebody will come and save the day because we always have. Nobody’s coming, right? It’s us.”

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Schools Gone Wild

We’ve all seen it by now – the growing number of school board meetings gone awry with parents outraged over mandates, closures, and other covid-related policies. With reports of some of these meetings growing violent, the Justice Dept. has pledged to open an investigation into any dangerous threats made against school board members or teachers. Guy and other Republicans have, in turn, signed onto a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland stating that such an investigation is an overreach of government and prohibiting parents’ right to participate in public discourse. Do you think these meetings will cool any time soon or are we in for a full parents gone wild year ahead?

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Waive Goodbye

Greg has reason to celebrate as his bill, the Free Veterans from Fees Act, passed the house on Tuesday with an overwhelming vote of 421-3. The bill waives special-use permit fees for veterans’ demonstrations and special events at war memorials that are typically administered by the National Park Service in D.C. It may be hard to get politicians to agree on a lot these days, but veterans’ issues always seem to be a uniting factor – something all of us (especially veterans) can be grateful for!

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

More Answers, Please

The nomination process for administration officials can go smoothly or, in many cases, can take a real turn. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing with Biden’s nominee, Alan Estevez, for an important, China-centric position, in the Commerce Dept., in part thanks to Tom. Tom is holding up this confirmation until he gets answers to specific and difficult questions about Estevez’s stance on technology exports to China and a commitment to strengthening U.S. restrictions on these important exports. Estevez, a former Defense Department official, seemed like a safe bet, but the fast-track nomination process that requires consent by all 100 senators can be held up by anyone. In this case, Tom is proud to wear that badge.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

Not KIDding

Ritchie is no stranger to the woes of low-income families in New York, as he grew up in one and has been a champion of policies like the child tax credit ever since entering Congress this term. With recent child tax credit payments hitting parents’ bank accounts last week, Ritchie was sure to note that 98% of children in his district will benefit from the expanded tax credit. That’s a very large number!! Of course, he hopes his only bolsters support for the Build Back Better Act which would solidify the child tax credit as an American policy. Do you have kids or know anyone who is benefitting from the recent changes?

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Show Em The Money

Congress passed more than $46 billion in funding for emergency rental assistance, but much of those funds has been stalled. Jamaal is joining fellow Squad members in calling on Treasury Sec. Yellen to improve the distribution of funds by prioritizing partnerships with public schools to get the money into families’ hands. Do you think having schools help with identification and distribution is going to be the key to helping those in need?

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Wait… Again

In an interview on MSNBC, Cori touched on some of the hot button issues that Democrats are looking down the barrel of right now including, voting rights and campaign finance reform. However, she particularly dug deep on her feelings about Sens. Manchin and Sinema, the two moderate Democrats who are the notable hold-out votes on the Build Back Better Act which includes programs that Cori and other Democrats deem more than necessary like childcare, healthcare reform, and climate action. She touched on her own experience being low-income and how programs that could have helped people like her have always been kicked down the road. “We’re not just saying wait right now. We’re saying wait again.”

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

Back to Blue?

David represents a tried and true swing district in central California. After winning handily several times in a row, he lost to a Democrat in 2018, only to win back the seat in 2020. Now, a new Democrat has joined the race to challenge David yet again. Assemblyman Rudy Salas announced his candidacy for the 21st district House seat as a proven moderate and was the first ever Latino councilman on the Bakersfield City Council. However, David made himself stand out when he voted to impeach then-President Trump which cuts off the ‘Trumpsim’ line of attack for any Democrat running against him in a very moderate district. Only time will tell but one thing is certain – the midterms are here!

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

Equal Outcome

On a recent radio show with Fox Across America, Kat ripped into the Democrats’ large spending package, saying “it’s filled with just pork across the board”. Despite that playful description, she meant business. She pointed to, what she considers, vast over-spending and programs that are superfluous to actually making America better. In one particular part of the interview, she noted that Biden and Pelosi want “equal outcome” not “equal opportunity” – insisting that all of this spending isn’t leveling the playing field but stymying actual growth. Do you think her equal outcome talking point is an effective one?

Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)

Donation Station

Byron won his 2020 race with 61% of the vote so safe to say he is looking good for the upcoming 2022 race. On top of that, he’s raising a sh*tload of money. Interestingly, instead of stashing it away for a rainy day, he’s spending more than he’s raising in an effort to keep the momentum going. However, we thought it pertinent to point out other young Republicans he’s been sending money to including Peter Meijer (MI), Andrew Garbarino (NY), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Tony Gonzalez (TX) and Nancy Mace (SC). What’s interesting about this list is that all of these folks are in some way or another much more moderate (at least it seems) that Byron positions himself to be. In fact, many of them have Trump-backed challengers for next year. While we don’t know if Byron also donated to those challengers, when you peel back the curtain of who he’s deciding to bolster it’s… telling.

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

Border Blues

In a recent interview of Fox, Ashley decried the lack of leadership from Homeland Security Sec. Mayorkas on the situation that’s still unfurling at the Southern border. In fact, she went so far as to call for him to resign over taking far too long to answer questions she and others had posed about who was being let into the country – saying it took 5 months to get a semblance of an answer. A resignation is unlikely, but one thing is for sure – Ashley and other Republicans have found a talking point for 2022 that they feel confident voters are going to respond to.

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

Time to TEACH

The TEACH Grant program is for students who serve four years as a full time teacher in a high-need, underserved community. However, after years of neglect and clerical errors, many of the teachers enrolled found their grants converted into loans they had to pay back with interest. Victoria introduced the bipartisan Consider Teachers Act earlier this year and it has just been signed into law by President Biden! The law will fix the pitfalls of this important program and ensure that when students sign up to teach the children who need help the most, they don’t get blindsided with unintentional loan payments. Could you imagine???

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

Thanks for the Airfield

With the midterms underway, redistricting is an important political tool to keep an eye on. For Tony, it’s going well. A piece of Biggs Army Airfield, which is located in El Paso, has been transferred to Tony’s district which, the Democrat who represents El Paso says threatens the economic future of the community. Now, Tony will represent three military bases which, opponents to the shift in district borders say, will not have the best interest of each base in mind. There are sure to be legal challenges to this and other redistricting attempts around the country which begs the question – is there a better way to go about districting or are we just going to be in this cyclical mess forever?

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

Smart Buildings Are Coming

The idea of ‘smart homes’ is being taken to a new level with proposals around the country for energy grid-interactive, efficient buildings that will optimize their own energy consumption to decrease carbon emissions. Blake had a call with the Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to discuss the $65 million investment in these projects, one of which is in Blake’s district. The Utah ‘Connected Community’ will feature an apartment complex, an affordable housing development, a transit center, a manufacturing and office facility, and a university research center which will all be energy efficient and grid-interactive. Look out, future, here we come!

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

Tex Mex

Ken Salazar was just named the new ambassador to Mexico and upon assuming his post, members of the Texas congressional delegation had one very important message for him. August joined Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn in leading a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Salazar drawing attention to discriminatory practices in Mexico that violate the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement when it comes to trade. They write that Mexico is favoring state-owned enterprises and pushing out American investment, limiting American energy firms from exporting goods fairly and creating jobs throughout the U.S./Mexico region. Clearly, workers in Texas see trade with Mexico as a make-or-break situation.

Melanie Stansbury (D, NM,1)

Weather Woman

New Mexico has declared the largest number of disaster declarations in its history – not good! Melanie spoke in a Science, Space and Technology hearing about the need for coordination between weather and climate forecasting and touted the benefits of diversifying the scientific workforce. “I urge all of our federal agencies,” she said, “including the weather service and NOAA at large, to look at expanding programs into New Mexico, and particularly at our minority serving institutions, to partner to build a pipeline in communities.” With natural disasters raging all around the country, one thing is for sure – more needs to be done!

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

A Happy Ending

Jerry Lewis was a former Congressman who helped secure billions of dollars in federal investments for Veteran Affairs. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year, but Pete wants to honor him by introducing bipartisan legislation to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loma Linda VA clinic after him. Jerry served as Chairman of the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and the Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. Pete said, “Jerry was a vocal advocate for federal investment into our region, and never stopped fighting for veterans’ access to the highest quality health care and services.” This seems like the perfect way to honor a champion of Veteran Affairs.

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Wait, What Debt Ceiling?

With all this debt ceiling talk, Brendan spoke out to reform the debt ceiling. Last month Brendan introduced the Debt Ceiling Reform act which authorizes the Secretary of Treasury to increase the public debt limit. Under current law, the debt limit restricts the amount of funds that the Department of Treasury may borrow to fund the federal government. Brendan was disappointed in the “temporary fix” of raising the debt limit because it does not fully solve the problem and promotes partisanship. Do you believe the Treasury Department should have this power?

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

The Blacklist

Do you think it should be allowed for U.S. officials and family to hold investments in foreign businesses? Well Jared does not think so, and he reintroduced the Stop Foreign Payoffs Act which would bar high-ranking public officials (president, vice president, cabinet member, member of Congress) and family members (spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law) from holding a board position or investment in a foreign business. The official or family member would have to sell, trade, or place any such investment in a qualified blind trust within 30 days of the official assuming office. Does this seem to be overreaching or just right?

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

The Golden Train

Money, money, money, MONEY! Andy is rolling in the dough. He has raised ~$2.7 million as he prepares to seek his third term as a representative. But why? Was it from his viral photo picking up trash in the Capitol after the 1/6 riot? Definitely helpful! But on top of that Andy has held 40 town hall meetings this year which is a direct way to reach his constituents. He is even hosting one with another representative from his state. And on top of that he does not accept money from corporate PACs. Maybe some of his fellow colleagues should take notes?

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

SOARing Bottlenecks

We’re going to be hearing the word “bottleneck” for years to come. With the pandemic tightening supply chain logistics in all industries, Joe wants to alleviate the bottleneck related to permitting on federal lands. His Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) act passed the House Natural Resource Committee which would reform internal processes at multiple federal land management agencies. It would update fee structures to make permitting processes both simpler and faster and allow more permitting across agency boundaries. This bill has received wide bipartisan support in making it easier to access America’s public lands. Well, I guess it’s one bottleneck fix at a time.

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

The Temporary Fix

Temporary fixes seem to be what our government excels in. Chris was happy to see the debt ceiling raised to avoid an immediate recession and potentially wipe out 6 million jobs plus $15 trillion in retirement savings and household wealth. BUT, Chris is not happy that this was a temporary fix. The fix only extends through December 3rd so you can guarantee we will hear about this again. Chris said, “Small businesses and families across the Granite State are just starting to rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic, and Republicans on Capitol Hill must stop playing games with their livelihoods.” Do you agree with Chris?

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Oil drilling…in the Everglades? Bold move. You can imagine this caused many Florida Congressional members to speak out when Burnett Oil Company proposed drilling for oil in the Everglades. Darren along with PP leaders Brian Mast (R), Matt Gaetz (R), and Stephanie Murphy (D) sent a letter to President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland detailing their concerns with the proposals and how it would severely harm restoration efforts that Congress is already spending billions of dollars to restore. Burnett Oil Company: YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

Kind Words for the GOP

Just kidding. If we didn’t already know what Eric’s thought of the Republican party, his Twitter account makes it crystal clear. Eric recently wrote “this is NOT your parents’ Republican Party. Kevin McQarthy just told every Republican “You’re a traitor” if you don’t stand with Trump. Will you, too, abandon your integrity for Trump? Or will you leave the party?” When he was later interviewed by MSNBC he said, “there are really only two camps. You’re either in the camp that wants to resurrect and redeem this democracy, that includes Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger… or you’re in the camp that wants to pull the plug and take us toward an authoritarian state.” Do you agree with Eric?

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Healthcare Champion

Lauren has been sounding the alarm on the nation-wide shortage of nurses and how she wants to fix it. First, she introduced a bill that would allocate $1 billion in nursing schools to address the shortage of healthcare providers. Then Lauren introduced new legislation to address the healthcare professional shortage within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bipartisan VA Nurse and Physician Assistant RAISE Act would increase the pay limitation on nurse and physician assistant salaries to help the VA attract and retain top healthcare talent to ensure veterans receive timely, high-quality care. We’ve said it many times before, Lauren is definitely a champion for the healthcare industry and making it better!

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

World’s Most Trusted – Delta

Vaccine mandates are happening everywhere, and it is only deepening the divide between Democrats and Republicans. Many conservatives applauded when they heard that Delta airlines was not mandating their workers. It made Jim tweet saying he hopes more companies follow Delta. Delta chairman said that 90% of its 80,000 employees were fully vaccinated and instead of a mandate they implemented a $200 monthly insurance surcharge for staff that are unvaccinated. Well, at least that gives people an option to say yes or no.

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Nearly Broke

All that media coverage was not as helpful as people thought. Matt and his BF Marjorie Taylor Green (GA) have been going on an America First tour, getting people riled up and raising money. However, new campaign finance filings show that after just 6 months of founding it, the committee is nearly broke with only $13,000 in cash. And it looks like the group spent $159,000 in the last 3 months and only raised $57,000. Maybe they need to hire a new events coordinator…

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

Kiss The Ring

We are seeing some Republicans stray away from President Trump while others are firmly planting their support for him. Last week, Lance met with President Trump in Florida and discussed several issues impacting Americans specifically related to the “Biden Administration’s continued failure to address the ongoing crisis at our southern border, the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, and rising inflation across the United States.” Lance went on to say that “President Trump continues to be the leader of the Republican party and his leadership is sorely missed here in Washington, D.C.” We can safely say that Lance is a fan of Trump!

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

A Few Hundred Bucks

In an attempt to “close the tax gap,” the Biden administration is requiring banks and other financial institutions to provide the IRS details and data on customers’ accounts, including deposits and withdrawals worth more than $600. Dusty introduced the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing invasive bank reporting requirements on personal small dollar financial transactions. Dusty said, “This proposal would place an unimaginable strain on small banks and expand the reach of the IRS into our everyday lives.” Honestly, Dusty has a point on this one.

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

21,500 Stillbirths

The U.S. is ranked 25th in the number of stillbirths per capita out of 49 high-income countries, with nearly 21,500 babies stillborn in 2019. Ouch that is high. Markwayne is highlighting the need to provide critical resources and data collection to combat these high rates. Last week Markwayne introduced the Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education (SHINE) for Autumn Act, which aims to lower the U.S. stillbirth rate by providing critical resources to state and federal health departments, improving data collection, and increasing education and awareness around the issue of stillbirth in the United States. He is joined by fellow PP leader Jaime Herrera Butler (WA). We can all agree this is worth the attention.

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Liquid Gold

With oil prices so high, do you wish you’d switched to an electric car already? Bryan and 145 Republican colleagues sent a letter to President Biden raising concerns about the rising prices of oil and gas. The letter comes after the Biden Administration’s recent request to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 10 other oil-exporting nations, known collectively as OPEC+, to produce more oil to fight rising gas prices for American consumers. As the letter states many of these high prices are in reaction to various Biden policies like ending the Keystone Pipeline, green lighting a Russian pipeline, and others. If you have an electric car, be glad you have it!

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Mandates Got to Go

Lee penned an op-ed after the NY Governor’s vaccine mandate for state healthcare workers went into effect. The mandate required at least one dose of the vaccine. Lee said, “Firing New Yorkers for not getting the vaccine is just wrong.” He goes on to explain that this mandate is causing further staffing shortages and more chaos in the healthcare system. Not only did Lee call out his own state, but also the California mandate to kids to attend school. How do you feel about these state mandates?

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Boiling Over

Liberal Democrats continue to chase after Kyrsten. If you want a quick take, look at her Instagram comments which have risen in the hundreds. Even AOC (NY) has begun fundraising targeting Kyrsten for holding up her vote. The other most recent blow came from Common Defense, a progressive veteran group. 5 veterans were tapped to advise Kyrsten and they just resigned from their posts and wrote a scathing letter which said among many things, “You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people.” Yikes, well we’re sure Krysten is getting some quality time with her therapist.

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

Messaging 101

Who doesn’t love an award. Freshman Jake received the Thomas Paine Award from the Democratic Policy and Communication Committee which recognizes members for spreading the Democratic message. Fellow PP leader, Joe Neguse (CO) is Co-Chair of the Committee and was excited to announce his selection for this achievement. Jake was one of five members out of 220 to receive this honor. Fellow PP leader Sara Jacobs (CA) was also a recipient. Democrats tend to be pretty dismal at messaging, so go Freshman Democrats!

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

Mozambique Marginalization

Sadly, Mozambique is experiencing widespread and devastating violence across their communities from state corruption to socioeconomic marginalization. But let’s back up for a quick geography lesson…where is Mozambique? It is a country in the southeast portion of Africa, bordering Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Sara, who has an extensive background in foreign policy, introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning the recent rise in violence and called for peace and stability in the country. It also stressed the importance of humanitarian organizations having access to the country. The resolution is cosponsored by other PP leaders like Colin Allred (TX), and Ilhan Omar (MN). Did you know about the crisis in Mozambique?

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

MONSTER MEN

Oh Madison, there is always news on you, but we just wish it focused more on policy than words. This week Madison said that “society de-masculates men” and “parents should raise their kids to be monsters.” He went on to discuss the declining rate of testosterone levels (which is true). Madison’s spokesperson said that comments are not advocating for violence. But hey, Madison certainly loves giving the media something to seize on. Are you looking forward to a new generation of monsters?

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country. Peter introduced the Urban Water Federal Partnership Act which is bipartisan legislation to support improvements to water systems that drive urban renewal. Peter has seen first-hand the positive effects of the project in Grand Rapids, Michigan. So far, the partnership is focused on 20 urban waterways across the country. This seems like a positive step forward to create jobs and the economy!

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Burdensome Surveillance

In an attempt to “close the tax gap,” the Biden administration is requiring banks and other financial institutions to provide the IRS details and data on customers’ accounts, including deposits and withdrawals worth more than $600. Jake joined fellow PP leader, Dusty Johnson (SD) to introduce the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing invasive bank reporting requirements on personal small dollar financial transactions. Jake said, “these new burdensome regulations will not close the “tax gap” but instead put more pressure on small and local banks to meet the increased reporting and administrative costs.” Do you agree with Jake?

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

An Adult Allowance

Nancy has been vocal about why she is not voting for the spending package. Quite comically she compared our Congress to being the “adults in the room who have overspent their allowance..an allowance given to them by the American taxpayers.” Sadly though when a regular person defaults then they lose their home/credit card/etc, but when the government defaults, D.C. raises the spending limit. This begs the question: should there be some negative implications to Congress for increasing the debt limit?

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Let’s Talk About Fraud

Fraud…Fraud…Fraud. It is part of the world as we know it today. Nicole wants to put an end to it and is pushing to investigate the criminal and fraudulent activity from COVID-19 relief programs. It is estimated that ~$87 billion of the total $870 billion in federal unemployment program funds could have been improperly paid, plus international fraudsters stole over $400 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars. Nicole is saying that Democrats are turning a blind eye to properly investigating this. Whoever is addressing or not addressing the issues – we all deserve answers!

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

You Get a Home, and You Get a Home!

Some say that many in the millennial generation will be unable to afford a home with our high home prices and high debt…thanks for the reminder…but anyway Jon and Sen. Mark Rubio (R-FL) want to make it easier and affordable for first responders and teachers to own homes. They introduced the bipartisan Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) act of 2021 which would establish a new, one-time use home loan program under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for police officers, fire fighters, medical first responders, and teachers. It would address the housing affordability crisis for Americans by eliminating the upfront home purchase costs and the monthly mortgage insurance premium for those who serve our communities. Well, this is one smart step in the right direction!

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)

Holy Climate, Congress!

While the number of those recognizing the realities of our climate crisis continues to steadily outpace the number who still have their heads buried in the oil, the actions taken by Congress still remain in limbo. So Nanette took the messaging into her own hands this week in an Op Ed where she drew stark comparisons between the current oil spill disaster off her SoCal shores to what happened in the Gulf Of Mexico 11 years ago. She reminds readers that the House passed legislation to curb such disasters yet the bill stalled in the Republican Senate, ultimately leading to more inaction. Her case is clear and pressing for the passage of the Build Back Better bill and her argument for including serious Climate Reform measures couldn’t be more immediate and obvious.

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

Eliminate Brain Waste

As a combat Veteran of the Afghan War, Jason knows full well the value of our foreign partners, and furthermore knows the new challenges many of them now face, like finding decent employment. It’s called “Brain Waste” and it refers to large numbers of immigrants and refugees who are foreign-educated with professional degrees but often go unemployed or underemployed due to language barriers, lack of professional networks and general credential red-tape. Thanks to Jason, the House just passed a bipartisan bill to help eliminate these barriers to employment by directing the Department of Labor to identify employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees with professional credentials, particularly in the healthcare industry. Indeed, a person’s skills should never go to waste.

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

GO Ag, GO!

If you live in a bustling metropolis, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the lifeblood, to many rural communities, that is farming. But fortunately, Antonio has his eye on the ball, and just introduced the bipartisan Growing Opportunities in Agriculture Act. The GO Ag Act would provide resources to secondary schools to start agriculture education programs. Specifically, the bill would make federal grants available for schools to cover startup costs, curriculum development, teachers’ salaries and other lab and equipment costs. The whole idea is to get young kids interested in agriculture and give them the tools to learn and utilize it as a viable career and economic opportunity. Because let’s face it…we all gotta eat!

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Boost My Broadband

During the pandemic, many folks in rural communities didn’t have proper access to broadband and therefore had to go to school and library parking lots to get a signal. However, many of these institutions were ill-equipped for this necessary reliance on their hotspots. Ruben is now announcing to his district that local schools and libraries can apply for additional funding under the CARES Act to the tune of $200 million in his state alone. The funding is specifically to build out broadband and wifi capabilities at these local institutions on which so many communities have now come to rely. It seems simple, but broadband connectivity is becoming the lifeblood of the future, and Ruben is working to make sure everyone in his district has access to it.

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

Literally No Vet Left Behind

It seems insane, and a damn shame, that more than 25% of the roughly 400,000 living World War 2 veterans aren’t using their health care benefits they’ve earned because of bureaucratic red tape. That’s roughly 100K WWII vets! Josh is looking to change that with his new bill that will fully open the VA health benefits to EVERY World War 2 veteran. Currently, the VA determines a veteran’s eligibility for cost-free benefits based on factors like military service history, disability rating and income level. However, an exemption was passed in 1996 for WW1 veterans, and now Josh is proposing the same exemption for the Greatest Generation. It’s about damn time.

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

Details Emerge…FINALLY!

Ro took to the airwaves today following what he called an “inspiring meeting” with President Biden, whom he described as “fully in control of the negotiations” between progressives and moderates on the Build Back Better bill. Many following from the cheap seats have been loathe at the media’s coverage of how the proverbial Washington sausage gets made, but Ro struck an optimistic tone saying that while compromises will be made, almost all the proposed programs and funding exist in some form and fashion. He said the President was confident he could get Capitol Hill’s newest celebrity, Senator Sinema, on board with an overall number that’s looking like it’s around $2 trillion. It is a little ironic that Ro and his fellow progressives get painted as the hardliners, yet they seem to be the only one’s compromising on this bill. Nevertheless, if you listen to Ro today, there’s much to celebrate in the forthcoming legislation.

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

No Lease For You!

The oil disaster off the SoCal coast is yet another reminder of both the fragility of our environment and it’s inextricable attachment to our economy. That is precisely why Mike and several of his House colleagues are writing to Speaker Pelosi urging her to keep certain Offshore Drilling provisions in the Build Back Better bill. The Orange County maritime economy averages $2 billion in wages and $4.15 billion in gross domestic product. Indeed, that’s a lot of fish, but more importantly, that’s a lot of livelihoods now damaged and in further jeopardy due to this most recent oil spill of more than 144,000 gallons into the pacific. Specifically, they want to ban all new federal oil and gas leasing off our shores so that the oil industry’s average of two spills a day starts to look more like zero.

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

It Pays To Be Small

If you’re a small business owner then you know two things: there’s nothing small about your livelihood and the covid pandemic almost certainly impacted you in some way, most likely negatively. Stephanie is now pushing for an extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), a provision of the CARES Act, for small businesses. She wrote a letter to House leadership, along with fellow under-45er Antonio Delgado, urging Congress to extend the credit through the end of the year. Specifically, it allows small business owners to claim a payroll tax credit of up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for wages paid while closed or with a reduced operating capacity. So many have relied on their small business employer to keep them employed and this seems to be a viable way to keep it going.

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

Callin’ Out The Boss

Ilhan has been a champion of canceling student debt long before she became a Congresswoman, and she’s continuing that fight by holding the folks in charge accountable for certain campaign promises—ahem, Joe. Now, Ilham is writing to the White House reminding them that they promised to release a memo from the Education Department detailing the administration’s authority to broadly cancel student debt through administrative action. The White House promised to release this back in April but clearly, they’re handing in this paper a bit late. Puns aside, the unfunny business is that 45 million student loan debtors collectively owe roughly $1.8 trillion! Do you think it would hurt or help the economy if that debt were to be forgiven?

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Victory Lap

Whenever you get your bill signed into law by the President, you’ve earned the right to celebrate, and if you can do that at the White House, even better! Elissa had her K-12 Cybersecurity Act signed into law, a bipartisan bill which helps protect schools from emerging cyber threats. Specifically, the bill increases coordination between schools and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in order to identify threats. Given the propensity for virtual learning nowadays, the risks of hacks are only greater. Now with the directive to study and develop cybersecurity guidelines for schools, hopefully our kids just got a little safer on the playgrounds…while using their phones, ipads and whatever other devices they’ve snuck with them out to recess.

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

Who Ate All The CHIPS?

Fortunately, we have plenty of Kettle Backyard Barbeque chips left, but semiconductor chips, on the other hand, are looking more like a trail of crumbs at the moment. Haley’s district is among those where semiconductor chip production is a main economic and job source, yet there is a serious shortage in chip production due to Covid supply chain disruptions. Now Haley and several others, including fellow under-45er Colin Allred are pressing Speaker Pelosi to quickly pass the CHIPS Act. The bipartisan bill was part of a larger bill that received passage but now with new amendments and additions, it has gone back for a vote, which it eagerly awaits. The bill would inject about $2 billion in funding to domestic chip manufacturers as well as provide tax incentives for them to ramp up production quickly. Ahhh, no wonder my Tesla is on backorder!

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

Fund The Fight

Opioids have increasingly ravaged this country and while the fight is far from over, there is a blimp of good news thanks to Kelly. His bipartisan bill called the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act—we know, they need to get better at names—overwhelmingly passed the House. The measure authorizes $10.5 billion in flexible funding over the next six years for State Opioid Response Grants and Tribal Opioid Response Grants. Furthermore, the bill provides Congressional authorization for the next six years, giving States and Tribes more certainty in terms of planning and strategy. One of the biggest elements this new funding looks to do is give greater access to medication-assisted recovery treatment using FDA-approved programs. It’s easy to forget about the things not making the headlines of the moment but fortunately Kelly isn’t forgetting.

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

Message The…Kid-Base?

Sure, they may not be eligible voters for another 12-16 years but hey—never too early to start campaigning with the kiddos right? Well, Dan has taken to the literary world to do just that, authoring a new children’s book called “Fame, Blame, and the Raft of Shame” and as the title suggests, it indeed takes on today’s Cancel Culture, albeit in children’s fable form. Dan hopes the book will serve as an education tool and warning to young Americans about the dangerous effects of Cancel Culture on society. He said “you’ve got to reach all audiences” and remarked that the dearth of conservative-themed children’s books is exactly what he’s looking to fill.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

Get The Word Out

Sometimes simple messaging is the biggest challenge of any business or program, and that indeed seems to be the case when it comes to certain benefits available to veterans with disabilities. Anthony has taken up the charge, along with fellow under-45er Colin Allred, to introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at better informing these disabled vets about various education and transitioning programs and benefits available to them. The discrepancy seems to be that most vets know about available benefits through the GI Bill but not the VR&E Program, which helps veterans with disabilities get an education and a good paying job. This new bill now requires the VA to advocate for this program regularly. In Washington, it seems you sometimes even need to legislate your marketing department. Thanks to Anthony, the word is getting out.

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

The Taxman Come, a-Knock Knock Knocky-Knock

It seems incredulous to think there are $7 trillion in unpaid taxes but alas that is the statistic, mostly comprised of wealthy Americans and businesses. And sure, Uncle Sam should probably double back around the block and grab those, but Trey has a BIG problem with how Uncle Joe has proposed they do so. The Biden Administration has suggested that banks should provide the IRS with data on any deposit or withdrawal over $600—effectively overriding many privacy shields. Trey and many other republican lawmakers have been up in arms over this tactic saying it’s not only a breach of privacy but government overreach. At a recent hearing with Treasury Secretary Yellen, Trey lamented that he has countless constituents coming up to him at parks and grocery stores “deeply afraid” of this proposal. Indeed, we can likely expect some counter-legislation from Trey in the coming weeks.

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

There’s Always Money In The Banana Stand…

Or so said fictional patriarch George Bluth Sr. of the famed Arrested Development television series, and while it’s unclear if Brian was a fan of the show, he’s certainly in sync with their messaging. Brian recently opposed raising the debt ceiling by $480 billion and instead introduced the Banana Stand Money Act, which would lower federal spending by—wait for it–$480 billion. Specifically, it would have repealed the SALT tax exemption and reclaimed unspent American Rescue Plan funds. While the bill was never to pass and by now the deficit has been raised, Brian’s point was that we have to stop using the Nation’s budget like a limitless credit card and start being mindful of our bloated spending habits. Look for this to no doubt be a big Republican messaging strategy as they head into the midterms.

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

Don’t Give Out Your Pin!

The latest policy schism in Washington seems to be surrounding a new proposal that would allow the IRS to scour our personal bank accounts. More specifically, it would require banks to report any deposits or withdrawals of $600 or more with personal bank accounts. The concept is to remedy the over $7 trillion in unpaid taxes that is estimated to be floating around the country. But Elise and many other GOP lawmakers are calling foul on this, and she’s now cosponsoring legislation to stop it. The Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act would ban the IRS from using this new reporting tool, which they call a gross overreach and complete privacy invasion. How do you feel about the IRS looking at your bank account?

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

A Mandate For Job Loss

The controversial issue of federal vaccine mandates has sent the Sunday shows abuzz with talking heads, but William is taking a different approach and asking whether the current administration has considered the National Security risks to such a directive. In a letter to the Energy Secretary, William asks how these mandates will affect the DOE’s Defense Nuclear Sites, specifically those highly skilled, highly trained personnel who may opt out of a mandatory vaccine. What risks does an inevitable worker shortage at one of these facilities mean for our national security and response readiness? The letter is asking the department to provide written answers to a series of serious questions, which few seem to be considering. Sometimes leadership means asking the right questions.

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

Fix The Snafu!

Anyone in manufacturing, shipping, retail, food and beverage, or heck, anyone waiting on that new Barbie doll Christmas order, knows full well by now the crisis facing our global supply chains. Josh has introduced a new bill aimed at fixing it and fixing it fast. The Make In America To Sell In America Act looks to do both of those things by requiring multi-national corporations to make more critical goods in America. It would do so by instituting new local content requirements to boost new investment in domestic manufacturing. Josh made it unequivocally clear that we need to end our “crippling dependency on foreign manufacturing in countries like China and ensure that we actually produce the goods we need here at home.” A finer reading of the bill is surely a good idea but on the surface it seems like it could be a good jobs creator.

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

Prevention Starts With PrEP

PrEP is widely considered one of the most effective drugs at preventing HIV. That’s why Mondaire has introduced the PrEP Assistance Program Act, which looks to make this powerful preventative HIV drug more affordable and accessible to underserved and high-risk populations. And like many things, sadly there is a large access gap prevalent in Black and Latinx communities, who suffer from disproportionately high rates of HIV. Mondaire remarked that “as a gay, Black man, I know firsthand the lifechanging power of PrEP.” This bill would provide grants to cover medication costs, clinic and testing fees, physician visits and community outreach programs. No one is naïve in thinking we can end HIV overnight but this is certainly a big step in the right direction.

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

No Vet Unhoused

It takes a 20 second drive by the VA in Los Angeles to see that we have a tragically out of control homeless crisis among vets. Thankfully, Nikema is leading the bipartisan charge to address this injustice. The Return Home To Housing Act, also sponsored by fellow under-45er Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), would increase the allowable rate that the VA could reimburse service providers for supplying transitional housing to unhoused veterans. By ensuring their costs are covered, more housing providers will be incentivized to provide more housing. Sure, this seems to work on a financial level, but moreover, it works on a moral one, and that seems like the least we can do for our brave veterans returning home.

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

Spy On Me You Will Not!

This new proposal by the IRS to collect banking info Americans depositing or withdrawing more than $600 from their bank accounts has the GOP, and many others, frankly losing their minds. Lauren has joined a vocal and growing group to introduce legislation aimed at preventing this. The theory behind the proposal is to go after the more than $7 trillion in unpaid taxes that reside mostly among wealthy Americans and businesses. The Protecting Financial Privacy Act looks to prohibit such tactics, which Lauren says is not only an invasion of privacy but also gross overreach bound to be politically weaponized. What’s also noteworthy in Lauren’s press release is that she’s added a clearly-photoshopped paramilitary photo for emphasis. An unorthodox press release from an unorthodox Congresswoman!

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

For The Love Of God, Release

Haiti has been making the news a lot lately, and this week’s troubling headlines stem from the kidnapping of 17 American missionaries in the country as well as one Canadian. Tracey has now written a letter to President Biden asking him to use any means necessary to safely rescue these American hostages. They were kidnapped by a notorious Gang known for such actions and who have been filing the country’s power vacuum since the assassination of their president. Tracey also points out that after our years of investment in Haiti, the US cannot let these actions go unchecked and must act. It is an ever-evolving situation that one can only hope ends with the safe release of these missionaries.

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

The Post Police Are Back Baby

Flashback to the leadup to the 2020 election and you’ll recall there was a big to-do at the post office, specifically about removing mailboxes and other voter suppression techniques. Well, it turns out, the former Postmaster General did more to undermine the department and now Andrew is trying to rectify that. He introduced the bipartisan Postal Police Reform Act, which would reverse a 2020 directive from the Chief Postal Inspector that shackled Postal Police Officers to physical postal locations. This prevented officers from fully executing their duties to ensure safety within the nation’s mail system, leading to a spike in theft and assaults against mail carriers. While the post office can seem like the Charlie Brown of government departments, it’s nice to see Andrew has their back.

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

GOP PSA

If anyone is qualified to speak on the horrors of Covid and the effectiveness of the vaccine, it’s Julia. As you may recall, she sadly lost her husband to the deadly virus and now is among a handful of female GOP lawmakers being courted to tout the vaccine. The group Winning For Women, which works to elect Republican women to office, is now taking on the challenge of vaccinating their caucus, many of whom are quite reluctant. Julia features prominently in a new one-minute ad encouraging folks to get the shot because it will save their life. While it’s no one’s business to tell someone else what to do, Julia’s powerful experience ought to be listened to, and if her advice is to get the shot, we all may just want to heed that advice.