THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Have You No Decency, Sir?

The full rundown from our November 19, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Have You No Decency, Sir?

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

But We’re Not LA

If you’ve ever been to the Los Angeles area, you know that one word to describe it is VAST. Pete represents the Inland Empire, a region east of Los Angeles that shares many qualities with the major metropolis, but also varies significantly – especially when it comes to real estate prices. He introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow homebuyers in certain regions, like his, to access higher loan limits on low interest housing loans. Currently, loan limits are determined by home values in a given metropolitan area, but given the vastness of Southern California, that equation just doesn’t seem fair to Pete!

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

The State of the States

As we gear up for the 2022 elections, it isn’t just the Congressional races that Democrats like Brendan are keeping their eye on. Dems are more aware than ever of the importance of state-level races, having now formed a ‘federal advisory council’ with eight Congressional Democrats, including Brendan, to help elect candidates up and down the ballot. Democrats are taking a note from Republicans on this one (as they should, frankly) after a similarly state-focused republican committee partnered with a national GOP organization to help with victories like the ones they saw in the Virginia state House earlier this month. Do you think some help from the top can give Democrats a leg-up?

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

Standing His Ground

While progressive groups are gearing up to put pressure on moderates like Jared over their delaying of voting on the larger Democratic spending package, Jared is standing his ground. He called the insistence on a paired vote a “failed strategy”, which, you can imagine, upset some people. However, for Jared’s part, he’s focused on what he views as the win of all this – the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill saying, “It shouldn’t have taken this long and the fact that we had to fight so hard for it is, I think, part of what many people across this country are tired of.” Do you think Jared has a point?

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

Service, Not Sacrifice

Andy took an important call from the balcony of the U.S. Capitol last week, only pausing to run inside and vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (he was a major ‘yay’). The call was into a class of Princeton students to discuss the importance of public service. While encouraging students to become involved in service, he emphasized that it’s important not to “conflate service with sacrifice” – not to sacrifice what’s important to them in the name of public service. He also discussed the uphill battle he’s faced being an Asian American and said that the Republican votes against his Covid-19 hate crime bill made him feel invisible. His big message? “Find your place in this fight”.

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

Our Short Runway

Depending on who you talk to, the Climate Change Conference in Scotland fell somewhere on the spectrum of great success to utter waste of time. Joe is somewhere in between. He attended the conference and remains hopeful about the work that the international community can do, especially in the area of addressing wildfires – an issue specifically personal to him and his district in Colorado. However, he did note that the conference didn’t yield as many solutions as he would like considering that the deadlines are less than 10 years away – “We have a very short runway to avoid those serious consequences,” he said. What were you hoping to see come out of the climate summit?

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

Drinking Buddies

Chris, like many Democratic politicians these days, has been hitting the road to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure package and its benefits. He joined state and municipal leaders to discuss a particular clean water initiative in New Hampshire that will benefit from the bill. Overall, the bill contains just under $55 billion for states to upgrade aging drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure. “In this bipartisan infrastructure bill, it represents the largest investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history.” Some of the pipes that will be replaced in New Hampshire are over 60 years old and corroding. Time for an upgrade, for sure!

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

Freedom to Mandate

If you’re like us, you’re a bit sick of the political football being thrown around when it comes to vaccine rhetoric and covid mandates. But, until we can all just get along, Darren is joining Florida Democrats (and some from Georgia and Texas) in introducing a bill that would allow local governments to overrule any ban on mask or vaccine mandates put forward by their Republican governors. The bill comes in direct response to a special session to be held by Gov. Ron DeSantis in which the state legislature will take up bills to prevent vaccine mandates enacted by businesses. Though it’s often Republicans we see defending the ‘rights’ of businesses (religious and otherwise), now it’s Democrats trying to rescue a businesses right to self-regulate. What a mess.

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

My Genome is Your Genome

Nearly 80% of rare diseases are genetic and 70% of them begin in childhood, however due to lack of access and resources, many kids living with them are undiagnosed or untreated. Eric introduced a bipartisan bill that would make genetic and genomic testing for these diseases more affordable through creating a program and the Dept. of Health and Human Services. As Eric said, “Genetic and genomic testing technology is improving every day”. If passed, more kids in need will have access to this rapidly evolving technology. What’s good for kids is good for us all, right?

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Nay on NDAs

Over the past few years, lawmakers like Lauren have kept their eye on ways to make the workplace safer for Americans. She just introduced bipartisan legislation that is the most comprehensive bill on workplace harassment thus far. Mainly, it would ban the use of NDAs as a condition of employment, which will empower workers to speak out. Additionally, it would close financial loopholes that benefit companies and keep workers on the hook for litigation costs. Aptly named the EMPOWER Act, we look forward to seeing what support Lauren and her cosponsors can garner!

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

The Devil is in the Details

The VA system in America is, to put it lightly, flawed. Jim, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced two bills that dig into the details to, hopefully, make the department more efficient and, hopefully, help vets in the long run. The first would require the VA to make reforms to their operational and construction policy when it comes to building VA medical facilities so that taxpayer dollars are not wasted. The second would close a (very confusing) loophole that potentially cheats many veterans pursuing post-service education out of thousands of dollars. Simple enough? Well, knowing the world we live in, probably not.

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Chomping at the Bit

You may remember the story of a Florida Dept. of Health employee who claimed she was fired from Gov. DeSantis’s administration for refusing to manipulate data. That employee, Rebekah Jones is now Matt’s opponent in FL-1. And, due to the potential sex-scandal still swirling around old Gaetzy (with more prosecutors joining the DOJs case and Matt’s once-associate cooperating) his approval numbers in his district are dropping. Pollsters recently found that in the heavily Republican district, 34% of voters said they would vote for Jones and fewer than 42% would vote for Matt, putting her within striking distance if the trend continues over the next year. We’re not here to predict the future, but could there be a reckoning for far-right firebrands like Matt?

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

Behind Closed Doors

Like many Republicans, Lance is laser focused on the migrant crisis at our southern border. He recently has narrowed that focus after his office claimed to receive whistleblower evidence that the TSA is allowing undocumented migrants to board commercial flights without proper identification. Lance additionally claims that corporations and Big Tech companies are working with government agencies to illegally relocate the migrants. This, he says, could present an unprecedented national security threat. None of this has been confirmed, but it’s clear that Lance is taking whatever information his office has received seriously and won’t be backing down any time soon.

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

Sunshine States

Has Dusty just discovered the ONE thing we can all agree on? Eliminating Daylight Savings? After voicing his own frustrations after our recent ‘fall back’ he wrote about the findings of a very important Twitter survey he conducted, to which 89% of respondents favored eliminating the WWI-era tradition. He also signed onto the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill which would eliminate the ‘fall back’ daylight savings time change. So, are you pro-sunshine?

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

Go Nuclear

The great news – young politicians are in agreement that something needs to be done to combat the effects of climate change. Not so great news – they’re still in disagreement about what exactly that something is. In a recent Environment and Climate Change and Energy Subcommittee hearing, Markwayne made a point of emphasizing the importance of nuclear energy to the U.S.’s plan in reducing emissions. He referenced Germany’s current trajectory after banning fracking and natural gas and closing nuclear plants, which has left holes in their energy needs – some of which are being filled by gas imports from Russia. “We’re running down the exact same path that Germany has and we’re thinking that we’re going to have a different result. I don’t see that happening, I see it being the definition of insanity.”

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Follow Up is Key

We’ve seen an influx of veteran-focused legislation over the last couple weeks due to Veteran’s Day, but this one piece of bipartisan legislation introduced by Bryan seems like the most no-brainer yet. The ‘No Veteran Falls Through the Cracks Act’ would ensure that the VA follow up with veterans who have rescheduled mental health appointments at the VA. Currently, if a vet cancels a mental health appointment online, there’s no follow up requirement. Lawmakers paying increased attention to mental health, especially in veterans, is always a good thing!

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

The Fight for Safety

With upticks in crime around the country, it’s no surprise that Republicans like Lee are seizing the narrative that many of the reforms to our prison and justice system are not, in fact, making life safer. As the presumptive GOP nominee for governor of NY, Lee is focusing this fight at home and joined a group of Republican officials to call for the end of cashless bail for misdemeanors or low-level felonies which, they say, has led to an increase in violent crime. He noted that the cashless bail, which was intended to stop poor people from being jailed before trial due to lack of resources, has undermined the police and the judicial system. Do you think cash bail reform should be re-implemented?

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

She Speaks!

In a rare interview, Kyrsten let the media into her psyche (just a little bit), which otherwise has remained such an enigma. She championed the work by both parties on getting the infrastructure bill passed, stressed her commitment to climate change and paid leave in the Democrats’ spending bill, and touted the importance of having disagreements – labeling it as “normal” and “human” and an “opportunity”. When pressed about any coverage of her flirting with joining the Republican party, she shot it down. Instead, she offered a critique of the system in general saying, “There’s this growing trend of people in both political parties who promise things that cannot be delivered, in order to get the short-term political gain. And I believe that it damages the long-term health of our democracy.”

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

Bringing it Home

Some celebrate with champagne, some celebrate with tours around their districts. Jake falls into the latter category (maybe the first too, we don’t know!) as he just visited locales all around his district to discuss the passage of the infrastructure package. It’s helpful to think of this bill on a local level so here’s a couple things he noted: the bill will modernize a small town’s infrastructure, local business leaders can better collaborate with towns to bring in new industry, fire stations will be improved, towns can make plans for a regional bike trail. To all of that we say, pop the bottles!!

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

Quick Money

Although Sara is in the “pass both bills” camp when it comes to the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger spending package, she was quick to note the accomplishment of passing the former and how quickly people will start to see the effects. The law, she says, gives the Dept. of Transportation a lot of discretionary funding so they can get money “out the door quickly,” which, ideally, will lead to people seeing results in the next year or so. The bill is designed to spread out money over 10 years, but if she’s right about that one-year impact, what could that mean for Democrats in 2022?

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Switcheroo

With redistricting maps drawn, Madison made the decision to switch districts. His reasoning lied in the location of his house being right on the edge (though property records show that might not actually be the case). Either way, it’s not a requirement that members of Congress live in their district so the more interesting thing to unpack here is the political reasoning behind the switch. It appears that Madison’s current district (with its new lines) would perhaps be more Democratic than before whereas the new district is pretty solidly red. Additionally, he said himself that he was “afraid that another establishment go-along to get-along Republicans would prevail there”. Check out our interview with his would-have-been opponent who now awaits her new Republican challenger.

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

Everyone Loves a Challenger

Peter has drawn primary challengers for his reelection race next year, but the newest one is perhaps the most high profile. John Gibbs, who served in the Housing Department under Trump, is a software engineer whose history of public service seems to be in direct contrast with his public inflammatory statements which have touted conspiracy theories like John Podesta (Hillary’s campaign manager) taking part in a satanic ritual. Gibbs was nominated but never confirmed to lead Trump’s Office of Personnel and Management. What this brings up is a trend we will see all over the country which could have lasting effects – a Trump-supported candidate pushing on a more moderate conservative in a primary where the Republican base is driving the vote. How do you think it will all play out?

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Jabs or Food

As we are all learning, the supply chain of goods in our country is so interconnected with various private and public entities. Jake and his GOP colleagues on the House Oversight Committee called on Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack to delay the vaccine mandate for USDA employees until the department can make a plan to make up for the inevitable loss of staff. “Our agriculture communities rely on Farm Service Agency employees to deliver and implement critical Farm Bill programs”, he said. Do you think vaccine mandates in federal agencies are leading the supply chain issues?

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

Weed Warrior

Legalization of marijuana used to be a nonstarter in Congress, especially amongst Republicans. But Nancy is changing that trend by introducing the States Reform Act which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (where it is currently designated as a Schedule I substance with LSD and heroin… whaaaat???) and regulate it like alcohol. Democrats have a similar proposal to Nancy’s (though they haven’t filed it yet). The biggest differences between the two are that Nancy’s bill would have a lower excise tax on cannabis and includes less social justice language than the Democratic proposal. Regardless, what this shows us is that legalization is no longer partisan and we can put those ‘tough on pot’ days behind us.

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

What Taxpayers Expect

Nicole was one of the 13 House Republicans to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and despite the backlash from those within her own party, she stands by her decision. “These are the things people expect when they pay taxes,” she said. She noted that politicians from both sides have not kept up with the pace of necessary infrastructure in this country and that she’s looking forward to working with NY state and local officials to roll out the funding for flood management, upgrading subways, adding HOV lanes to highways, among other projects. When asked about the attacks from her GOP colleagues she simply said, “I don’t work for anybody except my constituents.”

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

Cyber Up

In the midst of celebrating the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Jon is going the extra mile to ensure the future of cybersecurity in this country is strong. He introduced a bill that would provide funding for cybersecurity programs at HBUCs. The Cybersecurity Opportunity Act would create a grand program for cybersecurity training at HBCUs and other colleges nationwide. The bill unanimously passed the Homeland Security Committee last week so we’re assuming the future is bright (and hopefully very secure!) on this one.

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)

Shifting Billions

If there is any young politician out there fighting for environmental justice, it is Nanette. While her district includes the port of Long Beach, one of the largest and busiest in the world, she is always happy to lend her support in fighting fossil fuels. At the UN Climate Change Conference there were more than 20 countries that pledged to end financing for international fossil fuel projects. Nannette tweeted her support but wants to take it a step further and “stop propping up fossil fuel companies at home too. No subsidies. No tax breaks. No drilling. No permits.” She hopes that this will shift billions of dollars into clean energy. What do you think about that?

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

Celebrating Service

Veteran entrepreneurs generate ~$1+ trillion in annual revenue and employ nearly 5 million workers in the U.S. There are nearly 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses. Now those are some great stats! Jason introduced a bipartisan resolution to honor these veterans in making November 1-5 to celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week. At Political Playlist, we are always here for a celebration, especially for a worthy cause!

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

Club Med…For Veteran Horses

Fun Fact alert…in Chatham, New York (Antonio’s district) is the Equine Advocates Farm which is a retirement home for former military working horses. During veteran’s week, some might forget that many of our animal friends are also considered veterans. Horses retired at this farm led caskets of service members at Arlington National Cemetery who passed away or died in combat. Antonio said, “Tyler (the veteran horse he met) played an important role in ensuring our fallen soldiers were laid to rest with the honor and dignity they and their families deserve.” Not going to lie, the horse looks incredibly friendly.

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Military Checks and Balances

There are currently 91 congressional leaders who are veterans in this year’s Congress (only 17%), the lowest number since World War II. In 1963, nearly 75% of Congress had served. On the Political Playlist platform there are ~19 veterans out of our 75 politicians under 45, which is at least higher than the congressional average. Rubuen, a Marine Corps vet said, “the lack of veterans in Congress is how you end up in 20-year wars.” Having fewer veterans in Congress is having less checks on the military and the Department of Defense. Do you agree with Ruben?

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

Shut Up the Shut Offs

Over the last several years California has dealt with major fires and sadly some of the deadliest were caused by public utility companies. So, in response, these companies have begun “utility shutoffs” (ie: try not to get sued shutoffs) to deter from similar situations happening. Sounds like a smart choice, right? Well, the issue is 176,000 Californians depend on electricity for medical needs. Ooof. Josh sent a letter to the head of the California Public Utilities urging for immediate changes to the power shut off policies, especially to the medically vulnerable. He is calling for additional power notices and cheaper rates. Do you agree with Josh?

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

China Down, Taiwan Up

We love to see two leaders from each side of the aisle work together who you never thought would. Ro teamed up with Tom Cotton and introduced the Taiwan Public Health Protection Act, which would establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Ro said, “We must learn from countries like Taiwan that grasped the dangers of this pandemic early on and had success in suppressing it.” Ooooo we bet China is pissed! Someone had to say it!

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Alarm, Sounded

Mike is a climate guy, even describing himself as a “clean energy advocate,” so it was natural for him to be at the UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland where he had the opportunity to participate in bilateral meetings on key climate policies along with fellow PP leader Joe Neguse (CO). In a speech, Mike did not sugar coat the crisis, saying, “we all have to achieve significant reductions in emissions if we’re going to have any chance at combating what is the greatest challenge that our society maybe has ever faced in the history of the planet.” Some might think his language is too hyperbolic, but do you agree with Mike when it comes to the urgency?

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

Build Back Infrastructure

Stephanie was one of the few House Democrats who wanted to separate the vote between the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better act. Why? Because she wanted a stricter analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. Stephanie’s district will certainly benefit from both bills since 16% of the children in her district live under poverty and over 80,000 people do not have health insurance. With regard to the infrastructure bill, Florida will receive at least ~$13 billion to improve highways, airports, bridges, air ways, etc. This will certainly provide a lot of talking points for Stephanie.

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

Don’t Take My Arms…

No surprise Ilhan took some heat when she was only one of six Democrats to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but her message was clear, she said she would not support it without a simultaneous vote on the Build Back Better Act. In more interesting news though, Ilhan introduced a joint resolution to block $650 million worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Ilhan said, “We should never be selling human rights abusers’ weapons, but we certainly should not be doing so amid a humanitarian crisis they are responsible for.” Ilhan is referring to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Should the U.S. stop all diplomatic relationships with Saudi Arabia, or better yet, could we?

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Cleaning the Pipes

In 2014, the country was shocked to see what was happening with contaminated water in Flint, Michigan. A judge just approved a $626.25 million settlement with victims of the Flint lead-tainted water crisis, a settlement that compensates more than half of the city’s residents. Elissa was happy to see a resolution tweeting, “Money will never be enough, but it’s an important moment in the story of the poisoning of an American city.” And it couldn’t come at a more poignant time for Elissa and other Michigan lawmakers as they’re about to see almost $8+ billion for the state’s roads, bridges, broadband access, and water infrastructure from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Finally, some positive news before the Holidays!

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

$9 Billion Life Vest

We needed this. Haley was celebrating the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill because Michigan will be getting almost $9 billion. The bulk of the money will go to roads and bridges with ~$7.3 billion for federal highway programs and $563 million for bridge replacement and repairs (there are over 1,219 bridges and 7,300 miles of highway in poor condition). And on top of that, the state will be getting a massive boost to their public transportation system, electric vehicle charging networks, clean drinking water (remember Flint), extreme weather damage protection, airports and broadband. Sounds like Christmas came early!

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

Fatal Furry Friends

Have you ever heard of chronic wasting disease (CWD)? Probably not. It is a contagious, neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose that is always fatal. As of August 2021, CWD has been confirmed in 25 states and it is still unclear how it is transmitted. Kelly introduced the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management act which would authorize $70 million through 2028 for research and management of CWD. The threat of CWD isn’t just threatening because we love our furry friends, but also because these animals are the lifeblood of wild hunting in many areas and the threat to the ecosystem could have a lasting effect.

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

The Anti-Climate Train

While attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland to bring a Republican perspective, Dan accused Liberals of engaging in “alarmist narrative which is inherently anti-science, anti-common sense and anti-engineering.” That is A LOT of “Anti’s being thrown around.” Dan says he “doesn’t agree that [climate change] is an issue to deal with.” Dan wants Americans to “take a step back and think about, for the cost that we’d want to impose on people, what do we get out of that? That really should be your first question any time you’re engaging in some kind of policy.” Hmmm, perhaps we spoke too soon when we thought Dan going there was going to propose an alternate set of solutions instead of questioning the problem.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

Un-Survivable

There were 13 Republicans who voted in favor of passing the infrastructure bill and Anthony was one of them. Why? Primarily because Ohio stands to get ~$9 billion in funding. But he also was on a CNN special in which he dug deeper into his anti-Trump beliefs by saying the former president may “just try and steal it (the election)” if he doesn’t win. He said, “January 6 was an unconstitutional attempt led by the President of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately.” Anthony isn’t pro-Biden and he even mentioned that he despises almost every Biden policy, but he said the country can survive bad policy, but it can’t survive a torching of the Constitution. Don’t get used to his level headedness though, because come next November he’s hanging up his congressional hat.

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

From Service to Small Business

Veterans Day is always a great time to celebrate our Vets and support them in their endeavors. Trey reintroduced the bipartisan Investing in Veteran Entrepreneurial Talents (VETS) Act to support Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and increase economic opportunity for veterans. The Investing in VETs Act raises the current federal government contracting goal for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses from 3% to 5%, bringing it into parity with Woman-Owned Small Businesses and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Small Businesses. Trey was made aware of the disparities in this issue at a meeting in Indiana. All the more reason why lawmakers connecting with their constituents can really pay off.

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

A Dose of the Freedom Vaccine

Vaccine mandate alert! As of October, 92% of the military has already been vaccinated, but Brian wants to protect members of the Armed Forces from being punished based on their vaccine status. He introduced the Medical Freedom in the Military Act which would prohibit the Department of Defense from punishing members of the Armed Forces based on their COVID-19 vaccination status. Brian said, “Vaccination status should never be a condition of employment, or a condition of service. This mandate is going to have real implications for our military’s readiness.” With such a high number of people vaccinated, is this better dealt with on a case-by-case issue?

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

Don’t Hit Send

Elise is keeping a close eye on groups that step outside their boundaries. She wrote a letter to the IRS Commission to revoke NPR’s tax-exempt status due to an employee at their affiliate group, North County Public Radio’s (NCPR), using their company email to campaign for Democrats. Elise said that this employee was using her NCPR email to campaign on behalf of local New York Democrats. The letter said, “The ban on political campaign intervention is a requirement imposed by the United States Congress for the privilege of being recognized as exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.” Think twice before you send that next email.

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

Shortage of Bacon (and Other Things)

Supply chains, labor shortages and vaccine mandates are the concerns of William’s constituents. William met with various small business owners, and many had similar concerns which are facing the whole country. Even one pizza operator said that bacon and sausage toppings are getting harder to obtain due to a shortage of meats and longer wait time for deliveries. And what scares these businesses most is many employees are going to larger companies who can pay more. First goes the bacon, then goes the staff…

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

Enter the Man Cave

Well, PP Leader Matt Gaetz did elude that testosterone levels are overall down for men…which is true. Now Josh is hopping on the masculinity train, speaking at the National Conservatism Conference and saying that liberals as have defined “traditional masculinity as dangerous”, we are seeing “more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography and video games.” He followed up and said that masculinity is a signature political issue. Do you think the argument could hold up in say… a 2024 presidential run?

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

Workplace Crimes

This week, House Rep Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was censored for posting an anime video of AOC (D-NY) in which it shows him killing her with a sword. Mondaire took to the floor to speak on behalf of AOC saying, “We cannot let the Republican Party make Congress the only workplace in America where violence against your coworkers is not a crime but a credential.I stand with AOC and my other colleagues who have faced threats of harm. That must end now.” Did you agree with the censor of rep. Paul Gosar?

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

Endometriosis Rebooted

Nearly one in 10 women in America have endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus which causes pelvic pain most common in women between ages 30-40 years old. Nikema relaunched the bipartisan Congressional Endometriosis Caucus which was previously started by former congresswoman and current senate candidate Abby Finkenauer (check out our convo about this issue with Abby on Political Playlist Happy Hour). The Caucus was instrumental in doubling the federal funding for this condition and we are glad to see it continues to live on.

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

National Institute of Horrors

Lauren introduced a House companion bill related to the Senate act, Protecting Our Kinds from Harmful Research, to prohibit tax dollars from funding sex change, sterilization, chemical castration, and puberty-blocking procedures from minors suffering from gender dysphoria. Since 2015, the National Institute of Health has awarded ~$7 million to fund sex changes, artificial hormone injections, sterilizations, and chemical castrations on youth as young as eight years old. The Biden administration has opted to extend this research through 2026. This is a lot to take in so if you want a fun laugh instead, watch the video (some thought it was an SNL skit) that caused Lauren to call Jimmy Kimmel a “sexist pig.”

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

The Supply Chain Excuse

Sorry, it’s a supply chain issue… How often are you hearing that one these days? Tracey is taking matters into his own hands and introduced the Truckers Responding at National Shipping Ports Overcoming Retail Turmoil (TRANSPORT) Act, which would require the Secretary of Transportation to issue federal grants and temporarily waive interstate trucking standards to relieve congested ports during either a national state of emergency or when ports are congested by 50 percent or more. He is joined by other PP leaders, Jake LaTurner (KS), Madison Cawthorn (NC), David Valadao (CA), Markwayne Mullin (OK), and August Pflueger (TX-11). Sounds like a great idea, but will the unions get behind this?

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

A Threatening Vote

Andrew was one of 13 Republicans to vote in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. His reasoning is that it will bring ~$25 billion to New York highways, bridges, and transit systems. But sadly, his vote came with death threats – a Long Island resident, ironically a former railroad employee, was even arrested for threatening to kill Andrew. Andrew said, “It’s amazing people want to kill me over paving roads and clean water. The misinformation out there about this bill is so bad that I’m getting death threats.” How do you feel about this partisan divide?

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

Redistricting Woes

Redistricting is happening all over the country and in Louisiana Julia is potentially at risk of losing her seat as her district might change during the state’s redistricting process. The committee just held their fourth of 10 hearings around the state on political redistricting. Many leaders are advocating for an overhaul of Louisiana’s congressional map — one that would include two majority Black congressional districts. This begs the question: should there be a federal law for redistricting across all states?

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Drugs Are Pricey, Mmkayyy….

Sadly for many elderly people, the scariest part of going to the doctor is not what ailment she might diagnose, but rather, how much the prescription cure might cost! Fortunately, Colin continues to fight the good fight on helping to reduce the cost of prescription drugs via the Build Back Better bill. One of the contentious inclusions in this bill has been whether or not to allow the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices for Medicare patients. In 2019, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 88 percent of people WANT this. Now, Colin has joined 14 other representatives in swing districts to urge House leadership to include this in the bill. Like many things in Congress, stay tuned!

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Flush The Pipes

With the Infrastructure Bill finally signed into law, the focus now shifts to the physical tasks at hand, and that’s why Sharice has released a new report on the ‘state of water’ in her district. The goal of this report—the second of a series she’s done—is to assess the safety risks and identify priorities of various infrastructure needs in her district. The report calls out the fact that no comprehensive data exists in Kansas on lead water lines, and it’s estimated there are over 160,000 lines in need of replacement and repair. Furthermore, 3,975 miles of wastewater pipeline are in need of urgent repair. The good news is that Sharice was a critical yes vote on the bill, which will bring a much needed $454 million to the state over the next five years.

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

What’s Actually In It?

This is basically the thing everyone’s been asking about this infrastructure bill. Conor seems to recognize our collective confusion and put out a statement with perhaps the clearest breakdown of allocated funds yet. As a moderate Democrat now running for his state’s Senate seat, Conor has been a critical moderate voice in this infrastructure debate. Now that infrastructure is done, Conor has candidly acknowledged some impractical realities of the forthcoming Build Back Better bill. He says in order to enact all of its sweeping policy visions, a tax hike on the middle class would be necessary. This isn’t something he’s about to campaign on, so we should look for him to become an even more vocally moderate voice in the coming week’s debate.

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

A Debt Long Owed

The G.I. Bill, when signed into law in 1944, was theoretically supposed to reward all those who served and sacrificed with the opportunity to attend college. In practice, however, this excluded many Black veterans of World War II. Seventy-seven years later, Seth and Majority Whip Clyburn have introduced a bill that attempts to finally make good on that promise. The G.I. Bill Restoration Act, which has companion legislation in the Senate, would provide families of Black WWII Veterans with a transferable benefit that their descendants would be able use to attend college, secure housing, start businesses and build generational wealth. Seth has always been looking out for our veterans and this is yet another way to make good on a debt we as a country owe to them.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

Where’s The Threat Line?

Social media has become quite the bastion for all manner of political attacks and yet perhaps the biggest unanswered question revolves around responsibility? In the latest episode, Alexandria found herself on a plane to the Glasgow climate summit when Representative Paul Gosar tweeted an animated video that depicts him killing her as well as swinging swords at the President. She responded on twitter by shrugging off Gosar, who will “face no consequences” because GOP Leader McCarthy “cheers him on with excuses.” Yes, this was just an anime video, but yes, the video depicts the killing of an elected leader. So the question is, where is the line today? And what is the answer to the collective safety of our elected officials?

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Children Safety First

The existence of child exploitation in this country is one of those grotesque realities that society must confront. Thanks to Abigail, she is taking it head on with the reintroduction of her bipartisan bill, The Child RESCUE Act, which looks to strengthen federal efforts to rescue U.S. children from sexual exploitation and abuse. According to The New York Times, technology companies reported more than 45 million photos and videos online of children being sexually abused in 2018. Separately, the U.S. Sentencing Commission released a report which studied child sexual abuse image producers and found that these crimes had increased by 422 percent over the last 15 years. This bill would create a national commission to study proactive strategies and identify the resources needed to locate and rescue children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

The Stench Is Too Much!

Well you don’t hear this everyday… a Congresswoman was so overcome by a smell, she called the Governor about it! Rashida had been getting so many calls from her constituents about a nauseating stench emanating from a local Jeep auto parts plant, she decided to go check it out for herself. Upon arrival was knocked out by the smell so much that she could “taste it!” Now she’s motivated to act on it, alerting the Governor and state officials they need to fix this immediately. The State’s environmental department has issued multiple warnings to the Jeep factory that have gone ignored. But now that Rashida is on the case, something will likely be done. Maybe she’ll even put some of that infrastructure money towards it; the same money she voted against. Wink.

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Red Scare

Lob a snowball down any one of the soon-to-be-snowy D.C. streets and you’ll likely hit a Congressperson warning of the threats posed by China. However, Mike just may have a little more street cred on the matter. He released a statement today in response to reports that China’s Army (The PLA) have built US Ship models that they’re using for missile target practice. In a full-throated condemnation, Mike said “The PLA continues to openly demonstrate its intentions to sink the American fleet in the Western Pacific, and it is accelerating its development of those capabilities.” What Mike is arguing for is a sober assessment of the military threats posed by China, and while he may be drumming up voter attention to it, it’s likely already being addressed secretly by our military. Just a hunch.

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

Port Cash

While Jaime was a conspicuous “No” vote on the recent infrastructure bill, she was however quick to celebrate a recent infrastructure cash-grab she made for a port in her district. Through the RAISE grant offered by the Transportation Department, Jaime secured $16 million in funding in order to complete the Longview Port’s Industrial Rail Corridor Expansion—a fancy name for a cargo train line. The project will increase the port’s cargo capacity as well as give the economy a little boost. As a member of the appropriations committee, she clearly understands the value and necessity of hard infrastructure, and with the ongoing supply chain issues seen ‘round the country, this new project will surely ease the backlog in her neighborhood.

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

What’s In The Brain?

Sure, the Liberal’s favorite party line may be that Republicans don’t believe in science, but Adam is sure throwing some shade on that one! He has joined fellow under 45-ers Anthony Gonzalez and Peter Meijer in introducing a new Science bill—with a name so long we’ll spare you the linguistic details. Essentially, the bill looks to better understand the neurological impacts of Covid-19. Specifically, it would authorize the National Science Foundation, in consultation with the National Institute of Health, to award grants on a competitive basis for researchers focusing on neurological and psychiatric illnesses potentially caused by the virus. With case numbers only going up, this seems like a worthwhile thing to understand.

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

You No Fund, Congressman

Guy is likely a barrel ‘o laughs at the local tavern, but when it comes to stroking a check for your potholes, consider him out. That is to say that he recently voted “No” on the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure plan, along with an overwhelming majority of his Republican colleagues. He defended his vote by calling the bill “nothing more than an attempt by Speaker Pelosi to pave the way for Democrats’ socialist tax and spending spree.” He was careful to point out he does support infrastructure investment but said this bill was only advancing their “radical, socialist goals.” Guy may certainly be right, but he hasn’t exactly demonstrated how fixing bridges and expanding the internet to rural areas is going to hurt his constituents…’cause spoiler, the bill passed and that’s what’s coming to his district.

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Pause For Hire

According to the Labor Bureau, the price of food has increased by 4.6% just in the last year, and this is only exacerbated by the nationwide supply chain issues and labor shortages. Thankfully, Greg is trying to do something about it with his Keep Food Local and Affordable Act. The bill looks to implement a temporary stay on the H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for states struggling to find domestic workers. This provision effectively safeguards foreign workers and by pausing it, it would allow agriculture companies to hire workers at a lower cost than the standardized wage rate. The concept certainly will help rein in production costs, but it also looks to do so at the expense of the worker.

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Tearin’ Down The Tech Wall

Anyone who follows Tom knows that he has big tech squarely in his regulatory sights and for good reason. Now he’s introducing The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, a bipartisan bill that looks to stop anticompetitive mergers. These big acquisitions often crush competition and eliminate consumer choice often resulting in harm to working Americans. Specifically, the bill would beef up antitrust enforcement and put the burden on these tech companies to prove their desired acquisitions are lawful and are not anticompetitive. A bipartisan group of representatives have introduced companion legislation in the House too.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

Torres Backs Buttigieg

Mayor Pete sent social media buzzing this week when he called out the old infamous New York developer Robert Moses (Sorry Don) by saying racism was built into its roads and highways. And while Tucker Carlson quickly took the bait, Ritchie came flying to the rescue with a strong defense that indeed, the Cross Bronx Expressway is exhibit A. He argues the simple reality is that the Cross Bronx Expressway was built to literally divide a white and black neighborhood. Many in the neighborhood have been campaigning to “cap” it with parks and housing, and this even has the support of Senator Schumer. Only time will tell what the metropolitan commuters will have to say about that plan.

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

No But Yes

For a guy who voted “No” on the nation’s largest infrastructure bill, Jamaal sure is quick to taut an infrastructure funding grant he secured for his district. That isn’t meant to be a snarky swipe at the highly proactive Congressman; rather, it’s simply meant to ask the question, at what point does practicality trump ideology? Nevertheless, his district has more reasons than one to celebrate, but specifically they will be welcoming $12 million in funds for the LINC project. It effectively helps create an additional highway in the New Rochelle metro area, helping to alleviate traffic and increase transportation safety.

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Let Me Explain

While the 13 Republicans who voted “Yes” on the infrastructure bill are facing seriously disgusting and dangerous death threats from angry members of their own party, the 6 Democrats who voted “No” aren’t exactly getting off scot free. Cori, one of the six, held a telephone town hall with constituents to shed light, context and really explain her vote.
After pointing out that the bill included only half of what Democrats had originally agreed on, Cori said had she voted for it, she would have deleveraged their position to now pass the
Build Back Better bill. While this seems an awful lot like political gymnastics, Cori continues to prove she is a woman of her word.

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

Cal’s Big Water Grab

Only in California can you coin phrases like a “water grab” but that’s precisely what David is doing when it comes to the well-being of his state’s agricultural health. He’s been leading the charge on a little-covered, even less-discussed issue going on with water reclamation in the state. Effectively, the Biden administration has decided to reinitiate consultation in long-term water projects in the Central Valley, which David and the entire State Republican delegation are saying is politically motivated. They go further in arguing that this is motivated by the State Government and NGOs that “appear to only be interested in reducing the water supply for Californians who rely on these projects.” David wants answers but he’s not getting them. Odds are he’s going to keep fighting for them.

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

There Are Procedures, People!

By now, most have heard about the Anime-Seen-Round-The-Twitter, which is to say most have learned about a new Congressman from Arizona for the first time. Kat issued a statement condemning any depiction of violence towards members of Congress, but took issue with the censure vote. She called it politically motivated, noting that the Speaker circumvented the complaint process. You’re first supposed to take a complaint to the House Ethics Committee but instead, Democrats took it right to the floor for a vote. This is the crux of why she voted not to censure Congressman Gosar, and reminded folks that Congress has much more important issues to deal with right now, like inflation for one.

Byron Donalds (R; FL-19)

Don’t Tax My Maybe!

One of the more contentious yet little-discussed aspects of the tax code is capital gains—in other words, what you financially gain from various investments over time. Byron has introduced the Prohibiting Unrealized Capital Gains Taxation Act, which—you guessed it—looks to prohibit taxing unrealized capital gains. So what exactly is this? Well, unrealized gains are profits that exist only on paper, meaning you haven’t sold or cashed in on that asset yet. There is already a tax that exists for when you do, but now Democrats want to tax these unrealized gains as a way to pay for their proposed spending bills. Fellow under-45er William Timmons agrees with Byron and they’re sounding the alarm on what they see as massive government overreach.

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

45ers Working and Healing Together!

Teamwork is a beautiful thing and this week’s award goes to Ashley, who joined fellow under-45er Tom Cotton in introducing the HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act. We’ll spare you the acronym breakdown but suffice it to say it seeks to help parents heal when faced with losing an unborn child. Specifically, the bill looks to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to include the loss of an unborn child as a qualifying condition for FMLA leave. It would also allow for parents in those instances to receive a refundable tax credit. Ashley put it succinctly when saying this “will give families the time and resources to help them through this unimaginable loss.”

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

Not In My Arm!

The issue of whether or not to issue vaccine mandates has become hotter than a solar eclipse and doesn’t show any signs of cooling. Victoria just introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution which looks to nullify the Labor Department’s “Covid-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard.” The mandate stipulates that companies over 100 employees have to require their employees to either be vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. She calls the rule an infringement on private employers and employees. Obviously, everyone must make their own choice regarding vaccines, but we at Political Playlist wholeheartedly support the proven science behind the vaccine’s efficacy and would ask Victoria a simple question: Have you received the vaccine?

Tony Gonzalez (R; TX-23)

One Step Closer

When trying to get a bill passed, the number of necessary hurdles to clear can be dizzying, but one of the first big ones is the committee vote. Tony introduced a bipartisan bill that has now successfully cleared committee. The bill would designate the Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas as a National Historical Site. The school operated from 1905 to 1965 and served as a place of learning for children of Mexican descent. While these sorts of bills may seem small or minor on the surface, they in fact can mean a great deal to a given community, and serve as a way to preserve history that all too often erodes in our memories.

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

A Thoughtful No Thank You

Much has been made of the political gymnastics Republicans have been doing with regard to their “No” votes on the infrastructure bill, but Blake’s is perhaps the most thoughtful and candid of them all. He commends the bipartisan work done in the Senate to reach an agreement, one he acknowledges on the whole, will help many Utahns. He goes further to say that he was willing to vote for that bill as a stand-alone bill if Democrats agreed to shoot down the Build Back Better bill, which initially they tried to directly tie to infrastructure. That bill is where the rub is for Blake, saying the egregious bill will hurt Utah businesses and lower wages. He’s a great example of measured disagreement and thoughtful explanation as to why. **Insert clapping hands emoji here.

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

Unhappy Committee Campers

Roughly six months ago, President Biden met with Russia’s President Putin, and many Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are still frustrated with its outcome, or lack thereof. Chief among those critics is August, who led a letter to Secretary Blinken detailing several critiques of the Administration’s policy towards Russian. The letter is a lengthy one and worth a full read, but some of the general takeaways include the belief that the US should not have agreed to a clean extension of the New START—the denuclearization treaty—without any new sanctions or reductions. Furthermore, he goes on to take issue with our lack of commitment to protecting Ukraine’s territorial right, which seems to be in Russia’s sights. Noteworthy is that several under-45ers joined August in signing the letter.

Melanie Stansbury (D; NM-1)

Messaging, Messaging, Messaging!

One of the biggest complaints about Democrats during this infrastructure bill procedure is the failed messaging to voters about what’s actually IN this bill. Melanie is either ahead of the curve or a quick study, because she’s been incredibly vocal to her constituents about what they’re about to get. In short: $3.7 billion in funding for new improvement projects. In a video conference, she highlighted some key provisions for her district and state, including unprecedented investments in water and broadband infrastructure in rural and tribal communities. So to sum up her message to voters…uhh yeah, I think you’re gonna like infrastructure.