THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: And The Award Goes To…

The full rundown from our April 22, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: And The Award Goes To…

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

The Price of Kids

The Child Tax Credit, which gives families (dependent on income) money based on how many children they have, was passed temporarily as part of the American Rescue Plan. Earlier this week, Pete and other members of the Hispanic Caucus met with President Biden to discuss making the credit permanent. Biden agreed to extend it, but still temporarily, citing concerns about the Senate passing a permanent version of the policy. The program is expensive, cosing about $100 billion for one year, but as Pete puts it, “We think it’s a worthwhile investment for the American public.” For now, Pete and other Democratic proponents will have to wait on a permanent version, but Biden has pledged his ‘temporary’ extension to be at least a few years, which gives plenty of time to come up with a plan.

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Leave it to the Markets

Sustainability and an environmentally-friendly future is something that young members of both parties are beginning to agree upon. In a virtual event hosted by the news outlet, The Hill, Brendan, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, said that the government’s role is to create incentives and structures for companies to contribute to a more sustainable future. Those which follow environmental, social and corporate sustainability guidelines, would be rewarded with a tax credit. However, the balance is going to be a delicate one – the standards need to be achievable enough to get companies to participate, but strict enough that tax credits won’t just be handed out like candy. Candy sounds good, a clean planet sounds better.

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

Terms n’ Troops

Jared threw his support behind two big moves this week. 1. He added his name to a resolution that proposes an amendment to the Constitution to enact term limits for members of Congress. Representatives would be limited to three two-year terms and Senators would be limited to two six-year terms. 2. He came out in support of Biden’s pledge to remove all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021. This war, he insists, accomplished the goals of capturing Osama Bin Laden and holding those at fault accountable for 9/11, BUT “If you’re asking whether or not we’ve been successful in stabilizing Afghanistan? I think that the answer is no.” Despite that, he’s also pushing that the 2001 authorization for military force in Afghanistan be repealed so that Congress has more control over when force in the area can be used again. You on board with Jared on these calls?

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

Micro Loan, Macro Impact

You know a bill is good when it passes 397-16 and that’s exactly what Andy’s recent Microloan Improvement Act of 2021 did this week. It’s a bipartisan (also co-sponsored by fellow PP leader, Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), bill that would increase the number of nonprofit, community-based lenders that are eligible for the lowest interest rate on loans from the Small Business Association. It would also allow these lenders to offer lines of credit to small businesses while extending the repayment term on the loans they get. Many small businesses have been restricted when it comes to lending. Let’s face it, no one likes red tape – this bill would cut right through it and get America’s small businesses the cash they need.

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

Water, the Life Line

Data shows that nearly half of Native American households don’t have access to clean drinking water. Furthermore, there is a connection between lack of clean drinking water and Covid-19 infections in Native American communities. This issue didn’t start with Covid, though, and it certainly won’t end with it, which is why Joe introduced (along with PP leader Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA)) a resolution to reaffirm the federal government’s responsibility to provide access to clean drinking water for Native communities. What does a resolution do, one might ask? Well, a resolution like this, recognized officially by Congress, would add a little extra umph to the federal relationship between Native Nations and the US. Keeping these communities on the government’s radar is key and Joe’s making sure it stays there.

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

AOC-Ya Later

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s PAC, The Courage to Change, raises a whopping amount of money (surprised? no…) and sends contributions to other Congressional candidates, especially those in swing districts. Chris landed himself on this list when his campaign received an unsolicited donation of $5,000 from the PAC. However, instead of celebrating the unexpected financial bump, Chris’s campaign returned the money, citing a “clerical error” as the reason for the refund. We, though, might have some other speculation on this one. Several other lawmakers in vulnerable seats (including PP Leader Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) have sent back the cash from AOC to make sure their purpler constituents don’t accuse them of kowtowing to the progressives. AOC is a phenomenon, but this is some pretty solid evidence that she isn’t a one-size-fits all kind of messenger.

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

Puerto In or Puerto Out?

The first time there is a real, substantive debate happening in Congress about the future of Puerto Rico. Darren and his Republican colleague, Rep. Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s non-voting member of Congress, introduced legislation offering statehood to Puerto Rico. The legislation comes after 53% of Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood. However, Darren and the bill’s supporters are up against another plan – one of self-determination. This plan, introduced by PP leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Nydia Veázquez (D-NY) would create a group of elected Puerto Rican delegates who would come up with a long-term solution. So, what do you think? Is 53% enough to go full-throttle with statehood, or should Darren be giving the self-determination option some more thought?

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

Here We Go Again

Eric has been one of, if not the, staunchest advocates for gun control. He launched a presidential bid almost exclusively around the issue and now, as we come out of lockdown, his passion is sadly back at center stage. After yet another shooting at a FedEx facility last week (and two more this week…) it was revealed that the shooter legally bought two semi-automatic rifles after a gun had been previously seized from him over his mental state. Eric wrote a to-the-point tweet in response to this. Universal background checks, federal red flag law, and a ban assault weapons are Eric’s 3 step road to prevention. Do you think he can get that wishlist with a Democratic Congress, despite the partisan divide?

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Green, GREEN Grass

The intersection of climate change and the farming industry seems like a no brainer. Now, thanks to young Americans from both sides of the aisle working together, solutions are beginning to sprout up. Lauren and fellow PP leader Mike Gallagher (R-WI) have introduced the Farmers Fighting Climate Change Act which creates incentives for farmers who choose to use green practices. She hosted an event with the local Farm Bureau President, who said that many farmers already work to reduce their impact on the environment. Hopefully, with bipartisan support we can start to see some action at the crossroads of rural America and a global environmental crisis.

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Schmooze Fest

What’s it like to be the leader of the most influential group of conservatives in the House? Just ask Jim. He’s the chair of the Republican Study Caucus, which is a large group of conservatives who, until recently, had been flying under the radar and focusing on policy. Now, as possible 2024 GOP candidates for president emerge (omg, alreadyyyy?) Jim and his RSC are the first stop on the campaign trail. The caucus has had visits from Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Tom Cotton, and more, during which these hopefuls share policy ideas, discuss strategy, and get the caucus’s reaction to campaign ideas. As for Jim, he’s intent on keeping Trump’s ideology front and center regardless of which one of the political suitors ends up on top.

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Make that Two Witnesses

Matt has been all over the news for an alleged sex-trafficking incident being investigated by the DOJ. Previously, the only known witness was an associate of his who had already been indicted. However, it now appears that the women at the center of it all – the alleged sex-trafficking victim, may also be cooperating. Up until this point, it seemed that she wasn’t willing to cooperate with investigators, but with her possible involvement in the case against Matt, things could really heat up for him – and quickly. However, he’s remaining steadfast about his innocence, even releasing a new political ad that captures a CNN employee discussing how Matt is “bad for Democrats” and that CNN is airing more of the sex-trafficking story to damage him and get him out of office. It’s certainly a wild ride that will only get wilder from here.

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

Conscious Uncoupling

We are dependent on China for many things, but one of the most important, though not very publicized, is our dependence on rare earth elements. These minerals are critical to our way of life and if supply chains break down (like in, say, a global pandemic), we’re screwed. Lance and his Democratic colleague, Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) have introduced the RARE Act to offer tax incentives for domestic production of these critical elements that drive our economy. The press release on the legislation emphasizes that “both President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden have recognized the need for our government to promote domestic production of these critical materials”. So, will everyone be on board? We’ll see!

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

The Nine

Did you know that before 1869 the number of justices on the Supreme Court was changed six times?? Well, if you hadn’t heard, there’s been a push by Democrats to try and expand the court and President Biden has called upon a commission to study court reforms. Dusty, for one, isn’t having it. A constitutional amendment that he introduced, which would forever cap the court at 9 justices is gaining steam, with 150 cosponsors. Since Democrats control the House, it’s likely that legislation to add justices might receive a vote. Dusty’s prepared on his end – where do you fall on this issue?

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

Un-Targeted

If you’ve been targeted by a scam, you know that it SUCKS. Now, if you’re a member of a Native Tribe you’re even more likely to be targeted as many of these scammers look for people who receive trust or settlement payments (which many Tribes do). Markwayne, who’s of Cherokee descent, just had his bill, Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act, pass the House! The bill, which will now make its way to the Senate, directs the Federal Trade Commission to study the schemes that target Tribes and help Congress plan how to take action against the fraud. Moments like these, which could have an important impact on a vulnerable American community, often go unnoticed – congrats, Markwayne!

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Invest, Innovate, Repeat

Bryan leads a group of Republican colleagues (including PP leaders Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and William Timmons (R-SC) who have identified a sore spot for the American economy. His Investing in Innovation Initiative will promote policies that strengthen capital markets by supporting small business investment opportunities, inspiring entrepreneurship, improving corporate governance, and making the U.S. more competitive internationally. These business-minded lawmakers hope to bring an influx of capital not only into their own communities, but into communities all across the country. Are you a business owner? Might be worth following the work the initiative does going forward!

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Don’t Call me Governor, But…

We have a front-runner, baby. Lee launched his campaign to challenge NY. Governor Andrew Cuomo in his reelection bid and earlier this week when all the possible Republican challengers made their pitches to party leaders, Lee emerged on top. Now, Lee shouldn’t get too excited, as a Republican has not won a state-wide race in New York since 2004, but he has raked in a whopping $2.5 million in the first TEN DAYS. Wowzers. The scandals around Cuomo are real and potentially damaging, but will they be damaging enough to turn New York red? This isn’t a shot in the dark for Lee. As he puts it – “We figured out how to win so we could make a decision whether or not to run.” Sounds like a healthy dose of confidence.

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Lord of the Ring

Or, Lady, rather. In true influencer manner, Kyrsten sent shockwaves with a photo she posted on Instagram last week. Dressed in her usual eclectic style, her ring which reads “F**k you” is on display and many progressives jumped at the potential symbolism. The vice chair of the AZ Democratic Party said that the flippant nature of the post is “making it harder for Democrats in Arizona to win”. Kyrsten’s position in the thinly-controlled Senate is crucial to the passage of Democratic legislation – she notably voted against the proposal for a raised minimum wage as part of the American Rescue Plan (with a dramatic thumbs down). Who knows what the ring meant, but Kyrsten is definitely selective about her style so perhaps some inference isn’t totally out of left (or centrist) field.

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

First Impressions

Losing a house to foreclosure is one of the more rattling experiences an American can go through. That process isn’t made any easier by the constant calls of debt collectors harassing individuals who are already at a low point. Jake is now introducing his FIRST piece of legislation in Congress that will curtail the ability of third-party collectors to contact people going through foreclosures. His goal is to have Congress create a uniform foreclosure process to protect homeowners during a vulnerable time. While Jake uses his position on the Financial Services Committee to gain co-sponsors on the bill, it already has been endorsed by several consumer rights groups. Jake’s out of the gates with his first bill!

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

On Board with Green

The Green New Deal resolution was officially filed this week and Sara signed on as an original co-sponsor. The resolution calls upon Congress to “recognize the impacts of climate change and launch a full-scale mobilization to reduce emissions, improve resilience and sustainability, and to create good-paying jobs in an equitable manner”. The breadth of the resolution brings progressives like Sara in, but is also sure to isolate many moderate Democrats and of course, Republicans. However, Sara remains confident in the possibilities, saying “The Green New Deal is about choosing to have a plan instead of waiting for a miracle”.

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Hats in the Ring

Madison has become one of the most notable young members of the Republican Party, which, we have a feeling, is just the way he likes it. However, folks at home seem to feel differently. He is already drawing a historic number of challengers (both Republican and Democrat) for his seat in the 2022 midterms. The main Republican challenger, Wendy Nevarez, feels that the district has been ‘underrepresented’ in Madison’s hands. She insists that working across the aisle is central to being an effective lawmaker and that Madison hasn’t shown much in the way of compromise. All of this begs the question – is having a loud megaphone (which Madison certainly does) the biggest measure of success? Or is there more nuance to public office than that?

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

Sure, Take Your Time

Michigan is one of, if not the hotspot for Covid cases in the U.S. right now and the recent pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine aren’t helping. Peter railed against the FDA and the CDC for crippling his state’s chances of getting more doses and accused them of playing into people’s fears about the vaccines in general. On their lack of communication, Peter insists that the circumstances around the pause are “going to do tremendous damage to our ability to trust what would be nonpartisan experts”. While he insists he’s in support of communicating the risks of any medicine, Peter is putting his foot down and laying out why this move is specifically bad for Michiganders. When the J&J jab comes back – would you take it?

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Wasn’t a Vacation

Jake, like many other GOP lawmakers, recently paid a visit to our southern border where there’s been an influx of migrants into the U.S. He took to a local news station to describe what he witnessed there, focusing specifically on the children who have been traveling for weeks with drug smugglers to get into the country. Jake’s solution? Get back to the Trump days. He wants Biden to resume construction of the border wall and appropriate more funds for border patrol. While the former is probably, his insistence the border agents are overwhelmed is one that’s hard to argue with. Hopefully Jake can work with folks on his side and the other to get some meaningful legislation on the table to address the situation that seems to only be getting worse.

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

How ‘Bout This Instead?

Nancy didn’t hesitate in blasting the introduction of the Green New Deal by progressive Democrats, but that doesn’t mean that she’s anti-environment. She just signed on to co-sponsor a bill that would “plant 1 trillion trees globally by 2050 and incentivize the use of wood products as carbon sequestration devices”. Using trees might seem like an antiquated and overly simplified solution, but Nancy insists that the simplicity is the beauty of the proposal. The bill builds on Forestry Service plans that are already in motion. While this is a far cry from the sweeping plans of the Green New Deal, we love to see young politicians focusing on a pressing issue, even if in their own way.

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Getting SALTy

If you’re from a high-tax state, you’re no stranger to seeing your money seemingly fly out the window with every paycheck and property tax bill. In these states though, there’s a very specific rule that’s leaving many, especially middle class, families frustrated – the SALT deduction cap. This cap was put in place in Trump’s 2017 tax bill and caps the state and local deduction at $10,000 – meaning less money in most people’s pockets. Despite this plan being put in place by Republicans, Nicole and a bipartisan group of lawmakers from these high-tax states are calling for the repeal of the SALT tax. As the Biden admin hashes out the numbers of their multi-trillion dollar infrastructure proposal, SALT is going to be on the discussion board. Were you aware of this deduction cap? Might be a good thing to look out for rolling into the new tax year!

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

Help Us Out, Joe

There’s been a lot of news, so you might have missed that there was a devastating tornado in Georgia recently, leaving one person dead, hundreds of people displaced, and dozens of homes destroyed. Jon paid a visit to the tornado epicenter in Newnan, GA with fellow senator, Raphael Warnock (D-GA). In addition to speaking with residents and seeing the clean up efforts underway, they pledge to do everything in their power to get federal funds for the recovery efforts. Did you know that the federal emergency and major disaster declarations are made exclusively by the president? We didn’t. So, Jon and Raphael will be going to their old pal Joe on behalf of some Georgians in need.

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

We Gotchu

Colin is still on paternity leave after welcoming his newborn son, but he took to an op-ed to discuss the health care benefits from the American Rescue Act. Texas has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country, with one of every four Dallas County residents going without health insurance. In addition, Texas has yet to expand Medicaid, leaving nearly a million Texans without the care they need, which is critical especially during this pandemic and particularly hurts Black and Latino Texans. Thanks to the bill, many of his constituents will have easier access to health care solutions and lower premium costs. It is sometimes hard for the average American to understand these benefits, so thanks, Colin, for explaining the fine print!

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Extra Help?

While it might feel like the country is getting back to some normalcy people are still struggling and more importantly businesses are barely staying afloat. Sharice, along with her bipartisan colleagues introduced the 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act which both help improve the Small Business Administration’s 504 Loan Program. This program provides long-term, fixed financing for small businesses to promote business growth and job creation. The bill increases maximum loan amounts, streamlines the loan process, and provides additional support from the SBA offices to manufacturers who apply for the loan. As mentioned, we are almost through COVID, but everyone still needs a little bit of help.

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

Buy American!

There is a lot of money being issued to help with the effects of COVID from the recovery and infrastructure bills, which is great, but it is important that this money supports American products. Conor is the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, a bipartisan group that supports the domestic steel industry. More than 50 members of the Steel Caucus sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to make a “commonsense commitment” to ensure that public infrastructure investments be directed toward U.S. production and American workers throughout the steelmaking supply chain. Buy American!

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Bring Them Home…For Good

President Biden announced his plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Seth, a former Marine Corps officer, said “it is important that we’re careful as we withdraw.” Seth remembers that when we pulled troops out of Iraq, we had to send them back to fight ISIS a few years after. Seth outlined three things – “We need to make sure there’s not another 9/11-style terrorist attack on the United States, we need to give the Afghan government a chance to govern, and we’ve got to recognize that this region of the world is a place that has a lot of instability so we may need a base or two there in the future.” As someone who deployed to the Middle East several times as a Marine, Seth has his finger on the pulse!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

A Lot of Green Deals

AOC had a big week of announcements. First, she signed on to PP Leader Cori Bush’s (D-MO) trillion-dollar Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021 and then announced the Green New Deal for Public Housing with Senator Sanders (VT-I) that would provide $172 billion to retrofit existing housing. The legislation would create two new grant programs to achieve carbon neutrality in U.S. public housing through workforce development and construction. The bill would retrofit ~950,000 of the country’s existing public housing units and upgrade building electrification and water quality. These are some big goals that might be achievable with a Democratic majority but the big price tags are sure to make some Republicans go cross-eyed.

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Congratulations…Your Loan is Increased!

Anyone who received a PPP loan knows that it provided a much-needed financial lifeline. Abigail and PP leader Ashley Hinson (R-IA) introduced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Equity Act which would allow farmers, ranchers, and other small businesses to recalculate their loans based on gross income rather than net profits. In all, this would allow for everyone to be eligible for more proceeds. On a separate note, Abigail said one of her top priorities is to restore trust in Congress and the first step is passing her TRUST act which would require members of Congress to put certain investment assets in blind trusts during their time in office (ie: members selling stocks needs to stop). Keep it up Abigail – we are with you on that!

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

110 Degrees of Fury

Tensions are high and by high we mean they are already at a boiling point. Rashida tweeted “I am done with those who condone government-funded murder…No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.” Rashida says what??? She echoed what many Americans are feeling and her words even got the Detroit Police Chief to call for her to resign. The social media post referred to 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was killed at the hands of former Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter. One thing for sure is a text, tweet – WORDS – they matter and everyone can interpret them in different ways, but this hasn’t phased Rashida – she and her words aren’t going anywhere.

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Born-Alive is Alive

Last week, Mike signed a petition that would force a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which mandates that any infant born alive after an abortion receives the same standard of care as any newborn baby and creates penalties for doctors who allow infants to die or who intentionally kill a newborn. The interesting part here is that the petition needs 218 members of Congress to sign it. If it is successful in getting these signatures it forces floor consideration of the Act with no amendments or procedural tactics in order and proceeds to a final vote. Last Congress, this petition set a record for the most signatures received in one legislative day of being introduced. With a House so close to party lines (212 Republicans, 218 Democrats) we could see this coming to the house for a vote.

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

On Task

Jaime is one of the founders and co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addition and Mental Health Task Force. Sadly, the CDC released new data showing the steep increase in overdose deaths during the pandemic. While the news is deeply troubling, it also makes the task force’s work more important than ever. Jaime said their first meeting will examine the “effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and the substance use disorder crisis in the U.S. – this will be the first of many as we work on a bipartisan basis to advance policies that will save lives.” On a high note, Jaime raised ~$750,000 in Q1 for her 2022 primary challenge against three GOP challengers since she voted to impeach President Trump.

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

Got Debt?

We can all agree that the U.S. debt is too high (currently $23 TRILLION), and it only seems to be going up. Adam introduced legislation that is aimed at reducing the federal deficit over a 10-year period by $3.25 trillion. The National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Act of 2021 would establish a joint committee in Congress, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, to issue a report on how to achieve the much-needed fiscal health of our federal debt. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget announced their endorsement for the bill. Our question is how many committees do we need to help reduce the national debt?

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Boycott the Olympics?

Not Japan, but the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Guy led a roundtable discussion on the human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party and the movement to boycott the Beijing Olympics. Other notable names that joined the table were former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Since China hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, there are as many as one million Uyghurs and religious and ethnic minorities being held against their will in concentration camps. Earlier this year, Guy introduced legislation to rebid the 2022 Winter Olympics. How do you feel on this matter?

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Short Staffed

Anyone who has been to a restaurant over the last couple months has noticed one common theme: the service is not great. Short staffed restaurants is a national issue and Greg hosted a roundtable with some local restaurants to discuss why. What he found is that many workers were making more on unemployment than at work, due to increased unemployment benefits through the American Rescue Plan Act. Last Congress, Greg had introduced legislation to make sure that those receiving unemployment benefits do not receive more than the number of wages they were earning prior to unemployment, but the Democrats have not considered it. Regardless, if you go to a restaurant do not forget to leave a nice tip!

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Global Hostages

American hostages are a continued news story that we see play out every year, often in countries with authoritarian regimes. Tom, along with three of his Republican colleagues introduced The Global Hostage Act, which would require the president to impose sanctions on foreign government officials responsible for taking American’s hostage. It would bar those officials from receiving U.S. visas and require the U.S. executive branch to impose mandatory sanctions on foreign governments and other foreign persons. This is not the first time this bill was introduced and begs the question why we wouldn’t impose mandatory sanctions, but we’re guessing it’s a country by country matter and not applicable to all.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

51st Star?

Capitol Hill is holding hearings related to Puerto Rico’s statehood. Many lawmakers from New York have been vocal about this issue since many of their residents are from Puerto Rico…and it’s no big surprise that they disagree on which proposal is best. There are currently two proposals. The first is spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and calls for a status convention on the island where delegates weigh options as to what is next for Puerto Rico, from independence to statehood to free association. The second proposal is supported by Ritchie who believes the Puerto Ricans have already made their views plain by repeatedly voting in favor to become a state. Could this mean we will be adding another star to our flag?

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Reform Coming to a Theater Near You

There are 8 million low-income Americans with disabilities and older Americans who rely on the Social Security Income (SSI) monthly cash payments. Jamaal led dozens of his colleagues to call for the Biden administration to make historic expansions and improvements to the program. They call to raise the benefit levels above the federal poverty line, increase the SSI asset limit and index it to inflation going forward, among other things. Their hope is that Biden includes these reforms in the American Families Plan. As well, Jamaal was critical of the new police “digidog” that New York Public Police unveiled. Jamaal are you upset because it is not cute and cuddly? Sorry, we couldn’t resist.

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Green New Deal – Revision

The Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021 is for EVERYONE with a hefty investment of $1.0 trillion over the next four years. Along with PP Leader Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), the bill will federally fund city, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to respond to the climate crisis. To put this in perspective, Congress did just approve a lot more for the recovery, but this is the largest proposed investment for the environment. Half of the money in the bill would go toward investing in “front-line communities and climate mitigation,” which Cori explained would help communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Regardless of this bill, Cori has not stopped working, in her first 100 days in Congress and has co-sponsored 98 bills! Go, go, go!

David Valadeo (R; CA-21)

WOTUS

Clever acronym for a bill as it is like “POTUS” or “FLOTUS,” but in this case a new water bill was introduced to revise a rule from the Water of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. In 2015, WOTUS placed the majority of water in the United States under federal regulation, which negatively impacted farmers, ranchers and businesses. David co-sponsored the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to revise the WOTUS rule and provide states and local governments greater authority in managing their water sources by removing certain water from federal regulation. Anyone else thirsty after reading this?

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

It’s Alive!

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act mandates that any infant born alive after an abortion receives the same standard of care as a newborn baby. The legislation would impose penalties on doctors who allow infants to die. Kat filed the discharge petition to force a vote on the act. Upon being signed by 218 members of the House, the petition would be forced to a vote. Kat expects all Republicans to sign but needs at least 6 Democrats to sign as well. Planned Parenthood does not agree with the Act and believes it is a misrepresentation of medical care. However, Kat and the other co-sponsors have a strong chance of it getting those 218 signatures, so we will keep you updated if it hits the House floor.

Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)

Cancel Student Debt?

Byron testified before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to talk about the elephant in the room and no, not the Republican elephant, but the almost $30 trillion of U.S. debt. In his comments, Byron said that every U.S. taxpayer is responsible for $225,000 of public debt. Ouch! And after the government just approved two trillion in emergency spending, he brought to the attention the willingness of the administration to “cancel” student debt. He elaborated that loan forgiveness programs like these do not work and down the line they end up hurting more than helping. How do you feel about the student debt? To cancel or not to cancel?

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

PPP Loan Lifts

We love to see our PP leaders’ team up to propose some new legislation. Ashley and Abigail Spanberger (D-WV) introduced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Equity Act which would allow farmers, ranchers and other small businesses to re-calculate their loans based on gross income rather than net profits. In all, this would allow for everyone to be eligible for more proceeds. And drum roll please…Ashely has signed on to more than 100 pieces of legislation in her first 100 days. Keep it up Ashley!

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

FCC Slow Game

The internet has become part of our daily life, but imagine living in areas where the internet is never running efficiently. Victoria worked with a bipartisan group of Indiana lawmakers to send a request to the Federal Communications Commission to provide a status update on producing broadband coverage maps. Here is the sad part, the last time the FCC made broadband maps, they became obsolete by the time they distributed them to the public. YIKES! So, this is why Congress passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, providing $98 million to address this issue. We need politicians like Victoria to stay on top of these issues!

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

Border Crossing

If you are trying to locate a Republican lawmaker, they are probably somewhere along the southern border. Over the last couple weeks, Republicans have been showing the border crisis at its fullest. Tony led a delegation of seven other leaders from the Republican Study Committee on the Texas border. The other PP Republican leaders who joined him were Jim Banks (R-IN), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), and Victoria Spartz (R-IN). Tony said, “The biggest takeaway from today was that we have folks that are career law enforcement agents, and they are seeing spikes that they have never seen before.” Maybe if we sent all our politicians to the southern border, they could find a solution? Just saying.

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

Did Someone Say Drones?

Yes, we did. Blake introduced the Forest TECH Improvement Act which is set to create a 5-year pilot program to study and accelerate the deployment and integration of advanced technologies, like DRONES, for reforestation activities. Blake is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and he believes a bill like this will help achieve the national goals under the Trillion Trees Initiative. This initiative was put in place by former President Trump to plan and conserve one trillion trees by 2030. “Forests are our best resource for removing carbon from the atmosphere, and it is imperative that we utilize advanced technologies to quickly plant more trees.” Save the TREES!

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

Red Notice…Continued

A couple weeks ago we discussed the story of Trevor Reed. Trevor is an eighth generation Texan, Eagle Scout and Marine Veteran who visited Russia for summer vacation and became detained by Russian police. Trevor was detained for public intoxication, but once they found out he was a member of the Marine Presidential Guard they accused Trevor of endangering a Russian police officer and put him in jail for nine years! August is leading the charge to bring Trevor home who has been in prison for 600 days. As well, August has pressured the Biden administration to do more and impose sanctions on entities that the Russians are actively engaged in like the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, which is a pipeline running from Russia to Germany. Worst vacation ever – we’re rooting for August and Trevor on this one!

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA-44)

Simply Frightened

Nanette made a recent trip to the Donna CBP facility in Texas to get firsthand understanding of the situation at our southern border, a situation that currently sees approximately 20,000 migrant children in custody. “It was a little heartbreaking” she remarked, noting that many of the kids she spoke to didn’t know they could make phone calls to family members and were simply scared of their situation. While she sees a definitive improvement in conditions under this Administration, she nevertheless believes there is much work still to be done on the matter of immigration and has pledged to be a willing partner to this administration’s agenda. As the youngest of 11 children of migrant parents herself, Nanette is poised to be an effective steward to this important issue.

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

The Pills Are Too Damn Much.

It’s pretty much a given that when you go to the pharmacy nowadays, your stomach cringes at the prices these medications are costing. That’s precisely why Jason reintroduced a bill, along with fellow under-45er Lauren Underwood that looks to crack down on unnecessary prescription drug price hikes. The Freedom From Price Gouging Act would force drug companies to pay back taxpayer dollars when they hike up drug prices. The goal is to both reign in skyrocketing drug costs for the patients while also helping to save taxpayer dollars. This sounds like something folks can definitely get down for!

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

No One Forgotten

It seems countless bills introduced to Congress center around Veteran’s issues, and yet despite the sheer volume of legislation, each one seems as important as the next. Take for example the one that Antonio introduced this week, along with fellow under-45er Nancy Mace. This bipartisan legislation looks to increase support for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma by establishing a peer support program at the Veterans Benefits Administration, which currently doesn’t have one. Also noteworthy, this bill was born out of Antonio’s Veteran’s Advisory Committee, which helped Antonio better shape this legislation. Now this seems to epitomize the role of a Congressperson.

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

What’s Your Genius Plan Then?

Ruben had some stern words Minority Leader McConnell, who called the President’s decision to leave Afghanistan “a disaster in the making.” Ruben, an Iraq War veteran himself, remarked “I don’t think he understands it’s already been a disaster.” He goes on to say that it’s no longer a war but really a quagmire that hasn’t seen the country reach full stability and continues to claim American lives. He pointedly asks what’s the genius plan now that we haven’t done for the last twenty years? It seems more and more Veterans in Congress are saying the decision to leave is the best of two bad scenarios.

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

We Don’t Want Your Stinking Dough!

Josh isn’t backing down from big Corporate PACs, in fact he’s leading the fight against their election influence with a new bill he’s introduced along with Jared Golden. In the 2020 election cycle, Corporate PACs gave more than $400 million to federal campaigns, the most of any type of PAC. He calls this practice “corrupt and just plain wrong.” His bill, aptly named the Ban Corporate PACs Act would do just that: ban corporate PACs from contributing to campaigns. It’s a lofty goal and one that probably doesn’t have the muster to pass, but it sure seems like more and more of our young leaders are eschewing corporate money, and therefore influence, in their campaign, and that seems like a good thing.

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

Everyone’s Favorite Techy Rep

It’s no secret Ro is a big proponent of implementing a vast array of technological improvements to government, and he’s now introduced a bipartisan bill that will make bold investments in scientific research, development and manufacturing. The Endless Frontier Act, cosponsored by under-45er Mike Gallagher, will expand the National Scientific Foundation and increase its funding by $100 Billion over five years. The goal is to double down on investments in the creation and manufacturing of new technologies critical to our national security and economic competitiveness, all the while creating jobs. Given our post-covid economic challenges, this does seem like as good a time as any to rebuild with an eye towards our technological future.

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Save The Fair!

Mike has a keen eye towards looking out for the cornerstone of communities and oftentimes that the annual local Fair. These events are particularly high revenue sources for cities, like his district’s Del Mar Fairgrounds, and have almost unanimously taken a large financial hit thanks to Covid. The bipartisan Agriculture Fairs Rescue Act would allocate $500 million to states’ agricultural departments, who would then oversee the disbursement of funds to fairs and fairgrounds throughout the state. Mike isn’t delusional in thinking this can save all the fairs but believes “this would make a huge dent.” On that note, let the hotdog eating competitions begin!

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

Viva Miami!

Florida is known for many, many things, and one of those good things is it’s thriving Cuban population. Stephanie introduced a bipartisan bill this week that looks to reunite Cuban Americans with their families still living back in Cuba. Currently, the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program allows for Cuban Americans to lawfully apply for permission to bring their families to the US, but that vetting process has been halted due to the mysterious sonic attacks that occurred on US personnel in Havana. This bill would resume the program and enshrine it into law, helping to bring families together after years apart.

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

You’re All Getting Sprinklers!

A lot of the time, governing is really about updating the old, and that’s exactly what Ilhan did last week. She introduced bipartisan legislation surrounding fire safety, specifically updating the sprinkler systems in older public housing units. Last year, a high-rise fire in her district killed five and left many homeless due to the building’s 1960s-era construction and thus exemption from fire-code mandates such as sprinkler systems. This bill would direct grant funding through HUD to update outdated units with commonsense fire safety protocols. This seems like a no-brainer.

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

What The Hell Is Burn Pit Exposure?

It’s a good day when you get bipartisan legislation and even better when it centers around our Vets. Elissa joined fellow under-45er Meter Meijer to introduce a bill to help Veteran victims of Burn Pit Exposure. Deployed military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan rely on burn pits for many things including the disposal of waste. However, these open-air burns can release harmful toxins. Veterans applying for health benefits through the VA currently have an undue burden of proof of exposure that most cannot meet, thereby disqualifying them from receiving the benefits they so very much need. This bill looks to eliminate that red tape and finally confront these previously neglected health realities.

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

The Spy That Isn’t

The story of American Paul Whalen, who is imprisoned in a Russian hard labor camp for allegedly being a spy, is one of tragic intrigue and mystery. He also happens to be a constituent of Haley, who this week received another letter from Paul detailing the horrendous conditions he faces daily. Furthermore, Paul maintains his innocence, saying he was framed and sentenced after a fraudulent trial. Haley and her colleagues have made numerous pleas to the Russian government asking for Paul’s release but have struck out. She remains actively working with the Biden administration to try to bring Paul home. Yet, at the moment, this letter remains a stark and frankly scary reminder of the foreign challenges that our elected leaders face.

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

Keep The 9!

During the 2020 Presidential campaign, there was escalating talk of potentially adding Supreme Court Justice seats, and while President Biden has made no indication of actually doing that, Kelly is nevertheless taking the initiative. He’s joined by fellow Dakotan and under-45er Dusty Johnson in introducing a bill that would constitutionally limit the number of Supreme Court Justices to nine. While he remarked that the bill didn’t have much of a chance, Kelly said the message it sends is what counts. He and his fellow GOP lawmakers took to the capitol steps for video messages in support of their effort to “Keep The Nine!”

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

On The I.R. List

Many folks know Dan by his signature eyepatch, an identifier he did not choose to take home from his several combat deployments as a Navy SEAL. Last week, Dan issued a statement saying that he was heading in for emergency surgery to correct a detaching retina in his other eye. He reminded folks that his other eye is not his “good eye” but rather “half a good eye” as both eyes suffered serious damage in the 2012 roadside blast. The surgery will render him blind for about a month during which he “will be off the grid.” It sounds like a seriously precarious situation but leave it to a SEAL to remind us “I’ve gotten through worse and I’ll get through this.” We’re rooting for a fast and healthy recovery, Dan!

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

Show Me The Money!

The sports world was buzzing this week over Anthony, and not because the former Colts’ wide receiver has decided to suit up in pads again. Quite the contrary, in saying he liked his job in congress more than he liked playing in the NFL, he also said that he’s finally ready to introduce a long-teased bill that would clear the way for collegiate athletes to earn money. To be clear, Anthony is not for colleges paying the kids. Rather, he wants to help athletes protect their name and likeness, allowing them to earn money that way. The colleges and universities certain do, and he believes this will help discourage under the table payments. This has long been a thorny issue, and if Anthony can get bipartisan support, this could be a gamechanger.

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

Don’t Scam The Seniors

Trey had cause to celebrate this week as the Senior Security Act passed the House with flying colors, seemingly a rarity these days. His bipartisan bill, which looks to protect seniors from financial predators, would create an individual task force inside the SEC to strengthen financial protections for senior citizens. Pensions and life-savings among seniors one of the most sought-after financial targets for scammers, and this new division would examine the growing issues and look for new ways to financially protect seniors and their finances. This seems like a worthy endeavor, especially if it means Nana has a little extra to spend on Xmas gifts!

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

Florida’s Crown Jewel

The Everglades…they’re ever-so beautiful and apparently ever-so in need of environmental repair. Brian has been leading the charge of the entire delegation of Florida Republican and Democratic Congresspeople to make sure water infrastructure isn’t shortchanged in this forthcoming infrastructure behemoth of a bill. Brian is continuing his urgence for “robust funding” in a recent op-ed, outlining why they must resume a stalled environment repair project on the everglades that would restore the natural flow of water in the glades, thus rejuvenating it’s fragile ecosystem—oh and create jobs. It’s not everyday you see Republicans so gung-ho about spendy environment projects, but perhaps this marks a shift in younger Republicans surrounding this issue?

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

I’m Comin’ For you Cuomo…Maybe!

On a recent Political Playlist Conversation, Author David Freedlander remarked that he thinks despite all the Cuomo controversy, the strong-willed governor can indeed win a fourth term. Elise might have something to say about it and appears to also have the cash to back it up. While she is still mulling over a Gubernatorial run, she has been raking in the dough, finishing last quarter fundraising with seven figures in the bank. And that PAC she started aimed at supporting female candidates is still going strong too. The money in politics is as robust as it’s ever been, either because passions are super high or that folks just don’t know what to do with the last of their covid stimulus checks.

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

Better Late Than Never

William joined several of his colleagues in writing a letter to UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield urging her and the Biden administration to hold China accountable for their egregious and increasing human rights violations against their own Uyghurs and Christians. The letter says China has no business being on the UN Human Rights Council and asks the administration to push for their rescission from it. These human rights violations did not just arrive out of the blue with the Biden Administration, and while it’s curious these human rights pleas were rather nonexistent during the previous administration, they are nonetheless the right thing to do and William is right to call for them, even if he’s a little late to the party.

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

Let’s Bust Some Big Tech!

Josh has long had his sights set on combating what he views as a dire lack-of-regulatory problem surrounding big tech so this week he introduced the Bust Up Big Tech Act, which he says restores accountability and competition to Big Tech. The bill would ban companies like Amazon from marketing their own goods alongside other sellers, would target cloud services provided to competitors, and strengthen antitrust enforcement to crack down on conglomerate mergers. No doubt, Josh’s got a bone to pick with Bezos, but is thwarting a potential monopoly going to have the intended effect, or is there some political clout to gain from staying tough on Big Tech? Or both?

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17

Let’s Add To It, Shall We?

Mondaire joined several influential Democratic colleagues in introducing legislation that would increase the number of Supreme Court Justices, something the Republicans are actively trying to thwart with their own legislation and the “Keep The Nine” campaign. The Judiciary Act of 2021 would expand the court to a total of 13 Justices, adding 4 more to the current 9. Mondaire’s reasoning is simple: “To restore power to the people, we must expand the Supreme Court.” With a 6-3 Conservative majority in the court, it’s no surprise this is an issue Dems are keen on, but the real question will be can it gain steam among the moderates and specifically, the President?

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

I’ll Have A Coke, Please

Nikema has been one the most vocal alarm raisers over the new Georgia voting laws that seem to be setting a new-norm among many Republican led state legislatures. She’s upped those calls to action by introducing the Stay In Line To Vote Act, a bill targeting voter suppression tactics. The legislation would explicitly allow food and drink to be provided to voters while standing in line, a direct counter-punch on Georgia’s new criminalization of the matter. Never one to mince words, Nikema said “Georgia may be the first Republican-controlled state legislature to restrict access to the ballot in response to last year’s voter turnout, but it will not be the last.” This is one of the only times we really hope she’s wrong. However, she so rarely is.

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

What The PILT?

There’s probably a lot that goes on “while Washington sleeps” in addition to “coming up with real solutions” which is what Lauren proclaimed she’s doing upon introducing the MORE PILT Act. Most local governments rely heavily on property tax revenue unless of course your local land is in fact federal land. They’re not exactly paying taxes, which is precisely where PILT comes in. Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) are literally payments made by the Feds to local governments to make up for lost tax revenue from large swaths of federal land. And Lauren’s new bill directs the government to study ways in which they can make these payments more in line with today’s current market value. No one is surprised that the Government isn’t up with the financial times. As for Washington after dark, who’s to say?

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

Shelter Vets

Editorials notwithstanding, it is an absolute travesty that any Veteran should go homeless in this country, and Tracey is working to make sure it doesn’t happen. Tracey, along with fellow under-45er Chris Pappas introduced the Affordable Housing For Homeless Veterans Act, which looks to increase the supply of affordable housing for vets, particularly in urban areas. A recent uptick in the number of homeless veterans, which currently hovers above 37,000 is frankly unacceptable, and Tracey’s new bill reauthorizes the VA Secretary to buy, sell, lease and donate property to Veterans as they see fit. Vote yes. Period. Full Stop.

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

Keep Your Friends Close

When it comes to Middle East foreign policy, the United States has no stronger, and admittedly trickier, ally than Israel so it’s important to tend to that relationship as much as possible. Andrew has introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill that looks to support the U.S.-Israel cybersecurity partnership by establishing grant funding to companies in either region who are working on the cutting edge of this next frontier. The goal, Andrew says, is to “ultimately develop more sophisticated cybersecurity technologies in order to thwart the next SolarWinds campaign.” And on the subject of combatting terrorism, Andrew just had his first bill pass the House, homeland security legislation that beefs up public transit security funding.

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

SchoolHouse Rock, Political Math Edition

So let’s talk politics, since at the end of the day, we’re a political platform. And specifically let’s talk math—in the House. Julia was officially sworn into office last week, which now brings the total number of House Republicans to 212, with House Democrats at 218. So what does this actually mean? Well, it means that the Democratic margin now shrinks to only TWO, and since a tie vote fails in the house, the Dems cannot lose more than two D’s on a particular vote otherwise the R’s can stop it! So while Julia’s election was significant in many ways, perhaps most consequential is its legislative potential. Julia says a core issue for her is Agriculture, so we’ll see in the coming weeks and months how she looks to use an infrastructure bill to forward that cause.