THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: To Womb it May Concern
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Messing with Texas
Texas is the most diverse state in the nation. Latinos, in fact, will soon have a plurality in the state. This is why Colin took issue with the election legislation about to pass through the TX House of Representatives that he and other Democrats say is restricting minorities from voting. As a former lawyer, he is determined to figure out what can be proved in a court of law so that Congress can act on expanding voting rights and counteract the TX bill. “Our vision and our values are at risk in what’s happening in Texas right now,” he said. So, should Congress mess with Texas?
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
Sharice is a member of the House Small Business Committee and the Ho-Chunk Nation and thus has a bone to pick with the Small Business Association’s Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA). Currently, the office supports Native entrepreneurs and conducts outreach, but the current budget for the SBA doesn’t include funding for the ONAA. Sharice and fellow PP leader Joe Neguse (D-CO) have introduced a bill that would double funding for the ONAA to $5 million/year, create an official administrator position to set direction, and update the office’s ability to work with tribes. With small businesses already struggling, any and all owners can use the help!
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Stay For Country
As a former Marine, Conor, like many young veterans, grappled with the withdrawal of Afghanistan. He is a member of the For Country Caucus, the only bipartisan veteran caucus in Congress, and joined a letter at the end of August asking Biden to keep troops in Afghanistan until all Americans and Afghan partners were out. Though Biden didn’t heed to their request and kept his own timeline, the administration declared that the evacuation mission was a relative success. Do you think Conor and his other ‘For Country’ members agree?
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
Same Same, Not Different
Because many of the Afghans recently evacuated to the U.S. came on humanitarian parole or other expedited processes, they often are receiving temporary or limited refugee benefits. Seth teamed with the GOP Rep. Bacon from Nebraska to introduce the WELCOMED ACT which would provide Afghan refugees with the same benefits other refugees have received. The other losers of the lack of benefits are nonprofits, which are scrambling to find resources for the newly arrived immigrants. Do you join Seth and the bill’s cosponsors in welcoming these Afghans?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)
It seems that AOC may have coined a new phrase as she laid into Sen. Joe Manchin’s desire to pause and cut the $3.5 trillion spending package that most Democrats in the House and Senate have approved. The comments came after Manchin’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that called for a “strategic pause”. Though a bipartisan infrastructure bill has passed both chambers, AOC labeled it a “fossil fuel bill” and like most of her progressive colleagues does not support it without the spending package in tandem. “[I am] sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation,” she said.
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
Hello, Some Help Please
Running a small business is hard enough. Dealing with the bureaucracy of the Small Business Association is a wish we’d put on no one. However, Abigail has been receiving multiple complaints from constituents who applied for Covid-relief loans from the SBA and are unable to receive information about their applications. Additionally, many who have called have been put through the customer service reps at the SBA who have (unsurprisingly) been wholly unhelpful. An inefficient government agency with no answers? Noooo wayyyyy…
Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)
Bring Back the Body
It’s no secret by now that Rashida, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, is one of Israel’s harshest critics. She’s bringing that criticism to the forefront again around the body of a woman who was killed by Israeli forces and has yet to be returned to the woman’s family. What makes this particularly complicated is that the woman was apparently killed while attacking Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the West Bank. Despite that, Rashida is advocating on behalf of the woman’s mother and exposing an Israeli policy of keeping bodies of killed enemies as bartering tools. Few politicians are on the forefront of Palestinian rights like Rashida so stay tuned to see if this story has any domino effect.
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
No New Precedence
You may remember some news revolving around the confirmation of now-Sec. of Defense Gen. Lloyd Austin earlier this year. Since Austin had not been retired from the military for the specified amount of time, Congress needed to vote on a waiver to allow the nomination. Obviously, they did, but Mike voted against it. Now, Mike is sponsoring an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that just cleared the Armed Services Committee which would make it more difficult for a senior military officer to become the secretary of defense. In his view, with a waiver being used for Austin AND Trump’s first nominee Jim Mattis, “the trend is going in the wrong direction”. Do you think there should be more regulation around who gets to be head of our defense?
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
Border Crossing Guard
If you’ve ever driven across state lines around America you might have encountered toll systems in various states. No one likes to pay a toll, but for some workers in Jaime’s district it’s more than just a nuisance. She recently wrote a letter to the Oregon Dept. of Transportation Director about the state’s plan to implement a tolling program and ‘congestion pricing’ that would punish Southwest Washington residents like those who Jaime serves. Living near a state border can get complicated when it comes to work commutes, but luckily for those in Southwest Washington, Jaime has their backs.
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)
As an Air force veteran who served in Afghanistan, Adam joins the chorus of former service members who find themselves having mixed reactions to the end of America’s longest war. In an interview on CNN, Adam discussed the layers of feelings about it all, saying that he’s grateful we are out, but he has a suspicion that the “good front”, as he says, that the Taliban are putting on is going to wear off pretty quickly. The takeaway, we think, from his interview is that the withdrawal from this war is stirring up a lot for the men and women who served in it and for that, they deserve our attention and empathy.
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
Knock Knock, Who’s There?
Guy’s constituents, to be precise. A group of voters staged a protest outside Guy’s congressional office yesterday afternoon to implore him to support President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ proposal. Guy has been clear through a variety of tweets and interviews that he does not support the plan and called it a series of “radical proposals [that] will wreck our economy”. The constituents at his office kindly disagreed and, when interviewed, gave a whole host of reasons why that ranged from wanting Pennsylvania to get involved in green industries to revamping home caregiver infrastructure. Do you think public pressure can sway an ardent right-winger like Guy?
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
You Better Recognize
Republican Veterans were up in arms when it appeared that “House Democrats just refused to recognize Republican veterans on the House Floor to read the names of our fallen service members in Afghanistan,” as Greg tweeted. However, it’s important to note that at the time Pelosi wasn’t even presiding over the House and had, instead, appointed Rep. Dingell to act as Speaker pro tempore. What it appears happened, as seen on video, is that Rep. Dingell was reading for a script and perhaps didn’t see the Republican lawmakers’ effort to read the names at all. So, yes, Greg and his colleagues should be mad that they didn’t get to read and honor the fallen soldiers but, to say it was a complete neg by the Dems isn’t totally true. Happy fact checking!
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
The Devil is in the Details
It’s no shock that Republicans are doubling down on criticism of Biden’s withdrawal of Afghanistan in every way possible. Tom, for his part, is leading a group of 26 Republican senators who wrote to Biden requesting more information about who exactly remains in Afghanistan. Beyond that, they also raised concern about the vetting process of Afghans who are not American citizens, green card holders, or those with a special immigrant. The interesting thing to note about the signatories of the letter is that they represent the range of Republicans in Congress from Tom to those much more moderate like Susan Collins. Think good ol’ Joe will feel the pressure?
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
Don’t be Stupid, Stupid
As Democrats squabble amongst themselves about how and when to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger Democratic spending package, the substance of these pieces of legislation can get lost in the fray. Ritchie has recently been advocating for a $30 billion piece of the $3.5 trillion spending proposal that would deal specifically with pandemic preparedness – how current! With so much politicizing around the bill itself, it’s important to remember that really (like reallyyy) key components like this one lay within it. “Defunding pandemic preparedness is a little like defunding counter-terrorism after 9/11,” he said.
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
Make Em’ Pay
As Democrats in Congress work to pass their various infrastructure and spending proposals, Jamaal is making sure large polluters don’t get a freek break. He joined 42 Democrats in urging leadership to include an assessment of past greenhouse gas emissions by fossil fuel companies in the reconciliation spending bill. The assessment refers to a proposal led by Jamaal in the House that would require the largest climate polluters to pay at least $500 billion into the Polluters Pay Climate Fund based on their percentage of global emissions. Do you think climate proposals will make it into the package successfully?
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
You may recall the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline that raged a couple years ago and, eventually, Biden’s executive order that ultimately shut it down. Now, another pipeline project is drawing the eyes of progressive and environmental activists – the Enbridge Pipeline in Minnesota. Cori joined several of her Squad members in an appearance to call on Biden to revoke a permit for the project (which is near complete) before it begins carrying oil. “Climate change doesn’t stop at any border of a state, or reservation or city. It impacts all of us.” The backlash, unsurprisingly, is coming from not just Republicans but local labor unions who are fighting for the jobs the pipeline will bring. Do you think Cori and her ladies have a chance on this one?
David Valadao (R; CA-21)
It’s Old…FIX IT!
California has an aging water system that was made for a state with a population of about 20 million people. Needless to say, the state has exceeded its own expectations in that department. Many in David’s district are sounding the alarm for the state and federal government to act and update the system or the drought that’s ravaging the area will continue. One area to improve is water storage through projects like one in David’s district that expands a dam system. If you’re from California, take a drive around the state and you can surely see the damage for yourself.
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
Weekend at Bernie’s
Last week, Kat joined the calls for Biden to resign over his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal. While this isn’t wholly surprising given Kat’s conspicuous distaste for the president, the comparison she used to highlight his shortcomings was, let’s just say, entertaining. She compared Joe to the film ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ which, if you haven’t seen it (you should) is essentially saying that Biden is asleep at the wheel and his puppet strings are being pulled by some other masters. Kat knows that they don’t have the votes in Congress to try and remove him, but she’s making her own position loud and clear.
Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)
Byron met with a local community advisory board to answer a range of questions about where he stands on certain issues. He addressed a question from a small business owner about cybersecurity and discussed the bipartisan bill he introduced to try and reduce the number of businesses that experience cyber attacks. He also talked about his rhetoric around Covid. “It’s not just COVID mandates [that I’m against]. You’re talking to someone who has libertarian leanings – I’m not a fan of mandates period,” Byron said. And he gave an interesting response about his views on a government social safety net, praising President Johnson’s Great Society program which, Byron says, is the baseline as far as welfare goes. Do you think Byron has the right issues at heart?
Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)
The Spending Spigot
Ashley held a town hall this week in her district and while she answered several questions ranging from concerns about Covid to managing prescription drug costs, her real focus was spending $$$. She used an example of the so-called reckless spending, saying that $700 million in Covid relief money went to prisoners such as Dylan Roof (who killed churchgoers in SC) and Larry Nassar (who abused young gymnasts). Though deplorable men like that didn’t actually get the money – it was set aside to improve prison conditions and funding – Ashley sure knows how to get her point across!
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
More Than a Band-Aid
You might remember when Leader McCarthy formed various Republican task force’s to create conservative solutions to some of the nation’s biggest problems. Now, those groups are going into effect and Victoria just attended her first hearing as a member of the healthcare task force. Afterwards, she noted that regulation and large subsidies in our healthcare system have been creating a monopoly. The answers, she says, can only be more value competition or a full government takeover of healthcare. But, before you look at that latter option and think she’s starting to sound like a progressive, she qualified that a “full government takeover” would be “fatal to quality and innovation.”
Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)
Did you know that it is common practice for special interest groups to fund trips for members of Congress? This August, more than $135,700 was spent on trips with biofuel, telehealth, and other industries footing the bill. Tony was a part of the most expensive trip (which cost almost $50k) with two other GOP Reps to Ukraine to meet with business and cultural leaders. While most of these trips are addressing important issues and educating members of Congress, can we be sure that they’ll have no unwelcome sway over lawmakers’ future votes?
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
As the debate around abortion is sure to only grow more heated, Blake is joining a group of colleagues (of which he is the only man) to introduce the Care for Her Act, which would establish a community support system for pregnant women and their children. It would increase the child tax credit to include unborn children, create a verified list of all available resources and programs for expectant mothers, and provide grants for maternal housing, professional, and educational services. While avoiding the abortion debate, Blake is quietly making sure that if a woman in need does have a child, she’s cared for.
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
Some Gave All
As a military veteran, the aftermath of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the approaching 20th anniversary of 9/11 is drawing up memories for August. He is posting a series on his social media to honor friends of his who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. One pilot training classmate died rescuing Afghan children. Another sacrificed his life doing test flights to ensure future pilots would be safe. It’s worth a look to see the faces and stories of people who’ve given it all to keep us safe.
Melanie Stansbury (D, NM,1)
Home for Now
New Mexico is home to Holloman Air Force Base which is currently processing 2,000 Afghans refugees but intends to process 5,000 total Afghan refugees and visa holders. Melanie toured the base with her GOP colleague to see the process first hand. Officials at the base said that the applicants are at all different stages of the visa process and are living in accommodations comparable to those that the U.S. military would live in. Undoubtedly this process is going to be complicated and the NM Republican that joined Melanie raised concerns about the vetting process, but for Melanie’s part, she’s just glad to see these vulnerable Afghans resettling.
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
Sternly Worded Letters
Like all good sternly worded letters professing perceived outrage, a good congressional resolution ought to do the same. That’s precisely the approach Dan took this week, but for very good reason. He and fellow congressional republicans introduced a resolution expressing Congress’ disapproval over the United State’s recognition of the Taliban. Furthermore, the resolution conveys outrage over the diplomatic approach the Biden Administration is taking with a terrorist group. Dan remarked that “a terrorist organization responsible for killing countless Afghan civilians” can’t possibly be considered a legitimate government. The resolution also calls for maintaining the Afghan government in exile, as well as it’s diplomatic mission in Washington. Do you think Dan is predicting a scenario that calls the US back into war with the Taliban?
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
It’s no secret that Israel is one of our closest allies internationally, to say nothing of the fact that we are certainly joined at the hip when it comes to middle east policy. Given these realities, Anthony introduced legislation that would further cement our partnership when it comes to Artificial Intelligence by creating a hub for robust research and development. The U.S.-Israel AI Research and Development Center, which would be established under the Secretary of State and Commerce Secretary, would foster bilateral cooperation and advancement in this critical field. With AI becoming the fastest developing technology worldwide, it’s almost certain adversaries will look to weaponize this eventually, so it seems like a no-brainer that we ought to team up with our allies to get out in front of it.
Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-9)
Never Leave A Hoosier Behind
The folks of Trey’s district know that he’s someone to always lookout for his fellow Hoosiers, and most recently that meant visiting an impressive elementary school on an even more impressive mission. The project was called Cupid’s Care Package and it started last year. The students and teachers held an extended supply drive for Charlie Company 2-238, an infantry unit within the Indiana National Guard. The school’s Student Council spearheaded the donation efforts, which included everything from DVDs and books, to food and toiletries. This was Trey’s first visit to Paragon Elementary since the start of Covid, and he praised the students and teachers for their continued efforts under the health circumstances and emphasized his role as a Congressional messenger saying “I just make sure your voices are heard in your government so as you get even older, the future gets even better.” Mind if we throw that on a Political Playlist T-Shirt… ‘cause we love it!
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
While you could be confused in thinking the title of this represents a group of ornery Miami Dolphins fans looking to make a coaching change, it actually in fact reflects Brian’s calls to President Biden to do just that…resign. After the “cluster-fook” that was the Afghanistan exit, Brian along with fellow under-45ers Kat Cammack, Byron Donalds and Greg Stuebe, have all issued demands calling on the Commander-In-Chief to see himself out. He says that because Biden and Company haven’t owned up to their mistakes so far, Congress must now hold them accountable. Perhaps the bigger political question this raises revolves around the notion of frequency of presidential resignation, and if we legitimately call for that at every blunder, is that ultimately healthy for our democracy?
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
Local Assist From Uncle Sam
Indeed, meaningful civic change is most often affected from the local level, but there is one thing the feds have the upper hand on and that’s money, particularly WHO gets the Guap. Elise joined a bipartisan group of leaders to introduce legislation to update the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program. The CSBG program supports more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) that in turn support a wide range of community-based activities that all share the same goal: fight poverty. The bill specifically extends program funding for another 10 years, and targets a number of corollary problems to poverty like fighting opioid addictions, combating educational disparity, and fighting hunger. Oh, and the number three Republican in Congress just welcomed a new baby son, so three cheers on all accounts!
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
In the wake of the tragic loss of 13 US Service-members in Kabul just days before our official exit from Afghanistan, Will issued a blistering statement on what he sees as Biden’s clear failures. Will pointed out that “almost everything that President Biden said would not happen has happened.” He argues that this entire catastrophe was available had the President had a clear plan to get our people out, which clearly Will argues he did not. Will also went one step further in a recent campaign event in saying that he would support impeachment of Biden over his policies related to the Afghan withdrawal.
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
Love him or hate him, Josh certainly has a verbose vocabulary, on full display when speaking about the United State’s exit from Afghanistan. Following the suicide bomber that killed 13 U.S. Service Members, Josh wrote “we must reject the falsehoods peddled by a feckless president that this was the only option for withdrawal.” Unsurprisingly, Josh is among a growing number of Republicans calling for Biden to resign over what he calls a “catastrophic failure of leadership.” Back in April, Hawley vocalized support for removing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, like many others did, but it now seems the ire among the GOP is not what Biden did, but rather, how he did it.
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
That Goes For You Too, Private
Mondaire has long been fighting justice inequality and championing justice reform, and now he’s taking that fight to the military. This week, he introduced the Military Justice Transparency Act, which would require the Department of Defense to collect and report demographic data on individuals sentenced under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Currently, the military is not required to collect or report any such data. This makes it near impossible to identify or address racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the military justice system. History has certainly shown that the military, while valiant in many areas, has not always led the way on many social issues, such as justice reform, so it stands to reason this might be a worthy area to explore.
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
It’s Impolite To Ask An Organization Its Birthday
Usually, we shy away from old age, but Nikema thought it was cause for celebrating the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) turning…75! The organization was founded 75 years ago in Atlanta, originally to prevent the spread of malaria. Fellow under-45er Jon Ossoff introduced a companion bill in the Senate, and are both leading the charge for recognizing the CDC’s importance, particularly during the ongoing Covid pandemic. But this isn’t the first time Nikema has shown the CDC some love. Along with fellow under-45er Mike Levin, she successfully managed to increase CDC funding to over $10 Billion through the passage of the 2021 fiscal spending bill. The department has pioneered the way we understand disease, making Nikema’s district a world leader in scientific research and discovery.
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
Battle of the Buffs
The rules of congressional redistricting are about as little understood as the tax code, but one thing’s for sure…someone always gets screwed. The latest from Colorado’s nonpartisan redistricting commission proposal would create a new swing seat in the northern Denver suburbs. That means that Lauren would land herself in a boulder-based, solidly Democratic fight against none other than fellow under-45er Joe Neguse. Redistricting typically happens once every decade, and is drawn from its required Census data. The general plan was approved by voters in 2018 but this is the first time a new map has been drawn. It’s safe to say there is very, VERY little policy overlap between Lauren and Joe, but that makes us kinda maybe want to see this race? We’d just hate for one of them to lose.
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
Tracey is one of the many folks in Washington, Democrat and Republican alike, who are continuing to assail the President for his handling of the US Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now that there are no longer American Soldier boots on the ground, there still remain a small number of Americans who reportedly cannot get out. Asked by a local reporter, Mann said there are “reports of Americans trying to get to the airports, people with American passports that are being harassed by the Taliban and are being turned away and I am very, very concerned about what we are seeing right now.” While Man said he saw a silver lining in the job our brave men and women did in the evacuation but bluntly said the chaos that ensued was proof positive that the deadline set for withdrawal was completely unrealistic.
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
A Measured Tone?
It may seem like a foreign concept in today’s climate of outrage politics that a Congressperson would be measured in their criticism of a member of the opposite party, particularly regarding the chaos in Afghanistan. Enter Andrew. He’s a moderate Republican from Long Island, and unlike the chorus of Republican critics, Andrew cut a more diplomatic critique. He didn’t mince words about how Biden completely bungled the evacuation of troops and allies from the region, but slammed the breaks on impeachment talk—something others have began chanting. He remarked that it’s completely unproductive “to be fighting political battles at home until everyone’s out of Afghanistan safely.” Andrew seems to be playing the political long game here and only time will tell if it’s effective for him.
Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)
Raise the Roof
Julia saw her district get ravaged by the recent Hurricane Ida, and despite the steadfast response by FEMA for most, some sadly are still lacking, specifically ROOFS. One of the first things to go in a hurricane unsurprisingly are roofs, but thankfully there’s a federal program called Blue Roofs, which installs fiber-reinforced sheeting on eligible homes until permanent roofs can be rebuilt. Except, 10 declared disaster areas are being deemed ineligible, including a parish in her district. Roofs made of metal, clay slate or asbestos tile are reasons to not qualify for the program, and Julia has joined her colleagues in writing to FEMA pleading that they amend the qualification criteria so that more of the already 35,000 homes that have applied can get a new (albeit temporary) roof over their head. It seems the least the federal government can do.
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
Runway the Fun Way
Get flying, San Bernardino! An airport in Pete’s district will see $1 million in runway renovations if the House budget plan passes in the Senate. In addition to this huge runway investment, Pete also managed to secure funding for six (!) other infrastructure projects in his district, which he says will spur jobs and give families in San Bernardino a better chance to succeed. Good looking out for your constituents, Pete!
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
A Flood of Federal Support
Help us out, Pennsylvania governor! After severe flooding in the greater Philadelphia area, Brendan joined his congressional colleagues in asking the governor to apply for Federal disaster relief aid. “Our offices have already been contacted by a significant number of residents who are reporting extensive damage to their homes and property,” Brendan said in the joint letter. Sadly, he expects the number of reports to go up in the coming days, not to mention the untold damage that severe weather will continue to cause as a result of climate change. Given the increasingly dangerous weather phenomena across the U.S., it’s time we start thinking about how to respond to these catastrophes in a more streamlined manner. In the meantime, let’s hope the people of Philadelphia get the relief aid they need so they can return to normal life.
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
The Maine Problem with Shipbuilding
You may not be surprised to hear that the shipbuilding industry in Maine has been sinking during the ongoing pandemic. Luckily, Jared has an answer. He managed to get an amendment included in this year’s Defense Authorization Bill that would give the Navy the power to initiate a new multi-year contract with Maine’s shipbuilding industry. Jared says his authorization would “protect Americans at home and abroad, and provide our service members with the tools they need to do their jobs.” If passed, the bill would also include funding for research and development as well as jobs training. Although, with the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan, it’s unclear whether the military will need quite as many vessels as it once did.
Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)
Get Them Out!
Andy’s not happy with President Biden. He rebuked the president’s adherence to the August 31 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. At least 100 American citizens — some of whom are residents of Andy’s home state of New Jersey — remain in the now-Taliban-controlled country. Among those stranded: a 4-year old girl and her family. The tragedy of Americans stranded abroad did not keep the Biden administration from maintaining their deadline, but Andy thinks that was a mistake. If we couldn’t ensure a complete evacuation of Americans before August 31, we should have “stay[ed] longer in order to be able to get them out,” he said. Reports yesterday came out that the Taliban are beginning to put Americans on commercial flights out of the country – will that be enough?
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
Fighting Fires from Capitol Hill
It’s no longer true that “only YOU can prevent forest fires.” Now, it’s on Congress to step in. This week, Joe released a Wildfire Resource Guide with information about how to safely evacuate, find local resources, and replace federal documentation that might have been destroyed in a fire. Since launching the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus earlier this year, Joe has also led the push for the Wildfire Recovery Act and the Climate Resilient Communities Act. He’s really on a wildfire kick! “99% of the American West is experiencing drought conditions,” he said, which contributes to more frequent and severe wildfires. 99%! Can you believe it? Joe’s commitment to protect life and property in the wildfire-ravaged Western U.S. is a helpful reminder that we can’t fight the effects of climate change alone — we need leaders like Joe advocating for policies that Smokey the Bear would be proud of.
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
Queer Veterans Finally Made Whole
Even though Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ended nearly a decade ago, veterans who served as far back as World War II are still suffering from the discriminatory anti-gay policies of the U.S. military. If a vet was discharged as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the new SERVE Act would grant them access to full VA benefits, which they have thus far been denied. “It’s a long past time that these veterans are afforded the benefits they’ve rightfully earned defending our country,” Chris said of the law he cosponsored. As the military continues to grapple with various forms of discriminations, including the Trump administration’s ban on transgender servicemembers, it’s about time our LGBTQ+ veterans are given the support they deserve.
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
Tales from the Cryptocurrencies
If you’ve been following the cryptocurrency markets, you know just how difficult they are to monitor. That’s why Darren introduced two bills this week that would help prevent virtual currency price manipulation and position the United States to be a leader in the global cryptocurrency industry. The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act and the U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act (I know, I know — what a mouthful!) are both bipartisan bills that Darren hopes will “promot[e] an environment of innovation to maximize the potential of these technological advances.” So if you’ve been wondering whether to invest in Dogecoin, now might just be the time.
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
The Law of Magnets
Why has the U.S. repelled production of rare earth magnets? Even though these important raw materials can be harvested in the U.S., all rare earth magnets are sent to China for separation and processing, leaving American industry vulnerable to a limited supply chain. Eric’s new bill would combat this by establishing tax incentives to encourage American companies to create their own processing facilities. Most electric cars, wind turbines, and other green technologies rely on rare earth magnets for production, meaning domestic processing of these important resources is imperative to our clean energy future. Plus, more processing facilities means more jobs, something we can all get on board with!
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
Healthcare to the People!
Lauren has a mission: to make the advance premium tax credits from the American Rescue Plan permanent. The tax credit allows low-income Americans real-time subsidies through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they can get affordable high-quality coverage. She’s leading a group of over 30 members of the House on a mission to ensure that the millions of Americans relying on this tax credit can continue to afford their insurance. If the credit isn’t extended, “the gains we have made in closing coverage gaps in communities of color will be wiped out,” Lauren warns. Of the people currently earning the tax credit, more than a third pay $10 or less for coverage, indicating the enormous need this program is addressing. As the pandemic continues to rage across the nation, Lauren seems to think healthcare is the one thing we shouldn’t compromise on.
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
What We Lost to the Taliban
If you’re disgruntled about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, you’re not alone. Jim put his displeasure into action and passed two amendments to this year’s annual defense bill. His additions would direct the DoD to study the Taliban’s relationship with other terrorist organizations, and command the department to do a full inventory of what the U.S. military left behind when they evacuated. His goal is to hold President Biden accountable for these losses. “Because of Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal, the Taliban controls Afghanistan and billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment,” said Jim, who estimates $1 trillion (!) worth of military equipment, rare earth metals, and other resources has been abandoned in Afghanistan. What do you think should be done in the wake of this tumultuous withdrawal?
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
What Goes Around Comes Back to Extort You
How do you make money off of a sex trafficking investigation? By extorting the suspect’s father, according to one Florida man. In the wake of the ongoing investigation into allegations that Matt sex trafficked a minor, a Florida man decided to use this weakness to extort $25 million from the congressman’s father in exchange for a “presidential pardon.” Not surprisingly, the man was unsuccessful and has been arraigned by law enforcement. But Matt isn’t off the hook — suspicions that he had sex with an underage girl are still fueling an ongoing federal investigation. Yikes!
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
The Homeless Inquisition
When it comes to HUD’s Continuum of Care Program, Lance needs some questions answered. Specifically, he wants to know how many local program boards include representation from “faith-based organizations,” elected officials, and law enforcement. He’s concerned that the CoC program lacks accountability, and sees representation from these groups as a possible solution. In a letter this week to HUD, he asked about a number of elements of the CoC program, all in the name of truthfinding. Do you think faith-based organizations and law enforcement would improve the distribution of resources to unhoused people?
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
Cyber with Your Doctor
Dusty’s bill to extend telehealth funding was implemented by the FCC recently, making doctors the preferred cyber buddies of rural South Dakotans. The original $200 million included in the 2020 CARES Act was quickly exhausted, so Dusty set to work advocating for an extension. Today, his constituents in South Dakota are thankful as they receive a second round of funding to support telehealth services in their state. Have you tried virtual doctor’s visits yet?
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
A Maverick Evacuation
Markwayne has been busy this week carrying out an unsanctioned mission to get American citizens out of Afghanistan. Seriously! He got flooded with calls asking for help, and said he couldn’t turn away. “What else do you do when you see a problem?” he said in a Fox News interview with Bret Baier this week. So, he sponsored a flight into Afghanistan to get the stranded Americans out, despite refusal from the State Department to aid him. He also said that the claim by the Biden administration that anyone who wants to get out can get out is a “bold face lie.” What do you think, is leading an unsanctioned mission into Taliban territory a good idea?
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
Refugee Welcome Party
Bryan and four other Wisconsin representatives visited Fort McCoy this week to check on the refugee facilities for displaced Afghans. It seems everything is in working order — the Army has even made sure the food is culturally appropriate. How considerate! Currently 2,000 refugees who have already been screened by the State Department are residing there. “There’s obviously a large number of families,” Bryan said of his visit. Fort McCoy is meant to be a place where incoming refugees can prepare for American life. Officials at the camp are screening to see which refugees are eligible for work visas and distributing what’s called “parolee status” — a designation that allows them to live in the U.S. for up to two years while they await processing. With all the darkness surrounding the withdrawal, it’s nice to know that Afghan refugees are getting a warm welcome in Wisconsin!
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
Good news for Long Island: Lee’s long-awaited coastal revitalization campaign made major gains this week! The first contract was awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers, marking a major step toward the project’s fruition. The multi-billion-dollar revitalization effort would ultimately affect 83 miles of Long Island coastline, and includes a variety of coastal and wetland restoration. All the sea otters of Long Island can look forward to a major home renovation!
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
Ports on the Mind
Krysten traveled to the San Luis Port of Entry this week to talk about her bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that recently passed in the senate would improve border security, among other goals. While at the port, she also received a briefing from Customs and Border Protection about the current challenges they face in “keeping Arizona safe and secure.” Passing with a two-thirds majority in the Senate, Krysten isn’t the only senator looking to invest in America’s ports of entry.
Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)
Vaccines Aren’t Just for Americans
In an effort to get more people vaccinated around the world, Jake and a handful of colleagues launched the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus. Their mission: to get vaccines to low- and middle- income countries. Currently, only 24% of the global population is vaccinated (yikes!) meaning the pandemic won’t be ending anytime soon. In order to ease the suffering of the global poor and prevent more dangerous variants from proliferating, something needs to be done. Jake’s caucus will aid in the manufacturing, production, and distribution of vaccines for countries who need the support. After all, if there’s one thing we learned during Covid, it’s that we need global collaboration to survive.
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)
Ice Cold Eggs
Sara opened up this week about her decision to freeze her eggs in the hopes of destigmatizing the fertility treatments that many women use. For too long, fertility has been ignored by congress because the women whom they most closely affect were underrepresented. Now, Sara wants to change that. “I’m proud to cosponsor legislation to expand access to fertility care,” she said about the bill she’s co-sponsoring. Sara says she loves serving in congress and knows she wants a family one day. With her impressive accomplishments, we know she’ll be a great role model for her future kids!
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
Unfit to Serve
Madison sent letters to the Biden cabinet this week demanding they invoke the 25th amendment, which would allow them to remove Biden from office. Madison blames the president’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan on “a pattern… of mental decline.” This isn’t the first time the 25th amendment has been recommended — during the Trump administration, it was frequently whispered about. But considering Biden’s relative health and stability, it’s unlikely his cabinet will take action.
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
Making Room for Refugees
Peter’s months-long campaign to welcome as many Afghan refugees as possible has taken another step this week. He introduced the SAVE Afghan Partners Act, which would allow an additional 10,000 refugees. This is his third piece of legislation to this end, already passing two previous bills that allowed for an additional 8,000 and waived a cost-prohibitive medical examination. “Our credibility and moral standing in the world depend on the completion of this mission,” Peter said of his ongoing fight. Those 18,000 Afghan refugees can tip their hats to Peter!
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
Hankering for a Headcount
Jake introduced an amendment this week that would fund a headcount of the American citizens present in Afghanistan when Biden announced they would withdraw back in April. The amendment would redirect $25 million of funding from environmental oversight and was quickly dismissed. “Every single Democrat on the committee shot it down,” Jake said, lamenting the lack of bipartisan support on an investigation that would divert funds away from “progressive environmental justice programs.” Which would you choose to fund, the headcount of Americans left in Afghanistan or the environmental justice programs?
Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)
A Windfall for the Taliban
Nancy is licking her wounds this week after her amendment failed in committee. She wanted to start a full investigation into the amount of military equipment left behind in Afghanistan. “You name it, they have it,” she said, exasperated by the Committee Democrats who voted down her amendment. It turns out, doing a retroactive recount isn’t how Democrats want to use their resources. Do you think a count is necessary?
Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)
In Ida’s Wake
In the wake of tropical storm Ida, Nicole’s district needs aid. That’s why she’s calling the president to issue an emergency declaration that would allow them to obtain FEMA assistance. She wants to ensure that “New York City homeowners and vehicle owners who are uninsured or underinsured have access to direct assistance.” As climate change worsens and severe weather becomes more common, it’s important to have leaders like Nicole looking out for their communities!
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
Happy Birthday, CDC!
The Centers for Disease Control are turning 75! The CDC has been operating out of their Atlanta headquarters for the better part of a century, and Jon is throwing them a birthday bash! Well, not a party so much as a resolution that honors the nearly 23,000 employees worldwide who continue to battle the ongoing pandemic. Since 1946, the CDC has also taken on diseases like malaria, polio, and smallpox. Happy birthday, CDC, and thanks for keeping us healthy!
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)
Praise for HHS!
Nanette praised the Health and Human Services Secretary this week after she created a new office in the department to address public health disparities caused by climate change. It’s been long understood that people living near industrial waste and utility processing plants are often the poorest in the community, creating an issue of environmental justice — the poor must bear the brunt of pollution. These communities “disproportionately face health impacts that come from living near pollution emitting industries,” Nanette said, grateful that the new office will take special interest in these poorer neighborhoods. As climate change worsens and vulnerable communities grapple with its effects, what else can be done to help those with the most need?
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
An Army Vet Wants Answers
Jason served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan during his time in the military, which is perhaps why he’s so eager to figure out what went wrong there. He added an amendment this week to the Defence Authorization bill that calls for a full investigation into the mishaps of the last few weeks as well as the entire 20 year mission in Afghanistan. “I want answers,” he said of the amendment, adding that “the United States Congress has an independent obligation to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch.” When it comes to Afghanistan, what are the questions you want answered?
Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)
Help Us, FEMA!
New Yorkers are still reeling from tropical storm Ida. That’s why Antonio has his sights set on FEMA aid, joining other members of the New York delegation in urging Biden to release the federal assistance that would help his district recover from the storm. Hours after their joint request, Biden obliged and federal aid became available to residents of Antonio’s district. But he’s worried this won’t be enough, and is also calling for Biden to approve a request for Individual Assistance to New Yorkers recovering from the storm. With all this severe weather on the rise, we’ll have to get used to relying on FEMA for help.
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
A Fresh Take on Defense
While the Defense Authorization Bill makes its way through Congress, Ruben’s taking a different approach than many of his colleagues. A number of amendments calling for an investigation into Afghanistan were included by other congresspeople, but Ruben focused instead on getting two amendments added that would affect other aspects of our national defense. He’s looking to get more intel on microelectronics development as well as offer technical training for Special Operations Forces returning to civilian life. It’s nice to see that Ruben’s making sure all bases are covered in this year’s Defense Authorization!
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
What About Wildfires?
If you’re concerned with the ever-growing intensity of wildfires in the West, you’re not alone. This week, Josh joined the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus in the hopes of helping his California constituents with this ongoing threat. Sadly, this is the worst wildfire year on record, and conditions are not expected to improve. That’s why the caucus is focused on advocating for disaster relief, promoting science-based management strategies, and helping communities affected by the fires. Even so, we have a long and fiery road ahead as we continue to grapple with the worsening effects of climate change.
Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)
Soured on the Supreme Court
Liberals and moderates across the country are up in arms about the recent Supreme Court decision not to hear a case against the Texas abortion law that effectively bans most abortions in the state. Democrats believe the three Trump-appointed justices have something to do with it, which is why Ro introduced a bill this week that would establish 18-year term limits for Supreme Court justices. Currently, justices serve for life, which is why Trump chose unusually young nominees for the court. The longshot legislation would limit the reach any one president could have on the court to a single generation. Are you in favor of Ro’s term limit proposal?
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
$5 Million to the People
The residents of Mike’s district are lucky to have such a dedicated public servant in office. He announced recently that his office has helped his constituents collect over $5 million in aid from the Paycheck Protection Program, the VA, and the Social Security Administration. All in all, San Diegans are a few million dollars richer thanks to Mike’s commitment to making sure his voters are getting the aid they need to make it through this crazy time. Great job, Mike!
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
Refugees Helping Refugees
Stephanie knows what it’s like to be a refugee in America. That’s why the former Vietnamese refugee is helping Afghans make the transition to the U.S. So far, she’s been able to help two interpreters get their paperwork in order and begin the transition to American life. “It’s the kind of generosity that has, you know, sailors who were trained for combat decide to extend grace to these desperate strangers on the high sea — for that, I’m forever grateful,” she said of her experience as a refugee. Stephanie wants to make sure that the life-altering moment of arriving in the U.S. is something others can experience as well. With all the darkness surrounding the withdrawal, it’s these little moments of humanity we can all be proud of!
Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)
A Refugee Remembers
Before Moving to Minnesota and serving in Congress, Ilhan was a little girl in a refugee camp. She and her family spent four years in a holding facility in Kenya before they were granted access to the U.S. “My family escaped civil war in Somalia when I was just eight years old, but life in the refugee camp was scarcely better. Every week, someone I knew died,” Ilhan wrote in a CNN op-ed. Now, she wants to make sure the Afghan refugees are given the same chance she had to “become an American.” Seeing the incredible assent from a little girl in a refugee camp to a U.S. Congresswoman, Ilhan’s journey is one we can only hope will be replicated by the Afghan refugees currently making their way here!
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
Elissa was busy this week! She managed to get 22 (!) amendments added to the Defense Authorization Bill, a staggering legislative win. She’s advocating for the testing and clean up of drinking and ground water around military bases where dangerous chemicals may be present, among a litany of other measures. “The amendments I submitted touched on a range of issues, including strengthening our critical defense supply chains and manufacturing more equipment here at home,” she said. Great job looking out for our service men and women, Elissa!
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
Uh-oh. High levels of “forever chemicals” have been discovered in ground and drinking water at six military bases in the Great Lakes region. This is bad news for the aquatic wildlife of the region as well as anyone who eats fish caught in the lakes. The chemicals, which don’t break down in the environment, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and are known to reduce vaccine effectiveness! This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed immediately. That’s why Haley co-sponsored the PFAS Action Act, which passed last month, that requires the EPA to establish a national standard for these chemicals within two years. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to pass on the fish.
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
To Spend or Not to Spend?
Kelly joined other regional congressmen in voting against the $3.5 trillion spending resolution that recently passed in the House. “Americans cannot afford the Democrats’ spending spree,” he said, worrying that the bill would be too big a financial burden after other multi-trillion dollar pieces of legislation have been becoming law since the pandemic started nearly two years ago. The resolution would boost Medicare, mitigate climate change, and support child and elder care and family leave. What’s your take, is $3.5 trillion too much for us to shoulder right now?