THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: IS She All That?
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
You may have heard the latest Marjorie Taylor Greene d-r-a-m-a, when she heckled a group of Democrats on the steps of the Capitol. Pete, as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, was caught in the fire and turned to MTG, calling her “performative”. In the dis of the century, she responded with “No, you’re performative.” This might be fairly petty news to report, but, frankly, it’s wild to think that this is what our political institutions have come to.
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
Everyone’s got family drama, but Brendan’s is a little dicier than usual as his brother, PA State Rep. Kevin Boyle was arrested on Friday. He was charged with harassment and violation of a protection from abuse order that his wife previously filed. Republicans in the state House are calling for him to resign and state Rep. Boyle is also undergoing evaluation for “mental health challenges”. While none of us are responsible for our siblings’ behavior, it remains to be seen if any of his brother’s scandals will follow Brendan to the Capitol.
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
It’s always fun to be secretive and Jared likes to make a habit of it. His feelings about Democrats’ large ‘human infrastructure’ are widely unknown. Though he’s committed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he’s not showing his cards about the more expensive package saying “there’s plenty of time. There’s no rush.” Though there might be “no rush” there’s certainly a lot of anticipation. Do moderates like Jared have a plan or is their fear of commitment born out of uncertainty of where they stand?
Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)
Some may have forgotten about the havoc that hurricane Sandy wreaked on the state of New Jersey, but Andy, his constituents, and the local governments certainly haven’t. Some of the starkest reminders have been the outstanding balances on loans offered to municipalities to rebuild communities. Luckily, those loans have finally been forgiven. While loan forgiveness is imperative to these towns and cities moving on, Andy was sure to remind us that the work isn’t done until “every single homeowner in my district has the financial relief they need.” Do you know anyone impacted by Sandy? Wild to think how some are still living with the lasting effects.
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
A Match for Amache
Joe and other members of the Colorado congressional delegation are welcoming a hearing about their bill which would establish Amache National Historic Site as part of the National Parks System. Amache was formerly a Japanese American incarceration facility in Colorado. The bill passed the House this summer and as it heads into hearings in the Senate, Joe’s urging its passing as a way to “honor and preserve the stories of many survivors who lived through this dark moment in our nation’s history and provide education and healing for future generations.” Joe loves his National Parks and looks like there’s another one joining the roster soon.
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
Re-Fund the Police
Last session of Congress, Chris introduced the EAGLE Act which would authorize $10 million in funding for small and mid-sized police departments to earn a renewed accreditation and update their standards in accountability and community trust. Though his bill has not passed yet, the DoJ announced the distribution of $3.8 million in funding for exactly that purpose. As he continues to push for his bill, Chris is hopeful that with even more funding, departments will be able to “continue to improve training, raise standards, and build best practices”. With these specific focuses on different police departments’ needs, do you think the conversation around policing in America will evolve?
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
Bring in the Feds
The past month has been a sobering reminder that people go missing all the time and, often, law enforcement doesn’t do enough to bring them home. Darren is stepping in and using his congressional muscle in one specific disappearance case in Florida surrounding college student Miya Marcano who went missing last week. He insisted that the FBI step in, saying that she could have been taken across state lines – leaving it under the FBI’s jurisdiction. Eventually the FBI did step in and is coordinating with local authorities, but it does raise the larger concern that our law enforcement agencies seem to be so disjointed from one another when they’re really needed.
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
The Digital Generation
In a recent interview, Eric commented on the findings from the Facebook whistleblower reports and echoed Lincoln’s old saying that the country can “only destroy itself from within”. Eric noted that just dealing with Facebook isn’t going to solve the problem alone, but rather called for a sort of digital convention that would rewrite and reexamine privacy and data security laws. Then, towards the end of the interview, he spoke directly to our mission here at Political Playlist saying, “In the 2018 midterms… we elected 29 new [Democratic] members of Congress in their 40s and under so we have a body now… who understand how these algorithms work”. Amen, Eric. Amen.
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
“In just six months since the American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden, we’ve cut our nation’s uninsured rate… and taken the most significant step towards health equality since the Affordable Care Act,” was how Lauren began a speech last week on the House floor. As one of the members of Congress most focused on healthcare, Lauren was quick to note how effective the premium tax credit expansion in the American Rescue Plan helped those without health insurance. Now, she wants to make the credit permanent and is urging her colleagues to join her in doing so. Do you think that numbers coming from the pandemic relief packages provide a good measure of what more investment in our institutions could mean?
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
The battle over vaccine mandates is nothing new in the age of Covid, but Jim is going the extra mile and introducing the Health Freedom for All Act which would prevent the Biden administration from enacting a vaccine mandate on Americans. It would clarify, under existing law, that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t have the authority to implement rules about vaccinations and testing. This, of course, comes in the wake of Biden announcing a mandatory vaccine requirement for businesses of more than 100 people (or, in lieu, weekly testing). So, do you think mandate is as bad a word as Jim does?
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
Okay, okay, not quite. But Matt did deliver some unexpected praise for his political opposite, Bernie Sanders recently. After Bernie insisted that a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill be put on hold until Democrats can agree on a reconciliation package to pass along with it, Matt tweeted, “there has always been a (small) part of Bernie I’ve admired.” It may not be high praise, but we’re certainly living in the upside-down when Gaetzy is feeling (a little bit of) the Bern.
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
Doubling Down for the Kids
Lance and his fellow PP leader Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) jumped on the whistleblowing news when they introduced a bill last week that would provide parents with the ability to hold social media companies accountable if their platform causes a child mental or bodily injury. The bill was in direct response to the reports that Facebook was knowingly allowing children to be harmed and hopes to correct that by imposing more liability on the companies themselves. Is arming parents with the ability to seek punitive damages from Big Tech on behalf of their child something you support? It’s certainly a wave to be ridden at the moment!
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
Make Us Pay
Though it seems we’re narrowly avoiding a government shutdown this time around, Dusty has introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure the only people paying for any future shutdowns are senior elected officials themselves. In the future, if the government can’t reach an agreement on the first day of fiscal year, the Get it Done Act would continue the previous year’s funding, hold senior government officials’ pay in escrow, prohibit travel funds for senior officials and make sure Congress doesn’t adjourn for more than 12 hours until a bill is passed – essentially trapping members in DC until the deed is done. We won’t say we predicted this, but if you check out the previous episode of Political Playlist Happy Hour, Anthony basically suggested the same thing (but with pizza).
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
Rest assured the abortion debate in America is alive and well as the House just passed legislation that would essentially codify the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling and allow unrestricted abortions until the fetus can survive outside the womb. Unsurprisingly, pro-life politicians like Markwayne are issuing strong backlash to the bill and Republicans are referring to it as the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act to make the point even clearer. Markwayne says that this bill “goes far beyond Roe and overrides existing pro-life laws at the state and federal levels that protect both babies and mothers.”
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
Have you noticed outrageous gas prices recently? How about delays in getting online orders? Or perhaps small hikes in how much your regular household items cost? Bryan questioned Treasure Sec. Yellen and Fed chair Powell about the increase in government spending and its effect on inflation. Although the Biden administration insists that inflation will slow as we inch our way towards normal life, recent economic reports don’t necessarily seem as optimistic. Bryan said that “regardless of what the White House press team seats, I think people are really seeing the impact of higher prices, day in, day out.” Let this be your friendly reminder that what happens in the government makes an impact!
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
New York State of Mandate
Lee is positioning himself on the opposite end of the vaccine debate from his soon-to-be gubernatorial opponent, NY Gov. Hochul. The governor is implementing a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers which, unsurprisingly, conservatives like Lee are adamantly against. This past week, Lee held a rally with a group of healthcare workers and other mandate opponents to criticize the governor’s decision and encourage people to make the choice for themselves. Do you think that his message is going to bolster his support amongst moderates in the state who he’ll surely have to win over in the pending governor’s race?
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
That’s what we like to call her and it definitely applies this week as Kyrsten is throwing the infrastructure debate for a loop. Most members of her own party are frustrated with her opposition to Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package which would be coupled with the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Progressive students at ASU harassed her in a bathroom (objectively not a good look) and Democratic groups are starting to look towards a potential primary challenge. And guess who’s on the short list? Fellow PP leader Ruben Gallego who leans much more progressive than Kyrsten. Will we see a good old Political Playlist match-up in the future??
Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)
Two Bills, One Congress
With all eyes on WTF is going to happen with these infrastructure bills, we rely on our representatives to keep us in the loop and Jake is doing just that. He recorded a video for his constituents (and whoever else follows him on Twitter) recapping the Democratic Caucus meeting with Biden. Jake insisted that both the bipartisan and Democratic reconciliation bill must be passed together as part of the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda. Do we think Jake can wrangle some of his more moderate young colleagues who are still on the fence about the price tag?
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)
Bigger Isn’t Better
The House passed this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which determines funding and resources for the Pentagon. Although it, per usual, passed with wide bipartisan support, a notable number of Republicans and Democrats voted against it, including Sara. Her reasoning? It’s too damn big. “After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, it’s unconscionable that so many of my colleagues have concluded that what we need is more — more money, more weapons, and more war. It’s time to recognize that there are simply not military solutions to every problem,” she said. Do you agree?
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
With the Facebook whistleblower at the forefront of tech news, Madison is making his stance on Zuckerberg and his empire clear. In a recent interview on Fox Business he said that the whole company should be broken up and regulated like a commodity. Do you think that breaking up Facebook is a reality we could shoot for or is the company simply too powerful to fall under the trap of government regulation?
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
Taking the Power Back
Ever since he was elected, Peter has been on the forefront of ensuring that Congress retains the powers it is constitutionally authorized. He has now introduced the National Security Reforms and Accountability Act which would reassert congressional authority over national security issues by recalibrating the balance of power between the executive and legislative branch. Congress, the bill ensures, will reclaim oversight of arms sales, emergency declarations, and the use of military force. It’s easy to forget the founding principles of our branches of government, but Peter will certainly be there to remind us!
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
Vaccine mandates – the controversial topic du jour – has not escaped Jake’s eye as he moved quickly to cosponsor a bill from fellow PP leader, Jim Banks (R-IN), which states that The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have the right to force Americans to get vaccines or undergo testing. This all comes in the wake of Biden’s announcement to require companies of more than 100 people to have their employees vaccinated. As we see more and more large urban areas moving to mandatory vaccines for a plethora of issues, do you think that Jake and his fellow conservatives can win this fight?
Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)
There’s no getting around the issue of cybersecurity these days and Nancy certainly isn’t trying to sweep the issue under the rug. She was one of the co-sponsors of a bipartisan bill that just passed the House which would allow senior tech industry workers to enter government jobs for a set period of time and also allow government workers to rotate amongst federal agencies. This, the bill (and Nancy) argue, would allow the fruits of any and all cyber expertise to make its way through our government. To that we say – let’s get a move on!
Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)
Nicole is enraged at the Squad – which isn’t new – but this time around it isn’t coming from any hyper-partisan belief. This time it’s surrounding the hold up of passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House. The $1.2 trillion package was approved by the Senate with (by today’s standards) overwhelming bipartisan support and stands awaiting a House vote. However, progressives are insistent that a larger ‘human infrastructure’ bill be put up for a vote along with it. Democrats are certainly getting themselves into a mess about this and Nicole is calling out the holdup. Will the Dems implode and get Nicole the stand-alone vote she wants?
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
Call Her Mommy
Jon is looking out for a very important Georgia constituency – black women – with his urging of Congress to pass his Social Determinants for Moms Act. The bill is meant to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce the maternal mortality rate across the country. Georgia’s maternal mortality rate ranks among the worst in the nation and black women are nearly 3x more likely to die during childbirth than white women. “It is unacceptable for any mother to suffer or die because she lacks proper care,” he said. Hopefully it’s just that simple, but knowing our good ol’ government, there are surely debates to be had about the substance of the bill. Stay tuned…
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)
Time for a Hike
Who doesn’t like outdoor activities? Nanette reintroduced the Outdoors for All Act, a bipartisan bill that would create a dedicated source of funding for projects that expand outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income communities across the U.S. The act will secure funding for urban parks in underserved communities. Various Democratic PP leaders have signed on to cosponsor the bill, such as Ruben Gallego (AZ), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Jon Ossoff (GA). As well, Nanette and VP Kamala Harris sat down with five Latina small business owners to celebrate and honor their positive impact on the economy and their communities.
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
Buy a Gun, Take a Gun
The Columbine school shooting still cuts deep for many Colorado residents. Jason led a group of Colorado Democrats to press the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that states comply with background checks for those purchasing firearms Out-Of-State. This issue came to light when a Florida woman purchased a gun in Colorado, despite the state prohibiting firearms to out of state people. This led Jason to introduce the Closing the Loophole on Interstate Firearms Sales Act which would essentially close the loophole that allows certain gun purchasers to get guns immediately from out of state. The letter pressed the DOJ to elaborate on the errors they have assessed and any recommendations. So, what’s the word DOJ?
Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)
No Furlough for You
Many of us are unaware of what might happen if the government shuts down. One of the first things is it puts many people out of a job. Antonio voted to temporarily extend U.S. surface transportation programs that would prevent thousands of federal highway and transit works from being furloughed. New York has 1,702 bridges, and over 7,292 miles of highway in poor condition and over a million people in New York alone that are not connected to broadband. Antonio used this time to push his colleagues to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Alright colleagues, get voting.
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
Run Ruben Run!
The Democratic Party infighting will only get worse. Many progressives are so fed up with Senator Sinema (AZ) that there is now a campaign to get Ruben to challenge her in the next primary. There are already $1 million in commitments to the “Run Ruben Run” campaign. Another major reason Ruben would be a good candidate is because Arizona is just irking for a Latino Senator. We will keep an eye on Ruben and see if he has any “major” announcements coming soon. Get running Ruben!
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
Put Out the Fires
Josh is pushing to lift a pay cap that is impacting more than 500 federal firefighters and first responders. Due to the increase in wildfires many of these firefighters and first responders could hit the pay cap by the end of the year which would limit or eliminate them to accept wildfire assignments. PP leader Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Josh are pushing for a two-year lift so firefighters and first responders can work if they are called upon. Josh took this opportunity to call out the infrastructure bill which has a lot of necessary funding to help with wildfire fighting efforts.
Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)
The Cyber Seal Team
Last year 11 federal agencies were hacked by a Russian group. Ro and PP leader Nancy Mace (R-SC) are happy to see the successful passage of the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program act, which establishes a rotation cybersecurity workforce program allowing certain federal employees to work in other positions at other federal agencies. Ro said, “As the largest employer in the country, the federal government’s cybersecurity program sets the pace for American competitiveness in this growing career field, making this investment a critical link toward building a more robust cybersecurity infrastructure across the country.”
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
This will help you sleep at night…the U.S. has no permanent geologic repository for disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Mike introduced the Nuclear Waste Task Force Act which would establish a new task force to consider the implications of amending the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to remove exemptions from environmental laws for nuclear waste. Eliminating this loophole can help with finding long-term solutions for nuclear waste. Well, let’s hope there are no leaks anywhere!
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
Stephanie was not happy with Speaker Pelosi when she decided to postpone the vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. As the leader of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, Stephanie feels that this delay could harm future negotiations and further complicate President Biden’s agenda. Already, Stephanie was vocal about not being ready to vote for the $3.5 trillion spending bill, but she sees no reason that the infrastructure bill should not go through immediately. As Stephanie said, “There is no—zero—linkage between these two bills in my mind. I will continue to assess each bill on its own merits and to cast my vote accordingly.” Do you agree with her?
Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)
600 Billionaires v. Affordable Housing
We have all been subjected to massive rental rates and sadly seen housing get less and less affordable. Will it ever get fixed? Ilhan hopes so through her bill, the Affordable Housing Opportunities Made Equitable (HOME) Act, which would include ~$150 billion in funds to build, rehabilitate, preserve and operate affordable rental housing for extremely low-income people. As well, the act would include other grants to help pay for down payments and other subsidies. Ilhan did take the opportunity to call out billionaires by saying “No one deserves to be thrown out of their home, especially in a country with over 600 billionaires, and some of the most extravagant wealth in the history of the world.” Do you agree?
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
Hatin’ on Haiti
President Biden is taking heat from all sides. Since April, Mondaire has been calling on politicians and special representatives in Haiti to focus and reform their U.S. policy toward the country. After the U.S. Special Envoy, Ambassador Daniel Foote, resigned, Mondaire called out President Biden for not doing enough and the need to halt all deportations to Haiti. He used this time to call out one of his constituents, Paul Pierrilus, who was deported back to Haiti in February, but has never even been to the country! We know this won’t be the last time we hear about Haiti, but what does this mean for future policy toward other similar countries?
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
We Need It!
When the government was on the brink of a shutdown, many politicians rushed to pass legislation that would extend any government employee employed in surface transportation to keep their job. What many citizens might forget is that when the government shuts down, it literally shuts down and many lose their jobs until it reopens. Nikema took this time to voice her support and the need to pass the Build Back Better Act and Infrastructure bill. She said, “I have not finished my work to Build Back Better because I know how desperately the people of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District need these comprehensive infrastructure investments.” Well, let’s see how the vote goes this week!
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
Endangered… Or Are They?
After more than 45 years of being listed as an endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally took the gray wolf off the endangered list. But then the Fish and Wildlife Service did a quick 180 and announced it is conducting a 12-month comprehensive status review to potentially put the gray wolf back on the list. Lauren and some of her Republican colleagues think this agenda is being pushed by “radical special interest groups and wasting Fish and Wildlife resources.” The major issue for Lauren and others here is if the gray wolf is relisted it reinstates the government’s “one-size fits all micromanagement of our farmers, ranchers, and state and local officials.” What are your thoughts on this list reversal?
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
Many U.S. based companies are trying to figure out if they can legally tell their employees to get vaccinated. Tracey introduced the Stop Vaccine Mandates Act that would prohibit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from mandating that private employers require their employees to be vaccinated. This legislation comes after President Biden’s recent executive order mandating all federal employees to get the vaccine. Tracey said, “The Biden Administration’s proposed rule not only tramples on the rights of free Americans, but it forces private businesses to impose this crooked mandate. My bill prohibits OSHA from implementing such a rule and protects the rights of the American people.” How do you feel about these mandates?
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
If you are looking for a pro-Israel representative, look no further! Andrew stands with Israel and more importantly not only voted to allocate $1 billion to Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system, but the House also passed his U.S. Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Act as an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act. The provision will establish a Department of Homeland Security grant program to support U.S.-Israel cooperation on cybersecurity research and development. Andrew said, “Cyber threats are now more prolific than at any time in our history, as is the indiscriminate targeting of the Federal government, private sector, state and locals, and private citizens. We must do more to defend against these threats by working closely together with our allies.” Defend them at all costs!
Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)
Operation MOVE IT!
Operation Blue Roof is a program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that protects property, reduces temporary housing costs, and allows residents to remain in their homes while recovering from a storm. Julia and her colleagues sent a letter to the Army Corps asking for them to speed up applications and completion of these properties. Due to Hurricane Ida, more than 62,000 Louisiana households have applied for assistance under the program, but only 3,743 installations have been completed to date. Unfortunately, due to COVID, it feels like many things are moving TOO SLOW.
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
How to Evacuate Afghanistan
New reports this week chronicle the harrowing story of how Elissa teamed up with Michigan State University to save the lives of 77 Afghan agricultural workers. MSU had been doing research and education in the war-torn country to teach local women how to produce wheat during the ongoing drought. The work was meant to empower and support local farmers to be able to support their families and communities, but the Taliban takeover interrupted their plans. Elissa jumped in to help, and chartered a plane to get the university-affiliates and their families out. After a heavy dose of chaos and confusion, the mission was a success! Now, the refugees are safe in Albania where they’re awaiting their U.S. immgiration paperwork. Thanks to Elissa’s leadership, 77 Afghans can start their life anew!
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
1000 Days of Haley
Haley celebrated her 1000th day in office this week! She honored the milestone by highlighting her proudest successes so far. On her list of accomplishments are a number of bills that she introduced such as the Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act which helps shut down scammers that prey on student debt holders. She also co-lead the passing of the National Science Foundation for the Future Act which invests unprecedented funding in the NSF. All in all, Haley’s 1000th day marks a busy term so far, with the promise of much more to come!
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
Kelly is firm in his opposition to the $3.5 billion budget reconciliation package and the infrastructure bill. “I have never viewed these bills as two separate issues. I view them as one single $5.5 trillion social engineering project,” he said in a statement to the press. He went on to reiterate that he has never supported the legislation. “Any information saying that I have ever supported either… is yet another example of why you’re always better off getting your news locally. The national outlets seem to get things wrong a lot,” he said. What’s your take on the infrastructure bills working their way through congress?
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
Dan joined a suite of other Republican lawmakers last week to introduce the Prevent Unconstitutional Vaccine Mandates for Interstate Commerce Act. The bill would prohibit seven federal agencies like the Department of Transportation from enforcing vaccine requirements for Americans engaging in interstate commerce and travel. “President Biden’s vaccine mandate is a cheap, unconstitutional overreach of governance and we will not stand by while it happens,” Dan said in a statement. What do you think, should the federal government enforce vaccine mandates?
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
China in the Crossfire
Anthony took aim at China this week with the introduction of four new pieces of legislation. The bills each call on various agencies and commissions to assess the risks China poses to U.S. interests in nuclear power, the space industry, and American financial institutions. The suite of legislation has already been successfully adopted as amendments to the National Defense Authorisation Act, which is expected to pass this year. Anthony also managed to include an amendment that would fund a military base in his district. Do you think Anthony’s fiery take on China is the right approach?
Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)
Indiana’s recycling average is around 19% which is below the national average of about 32%. But this isn’t just your household cardboard and plastic containers. Trey attended a meeting with representatives from the Indiana Recycling Coalition who described their challenges and goals when it comes to manufacturing supply chain and what they call the circular economy. We all know that too much in our country goes to waste so hopefully visits like these can propel Trey and other legislators to come up with new, innovative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle!
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
Tweet Your Heart Out
Brian took to twitter this week to voice opposition to the vaccine mandate that the Biden administration has implemented on border patrol agents. “Another backwards Biden policy: mandate vaccines for the American citizens but not the immigrants illegally flooding the southern border,” Brian tweeted along with an article about the policy. In an ongoing effort to combat the pandemic, Biden announced vaccine mandates to all federal and private-sector workers at companies with over 100 employees. Immigrants crossing the border are not included in the mandate. Do you think immigrants coming into the country should be vaccinated during processing?
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
A Trojan Horse in Congress
Elise released a statement this week in opposition to the infrastructure package currently making its way through Congress. “This Trojan Horse legislation would open the floodgates for $5.5 trillion in radical spending and the largest tax increase in our nation’s history,” she said. She added that the Democrats under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership have been unable to form a united front to pass the bills in the House. “Democrats are in disarray because they know the American people will hold them accountable for forcing their radical policies and devastating economy on our country,” Elise stated. What do you think will be the fate of the long-contested infrastructure package?
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
The $1 Trillion Coin, Debunked
William questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week about the fabled “trillion-dollar coin.” As a result of a unique loophole, the U.S. Treasury is thought by many to have the power to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin. Sounds exciting right? In theory, this would avert a government shutdown should a debt ceiling increase fail to pass. But don’t get too excited; Yellen said that “the only way to handle the debt ceiling is for Congress to raise it and show the world, financial markets and the public that we’re a country that will pay our bills.” Bummer, a trillion-dollar coin would have been a pretty cool addition to coin collections everywhere!
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
Beating the Afghanistan Drum
Josh continues to express deep frustration about the Afghanistan withdrawal. Most recently, he spoke up at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week where he said “the administration has proved they have no interest in actually getting us the facts. They have misled us at every turn.” He called on his colleagues to initiate an official investigation into what he calls a failed withdrawal. “It’s the President’s fault,” Josh continued, “but we need to figure out who in the world advised it.” Do you think an investigation into the Afghanistan withdrawal is a good idea?
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Gearing Up For A Fight
The aforementioned title could certainly apply to just about any day in our bitterly partisan nation’s capital at the moment, but today it specifically applies to House Democrats in Texas. In response to the recently passed abortion restrictions in The Lone Star state, Colin voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 which enshrines Roe v. Wade into federal law. As an original cosponsor of the measure, Colin reminded us that “Roe v. Wade has been settled law for nearly 50 years but earlier this month the Supreme Court neglected to protect Texas women forcing the House to act.” Additionally, 236 members of the House and Senate, including Colin, filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the law. This will be a hotly contested and closely viewed fall Court session with many landmark cases scheduled on the docket.
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
Meetin’ With The Boss
It’s got to be pretty cool as a Congresswoman to be asked to meet with the President, but perhaps even cooler for the folks of Kansas’ 3rd district to know that their Representative has a direct line into the Oval. Sharice put out a statement today following her bipartisan meeting with President Biden where they discussed the priorities of passing the infrastructure bill along with the budget reconciliation package. She spoke of her district’s priorities which include job creation through infrastructure projects, lowering prescription drug prices and addressing climate change. She pointed to her districts broad support for the bill, from both business leaders as well as labor unions, so please please PLEASE can we just come to an agreement on this?
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Anything But Part Of The Herd
Conor has carved out his own path as a moderate Democrat focused on the working people of his Pittsburgh district, and now that his run for Senate is kicking into full gear, many in his state are staking all their hopes on this former Marine. The headlines dominating his state’s newspapers all tend to be going with the headline of “the last best hope to hold the US Senate”. He’s the subject of two major profiles from markedly different ideological news outlet, Vanity Fair and The Bulwark, both of which however do share one common thread and that’s their repulsion to Trump and Trump-ism. Conor is quickly gaining a frontrunner slot in what is already a crowded field of candidates, and so the question remains, can he continue to deliver for his distract in order to strengthen his senatorial campaign argument?
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
Welcome To America
Seth had some reason to celebrate after the passage of his WELCOME Act of 2021, albeit somewhat bittersweet. President Biden signed into law what is effectively a $1.6 billion Afghan refugee resettlement program. Because so many had to be resettled so quickly, most would not be eligible for the traditional American benefits offered to those approved through the SIV program. Moulton has been a fierce advocate for supporting our Afghan allies and this will make sure that those who have been uprooted from across the globe with little more than a suitcase now have access to housing, employment resources and basic money to restart their lives. Seth summed it up pretty perfectly: “This is a big deal.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)
Rip And Repeat
The progressive democrats remain steadfast in their insistence on a large infrastructure deal, and tightly gripping that powerful megaphone is, of course, Alexandria. She has “held the wall” as the Night’s Watch might say, pointing out in a recent tweet that the moderate’s proposed $1 trillion dollar plan is merely the size of New York City’s budget, when you actualize the $1 trillion over 10 years. Her argument is simple: $100 Billion a year might be enough for the Big Apple, but it isn’t enough for our 50 states. Interestingly enough, as Republicans try to pain Uncle Joe’s infrastructure plan as that of AOC and Bernie, she’s quite pointedly addressed that too, saying that what he’s proposed is far less than what she wants. So, are you tired and ready for a compromise, or do you think the progressives should keep sticking to their guns?
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
Pills For A Rainy Day
Remember when DJT—that’s Donald J. Trump—was trying to stock up on HCQ—that’s hydroxychloroquine—during the height of COVID-19—that’s, well you get the idea? Abbreviations aside, the short of it is that stockpiling key pharmaceutical ingredients is exactly what Abigail has put forth in a new bipartisan piece of legislation. The PREPARES Act looks to capitalize on biopharmaceutical resources and manufacturing based in Abigail’s 7th district by building an emergency stockpile of API’s—active pharmaceutical ingredients. Many of our prescription ingredients come from overseas, but this bill would not only create jobs but also incentivize drug companies to buy domestic, all while strengthening our pharmaceutical supply chains. We’ll GOBWT—that’s get on board with that!
Rashida Tlaid (D; MI-13)
Funding The Electric Greed
DTE Energy is a Detroit based power company that provides electricity to millions of households in and around Rashida’s district. But Rashida is calling them out this week on account of some alarming statistics. During the pandemic, DTE Energy received an estimated $286 million in benefits from the CARES Act—technically taxpayer dollars—and yet, they disconnected power to over 20,000 households! She goes further in claiming that CEOs and shareholders were paid out $807 million. The larger article is worth a read, as is doing a deeper dive on this subject, but at the moment it seems like these electric companies chose power to their profits over power to their people. This is why Rashida is calling for public power.
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
Fastest Man In Congress…
That’s right, it’s Mike! Mike won the congressional 5K race for the fourth consecutive year in a row, since stealing the mantle from fellow under-45er Tom Cotton back in 2017. The annual ACLI Capital Challenge race is held in support of the Junior Achievement USA organization which works to enhance and support financial literacy in young people. Mike sounded like a true Packers found when asked about his victory: “being the fastest man in Congress is a bit like being the best player on the Bears, but it’s an honor nonetheless.” He also had some friendly ribbing for his fellow under-45ers who also competed: “Cotton now refuses to show up…I thought Conor Lamb would be competitive but he was slow… and supposedly Jarred Golden was there…but possibly walking.” Those sound like fightin’ words for next year!
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
A Statistic Still Too High
Each year, approximately 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States, tragically affecting 1 out of every 160 births. Despite all of the medical advancements and innovation, this statistic has remained largely unchanged. Jaime is looking to change that by introducing new legislation called the SHINE for Autumn Act, along with fellow under-45er Markwayne Mullin. The bill provides critical resources to state and federal health departments in order to better study and collect data on this issue. It would also establish the Perinatal Pathology Research Program at the NIH in order to increase this critical research.
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)
The Isle Of Moderates
Adam continues to find himself stuck between a Right-wing rock and a Liberal hard place. That is to say that in today’s politics, moderate views such as Adam’s are a rarity, but that isn’t preventing him from speaking out. This week’s target was the new Texas abortion law, which he called “extreme and politically charged.” He also called Speaker Pelosi’s countermove “an extreme reaction to an extremist law.” He made clear he is pro-life but supports exemptions in cases of rape, incest and when the health of the mother is in danger. But his larger point was that of warning of this escalating extremes in our politics today, saying “The American people, as a whole, do not want extremists dictating policies from either side of the aisle.” Sadly, he still doesn’t seem to have a whole lotta love from his party at the moment.
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
Ain’t Raisin’ This Roof
Guy voted against raising the debt limit ceiling, which unsurprisingly saw yay and nay votes along strict party lines. The measure would suspend the debt through the rest of this Congress, arming Biden and his fellow Dems with what Guy called out as “a blank check for new socialist spending.” In his statement, Guy further defended his “no” vote by saying “If they want to continue their irresponsible tax and spending spree, they must accept sole responsibility and raise the debt ceiling without Republican support.” While raising the debt ceiling pertains to payment of past bills incurred, it has now become politically weaponized as a means to pay for new spending policies as well. And while we at Political Playlist did try to use “Speaker Pelosi” as an excuse not to pay this month’s credit card bill, American Express reminded us that we, like the American people, are still on the hook.
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
Mine Your Own Business
Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban has inherited a number of things, including one of the world’s largest deposits of rare earth minerals. Greg has now introduced the Taliban Rare Earth Minerals Sanctions Act, which looks to impose sanctions on anyone engaging with the Taliban in transactions of these rare earth minerals. The Taliban’s newfound control of these minerals now likely makes them the richest and most well-funded terrorist organization in the world. The concern for many, including Greg, is that this opens the door to commerce with China, which he argues threatens our national security. Also, if you didn’t catch the Congressional Baseball game, Greg hit a walk-off homer from the first pitch of the first inning! Holy smokes, what are you still doing in Congress? Somebody get this stud a contract!
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
Tom has been one of the harshest critics of China regarding its responsibility for Covid 19, and now he’s taking that criticism further, in the form of a warning. He’s joined fellow under-45er Mike Gallagher in writing a letter to several top US Cabinet members such as Janet Yellin, Lloyd Austin and Gina Raimondo calling on them to designate the Beijing Genomics Institute and other Chinese Biotech companies as military companies. A study lists biology as one of the seven “new domains of warfare” and Tom is warning of the potential for China and its military to begin weaponizing biotech. This all might have seemed rather science-fiction-y two years ago, but in our post-covid world, the prospect of bio-warfare has taken on a new reality.
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
Cash For Your Troubles
It’s widely known that NYC was one of the hardest hit areas during the initial wave of Covid 19, and now Ritchie is helping to ease the financial blow to hospitals for their emergency efforts. The rising young progressive star joined the wise old Senate Majority Leader Schumer in announcing $620 million in FEMA reimbursements to NYC Health and Hospitals (H+H). This brings the total H+H reimbursements to $880 million, which 11 hospitals within the network have been waiting for since this time last year. These payments will specifically cover staffing, equipment and patient care that were vital to the folks in the area. Also, in case you missed it, the New York Times did a big piece on Ritchie that’s worth a read!
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
The aforementioned title is the nickname for one of the most notorious east-coast prisons in New York City called Riker’s Island, and as the moniker suggests, the conditions are quite deplorable. While it’s easy to write off poor prison conditions as “deserved” or “justified,” Jamaal is among the brave fighting for the rights of prisoners and their well-being while legally under the responsibility of the State. The prison is set to close in six years time, but Jamaal says the problems there cannot continue for that period of time. On average, hundreds of employees call in sick daily, and as Jamaal witnessed firsthand, there is a lack of space, food distribution and healthcare resources rendering the conditions there simply inhumane.
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
Truth In Authenticity
Much has been said in the debate surrounding the new Texas abortion legislation, but perhaps the words echoing the loudest come from Cori telling her own personal story. And what a story it is. The House Oversight Committee held a hearing on Abortion and for the first time, Cori spoke publicly about her decision to have the procedure done in 1994. It was after she was raped, at the age of 17. In her testimony, she noted how after learning she was pregnant, she “felt broken, but knew she had options.” The remarks were incredibly powerful and worth a watch as Cori shows us all the power of revealing your truest self.
David Valadao (R; CA-21)
Give Us Back Our Hose!
Water shortages and drought are one of the biggest environmental concerns and challenges in California, and for David’s agriculture-heavy district, it’s paramount. David joined Leader McCarthy and several other Republicans in blasting the Biden Administration for reclaiming “authority” on writing the water opinions in the state. Effectively, what this means is that previously written environmental and biological opinions on long-term water operations in the state, which were written during the Trump Administration can now be rewritten with federal involvement from the current administration, ultimately impacting policy. David is demanding this reclamation cease at once, returning the environmental authority to the opinions previously written. Boy, just when you thought water couldn’t get political…
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
It’s widely known that the pandemic has greatly affected supply chains world-wide, leaving no industry untouched. In the case of milk, a product with a finite shelf life, the revenue loses have only been magnified. Kat is now leading a letter from the Florida congressional delegation to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack detailing inequities facing many Florida dairy producers in their efforts to recover lost revenue under the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP). However, most milk producers in Florida fall under the Class I category based on the current Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) yet the rules and regulations of said classification are now preventing farmers from recuperating through PMVAP. Lost dairy revenue during the pandemic is estimated to be $35 billion and Kat is on a mission to make sure farmers and producers get enough of that back.
Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)
Don’t Spy On My Money
The IRS might be one of the low-key most powerful government institutions we’ve got despite the comedically bad reputation its dutiful employees receive. One thing they do is monitor American’s financial transactions and this is starting to cause beef with Ashley. She’s introduced a new bill that would block the IRS’s ability to monitor transactions of $600 or more. She argues that this “snooping around” generate excessive reporting that will strain local banks and credit unions. Democrats have proposed an IRS budget increase of nearly $80 billion, but Ashley says “we need more border agents, not more IRS agents.”
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
Crack v. Powder
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the landmark supreme court case between the two forms of cocaine, but rather the semantical difference between what determined someone’s criminal sentencing. For years, there existed an 18:1 sentencing disparity between the two forms of the same drug, meaning 5 grams of crack was punished the same as 90 grams of powder cocaine. This often resulted in more convictions and higher sentences for lower-income individuals who typically have greater access to crack than powdered cocaine. Victoria stepped in with a new bill called the EQUAL Act, which reduced the disparity to 1:1, and we’re pleased to say that it just passed the House. It seems the road to equal justice just got a little shorter.
Tony Gonzalez (R; TX-23)
Hi, We’re Still Here…
Nowadays, news cycles tend to come and go faster than Tiktok trends, but when it comes to issues like immigration, Tony is not turning a blind eye. He has been closely monitoring the see-sawing crises at the southern border and has now introduced a resolution urging Biden to reinstate several immigration policies from the previous administration. Specifically, he’s calling on Biden to reinstate the “Remain In Mexico” policy and Title 42, which allows the blockage of noncitizens carrying disease from entering the country. Additionally, he and a number of Republican colleagues who have joined this resolution are asking that the President increase the number of ICE and Border Patrol agents present. It’s unclear to what extent each of these recommendations will be effective, but one thing’s clear: There’s still a problem down south.
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
Whatever liberal snowflake said elephants don’t give two trunks about the environment must not have met Blake from Utah. He’s on a tear with some critical environmental protection bills, and his latest looks to help protect saline lake ecosystems—ahem, like the Great Salt Lake? Precisely, and he’s joined by a Democrat in California too, proposing the legislation that would protect natural habitats in mineral-rich saline basins. The reason they say this is critical is because the lakes are drying up, due to both increased natural droughts as well as water supply shortages. Listen, whatever it takes to prevent us from becoming that movie Mad Max is probably worth it.
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
You Need Us
August came out swinging on the House floor in support of Oil and Natural Gas production, which factors heavily in his district. The defense of producers and workers in his Permian Basin comes in response to what he calls dangerous anti-energy policies sandwiched into the Democrat’s reconciliation bill. He argues that in the bill are harmful regulations and tax increases that will result in more energy shortages and blackouts. “Cold, dark and hungry is where our families will be” is specifically how he summed it up, saying that this administration has put us on a path towards an energy crisis just like Europe is facing now. Welp, it doesn’t seem like August will be voting for the spending package.
Who Wants a Job?
Byron just got a little boost in being nominated to serve on the Republican American Economy Task Force. The task force is a coalition of Republican Congressional members committed to promoting and supporting legislation that prioritizes American workers. Other PP leaders he joins are Bryan Steil (WI), Andrew Garbarino (NY), Ashley Hinson (IA) and Nancy Mace (SC). Byron said, “The American Economy Task Force is committed to promoting legislation that spurs job creation, prioritizes the American Worker, and creates meaningful reforms that incentivize innovation in the marketplace to match a fast-paced and multi-faceted 21st Century economy.”
Melanie Stansbury (D; NM-1)
Vote For Me
Melanie held court in her committee hearing this week, cordially asking her colleagues to bring her bipartisan bill up for a vote. The Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act looks to create a non-profit foundation that would help facilitate nationally funded research by initiating public-private partnerships. The idea is to speed up the implementation of technological developments within the Energy Department and the private sector. It also looks to supplement DOE research with private sector funding. Effectively, this all looks to commercialize much of the energy innovation being done, which Melanie argues is not just a win for her district, but for the entire country.