THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: More Than a Rainbow
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
Root Em Out
Pete has been at the forefront of making sure violent extremists don’t make their way into our military or, if they have, are rooted out effectively. He has introduced the Shielding Our Military from Extremist Act, a list of recommendations for the DoD to do so. In a hearing about this bill, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley didn’t commit fully to every recommendation in the bill, but they acknowledged the need to act in a swift and effective manner, beginning with a more robust screening process when individuals apply for military positions. Gen. Milley also made a notable statement that “A cohesive organization is a much greater combat multiplier than any machine or mechanical thing out there.”
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
More Than a Bottom Line
Biden’s 2022 Budget Proposal is the talk of the town amongst Republicans, most of whom claim it is going to tank the economy. Brendan had a slightly different interpretation in a statement he issued last week. “Our nation’s federal budget is more than a bottom line, it’s a statement of our values,” he said. He seemed to channel his inner Biden, declaring this a time to “go big and be bold”. The spending is going to be historic, but if you agree with Brendan, it will be worth it.
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
Break the Stigma
62% of LGBTQ+ youth report symptoms of a major depressive disorder at some point. Jared and his fellow Maine lawmakers are doing what they can to make sure this isn’t the case. Jared, along with Maine’s two Senators, Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I), and Rep. Chellie Prigree (D), joined forces with the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth. “This isn’t a political issue,” Jared said, “It’s a public health crisis”. The state has launched a campaign for May – National Mental Health Awareness Month – to break the stigma around mental health. When politicians can use their power and stature to come together around a worthy cause, we’re all for it!
Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)
Your Boy Andy
Andy has become a fan-favorite after his cleanup efforts after the Capitol attack went viral in January. He is also only one of 18 Asian-Americans in Congress who won a majority-white district that voted for Trump in 2016. Andy sat down for an interview with a local New Jersey news outlet to discuss his past career as a diplomat, how the birth of his sons inspired him to run for office, the unique position of Asian Americans in government, why his position on the Armed Services Committee is important to local military bases in his district, and more. If you’re a fan of Andy, take a look and learn about this impressive and relatively unknown member of Congress!
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
Joe the Builder
After wildfires ravaged many communities in Joe’s district, there has been a significant housing and therefore labor shortage in the area. On a tour of the state last week, Joe discussed fire recovery and the need to increase funding for affordable housing so that people can resettle safely. In addition to finding funding, Joe stressed the need for leaders from the communities to come together and brainstorm solutions. One interesting solution that Joe is planning to reintroduce is the Ski Area Fee Retention Act which would remit permit fees that ski areas pay back to the forests they’re in. This would help fund fire mitigation and forest rehabilitation projects. Time for Coloradans to get creative!
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
No Way, PFAS
Chris is leading the effort to limit discharges of PFAS – also ominously known as ‘forever chemicals’ – into drinking water supplies. Along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), he’s pushing the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act which would give the EPA deadlines to issue standards that polluters must meet before they discharge PFAS. The chemicals have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, immune system damage, and other health problems. And, not to freak you out, but they’ve been detected in the drinking water of 2,300 communities EVEN THOUGH thousands of manufacturers (mostly chemical, paper companies, tanneries, and rugmakers) can still legally discharge them. Whaaaat??
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
Don’t Block the Chain
To some, blockchain technology (a difficult-to-track system of digitally recording information) is a difficult concept to grasp. For Darren, it’s somewhat of a passion project. He’s reintroducing his proposal to create a Blockchain Center of Excellence in the Commerce Dept. that would “oversee all non-defense-related deployment and activities related to blockchain technology within the federal government”. He insists that keeping up with this technology is imperative to U.S. competitiveness and innovation. The Chamber of Digital Commerce supports the initiative, though the bill does not have any co-sponsors or a companion measure in the Senate yet. If this type of modernization in government speaks to you, call up your Rep. and tell them to throw Darren a bone!
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
Not So Fast
Eric swiftly filed a lawsuit against Trump and several allies for their role in the Jan. 6th riot at the Capitol. This week, Trump’s legal team submitted a 49-page filing urging the federal judge to dismiss the suit, claiming that the statements the former President made are beyond the court’s reach. Trump, his son, Rep. Mo Brooks and Rudy Giuliani, who all spoke at the rally before the riot, are the defendants. Their arguments center around Eric and his legal team not having the right to sue as the rhetoric was protected speech. Useful pursuit? Waste of time?
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
ACE in the Hole
Any woman who has ever taken the birth control pill knows the endless cycle of re-upping every 3 months. Now imagine, if you’re a veteran and not only dealing with the woes of daily life, but also the emotional burden that years of service might have caused. Lauren teamed up with a group of Democratic lawmakers, including fellow PP leader Conor Lamb (D-PA) to introduce the ACE Veterans Act which would give female veterans the option to receive a full year’s supply of contraceptives instead of just 3 months. Lauren writes that this simple step can improve health outcomes and lower costs for women who have served. Think she can get some GOP support on this one?
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
Did You Get the Memo?
As Republicans plot their path to take over the House, Jim, as head of the Republican Study Committee, has sent out a memo to Republicans to tie Biden’s agenda to inflation. The memo says to frame inflation as “Democrats’ hidden tax on the Middle Class” and provides a series of talking points. Notably, the memo also references Larry Summers, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, who warned in an op-ed that Biden’s stimulus package could “set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.” So, do you think this tactic is going to build the Republican support Jim and his cohort need in 2022?
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
While Matt eagerly awaits any charges in the recent sandal he’s been embroiled in, it appears his wits might not be all that sound. A journalist decided to play a prank on Matt and a handful of other notable conservatives by Tweeting them a picture of JFK’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald in a military uniform on Memorial Day. The journalist, Ken Klippenstein, claimed the man in the photo was his grandfather and asked for a retweet. Matt obliged and internet chaos unfolded. Now, do we blame Matt for not knowing that the picture was Oswald? Probably not. Is this just another unfortunate day for Gaetzy? Probably.
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
China has been on Lance’s radar for a long time. Now’s his time to shine as the recent information about the origins of the coronavirus are coming to light. After it was released that three workers from the Wuhan laboratory were hospitalized all the way back in Nov. 2019 (remember those times??), an old theory has re-emerged: the virus escaped from the laboratory. On Twitter, Lance laid out a timeline that pokes holes in Dr. Fauci’s position on the origin of the virus, noting that he was aware of the possibility of a lab leak all the way back in Jan. 2021, but dismissed it in April. With Biden now on board, there’s going to be an investigation, but you can be sure that Lance and other Republicans aren’t going to let this one slide.
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
All About the Long Term
Long term care for veterans can often get lost in the shuffle, but Dusty has cause to celebrate as his bipartisan bill to give Native veterans more vocational training just passed the House! The bill, introduced with fellow PP leader Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), extends the VetSuccess of Campus (VSOC) program to Tribal Colleges and Universities. It will also provide high-tech field training to ensure that veterans are placed in well-paying, long-term jobs. Next up – the Senate!
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
As airlines rebound from being battered by the coronavirus, there is a shortage of qualified aviation professionals to man and manage the planes (eek). Markwayne is co-sponsoring a bill that will help shape a new generation of pilots, engineers, and other technicians by improving aviation curriculum, allow for more economic and safety data research, enable more opportunity for apprenticeships, and help military veterans work in the industry. Interestingly, taxpayer dollars would not be used to fund the initiative, but rather a contribution from the aviation trust fund (didn’t know that was a thing) which comes from those pesky fees you pay on each flight. At least they’re going to good use!
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
Start it Up!
Anyone who has ever started a company knows how many hoops there are to just get things off the ground. Brian is trying to relieve some of that with his new bill – the Helping Startups Continue to Grow Act. The bill would streamline reporting requirements for new companies so they can focus on growing the company as opposed to navigating endless government regulations. Working with co-sponsor and fellow PP leader, Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN), Brian hopes that this bill will address the fact that most young companies do not have the revenue to keep up with compliance costs after they’ve graduated from EGC status (basically, baby startup to bigger startup). Are you an entrepreneur? Looks like Brian is trying to make your life a bit easier!
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
Racking ‘Em Up
Lee’s campaign for NY Governor is on a tear recently – racking up endorsements from members of Congress and now, the former GOP nominee who ran against Cuomo in 2018, Marc Molinaro. Despite the race being more than a year away (and Cuomo not even officially announcing if he’s running yet), Lee seems to have the GOP nomination on lockdown. There are other folks who have thrown their hat in the ring, but it’s unclear if anyone can stop the train Lee seems to be gliding forward on now. If you’re a fan of Lee, you’re a fan of this news, though we also hope he remembers to do his job in Congress despite all the hoopla!
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
ICYMI – the Senate voted down a measure to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6th attacks on the Capitol. Kyrsten, despite her vocal support for the measure, ended up missing the vote for “a personal family matter”. Her absence was felt due to her continuing support for the Senate filibuster, which requires two-thirds support from the Senate on some measures like this one. But the drama didn’t stop there, on Tuesday, Biden visited Tulsa to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and called out Kyrsten and her fellow moderate, Joe Manchin (D-WV), as to why he’s having trouble passing voting rights bills – “Because Biden only has… a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.” Battle lines drawn!
Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)
Bring in the Bus
Jake’s short tenure in Congress thus far has amounted to little fanfare… until now. Last week, progressive groups parked a giant billboard bus outside his district office in protest of Jake’s disagreement with Democratic leadership on how to best manage lowering drug costs for Americans. Pelosi’s proposal (which is supported by most in the Caucus) aims to let Medicare negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies and limit out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Jake, in response, was the lead author of a 10-Democrat letter arguing that the legislation needs to strike “a balance between innovation and affordability”, specifically noting the innovation of the Covid-19 vaccine. The progressive protestors are calling him out for being “a shill for pharmaceutical corporations”. Ouch.
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)
In His Honor
The process of naming Naval ships might seem like a routine one, but Sara is throwing a wrench in it in the name of diversity and proposing that a new ship be named after Telesforo Trinidad. Trinidad was a Filipino American sailor who received the Medal of Honor in 1915 after saving his crew members from onboard boiler explosions. In a statement, Sara said that Telesforo “was a hero and a history-maker, and as we celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanter Heritage Month, I am honored to lead the effort to encourage the Navy to name a ship after him.” If the Navy gets on board (get it??), the USS Telesforo Trinidad would be the first ship named for a sailor of Filipino descent.
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
Take a Punch, Draft a Bill
Madison came under criticism recently for, 1.) missing 15 House votes while he was on his honeymoon, the most of any freshman in Congress and, 2.) landing a spot on Biden’s list of Republicans who opposed the American Rescue Plan, but touted its benefits in their districts. However, he’s moved beyond the blows and has also introduced the ROBUST Act to Expand Rural Broadband. The bill aims to create more competition around rural broadband licenses and promote higher speed in rural areas. The solution is being proposed as the White House’s much larger infrastructure bill is also being negotiated.
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
While many of us scrolled through social media seeing stock photos of American flags and war heroes, Peter had a much more pointed message this past Memorial Day. In addition to honoring those who have served our country (he would be included in that group as a former Army officer and conflict analyst), he took harsh aim at those “who take this sacrifice for granted, waxing patriotic while salivating for a civil war.” The words, presumably meant for ardent Trump supporters who have vocally called for secession from the U.S. Peter has come under harsh criticism as one of the few Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment, but it’s clear he’s not giving in. To his critics, he wrote, “Those treacherous snakes can go straight to hell.”
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
Keep your ears open for the Republican mantra soon to come – Biden’s budget policies are causing extreme inflation. Jake has joined the chorus, tweeting out a chart of American commodities and their relative inflation from May 2020 to May 2021. Highest among them are lumber (a whopping 318.6%), gas (71.8%), and sugar (54.5%). Jake, like his colleagues, is hammering down on the trillions of dollars that the government has spent to recover from the pandemic and the effect that astronomical amount of money is having on the country’s inflation which can have severe economic backlash if not managed properly. Have the price hikes hit you yet?
Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)
Early this past Monday morning, Nancy’s home was vandalized. What seem to be ‘pro-labor’ protesters spray painted her front steps and the sidewalk outside her house with phrases like “no gods no masters”, “all politicians are bastards”, and “f**k you Nancy”. One other area was painted with “Pass the Pro Act”, which refers to a measure that would impose penalties on companies that violate labor laws. Nancy, expectedly as a Republican, favors ‘right to work’ laws, not organized labor. Regardless of politics, Nancy lives in her home alone with her two children and this is another unfortunate reminder of how divisive and sometimes scary our country has become.
Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)
Stars and Stripes
In addition to making it on Biden’s ‘list’ of Republicans who opposed the American Rescue Plan but have been touting its benefits to their districts, Nicole has had another issue on her mind – flags. She and a group of House Republicans, including fellow PP leaders Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Brian Mast (R-FL), introduced the Stars and Stripes Act of 2021 which would direct the Sec. of State to restrict certain flags or banners at diplomatic posts around the world. The bill comes in direct response to Sec. Antony Blinken’s recent authorization and encouragement of U.S. embassies overseas flying Black Lives Matter flags. If you take a vacation abroad this summer, check out the U.S. embassy and see what’s hanging outside.
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
It’ll Be Good, I Promise!
70% of Georgians believe climate change is happening and 61% of Georgians are worried about it. Jon won his Senate seat by a razor thin margin, but it appears the numbers when it comes to green energy are on his side. Unlike many others who might occupy a similarly vulnerable political position, he is not shying away from making big proposals to address the climate. In Georgia specifically, he sees two opportunities in deep-red parts of the state – one is solar panel production (located, ironically, in hyper-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s district) and the other is an electric vehicle battery manufacturing factory. Climate change, among young Americans, is a bipartisan issue so we’re happy to see Jon putting politics aside and taking a stab at a better future.
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Eye Spy China
China is a hot issue and many politicians have been critical regarding misleading data and information that comes out of the country. Colin, along with PP leader Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Haley Stevens (D-MI) introduced a bill that would establish a China Economic Data Coordination Center within the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce. The Documenting Adversarial Trade Aggression (DATA) Act would serve as a one-stop shop for information on China’s economic health and would collect data on China’s financial markets to analyze the United States’ exposure to risks and vulnerabilities in China’s financial system. DATA DUMP!
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
You Ghosted Me
Sadly, many of us remember hearing stories of fraud related to PPP loans and other fraudulent acts throughout the pandemic. While some of these programs have been a lifeline for others, there was over $1 million fraudulently taken out in the names of Sharice’s constituents. In a conference hearing, Sharice pressed the Small Business Administrator, Isabel Casillas Guzman, for answers and mentioned she raised these concerns in February 2021 and still has not heard a response. Note to self: don’t ghost Sharice – she’ll follow up!
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Break the Outbreaks
Over the last week, many politicians have been calling on an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak. Conor introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at holding foreign nations accountable with respect to outbreaks of virus and disease. The Never Again International Outbreak Prevention Act would require a formal investigation of the World Health Organization’s response to COVID-19, and it would also require President Biden to work with G-20 leaders to create a report with respect to the virus. In an effort to curb misleading information, the act will strip countries of their sovereign immunity if they send out false information. Anything to stop another pandemic!
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
Skeletons Come Out
The former mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, became the new U.S. Labor Secretary under the Biden administration. One of his last acts as mayor was promoting Dennis White to be the Boston Police Commissioner. Days later a decade-old allegation broke about domestic violence accusations related to White and he was put on administrative leave. White denies these claims and Walsh potentially did as well before promoting him. Seth, therefore, is calling for Walsh to resign. As Seth puts it, if Walsh was aware of these allegations and still promoted White then he should resign. Is Seth setting an admirable standard or jumping the gun?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)
You know our politics is in a fragile state when one Congresswoman is considering a restraining order against another Congresswoman. Senior Democrats are discussing whether AOC could seek a restraining order against Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Some might recall MTG chasing AOC down a hallway in the Capitol, shouting across the House floor at her and even old videos of her harassing AOC staffers and vandalizing AOC’s guest book in front of her office. Is this really the level we are stooping to in our country? That an elected official cannot even feel safe amongst her colleagues? Yeesh…
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
Purple Star Families Week
More than 20 veterans die from suicide EACH DAY. Between 2005-2007, more veterans died from suicide than the total number of U.S. troops who were killed in wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Abigail, along with PP Leader, Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), introduced a bipartisan resolution to establish a Purple Star Families Week to honor the sacrifice of families who have lost a loved one to veteran suicide. The resolution would establish September 19-25 as Purple Star Families Week to help raise awareness. This seems like an easy resolution to get behind and bring that number down.
Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)
Rashida, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, recently called attention to Big Tech and the censoring of Palestinian political speech. The Big Four – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter – had various censorship policies for Palestinian political speech resulting in post takedowns, hiding hashtags, and disabling user accounts. Tech companies are closely watched during conflicts and how messaging/images can trigger national and/or international movements. Rashida’s letter to the big Tech companies is an effort to seek clarification on whether these are human moderators versus automated systems making these decisions. Time to question those bots!
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
In our last newsletter we brought to light the dangers of ransomware and the need for more cybersecurity. There are many politicians on the Political Playlist platform that are working together to bring more legislation related to these attacks. For the last two years Mike has served as co-Chairman of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a panel created to write a “cyber-doctrine” to better shield the U.S. from these attacks. As Mike puts it, the first thing to do is improve their interactions with private industry. Mike wrote an op-ed outlining his plan and one thing is for sure – partnership with loathed Big Tech seems more than necessary.
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
The Power of Silence
For anyone who has a child, school safety is a top priority and with a history of terrible school shootings it is even more important that we keep our schools safe. Jaime introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at increasing safety of schools across Southwest Washington. The bill would expand schools’ access to resource officers and allow silent panic alarms to be installed that would immediately alert law enforcement. Get those silent panic alarms installed ASAP!
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)
Front of the Line
The U.S. plans to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, but since 2002, the U.S. government has employed thousands of Afghan men and women to serve alongside U.S. troops, diplomats, and other government employees. Unfortunately for many of these people, they have become targets of various attacks from the Taliban, ISIS, and other terrorist groups. Congress created the Special Immigrant Visas program to provide safe passage to the U.S. for those who helped American forces, but there have been delays in the processing and serious backlog of cases. Adam introduced bipartisan legislation, the Afghan Allies Protection Act, to authorize 4,000 new Special Immigrant Visas for these Afghan partners. In this case, special treatment seems more than reasonable.
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
An Apple a Day Keeps the Fauci Away
Guy is not a fan of Dr. Fauci. Last week he stated that Dr. Fauci has been “wrong over and over again” with his response and recommendations during COVID-19 and he should be fired or resign from his job. Guy took it a step further and said “He is either grossly incompetent or he has been lying to the American people the whole time. Look, I am a lawyer; I am not a scientist. But just look at the evidence.” There undoubtedly has been mixed messaging over the last year when it comes to our public safety and this begs the larger question – at what post-pandemic point are we going to look back on the process and decide where criticism is due?
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
From the Border to the Courts
The immigration crisis is one of the most talked about issues for the Biden administration. Greg appeared recently on Newsmax to voice his opinion and said, “the attorney generals of each state need to start filing lawsuits against the Biden administration, and I know it takes time, but eventually those cases will get to the U.S. Supreme Court and then be able to reverse some of the completely unconstitutional actions that are happening from our administration.” Greg is referring to a series of executive orders Biden issued to chart a more open border path for immigration. As we have seen states follow suit when it comes to other issues, like voting or guns, do you think we will see the same related to immigration issues? And if so, do you think this is the best path forward?
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
Gimme the Memo
Over a month ago, the Department of Defense was required, by law, to release a report that identifies Chinese military companies operating in the United States. Tom and a host of bipartisan colleagues, including PP leaders Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI), wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking why the report has been delayed and demanding it be released ASAP. “The U.S. government must continue to act boldly in blocking the Chinese Communist Party’s economic predation against our industrial base,” they urged. Tom has always been focused on China issues and continuing to limit their power in the U.S. and worldwide, but these leaders bring up a good point, what is the hold up with the report?
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
An Investment in the Cyber Future
Here at Political Playlist, we’ve found that the issues of cybersecurity and defending against ransomware is an issue that young leaders are closely aligned on. Most recently, the Colonial Pipeline hack showed why we need more investment in cybersecurity. Ritchie urged Biden to add $100 million into his infrastructure proposal for cybersecurity training for workers AND to include another $500 million in grants for states and localities to invest in cybersecurity. These are some big numbers, but also one of our largest issues facing the future. Would you align with Ritchie on these requests?
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
Student Athlete 2.0
In our recent conversation with PP leader Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) he mentioned that there were other bills coming to Congress related to college athletes. Jamaal introduced new legislation – with other Democrats – called the College Athlete Right to Organize Act, which provides collective bargaining rights for college athletes. This will allow college athletes to be defined as an employee of their college if they receive direct compensation in the form of grants or other scholarships. This begs the question – when we have multiple bills around the same issue proposed in Congress how do we find common ground?
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
Reform and Intervene
Cori is a champion of gun safety and finding reforms. As a representative that oversees St. Louis, she stated that this year alone there have been 73 homicides in a population of less than 300,000. This has left a traumatic impact on the residents of St. Louis and it has mostly affected Black and Brown communities. At the House Judiciary Subcommittee, Cori spoke about “community-based solutions,” which focused more on community-based intervention programs. Ideally, these programs will help people released from incarceration safely transition back into the community. From these community solutions to permitless gun purchases in Texas – the polarizing issue of guns isn’t going anywhere.
David Valadao (R; CA-21)
A Different Border Conflict
Earlier this year, Biden was the first U.S. president to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Lately, there have been ongoing aggressions on the international border between Azerbaijan and Armenia. David serves on the Congressional committee on Armenian issues which released a letter saying they are working with the Biden administration to ensure sanctions to end the fighting but so far, the Biden administration has ignored requests to restrict military aid to Azerbaijan. In the meantime, there have been nearly 200 Armenian POWs who have been tortured or killed by Azerbaijan forces. Global issues like this can slip through the cracks, but rest assured there is a group in Congress tackling it as we speak.
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
Build America Back
Kat joined many of her Republican colleagues in speaking about the danger of the U.S. dependence on Chinese products and supply chains. In an op-ed, Kat explained how we saw this firsthand during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected supply chains on a federal, state, and local level. More importantly, this showed Kat that our supply chains are entirely dependent on a nation that does not share our values. As she wrote, China is playing the long game so WE need to start playing the long game. We’re glad she phrased it that way because Washington can often seem short-term focused when the long-term is what will win out!
Byron Donalds (R; FL-19)
Florida Election Facelift
Byron had an interview with the New York Times to discuss election integrity and reform measures recently passed in Florida. Byron believes these new laws will inspire renewed confidence in the election process. More specifically, he thinks getting rid of ballot harvesting and tightening up the process of getting mail-in ballots will make elections more secure. As Byron stated that Florida had the most secure elections, the reporter pushed back on why stricter voting laws were needed. Byron responded with a pointed answer regarding the REST of the country that needs to shape up. Do you think restoring confidence in the election process is needed?
Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)
Ashley, along with her Iowan colleagues are urging Biden to uphold his promise and support biofuels. This comes on the heels of his new infrastructure bill that allocates $174 billion to subsidize electric vehicles, but barely mentions the biofuel industry. Just a day before, Ashley introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the biodiesel tax credit. The Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension of 2021 will help provide certainty for Iowan biofuel producers and focus on increasing the use of biofuels as a reliable and clean energy source. Could this sometimes-forgotten source of renewable energy make a comeback thanks to Ashley?
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
Indiana’s unemployment rate has recovered to ~3.9%, but the private sector employment is still ~118,000 below its December 2019 peak. Victoria pointed to these numbers as businesses are struggling to find qualified workers to fill vacancies. Victoria hosted a roundtable discussion with various workforce development providers to highlight the challenges in filling these job openings. Like many other Republicans, Victoria is calling on the state and federal government to stop incentivizing people not to work with enhanced unemployment benefits. The list of states stopping unemployment benefits in June has reached 25! Do you agree with them?
Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)
Bipartisan Border Bill… Whaaaat?
Almost over a month ago, Tony introduced the Bipartisan Border Solution Act, with fellow PP leader Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and it is finally picking up some steam. It is the only bicameral, bipartisan legislation that responds to the surge in migrants at the southern border and has now garnered support from immigration groups, elected officials, and business organizations. Various organizations in support released comments and stressed the urgency for its passage. Additionally, Tony urged Biden to ease travel restrictions and closures on the land ports of entry along the U.S. and Mexico border. As Tony said, it is time to get back to normalcy and recover economically. Amen!
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
Tent, Boots, Water, Backpack – Check
Blake is at it again – making the outdoors better for us all. He wants to make sure there are no barriers to outdoor recreation on federal lands. The bipartisan Recreation Not Red-Tape Act would require the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to review and simplify their permitting process for guides and recreational enthusiasts. It would also encourage the U.S. military services to inform service members and veterans of the outdoor activities. Under Blakes proposal it would require federal agencies to prioritize outdoor recreation and address the backlog of maintenance work needed on private lands. Get those hiking boots ready!
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
That Costs How Much??
While border security and immigration reform are a top issue, many are unaware of the financial implications it has on various border cities. August found out that a hospital in one of his districts, the Midland Memorial Hospital, has treated 40+ illegal immigrant minors for a range of issues from COVID, pregnancy, suicide attempts, etc. The total cost has been more than $200,000 and has not been reimbursed from the Department of Health and Human Services. How many other hospitals are in the same position? And more importantly – does August have a plan to fix it?
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA-44)
Driving To The “40” Yard Line
When Nanette sat down for a recent Political Playlist Conversation with co-founder Anna Musky-Goldwyn, the Congresswoman spoke of the deep importance for environmental justice within disadvantaged communities like many of the ones in her district. For example, Latinos are 165 percent more likely to live in areas with unhealthy air pollution and water systems. So, as the Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Nanette and her colleagues have drafted a series of recommendations on President Biden’s Justice40 Intuitive, which plans to deliver 40 percent of climate investments to disadvantaged communities. One thing is certain, and that is Nanette’s commitment to quite literally improving the lives of her constituents.
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
Halt And Catch Covid
Colorado has seen recent upticks in Covid cases and one of those reasons has to do with the high number of Immigration detainee facility transfers throughout the state. Jason and many others call many of these transfers unnecessary, which is why he’s reintroduced the End Transfer of Detained Immigrants Act. The bicameral bill would immediately halt ICE from transferring detainees between facilities during Covid, which experts say will slow the spread both within these facilities as well as among the workforce that staffs them. It’s easier now to momentarily forget about the pandemic at the sight of more mask-less crowds in public but the truth is the virus still poses a big threat to many.
Keep That Lyme Out Of My Cocktail
Summer is upon us, and for those in rural areas, that means one thing: more ticks! This week, Antonio joined fellow under-45er Lee Zeldin (R-NY) in introducing the Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act. The bipartisan bill looks to raise funds for the continued search for a cure to Lyme disease, which has proved shockingly elusive for doctors and scientists. The disease, which is often hard to properly test and diagnose, is particularly prevalent in rural, wooded areas like those in upstate New York. While New York has the highest case rates, it is found in all 50 states, and this bill would create a postage stamp from which proceeds would go to the NIH for further research. Sounds like a creative way to juice the budget for a good cause.
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
There is overwhelming evidence that shows kindergarten programs improve kids’ social and emotional development, and yet, only 17 states require school districts to offer full-day kindergarten. Ruben is setting out to change that with the Universal Full-Day Kindergarten Act, which looks to make the, critical early, schooling full day in all 50 states. As it currently stands, approximately 40 percent of kids are left without full-day kindergarten and this is especially true for low-income communities of color. Ruben has the support of fellow Under-45ers Sara Jacobs (D-CA) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY), who are co-sponsoring the bill, which would create a grant program to help states offset the costs, as well as create accountability through annual reporting. Most of us probably don’t remember much about kindergarten, but we do remember that we went—and that needs to be true for everyone.
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
We Need More Water Buckets!
Anyone who lives in California knows all too well about the dangers of wildfires and anyone who doesn’t has probably seen them on the news. Josh reintroduced the Wildfire Emergency Act, which seeks to reduce fire risk, protect critical infrastructure and train new fire professionals. This includes authorizing funding to the tune of $250 million over 5 years to projects dedicated to 100,000+ acre forests in need of weatherization and restoration. It also includes $100 million to help critical facilities like hospitals and police stations become energy efficient to better function during power shutoffs. Josh put it bluntly saying “when every year is ‘the worst fire year on record’ we have to do something real to address wildfire safety.” And since Political Playlist began in California, we can only add our applause to this.
Ro Khanna (D; CA-49)
The federal government is the largest employer in the country, so it would make sense that our investment in its cybersecurity programs should reflect that. And yet, our capabilities in this area seem to be falling short. Ro is picking up that slack by introducing a bipartisan bill, along with fellow Under-45er Nancy Mace (R-SC) that looks to bolster our cybersecurity workforce in order to better meet the threats we face today. Essentially, the program cycles its cyber experts through a rotation across a number of different agencies facing various cyber threats, all with the expressed goal of furthering their understanding of the digitally hostile landscapes. Ro has long been a vocal advocate for beefing up our cyber defenses, and it seems he’s found the perfect partner to work with across the aisle.
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
School’s Out, Meals IN
One of the devastating realities of the Covid school closures is that it revealed just how many children rely on school meals as a primary source of food. Thankfully, Mike is looking to change all that with the Stop Child Hunger Act, a sweeping bicameral bill that looks to help provide meals while schools are closed. Currently, the number of students eligible for free or reduced priced meals is a staggering 29.6 million. Under Mike’s bill, eligible families would receive an EBT card to help provide meals when school is out of session for the summer as well as other winter and holiday breaks. No details about the cost of this proposal were announced but it may not be possible to really put a price tag on feeding our children.
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Stephanie reintroduced bipartisan legislation to study the effects of active shooter drills in schools, and this is not her first time out of the gate with this. She first introduced this bill during the last Congress and it cleared committee as part of the 2021 fiscal spending bill, but ultimately failed to muster the support in the Senate. The legislation authorizes the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine to allocate $1 million towards examining the possible mental health effects of students K-12 participating in drills. There is much anecdotal evidence to support this including that the majority of American teens say they are worried about the possibility of a school shooting. The fate of this bill remains to be seen but what is clear is Stephanie’s dogged pursuit of delivering to her constituents.
Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)
Oh Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Back in the day, and we’re talking the 1798 day, there were a series of acts called the Alien Enemies Act, which targeted immigrants under the guise of war. Ilhan, one of the more outspoken members of Congress when it comes to immigration, reintroduced the Neighbors Not Enemies Act, which looks to repeal those centuries-old laws. And it was precisely this law which allowed the previous administration to issue the Muslim ban. Ilhan called the xenophobic law “dangerous and outdated” because of the broad authority it gives a President to discriminate religion, ethnicity, or national origin. The bill has a long list of democratic co-sponsors and an even longer list of advocacy support groups. The list of Republicans supporting this bill, however, remains at zero.
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
This Old Law Is The Pits!
If you aren’t a Veteran then you’d be forgiven if you weren’t aware of the alarming escalation of health issues among Vets surrounding toxic exposures from burn pits. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and in war zones, that’s unfortunately how you get rid of everything—and we mean everything. Unfortunately, the VA has outdated laws surrounding healthcare eligibility for this issue, and Elissa is one of the Congressional leaders throwing their support behind a new bill to change that. She took to Twitter to speak of her first-hand experience with burn pits, having served three CIA tours in Iraq. The Honoring Our PACT Act seeks to help make sure that when Soldiers pledge their commitment to service, the US pledges their back.
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
A Happy American Is An Insured American
Haley has been a vocal supporter of Medicare expansion and joined a growing number of Democratic colleagues urging the White House to take action. Currently, eligibility starts at age 65, but many are pushing to lower that age requirement, citing the startling state of unemployment and other job complications as a result of this pandemic. And given that, Haley stressed that “it has never been more important that American families and workers have peace of mind that their health coverage is affordable and secure.” Specifically, she’s pushing to lower the eligibility age, improve benefits like dental, vision and hearing, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. Welp, I’m sure our parents dig this one!
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
Catch It Quick!
As we reckon with the realities of a rapidly shifting climate, technological advancements in carbon capture have become a popular method to combat it. Kelly sees the benefits of that and has joined a bipartisan coalition in introducing the CATCH Act. The bill fills some remaining policy gaps in the field by boosting the carbon capture tax credit for industrial facilities and power plants. The idea is that the credit helps reinvest into further technological developments and innovation. Kelly celebrated the bipartisan victory by saying “North Dakota’s energy producers are leaders in carbon capture and this bill helps the country follow our lead.” To that, we say, lead on Kelly!
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
Keep Houston Dry
Dan penned a strong letter to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge urging for the immediate approval of an Action Plan that would help a flood control project in his district. Specifically, Land Commissioner George P. Bush (Son of Jeb) is requesting $750 Million for the project, to which Dan stressed how critical this work is to the Houston area. If you recall, Houston suffered devastating floods in recent years, and this would be a sizable step toward preventing future disasters. This is all to say that Dan has returned to work from the emergency eye surgery he had. When asked about returning to his official duties in Congress, only a former Navy SEAL could sum it up best by saying “even a blind knuckle-dragger can do committee hearings.” Hooyah!
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
Muzzled While You Work
In today’s Republican party, if you speak out against the former President, it’s sadly only a matter of time before you get censured. That’s precisely what happened to Anthony this week, as his State’s party tried to slap the ol’ Hannibal Lector mask on the former NFL-er, proverbially, of course. Yet, that didn’t stop Anthony from plowing through to business. He reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral Policing Bill that looks to improve law enforcement training for mental health situational response. The bill authorizes funds for grants that Officers can apply for to receive specialized training in how to better interact and de-escalate situations with individuals with mental health. This looks to be a widely supported piece of legislation so we’ll be eagerly watching to see if Anthony can get a Win here.
Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)
One of the fascinating things that Political Playlist has discovered is how this new generation of Congressional Leaders has stepped outside of many traditional ideological positions on various policies and one of those areas is Climate. Trey has been one of the most moderate Republicans on this issue and has worked with Democrats in introducing a lot of bipartisan legislation. He has also stressed the importance of including farmers in the solution to combating climate change. “They’ve been on the front lines for decades,” Trey said at a recent climate panel held with his two State’s Senators. From establishing carbon credit markets to encouraging green hydrogen production, agriculture is at the core of all Trey’s climate policies and for good reason!
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
Go Ahead, Bill Me!
The Federal Government has long been a wealth of contradictions and inefficiencies, and this week, Brian found himself in an amusing moment where the Government’s right hand seemed to forget what it’s left hand was up to. As of May 13, 2021, CDC guidance states that fully vaccinated people can now go maskless indoors. And yet, as Brian descended onto the House Floor sans facial covering, he was greeted with a $500 fine for doing so. House rules still stipulate mask requirements. Brian has appealed the fine, stating that he’s fully vaccinated and strictly followed the science in accordance with CDC guidelines thereby not in any violation. But he didn’t miss a moment to elbow back, saying “it was the best $500 I ever spent.”
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
Let’s Repurpose, Shall We?
Having skyrocketed to the number 3 slot of the GOP, Elise is now getting almost as much media attention as Ben and JLo, but that hasn’t stopped her from legislating. This week, she introduced the Family Child Care Networks Act, which would allow states to repurpose funds from the American Rescue Plan and use them to establish Family Child Care Networks. Experts say these networks are a proven solution that creates child care providers in communities where options for working families are limited or non-existent. Elise points to the American Rescue Plan’s unspent dollars coupled with its failure to address long term issues as the key reason for this legislation. Perhaps with Elise’s new political firepower, she can get some movement on this issue.
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
Let The Dice Start Rolling!
The Catawba Indian Nation has long sought the completion of a Casino enterprise and given that their state of South Carolina doesn’t allow gambling, they instead sought land in North Carolina, to which they also retain ancestral ties. That proposed endeavor took a step closer to fruition after William lent his support to a piece of legislation called the Catawba Indian Nation Land Act. It passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee, and would ratify a move done under the Trump Administration that issued 16 acres of land to the tribe. Why, you ask, would a South Carolinian Representative be in favor of this? The proposed casino project will spend $273 million in construction and that means jobs.
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
Friends Like These
It’s no secret that Josh isn’t the most well-liked member in the Senate class, yet he was definitely feelin’ some love from his frenemies this week. Josh introduced a bill to declassify intelligence related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in an effort to understand the true origins of Covid, and the Senate unanimously passed it. After we catch our breath at that atypical occurrence, it’s important to give context here. President Biden has directed the Intelligence community to step up their efforts in tracing the virus’s origins. Josh has been one of the leading critics of not only China’s handling of the outbreak but also the possible—and in his view likely—origins of it. Josh isn’t buying the Institute’s vehement claims of irresponsibility, and now he’ll be armed with some more intel to get to the bottom of it.
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
Top Of The Class
Mondaire got a nice pat on the back this week, being named the most active freshman Congressman so far, in an analysis report by Axios. By the numbers, Mondaire has introduced or sponsored more than 278 pieces of legislation in only 140 days. He beat the previously held legislative record by more than 60. Among his bills include the SALT Deductibility Act, which would restore state and local tax deductions to levels prior to the Trump Tax plan, the Universal Child Care Act, which has been a signature issue for him so far, and the Juror Non-Discrimination Act, which more formally prohibits LGBT discrimination among jury selection. Suffice it to say that Mondaire is off to the races and reflecting on that, he said. “My team and I have wasted no time in getting to work for the people… but our work has only begun.”
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
Registration To Go
The pandemic sadly brought about a lot of change in housing situations for many low-income people, and with the surge in new, stricter voting laws in many Republican controlled states, the very practice of registering to vote has become a lot harder. Nikema is working to change that by introducing the Voters on the Move Registration Act, which makes it easier for people to register to vote as they change residences. It builds off her amendment to the For The People Act, which successfully passed the House, and would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue voter registration guidelines to residents in federally assisted rental housing. Nikema knows well the myriad voter suppression techniques in her state, and this bill looks to punch back with simple information.
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
A Brewing Storm?
In Lauren’s case, that could be a number of things, but this week that revolves around the installation and integration of a new weather radar system in her district, or rather, the unexplained delay in one. Lauren joined several colleagues in writing a letter to the Director of the Nation Weather Service requesting an explanation for the delay in integrating the new San Luis Valley Radar’s data into the national system. After the $1.8 million construction of the system, Lauren is citing unnecessary bureaucratic delays and urging for immediate integration of the data so that local farmers and businesses can gain what she says is critically important access to it.
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
You might not know this but back in 2018-2019, Tracey was the lieutenant governor of Kansas under then-Governor Jeff Colyer. Now, Colyer is running for the spot again against current Gov. Laura Kelly (D) and just picked up the endorsement of his old pal Tracey. Tracey believes that Colyer is the best man for the job, specifically on agricultural issues in the state. “Gov. Colyer is a conservative fighter who puts Kansas Republicans in the best position to get a conservative back in Cedar Crest,” Tracey said of his friend. One thing is for sure – the GOP in Kansas really wants that governorship back and it’s gonna be a real race to see who wins the nomination.
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
Andrew is the type of low-key hustler who doesn’t get the big media coverage and is exactly why we started Political Playlist. He’s a grinder who gets stuff done. This week, he introduced immigration legislation that would enhance the screening for sponsors who take custody of unaccompanied minors coming across the border. One of the growing problems in our immigration system is the use of false sponsors by domestic gangs in order to smuggle children into the country and use as prime gang recruitment. Andrew noted that “on Long Island, MS-13 has deployed these sinister recruitment schemes to target children who are young and alone.” His bill would include stepping up criminal record checks, more consultation with Law Enforcement, and more information sharing between government agencies. When it comes to a child’s safety, it’s safe to say there’s no such thing as trying to be too safe.
Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)
You’ve Got Broadband—Maybe
Julia is off to a fast start following her special election and has joined fellow House Agriculture Republicans in introducing the Broadband For Rural America Act. The bill is one of several proposals they’ve submitted to be included in what ultimately becomes the Infrastructure Bill. With a surprising number of rural communities still lacking adequate broadband in their homes, this legislation would authorize $7 billion for USDA broadband connectivity programs. She cited an FCC tally of at least 350,000 homes in Louisiana alone lack broadband, with many of them falling in her district. It remains to be seen what exactly will ultimately pass, but it’s clear broadband connectivity is seemingly bringing both sides of the aisle together. Fingers crossed.