THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Fifty Shades of Red and Blue

The full rundown from our September 24, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Fifty Shades of Red and Blue

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)

Care, Expanded

Covid exposed many shortcomings in the American healthcare system, a poignant one being the lack of care for seniors and people with disabilities. Nanette recently led a letter, along with 22 of her colleagues, urging California to expand the federal Medicaid-funded Home and Community Based Services, which serves as an alternative to nursing homes or other institutional care. Unsurprisingly, Democrats want to expand this program in the upcoming budget reconciliation package – will California listen to Nanette and Democrats at large be successful in getting people more funded care options?

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

Locked Up But Not Overlooked

Did you know that there are currently 181,000 veterans in prison? Yikes. Jason, a former Army Ranger, has joined forces with Don Young (R-AK) to introduce the Justice Involved Veterans Support Act to aid incarcerated veterans, many of whom are struggling with mental health issues, alcoholism, and homelessness. The bill will help these veterans access support through the VA by identifying those in need and connecting them with the proper resources. “Far too many of our veterans end up incarcerated – in part because they didn’t have the resources to address ongoing challenges with mental health, substance abuse disorders, and housing insecurity.”

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

Farm to Lunch Table

We all remember how truly horrible some school lunches could be, not to mention how wildly unhealthy. Antonio introduced a bipartisan bill which would incentivize partnerships between small farms and local schools. “We should be looking for every opportunity to support our farmers and small businesses while helping our young people access more nutritious, locally-grown food.” In with the carrots, out with the mozzarella sticks!

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Don’t Make it Brief

You may have heard that a U.S. strike in Afghanistan on 8/29 resulted in 10 civilian casualties, including children. Ruben, the chairman of the Intelligence and Special Operations sub-committee, issued a statement after the Dept. of Defense acknowledged the facts of the attack and called for the subcommittee to be briefed immediately on the operation and what led the department to carry it out. Looks like party politics are being set aside on this one as even Biden-supporting Dems like Ruben are devastated by the attack.

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

The Price of Pills

It’s no secret that Americans want lower prescription drug costs – when was the last time you were hit with a surprise bill? Josh is now working with the administration to cut the costs through competition, innovation, and transparency. Sounds pretty nice, right? It’s a hefty task, but Josh has real skin in the game as it was found that families in the CA Central Valley, which he represents, pay 21x more for insulin than families living in Australia. The stats are there, but can bureaucracy move the needle?

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

You Said it Like Yementit

Middle East policy is confusing at best, but luckily people like Ro have their finger on the pulse of how we, as a world leader, can better serve the area. He and Sen. Bernie Sanders re-introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would prohibit U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war against the Houthis in Yemen. Yemen is undergoing a massive humanitarian crisis and citizens are being bombed by Saudis. Though Ro notes that the Biden administration has made progress on curbing U.S. assistance, taxpayer dollars are still bankrolling maintenance and spare parts for Saudi warplanes. This is sure to get more complicated, but it’s a sober reminder of just how many bad apples America has bit into.

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Making an Impact

This might seem obvious, but did you know that since public schools rely on local taxes for funding, schools which are located on private land (which is often tax exempt) receive significantly less funding? Mike introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Don Young (R-AK) to fully fund the federal Impact Aid program, which supports K-12 schools on federal land – of which there are two in Mike’s district. It’s these nuts and bolts that would never make it onto major news cycles but which will have real impacts for American kids. Yay, Mike!

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

No For Now

Stephanie is earning her moderate Democrat stripes in a new announcement that she cannot support Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act as it is currently written. Though she likes the provisions included to combat climate change, she says that “there are spending and tax provisions that give me pause”. However, the bill is about to go through an arduous process and Stephanie remains “optimistic” that the bill will come to a more fiscally responsible place. Do you support Democrats who are breaking rank on this?

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

7 Percent

America is in a child care crisis and politicians like Ilhan are addressing it head-on. Her amendment to the sweeping Build Back Better Act (cosponsored by fellow PP progressives Mondaire Jones and Jamaal Bowman (both from NY)) caps child care costs at 7% of a family’s income. Do you have children? Would this cap provide some relief for those you know and love?

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Do it For the Cloud

Elissa is an expert on cybersecurity, having served in the CIA, and several of her bills revolve around the issue that, from our perspective, is going to be one of the most important in our lifetime. So, unsurprisingly, she recently had an amendment approved by the Committee on Homeland Security which would provide an additional $60 million to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to hunt down cyber attackers when they target large networks and cloud technology. Have you ever been a victim of a cyberattack? Unfortunately, we should probably get used to it…

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

A Day for Docs

One of the most tragic fallouts of our Covid-era has perhaps been the suicide of several physicians who have been working on the frontlines. Haley introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution that would designate 9/17 as National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. “Given the high levels of stress, burnout, physical and mental harm caused to physicians by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that we must do more to foster and promote physician mental health.” This is a worthy cause that we hope makes it all the way and in the meantime, one of the best ways to honor these overworked healthcare workers is to get vaccinated!

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

Due Process

One of the issues that, thankfully, Democrats and Republicans are coming together on these days is criminal justice reform. Kelly is on the front lines as he advocates for his bipartisan bill, the EQUAL Act, which would end the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses, equalize the treatment of each, and address decades of injustice retroactively. Currently, Kelly and his allies on the cause are pressuring the leaders of both parties in the House to throw their support behind it. Also, Kelly’s wife, Kjersti – who is from Norway – just became a US citizen!

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

The Crenshaw Rave

Here’s the scene – a room full of teenagers and young twentysomethings, fists pumping, hands clapping as lasers shoot over the crowd and techno music plays from the speakers. This isn’t Coachella but, rather, one of Dan’s youth summits that are helping him rake in cash, create a network of supporters and inspire a generation of ideological young conservatives. “The point of any political movement is to grow it,” Dan told the crowd at a recent event. As he plays into the culture war, which resonates with many young Republicans, Dan certainly is doing his part to make that growth happen.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

Ta-Ta For Now

Anthony is a moderate Republican whose vote to impeach Trump earlier this year opened the floodgates to political vitriol against him. Now, citing the taking care of his family first and the corroding of his own party, he has chosen not to seek reelection. The main takeaway he wants people to remember is that if more Republicans show up in primaries, the party has a chance of shifting back to the clamer, less inflammatory rhetoric we’re seeing now. “Our politics have gotten so polluted that that environment for me, personally, it’s just not one that I’m willing to be a part of after serving out my term.” Check out our interview with Anthony and hear why he got involved in all of this in the first place!

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

New Map, Same Values

What we’re seeing ahead of the 2022 midterms is a big push of gerrymandering in states across the country. In Indiana, which has a Republican supermajority in both state chambers, the maps are being redrawn, but from Trey’s perspective it won’t shift the political needle too much. His district is moving to include fewer suburban counties and more rural counties which, he says, will change the needs of the district but “it feels like we all share the same common values.” Is your area being gerrymandered? If you’re not familiar with the controversial process, it’s worth looking into because it can have a dramatic effect on Congressional politics!

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

Chaos in Committee

Brian unleashed a barrage of criticism, including the accusation that the Biden administration falsified intelligence surrounding the withdrawal of Afghanistan (which is still just speculation), on Sec. of State Anthony Blinken during a hearing last week. He began by holding up photos of each of the 13 service members who died in the suicide bombing, but by the end of his time he’d clearly had enough of the peaceful niceties, eventually calling for the Chair of the committee to take him down. If this was a preview of how hot these hearings around Afghanistan are going to get, we’re in for a ride.

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

This Land is Your Land?

Elise got in some hot water with her local paper after a campaign ad of hers appeared to tout the ‘replacement theory’ around illegal immigrants – that Democrats are going to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants to gain the political majority. The Times Union paper wrote an op-ed criticizing her ad and (eek) equating it to Trump’s brazen attacks on Mexicans and Muslims in his 2016 campaign. But Elise fired back – saying that Republicans support legal immigration as opposed to Democrats who “support amnesty for illegals”. Do you think Elise will come out on top here?

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

Energy Week!

Did you know that addressing climate change is a newly bipartisan issue amongst young politicians? We think that’s something to celebrate and so does a group of lawmakers, including William, who are supporting making this week of Sept 20-24 National Clean Energy Week. This week, there are events which convene government officials, industry associations, businesses, nonprofits, and advocates in support of clean energy. In a hyper-partisan world, it’s heartening to see members of Congress coming together around a pressing issue to share ideas on how to make progress!

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

Hold, Please

There’s no doubt that Congress and the American people deserve answers when it comes to what exactly broke down in the withdrawal of Afghanistan. But Josh is taking it a step further, as he likes to do, and pledged to hold on the nomination of anyone to the Dept. of Defense or State Dept. until Defense Sec. Austin, Sec. of State Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan resign. It’s a bold move that Josh says comes from his desire to honor the lives of Missourians who lost their lives in the 20 year war, but with none of these men likely to resign, is putting personnel on hold the best tactic?

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

Not So New Era

If you’ve checked the news in the last few days you’ll be well aware of the tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants who have flooded the southern border – many of whom have already been put on planes by the Biden administration. You’ll also be aware of troubling photos of Border Patrol agents on horseback with what appear to be whips, rounding up immigrants and drawing a frightening callback to images from slavery and other anti-black and -brown eras of our history. Mondaire, who represents one of the largest Haitian districts in the country, criticized the Biden administration for failing to “return humanity, dignity, and respect for international law to our immigration system”. Do you agree?

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

Peace at the Polls

With the 2022 midterms just around the corner (sort of), Nikema and other Democrats are calling for legislation that would stiffen penalties against people who threaten election administrators. “We saw what happened at the United States Capitol when no one took the proper steps to prevent that,” she said. In 2020, nearly 1 in 6 election workers received threats of violence and almost 1 in 3 said they felt unsafe. Whatever side we fall on, it’s important for everyone to recognize the work that volunteers and election officials do to keep our democracy running. To think that Election Day could descend into anything resembling violence is a frustrating and slippery slope to go down.

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

Guns Blazing

If there’s one thing we know about Lauren, it’s that she loves a good firearm – one can often be seen holstered to her leg. So it’s no surprise that fellow PP leader August Pfluger (R-TX) invited Lauren to join him at a second amendment rally in his district to talk about the importance of gun rights and criticize Democrats’ attempts at gun control legislation. “If we want the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion,” she said to the audience, “we have to make sure we have a way to secure that.” Do you agree?

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

Tit for Tat?

As, unfortunately, many Americans are still residing in Afghanistan and Tracey wants answers about how the Biden administration is planning to get them out. Specifically, he wrote to Sec. of State Antony Blinkin that “The American people deserve to know whether the United States has provided any financial assistance to the Taliban in release of American citizens.” Additionally, if the Taliban have requested any funds, that “amounts to ransom.” All this goes to show that investigations into the withdrawal and the sad aftermath are only getting underway – buckle up.

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

Up Close and Personal

It’s always nice to get a reminder that politicians are, contrary to popular belief, just people. Andrew recently sat down for an interview with Roll Call to discuss a few things that don’t fall under the normal press corps questions. He talked about getting the political bug after his dad ran for county office and lost, how he – like most millennials – never carries cash, and what it’s like to be unmarried and dating while serving in Congress (spoiler alert, it’s hard!). It’s a quick fun read that pulls the curtain back a bit on this Long Island lawmaker!

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

Not Your Average Document

Did you know that last week was Constitution Week, which encourages schools and libraries to have educational programs around our founding document? Neither did we! Julia did, though, as she wrote a short piece for a local paper on the lasting relevance of the Constitution as a “clear and firm statement of America’s values”. In her statement she reminded readers that “Our nation is built on the foundational principle that there is no higher duty than a citizen’s participation in the democratic process.” Quick pitch – can we have all members of Congress take some time to reflect on the Constitution?

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Mo Money Mo Problems

Many of our politicians are celebrating this week as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and will head to the House next week for a vote. Matt helped secure several provisions that include over $600 million for Northwest Florida Military Mission. Among the major items are $359 million of military construction for Eglin Air Force Base and another $100 million for a Weapons Technology Integration Center project. As some might remember President Trump vetoed this bill after it passed the House and Senate…so maybe we shouldn’t celebrate just yet.

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

The Four Stooges

Lance made some headlines when he joined bipartisan antitrust legislation aimed at the big four – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Mainly he made headlines for reaching across the aisle, but recently the Computer & Communications Industry Association came out with a white paper that argues the antitrust bill will only help foreign competitors like Chinese and Russian companies if these laws are placed on American companies. The big four are members of this association…so although they might have a point, we might have to take their recommendation with a grain of salt and maybe a shot of tequila.

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

The Doctor Will See You Now

That a boy, Dusty! Dusty and PP Leader Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced and passed the COVID-19 Telehealth Extension Act. The act supports health care providers responding to COVID-19 by funding telecommunications services, information services and connected devices to provide critical connected care services to patients at home. Many South Dakotans saw the benefit of this extension and it helped many health care providers use technology to meet patients’ needs wherever they were. Dusty FTW.

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

Build More Inflation Act

The $3.5 trillion Build Better Act or as Mark has coined it, the Build More Inflation Act is “one step closer to a complete socialist takeover by the Democrats.” After the Energy and Commerce committee passed it, Mark said that the “$1 trillion portion will kill jobs and take away freedom.” He also pointed out that the Democrats rejected almost all amendments submitted by the Republicans that would exempt farmers from a national gas tax, prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions, ban the use of critical minerals from China and the Taliban and ensure that Indian Tribes are not subject to burdensome Green New Deal regulations. Well, that was a mouthful – do any of these measures sound like those which Dems should have taken a second look at?

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Adversaries, Watch Out

As one of the top news stories on the Hill has to do with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Bryan, among many other politicians, are introducing amendments. Bryan introduced 5 amendments to the NDAA that plan to “hold our adversaries accountable.” Among the 5 amendments the major ones focused on stopping businesses and countries from evading U.S. sanctions against Iran; reports on the long-term threat posed by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the status of U.S. sanctions on the Taliban. For a full consideration of the amendments check out his statement, but with the current tensions related to the Middle East maybe these amendments are all worth adding.

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Let’s Make it Official

Lee introduced bipartisan legislation to designate 9/11 as a federal holiday. The bill is also joined by a companion bill in the Senate. Lee said, “Making September 11th an official Day of Remembrance will ensure that future generations recognize and appreciate the tragedy, sacrifice and resilience associated with 9/11.” As well, Lee revealed last year that he was diagnosed with early-stage leukemia and has been receiving treatment. Luckily within 9 months he is already in remission, and it will not affect his bid for Governor of New York.

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Say My Name, Say My Name

If you walk around the Senate chambers you might hear Kyrsten’s name at every corner, and it might not be for the best reasons. Recently she had a meeting with President Biden to discuss the $3.5 trillion spending package and her opposition to various parts of it like the current House prescription drug negotiation proposal. Regardless of the drugs, Kyrsten still feels that the budget is too high. While many were hoping this meeting would bring more clarity, it only shed more doubt on the outcome on the spending bill’s future.

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

Wolf PAC

Jake kicked off his new PAC this week, MA 4 Dems PAC, which aims to help elect Democrats in vulnerable districts in 2022. Jake received some star support in announcing this PAC from Speaker Pelosi and Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark. This support shows Jake’s close connection with party leadership which could give him a boost in support during his reelection as well as positions on future committees.

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

We’ll Take the Kids Menu

We save $7 for every $1 that we invest in high quality early childhood programs, a new study from Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman found. Sara spoke on the House floor in support of including transformative investment in childcare in the Build Back Better Act. Due to the pandemic, more than 500 childcare providers have closed their doors to more than 190,000 kids who now don’t have access to care they need. Across the country 1.6 million moms of children under 17 are missing from the labor force. As Sara puts it, “While some of my colleagues may argue that we can’t afford to do these things, the truth is: we can’t afford not to.”

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Fighting for the Long Term

Sadly, Madison tweeted out that he was dealing with significant medical complications and asked for prayers. As you might remember, Madison was partially paralyzed in a car accident in 2014 which left him in a wheelchair. While there is not much information related to what complications he is dealing with he said that they are long-term. Regardless of whatever these complications are, we hope Madison gets better.

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

A Roof Over Their Heads

More than 37,000 veterans are currently experiencing homelessness. Peter teamed up with PP leader Ritchie Torres (D-NY) to introduce the Combating Veteran Homelessness Act of 2021 to provide federal support to private and non-profit organizations that work to end veteran homelessness. The bill will ensure that the Department of Veteran Affairs has the resources and support to aid veterans experiencing homelessness and provide more technical assistance to programs that provide shelter for unhoused veterans. Have you seen any homeless veterans in need in your area?

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

No Cut Corners

Kansas is set to take in 500 refugees from Afghanistan, which is just shy of the 60,000 total Afghan refugees that are expected to settle in the U.S. Jake and other Kansas Republican members expressed some security concerns. Jake said, “While it’s critical that we get America’s home safely and our allies out of Afghanistan, it’s also critical that the Biden Administration ensures no corners are cut and every single evacuee entering our country receives a complete and thorough vetting process.” What are your thoughts on security concerns with the Afghan refugees?

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

To Mask or Not to Mask

Across the country we are hearing about various states, cities and school districts mandating vaccinations and face masks for children in school. Nancy said that teachers’ unions are dictating how schools and children should be managed on COVID-19 mask policy. She said that teachers’ unions have done this repeatedly. She confirmed that she is against mandates for vaccinations and face masks for kids in schools and that parents should make their own decision on the issue. How do you feel about this?

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Putting the Gloves On

After surviving Hurricane Henri, now Nicole needs to prepare for Hurricane Rose. Former NY Representative Max Rose is going to be re-challenging Nicole in the next election. Sources say that Max is out assembling a team, talking to donors, and speaking with community leaders. Max looked at a potential bid for mayor of New York but eventually dropped out. When Nicole was asked about the news she had some choice words, “they don’t want an anti-police, Pelosi puppet who flirts with socialism representing them in Congress.” Ouch…to be continued.

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

The Unlikely Partnership

Jon and Senator Chuck Grassely (R-IA) introduced a bipartisan bill, the Rural Area Opioid Prevention Program Act, to combat the opioid crisis in rural areas by codifying a pilot program specifically dedicated to fighting the crisis in rural communities. The program provides grants to rural local governments and nonprofits to help them fight opioid addiction. PP leader Conor Lamb (D-PA) introduced similar legislation in the House earlier this year. We continue to hear about the crisis and, sadly, in 2020 there were a record 93,000 overdoses, a 29% increase from 2019. This is a fight we can all take part in.

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

A Healthcare Windfall!

Over $5 million is on its way to Pete’s district! He announced this week that SACHS, a community healthcare provider in his region, will receive two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. The first grant awards $2.8 million to the SACHS Teaching Healthcare Center which has already trained 85 primary care residents, many of whom have gone on to practice in underserved communities. Pete also announced a $2.6 million grant to treat opioid addiction, which has sadly become an even more acute need during the pandemic. Pete’s residents can rest easy knowing that when it comes to healthcare, their congressman has got them covered!

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Teaming Up to Tax the Rich

When it comes to the hotly debated wealth tax, Brendan is on Elizabeth Warren’s team. That’s why he joined forces with her this week to push for the inclusion of her signature tax proposal in the Democrat’s $3.5 trillion spending package. Brendan and Elizabeth propose a 2% tax on those with a net worth of between $50 million and $1 billion, with a 1% additional tax on those worth over $1 billion. If implemented, it could generate a staggering one trillion dollars in revenue. Brendan cited a poll this week that found that 78% of Pennsylvania voters support increases in both income taxes and capital gains taxes for wealthier Americans. What’s your take on increasing the wealth tax?

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

Bring in the Dancing Lobsters!

Fishermen in Maine can celebrate this week, because they’re now eligible for up to $700 million in grant money through the USDA’s pandemic relief programs. Earlier this summer, Jared urged the USDA to release funding that was distributed in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This week, he announced that his request has been met and the grant applications will finally go live. This will allow small-scale farmers and fishermen to receive the pandemic relief they desperately need. So go ahead and enjoy that lobster — the fisherman who caught it is having a great day!

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

Can We Help Afghanistan?

Andy’s office has received over 6,000 (!) requests to help Afghan allies in the past few weeks alone. Thousands of calls, texts, and Whatsapp messages have been flooding his office since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. As a former Army strategic advisor who served in Afghanistan, Andy takes special interest in helping those who need to get out. Unfortunately, his hands seem to be tied. He had one simple question when he met with State Department officials this week: “What was the best phone number [an Afghan] family could call for help?” The answer: there isn’t one. As the withdrawal of Americans and allies continues, even our own congressmen can’t seem to get them much help.

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

Climate Warriors, Unite!

Joe’s been busy this week fighting to save the planet. He introduced a suite of new legislation — five bills in all (!) — that aim to address the relationship between our national security interests and ever-worsening extreme weather events. He succeeded in getting his bills attached to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, a natural follow-up to his successful Climate Readiness Act of 2020. In fact, since coming into office Joe has zeroed in on climate change as a key issue. He even proposed a Climate Conservation Corps, modeled after the CCC of the 1930s! Which climate priorities do you think Joe should focus on next?

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

Oh, Canada!

You may not be surprised to hear that Canadians are once again showing their neighborly side. In their characteristically kind spirit, they reopened their land border last month to non-essential vaccinated Americans. Unfortunately, we haven’t returned the favor. Chris took matters into his own hands and urged President Biden to reopen our side of the border, which has been shut down since March — of 2020! “Taking this action will not jeopardize public health, will allow families to reunite, and will help our economy continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chris wrote in his letter to Biden. Time to re-open, eh?

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

A Redistricting Ripple

The incredible growth in Darren’s region has spurred a state-wide redistricting ripple effect. His central Florida district was the fastest growing in the nation last decade, and is home to nearly all of Florida’s 2.7 million new residents — Florida’s 9th must be a great place to live! The 2020 Census dictates that Florida will be allotted an extra congressional district as a result of this growth, which means a gerrymandering battle is heating up. Even though Darren is a Democrat representing a blue district, the GOP-led Florida legislature probably has some ideas of their own.

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

Discounted Healthcare, Anyone?

Eric is calling on his district to take advantage of the expansive healthcare benefits that passed through the American Rescue Plan. He commissioned a study recently that found that 36,000 residents in his district could save $6,900 per year in health insurance premiums. That’s huge! The report also found that an additional 15,000 residents who are currently uninsured are eligible for healthcare subsidies. In most cases, the subsidies would reduce the monthly premium to less than $10 per month! For those living paycheck to paycheck, these subsidies could legitimately save lives.

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Nurses (Desperately) Wanted

The pandemic has exacerbated a nation-wide shortage of nurses, and Lauren wants to fix that. She recently introduced a bill that would invest $1 billion in nursing schools to bolster education and address the shortage of qualified healthcare providers. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, America has seen how critical nurses are to our communities… but we also know that America has under-invested in our nursing workforce for far too long,” Lauren said. So, if you’ve been looking for a career change — now might just be your chance!

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Making Abe Lincoln Proud

Jim, who leads the powerful Republican Study Committee, spoke at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner where he shared his vision for the future of the GOP, President Lincoln’s own party. “I am optimistic about winning back the House majority but there is a lot that is going to happen in the next year and half as the Democrats are in charge,” he told the Republican audience. He spoke out against the House Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill and the influx of migrants at the Southern border. “​​I’m angry, like a lot of Republicans are, about anti-Americanism and critical race theory being taught in schools and being pushed on our military,” he added, painting a clear vision for the political and cultural future he wants to actualize – do you think he’ll get it?

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

It’s About Time!

As part of the Congressional Black Caucus’s 50th Anniversary celebration, Colin led a virtual panel discussion on an issue near and dear to him: paid family leave. Back in March, Colin took one month paid paternity leave after the birth of his second child, as he did for the first in 2019, becoming the first sitting member of Congress to do so. While he was afforded that advantage, Colin noted this benefit “is not the reality for most Americans, especially from black and brown families.” Given that the U.S. is the only country among 41 peer nations WITHOUT a national paid leave policy, it is indeed about time we do something to change that.

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Follow Our Lead

The Democrats often get a bad rap when it comes to their support of small businesses, but Sharice is proving that old idiom to be as false as green eggs and ham. She joined local Dentec manufacturing CEO Claudio Dente for an event in which they announced a joint partnership to advocate for the SUPPLIES Act, a bill aimed at helping small Jayhawk businesses tap into financing in order to produce medical supplies. Thanks to Sharice, Dentec was an early beneficiary of similar funding, when they quickly pivoted to making masks and PPE at the start of the Covid 19 Pandemic. Now, as a member of the House Small Business committee, Sharice is looking to take this success on the road, and is using her state as proof positive this works.

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

Mind The Little Ones Too

Chances are we all know someone who’s a teacher, and chances are, we all agree Teachers don’t nearly get paid enough, especially the ones who teach pre-K. While Conor can’t really control national teacher’s salaries, he can make it a little easier on early childhood educators come tax season. That’s why he’s introducing the bipartisan SEED Act, which would effectively allow teachers to claim a $250 deduction currently available to K-thru-12 teachers. This deduction would help offset the cost of supplies, books and other necessary items that Teachers often find themselves paying for out-of-pocket. In fact, studies show that teachers average $530 worth of out-of-pocket costs annually, and that number is 40% higher in high-poverty areas. Most of us probably don’t remember pre-K but those teachers certainly remember who among us was the worst at snack time, so the least we can do is cut them a break when it comes to coloring books.

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Cha-Ching, Children!

While the Pandemic—which is still going on folks—hasn’t been easy on anyone, the folks with Kids in Seth’s district have a silver lining to be thankful for. Seth has been a fierce advocate when it comes to pandemic financial support for families, and thanks to the American Rescue Plan of 2021, Seth has helped folks in his district receive $27.7 million in payments through the Child Tax Credit program. The revised plan, which failed to receive a single Republican vote, increased the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for ages 6 and under, and $2,000 to $3,000 for ages 7-17. Seth unequivocally stated that “we know parents who receive this money spend it on their kids.” Furthermore, the White House estimates that the American Rescue Plan will lift more than 5 million children out of poverty this year, and if that’s the case, then that’s a job well done.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

Hold Up There, General

There’s a lot of truth to the old adage that our defense spending resembles more of a linebacker enjoying thirds at the Thanksgiving buffet than it does a vegan Pilates instructor. It’s unclear what AOC’s fitness routine is, but clearly, she’s on a leaner-is-meaner plan, particularly when it comes to the upcoming authorization vote on the annual defense budget bill. Alexandria has introduced 7 last-minute amendments, most of which target and restrict weapons sales to countries that are in recent human rights violation. Those would include the US trained-Saudi unit of operatives responsible for the Jamal Khashoggi killing as well as recent infractions by the Colombian Government. It’s unclear whether any of these will stick, but the message is certainly clear. And speaking of messages, damn girl—that dress!

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

For The Greater Good

Much was made of the poignancy in former President Bush’s speech on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 but also resonating in quieter corners was what Abigail had to say. As a former CIA case officer specializing in counterterrorism, 9/11 is deeply personal to her. However, she went well beyond herself in remembering the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives that day as she spoke about the years that followed. “I hope we will reflect on the strength and beauty of our country and our people and recommit to finding a common sense of community and purpose—in honor of everyone we have lost since that fateful day.” Her message was as clear as the sky that day: we as Americans must find a way to come together and heal this deeply divided nation on so many political issues. Indeed, doing so is certainly going to involve a little selfless bravery on all our parts.

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

A Spark From Flint?

If you recall some years ago, the lead contamination in the Flint Michigan water supply was supposed to open all of our eyes to the alarmingly widespread issue facing countless communities. Thanks to her tireless fighting, Rashida has led the way to securing $30 billion dollars dedicated to replacing all service lines with lead contamination. Furthermore, she and 65 of her colleagues have secured an additional $1.2 billion to remove lead from school water as well as funding for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program. Rashida reminded us that “For too long, countless Americans have been forced to suffer the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water, especially low-income communities and communities of color.” Folks can breathe a little easier knowing that change is on the way.

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Put Down The Test Tube

So remember that ol’ pandemic we’re all still living through? Yep, that one. Well, it turns out the US may have played a bigger part in it than we realize—financially speaking of course. Mike introduced bipartisan legislation to put a 5-year freeze on taxpayer funding for gain-of-function research. This highly sophisticated and fragile work is basically a genetic alteration of cells in order to stress-test an organism’s transmissibility and virulence to a disease, all with the expressed goal of better understanding and therefore preparing for disease. Mike’s legislation comes on the heels of a report in The Intercept that details the United State’s funding of coronavirus research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Will this type of freeze help prevent future outbreaks or will it only hamper our ability to combat the inevitable?

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

To Vax or Not To Vax

Indeed, this is the question facing many families, individuals, and more complexly, businesses. Jaime came out recently with a statement saying that she believes private businesses should be able to dictate their own Covid 19 vaccination policies. This comes on the heels of Biden announcing plans for the Department of Labor to draft requirements for businesses of 100+ employees to either mandate vaccines or implement weekly testing. But Jaime says not so fast: “A company with most of its employees working remotely on a permanent basis shouldn’t be forced to have the same vaccination policies as a company with frontline workers who interact with the public.” In other words, she agrees with the overarching goals of increasing vaccination rates, but wants to let businesses choose whatever policy works best for them.

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

Courage Ain’t Easy

Following the announcement by fellow under-45er Anthony Gonzalez saying he wouldn’t seek reelection, Adam took to the airwaves in a video with yet another blunt message for his republican colleagues who did not vote to impeach President Trump: “The future of the party and politics in this country doesn’t rest on the 10 of us, it rests on the courage of the 180 others who have been silent so far.” Adam has been one of the fiercest critics of the former President, and with the news of Anthony declining to run on account of a Trump-backed challenger, Adam fears the ideological future of his party members. “So many GOP colleagues watched from the sidelines lacking the courage to speak out while privately hoping for change.” It remains to be seen where Adam’s outspokenness will ultimately land him, but he’s out there speaking his mind and that’s a welcome relief from the typical Washington BS.

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Sometimes Letters Do Come True

Earlier this year, Guy wrote a letter to the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) POWER Initiative – another long acronym we’ll spare you, but suffice it to say they give out money to worthy economic revitalization projects. Well, the fruits of his letter came through in spades for his Greene County Board of Commissioners to the tune of $2.5 million. The funding will be used to construct broadband infrastructure in the area and expand coverage of the unserved and underserved areas of the county. Since 2015, ARC has invested $287 million into 353 counties across Appalachia, traditionally one of the most impoverished regions within our country. This initiative, and the new funding for Guy’s district, look to be a win all around. Bravo!

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Qualified Peanut Gallery

After the [email protected]$# that was the Afghanistan withdrawal, it’s only natural that a torrent of criticism would be unleashed by all corners of the country, be it elected officials or merely armchair quarterbacks. Having served as an Army JAG officer in Iraq, Greg brings a unique perspective to the Foreign Affairs Committee and did not mince words in the recent hearing with Secretary Blinken. “Even in your opening statement you still can’t be honest with the American People,” Greg began. From there, he continued to excoriate the Secretary Of State for possessing critical knowledge that the Biden administration failed to act on, resulting in unnecessary deaths to both civilians and servicemen. While Greg invoked the former President several times, his main point was to say that this wasn’t Trump’s doing, this was Biden’s. And that’s where the blame buck ought to stop.

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Like A Good Lawyer, Cotton Is Here

During the infamous O.J. Simpson trial, the great lawyer F. Lee Bailey strategically asked, when questioning Detective Mark Fuhrman about some critically ignored evidence, “tell us, Mr. Fuhrman, what else did you choose to ignore?” It’s a classic tactic to sow doubt, with a hint of conspiracy, and Tom put that on full display this week in a pointed letter to the FAA. It seems, Tom lays out in the letter, that the FAA issued a temporary no-fly-zone over Del Rio, Texas, JUST as the Haitian migration crisis was spiraling out of control. Huh. Now why would they do this? Was it done “for political reasons, perhaps to blackout unfavorable media coverage of the humanitarian disaster,” Tom posits in his letter? Whatever the reason, Tom is right to ask questions, though we do hope he’s asking for the safety and well-being of both U.S. Law Enforcement and asylum-seeking migrants, rather than for simple personal political gain.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

Boarding Pass, ID…and Vax-card Please

Ritchie sent a letter to President Biden this week making the case for requiring proof of vaccination for all airline travel in the United States. Over 59% of Americans support this idea, Ritchie details in his letter, as well as Dr. Fauci. He goes on to point out that a recent study showed that vaccine requirements for air travel would significantly increase the likelihood that unvaccinated people would decide to get vaccinated. And with roughly 80 million Americans still resisting the science, this may just be how we, as a nation, gain much needed ground on the surging Covid variants that are preventing us from triumphing over this disease. Also, shoutout to Ritchie for receiving a worthy profile from NY Times Conservative Columnist Bret Stephens.

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Wait, One More Thing

With an authorization vote on the Defense Spending Bill looming for the House, many of its members are scrambling to add last-minute amendments into the sweeping package. Jamaal has tossed his final revision into the mix, co-sponsored by fellow under-45er Ro Khanna. The amendment looks to end the U.S. Military’s protracted incursion in Syria. Jamaal praised Biden’s for finally exiting America’s longest war in Afghanistan, saying “it took tremendous courage to follow through on ending America’s engagement there” and he says we now must redirect America’s financial resources back to much needed improvements stateside. This means exiting Syria, stage left.

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Maintain The Roof

Evictions have been one of the most gut-wrenching visual reminders that the Covid 19 pandemic is ruthlessly destroying lives, and while the temporary eviction moratoriums have provided momentary solace for some, there are still countless who need help. Cori has leapt into action with the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021, which looks to nationalize eviction moratoriums. For some background, President Biden issued a national eviction moratorium through the Health and Human Services department, but the Supreme Court struck that down saying that HHS lacked the legal statute to do so. Now, Cori wants to empower HHS to do so via this proposed legislation, which shares bicameral support in the Senate. This is one of the many issues that’s personal to Cori, so we can certainly rest assured she’ll keep fighting for it.

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

No Longer Our Ceiling to Repair

David fired off a recent tweet making it clear that the impending debt ceiling debacle lies at the feet of the Democrats. He says the majority has forced the debt limit suspension into the upcoming House Continuing Resolution, which is a legal mechanism to provide a financial stop-gap for government operations into the next fiscal year. He goes on to say that this was done without any bipartisan cooperation and the result will be costly for many. Also noteworthy is that David has unmistakably taken on a much more partisan tone as of late. It’s hard to pinpoint what to attribute this too, but with the recent exit announcement from moderate Republican Anthony Gonzalez, it seems to reason many otherwise moderate GOP leaders are now having to shade further right at the prospect of fending off potential primary challengers.

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

Ladders And Hoses And Trucks, Oh My!

Obviously, municipal fire departments are more than just shiny red trucks and expensive toys, but for the Ladder Companies of Clay County, they’re now flush with $2.7 million to buy whatever their hearts content. Kat was able to help secure a windfall of grant funding through FEMA and DHS and specifically that money is intended for new hires. The pandemic has put inordinate personnel strain on many firehouses across the country and this grant program is designed to help houses meet the staffing needs of the modern world, like making sure they have adequate fire crews on duty 24/7. So while Kat didn’t get them this dough so they could go on a spending spree for new equipment, the brave men and women can at least be thankful they’ll likely get a little more sleep now that they have more hands on deck.

Byron Donalds (R; FL-19)

More For Less?

The $15 minimum wage debate is certainly a touchy issue in this country, but it’s a touchy convo Byron is happy to have. Because he thinks it sounds great on paper but fails in practice. He points to a recent article in The Hill that bears the headline of how Target is decreasing holiday hiring compared to 2020. He correctly points out, however glibly, that the headline fails to mention how Target recently increased their minimum wage to $15 per hour. Byron goes on to say that this added expenditure is precisely the reason they are not hiring more people. By his logic, he’s suggesting that a lower hourly wage would enable more people to work there. So the question becomes, is it better to have more people employed at a lower wage, or less people employed at a higher wage?

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

Goodbye Afghanistan, Hello China!

The brewing power and global influence of China has been obvious to all in recent months and years, so Ashley has introduced a new bill that looks to beef up America’s ability to compete with the rival superpower. The Prioritizing Readiness and Competitiveness Act would take any remaining funds that were intended to sustain the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and redirect them towards enhancing U.S. strategic competition with the Chinese. This funding would bolster not just military capabilities in the region but also enhance supply chains and U.S. industries in Indo-China. There is certainly a ton of hyperbole surrounding our China Policy, to varying degrees of truth, and while enhancing America’s competitive edge is always a good thing, it would also behoove us not to unnecessarily stoke the flames of fear. History has shown that it never worked out great for the American people.

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

We’re Now Responsible.

In light of the Haitian migration disaster that’s occurring at our southern border, Victoria took to the House floor and leant her strong vocal support to the Border Security For America Act of 2021. The bill calls for immediately resuming border wall construction, increasing funding for modernizing technological equipment necessary at the border, and increase in Border Patrol hiring. Victoria, joining fellow under-45ers Tony Gonzales and August Pfluger in support of the bill, didn’t mince words when she said “our government has become an accomplice to human and drug trafficking and Mexican Cartels.” Irrespective of the United States’ potentially direct culpability in the border crisis, one thing’s certain and that is the fact we’re long overdue for some meaningful immigration reform.

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

‘Civies’ With Laptops

The cybersecurity threats facing the United States seem to get more extreme by the minute, but as a former soldier, Tony is looking to modernize the way we protect our technological infrastructure. He sponsored a new bipartisan bill that would create a civilian reserve corps to serve as a backstop for cyber and ransomware attacks targeting federal agencies. The National Digital Reserve Corps would be composed of civilian cyber experts committed to three-year periods of service. In 2020 alone, DHS saw a 311% increase in ransomware attacks from the following year, so it very much seems like we’re in an “all hands on deck” situation. Fortunately for us, Tony’s bill has been proposed as an amendment to the upcoming defense spending bill and currently shares widespread support among both parties.

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

Told Ya’ We Needed A Wall

August has been making the cable news rounds with fellow under-45er Tony Gonzales, who’s district happens to encompass Del Rio, Texas, the ground zero for the Haitian migration crisis happening at our southern border. Vitriol and finger-pointing have certainly been aplenty, as is Washington tradition, but August is putting his money where his mouth is and offering up a plan. The Border Security For America Act of 2021 calls for immediately resuming border wall construction, increasing funding for modernizing technological equipment necessary at the border, and increase in Border Patrol hiring. It’s unclear whether or not this bill will solve the trick but what’s more than certain is that this country is long-overdue for meaningful immigration reform.

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

We Didn’t Start The Fire

Blake sure didn’t start the fires, but he looks around the country and sees that millions of acres of forest are indeed burning and he’s trying to do something about it. Now Blake has introduced the Save Our Forests Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the staffing shortages within the Nation Forests. By authorizing the proposed $46 million to the National Forest Service, the funding would help fill these staffing vacancies, helping with forest fire risk mitigation and response readiness. It’s tabulated that nearly 80% of forest fires are caused by humans who simply aren’t following the forest rules, so at the very least, this funding will cover a few more Rangers out there reminding folks of the forest basics.

Melanie Stansbury (D; NM-1)

Solar For the Sunport

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that Albuquerque, New Mexico’s airport is called The Sunport. Fortunately, we have Melanie to do those things, and others things too, like secure $7.1 million dollars for the international air hub to outfit itself with the latest green technology. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the Transportation Department is footing the bill to purchase new zero-emission vehicles, install overhead charging infrastructure, reconstruct a taxiway, and build low-emission ground power units that will reduce carbon emissions at the airport. Melanie is exemplifying the two-for-one package of the use of economic recovery stimulus to aid in the short-term job creation while also helping solve the long-term challenges of sustainability.