THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: Out With the Old, In With the MAGA
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Let Them Leave
Colin was the first member of Congress to take paternity leave and now, he’s at it again – working and voting from home after the birth of his second child. He also makes sure that every member of his staff can take three months of leave after they have a child. Now, he wants to make that a reality for the rest of the country. But he’s been clear – this isn’t a liberal pipe-dream. In fact, Colin represents a swing district and is banking on bipartisan support for paid family leave. The stats are behind him – in swing districts 67% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats support paid leave. Who else is behind him? The White House – time to bring in the big boys around an important issue indeed!
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
Not Holding Back
Redistricting is a hot button issue, but most state legislatures at least like to make it SEEM like they’re drawing fair lines. However, after the 2020 Census numbers were released, former Kansas Senate President, Susan Wagle, a Republican, did not mince words about her party’s goal. “That takes out Sharice Davids up in the 3rd. We can do that. I guarantee you, we can draw four Republican maps,” she said. Kansas has four seats in Congress, Sharice is the only Democrat, and clearly Republicans are after her with plans to redraw the maps more in their favor. Sharice’s campaign obviously jumped on this comment and accused the GOP of corruption. Let this be your friendly reminder that state politics matter!
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Rumors No More?
Rumors about Conor launching a possible run for Senate had been swirling but largely unconfirmed. Now, he’s been raking in money and holding large-dollar fundraisers, pointing to the plain and simple fact that the rumors were probably true. But entering the race for a PA Senate seat won’t be simple. The other Democratic candidate gaining traction right now is a much more progressive lawmaker, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman – a stark contrast to Conor’s much more moderate tone and ideology. Additionally, if he doesn’t run for the House again, Democrats will have a tough time finding a candidate who could win the swing district. However, with PA losing one seat, the fate of the 17th district might already be sealed. Takeaway? Stay tuned!
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
Taking Care to Take Care
Veterans in Congress tend to band together around issues that hit close to home. This is the case for a recent piece of legislation that Seth is partnering with colleague Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) to ensure that widows and widowers of fallen service members are financially taken care of. Currently, if a widow(er) remarries before turning 55, they’ll lose their Survivor Benefit plan and if they remarry before 57, they’ll lose their Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. This, Seth insists, isn’t right. “We owe a debt that cannot be repaid to Gold Star families. We must fix this for them,” he said. The proposed act would repeal the remarriage penalty and let families keep their benefits no matter what.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)
You Go, Joe!
AOC wasn’t always the biggest Biden fan, but after her and her allies continued to press the president on progressive issues, she issued him an A+ report in his first 100 days, saying that he has “exceeded progressives’ expectations”. The gold star prize thus far was the $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus and rescue package (notably passed without a single Republican vote). Though the package didn’t include a $15 minimum wage, it seems that AOC and other progressives see more of a champion in Biden than they expected. Good news for them and also, as we’re seeing, good news for Republicans who are beginning to label Biden as the left-wing President many of their supporters feared he’d be.
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
It Starts at the Farms
Abigail represents an agriculture-heavy district and has dutifully reported the impacts of climate change of farmers in her constituency. “American agriculture can – and must – be a part of the solution in addressing the threat of climate change,” she said in reference to her new bill with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), the Climate Stewardship Act, which is inspired by measures from FDR’s New Deal. It would provide tens of billions of dollars in investment in conservation programs, enroll an extra 40 million acres of environmentally sensitive land in the Conservation Reserve Program, triple funding to help farmers improve green farming practices, and more than double funding for agricultural research programs. The big price tag is sure to make conservatives balk, but with agriculture at the center of many districts across the country, we’re excited to see where this environment-forward legislation will go.
Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)
Dignity or Nothing
Rashida is one of the loudest progressive voices in Congress and after coming under fire for her comments about complete abolition of the police (see last week’s news), she’s using her megaphone again – this time literally. She joined a rally of striking McDonalds workers in her hometown of Detroit who are fighting for a $15/hour minimum wage. Holding a megaphone, Rashida backed the workers, insisting that they deserve human dignity in their work and that most American’s agree. The fight for a higher federal minimum wage is sure to continue in Congress, but these workers can be confident they have a fighter in Rashida. Check out the fiery video and see if Rashida’s messaging resonates with you!
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
What’s Better Than Endless?
Though Mike, like every other Republican, had some pointed criticism of the sweeping agenda Biden proposed in his national address last week, there is one area that he’s excited to throw some cash into – the technology sector. He’s a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act which would send $100 billion to advance tech research and development and expand the National Science Foundation and regional technology hubs. “The goal of the Endless Frontier Act is really to win the technological competition both when it comes to environmental technology, whether it’s carbon capture, whether it’s nuclear bioreactor technology or chips manufacturing,” he said. All of this, Mike insists, is how we beat China at their own game. Are you on board for an endless frontier?
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
The Other ‘Demic
One of the harshest repercussions of the COVID pandemic has been the increased substance abuse and overdoses. In the 12-month period before Sept. 2020, 90,000 Americans died – the highest number in a 12-month period ever recorded. Jaime is the co-chair of the Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, which met for the first time last week. In discussing a federal approach, an expert used Vermont’s ‘hub and spoke’ model where a patient would go to a larger facility for initial treatment first and continue at smaller locations, which would specifically help people in rural areas. However, federalizing this model could present its own issues as physicians might be hesitant to partake. It’s a complex and distressing epidemic, but we’re happy to see Jaime leading the charge on where we go from here.
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)
This Might Take a While
Healing the GOP, that is. Adam is a staunch anti-Trump Republican who has consistently made national headlines with his plea to return to the Grand Ol’ to the values it once stood for. However, any hope that his high fundraising numbers and some powerful allies like Liz Cheney and none other than George W. would spark a quick reversal were squashed when Michael Wood, a Kinzinger-backed candidate for a vacant Texas House seat, came in 9th out of 23 candidates in last week’s special election. Adam’s PAC continues to rake in money and his messaging is crystal clear, but to de-Trump the Republican Party continues to seem like a bit of a pipe dream for now.
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
Man’s Best Friend
What’s one issue everyone can get behind?? Puppies! In a world rife with no shortage of issues, we’re here to give you a brief reprieve and let you know that Guy has introduced legislation that would amend the Animal Welfare Act to ensure the humane treatment of commercially bred dogs. The bill looks to improve federal standards regarding breeding and subsequent care of dogs. Notably, hobbyist breeders, livestock and family pets would not be impacted. Did you get a dog during the pandemic? Sales and adoptions skyrocketed which meant that puppy mills around the country were churning out dogs, leaving many of them in inhumane conditions. A reminder that due diligence in all parts of life – even choosing that furry companion – is a must!
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
No PPP for PP
Under parameters set by the CARES Act (remember that Covid bill way back when like… 5 months ago?), Planned Parenthood meets the requirements as a nonprofit and healthcare provider to receive PPP loans, however Greg and a group of fellow Flordia Republicans (including PP leader Kat Cammack), are calling foul. They’ve introduced the Abortion Providers Loan Elimination Act which would have Planned Parenthood affiliates return PPP funds. It would also ensure that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers remain ineligible for future PPP funding and instruct the Small Business Association to investigate how they were able to receive funds in the first place. With Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress, the bill isn’t expected to pass, but it surely brings the abortion debate back to center stage for the time being.
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
Tom is known for his hardline commentary about many issues, especially policing and incarceration in America. As these issues have come to the forefront over the past year, his clashes with left-wing support for reduced police funding and reduced sentencing are widely known. Recently, in response to a CNN article about a rise in crime in America, he tweeted that America has “an under-incarceration problem”. While Twitter was quick to fact check the tweet, noting that America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, his commentary sped across the ether, drawing criticism from just about anyone who disagrees with Tom. However, knowing his unique ability to push the haters aside, we have a feeling that some Twitter backlash isn’t going to make Tom budge on this one.
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
In 2018, a study found that homes in Black neighborhoods are found to be worth 23% less than those with few or no black residents. The disparity in home valuation has a lot of factors and Ritchie is cosponsoring a bill to create a task force that would study those factors, specifically the ones related to race. He admits that appraisal discrimination is hard to detect and hard to solve, which is why sweeping legislation isn’t necessarily the answers. Instead, this bill would work with civil rights activists, industry professionals, and other stakeholders to think about how to address bias in property valuation. This bill has instigated even further commentary about the structural biases in place when it comes to every aspect of real estate, so expect this fight to be a long one.
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
Cool, But We Want More
Democrats were widely pleased with Biden’s address and the sweeping, historic legislation he put forward. However, the most progressive Democrats, like Jamaal, are still pushing for more. On behalf of the Working Families Party, a far-left political party, he delivered a response to Biden’s proposed agenda, praising many elements like free community college. However, one area where Jamaal would like to see Biden push harder is in his proposed infrastructure bill. The current plan costs $2 trillion, which is already making Republicans and even some Democrats balk, but Jamaal insists that support of the $10 trillion (yes you read that right) THRIVE Act is necessary to address the various colliding crises we face. Do you think a price tag like this has any chance? Is it worth the fight? Jamaal certainly thinks so.
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
In response to President Biden’s national address, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only black Republican senator, declared that America is not a racist country. Cori, clearly, would disagree. After supporting the defunding of St. Louis police (she represents the entire city), she tweeted that “our communities wouldn’t have needed to spark a national movement to save Black lives if America weren’t racist AF”. Cori’s progressive views on policing are no secret and this new push by her hometown proposes reallocating $4 million from the police budget to affordable housing, as well as defunding a medium security penitentiary in the city. The plan will next go through St. Louis’s legislative body for debate and amendments and you can bet Cori will be keeping an eye on it.
David Valadeo (R; CA-21)
All Dried Up
If you live in the western US, you may remember the insufferable drought California went through a couple years ago. Well, the dry weather is BACK BABY. And it’s as catastrophic as ever. David, who represents a largely rural district, tweeted a response to a POV piece written in a local newspaper that hammered Congressional Democrats for not making this drought top of the list when it comes to agricultural and environmental concerns. Instead, the article notes, the committee that addresses these issues is focusing on wildlife trafficking. David, in support of the sentiment of the article, called on leadership to focus on the problem right before our eyes that is going to hurt farmers and local communities. Hopefully David can jump in the ring on this one and propose some solutions.
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
Race to the Youngest
Kat is the youngest Republican woman in Congress. She’s also a pretty far-right conservative who’s adhered to party leadership on just about everything. She ALSO won her election pretty handily in 2020. Why do all those fun facts matter? Because a 26-year-old Democrat named Danielle Hawk has just thrown her hat in the ring to challenge Kat in 2022. In addition to challenging Kat for the ‘youth’ award, Danielle is splitting from the current congresswoman and pledging to not simply fall along party lines, but do what’s best for her constituents. She has a background in ministry, customer service, and a long list of nonprofit work. But, like we said, Kat won pretty handily – though in this world, anything’s possible!
Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)
My Name is Byron
Sitting down for an interview with Politico at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Byron talked about what drew him to the Republican party. Though he grew up in a Democratic family in Brooklyn, he was drawn to the GOP due to the party’s principles of individual liberty and conservatism. The interview gives an interesting and personal look into this rising star who is one of only two Black Republicans in the House. He discusses why he didn’t get the Covid vaccine (yet), his view on the fairness of the 2020 election, and why people have so many misconceptions about Black Republicans. It’s important to gain a deeper understanding of who these new, young politicians are and the interview does a great job of that.
Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)
That’ll be an F
Ashley is banding together with fellow PP leader Elise Stefanik (R-NY) with the launch of a new, somewhat strange, but possibly effective website called gradebiden.com. The website asks people to come on, give their name and email and give biden a grade (the default is, unsurprisingly, F). This caught our eye as Ashley has been incredibly active on criticizing Biden’s national address and its lack of discussion about the crisis at the border and praise of sweeping government programs. It’ll be interesting to see where this grading info goes and how both Ashley and Elise’s campaigns might use the information to their benefit. Regardless, whatever staffer came up with the idea deserves an A for marketing skills!
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
Target on Her Back
Like pretty much all first term members of Congress, Victoria recently announced her reelection campaign for the 2022 midterms. What’s unique about her though, is that she represents one of 22 districts nationwide (and the only one in Indiana) that Democrats are targeting to flip to blue. Victoria succeeded a Republican lawmaker and beat her Democratic opponent by 4 percentage points, but the race was competitive nonetheless. Luckily for her, though, Republicans control the state legislature and will redraw the state’s district maps which will most certainly favor Republicans like Victoria.
Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)
Bipartisan… Border… No Way!
As a Texas lawmaker, Tony has had his eye on the crisis unfolding at the southern border since day 1. Now, he’s teaming up with a bipartisan group of representatives and senators to introduce the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act. The bill will improve management of migration services, better process asylum claims, protect unaccompanied children, reduce impact on local communities, ensure humane treatment of migrants, and ultimately deter anyone without a realistic asylum claim from making the dangerous journey to the U.S. border. It’s a long list of improvements and is surely just the start of finding long-lasting solutions, but a bipartisan immigration bill is something we thought we’d never see. We’ll take it!
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
Blake might not be making the rounds on cable news or have a million followers on social media, but he’s banking on his steadfast, more humbled approach to lawmaking to do what’s best for the country. He was recently named co-chair of the Future Caucus, a bipartisan group created by the Millennial Action Project composed of the youngest members of Congress (you know we’re on board with that one). His plans as co-chair revolve a lot around modernization, technology, and finding compromise. “We struggle to be able to implement policy that keeps up with all the changes that are going on in technology.” Amen, Blake. Amen.
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
Oil for All!
Natural gas and national security are inextricably linked, according to August. That’s why he introduced a bipartisan bill that would make it easier and faster for American producers to export oil to any country (except those with sanctions or trade restrictions). The bill cuts red tape and limits regulations that might delay private companies from exporting liquid natural gas. Another upside, August says, is that due to America’s clean oil practices, more U.S. oil around the globe will improve global emissions and promote gas capture practices. Oil exporting might sound boring, but it’s what makes the world go round so we best pay attention!
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)
I Am THRIVEing
A proposal to spend $1 trillion per year through 2031 is in the works. It would authorize investments in infrastructure for clean water, public transit, and grid upgrade, as well as expansion of solar, electric vehicles and healthy buildings. Nanette is a co-leader of the THRIVE Act which would support family-sustaining union jobs for more than 15 million American workers in various clean energy and manufacturing jobs. It would also greatly cut carbon pollution by 2030 which supports President Biden’s initiative to cut greenhouse gas emission in half by then. Is this pricey policy too aggressive of a spending bill or not enough?
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
We’ll Take that Power Back Now
Jason believes it is time for Congress to take back its war authority from the President. Congress has the constitutional authority to declare war, but U.S. Presidents have initiated military action without it. Jason thinks this Presidential power should end. These comments come after President Biden announced the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a war that was started ~20 years ago. Both Republican and Democratic presidents have skirted this power to enter wars that lasted too long. So how do you feel about solidifying these powers solely with Congress?
Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)
Show Some Love to the Spouses
Unemployment rates for military spouses far exceed that of the national average and are usually at a high rate of ~30%. Antonio, along with a group of bipartisan colleagues introduced legislation, the Military Spouse Hiring Act, that incentivizes employers to hire spouses of members of the United States Armed Forces. This bill would help close the gap by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include the hiring of qualified military spouses, allowing employers to claim a tax credit equal to a portion of the wages paid to those spouses. Military families make enormous sacrifices for our country and it is often hard for them to find stable and consistent jobs after relocating so many times. Luckily, Antonio’s on it!
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
The Census was the talk of the town last week and many states were surprised to see the results. One of those states was Arizona, which assumed they would gain an extra seat, but instead its population was less than projected. No matter what, the outcome affects not just the state’s bottom line, but also countless nonprofit organizations that rely on federal money. The Census count could impact how much federal funding these organizations receive from the infrastructure bill, which would be based on ‘population formulas’. One thing’s for sure – there’s fallout from the Census count that most of us never knew about.
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
Farm to Cafeteria Table
Time to up the ante on school lunches. Josh has introduced the Kids Eat Local Act, that would allow for schools to buy food from local farmers. Seems like a no brainer, but current law does not allow school systems to ask for “local” produce when buying food for school lunches. In certain areas where there is a large farming community, like the Central Valley, which Josh represents, this makes perfect sense. The bill would get rid of useless bureaucratic rules and make sure that kids can get healthy local produce while also supporting local farmers. This brings a whole new meaning to locally grown, locally raised, and locally caught food!
Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)
It’s Not Over Til It’s Over
While the U.S. might be getting back to a normal pre-COVID life, unfortunately there are many countries around the world that are still suffering. India is probably getting hit the hardest right now – every 4 minutes someone dies of COVID (~43% of new cases in the world are in India). As the Vice-Chair of the Congressional India Caucus, Ro is urging President Biden to share resources with the country. As Ro put it, it is not enough to vaccinate every American, but we need to ensure that the world beats this disease. Let’s take a note from Ro and not forget that back to normal for us isn’t back to normal for everyone.
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
You Go Joe!
After Biden’s State of the Union, Mike decided to send out an official statement praising the Biden Administration. Mike is one of the leaders of green energy and the administration has introduced some of the most aggressive pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions in half by 2030 so it’s no surprise Mike is a Biden cheerleader. But more specifically, Mike touted the White House’s ability to administer over 232 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and it’s plan to invest in families with universal access to pre-K, two years of free community college for all Americans, lower childcare costs, and comprehensive paid family and medical leave. Cheerleading, commence!
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
The Limit Should Not Exist
There are various voting bills throughout the country that are being proposed to limit voting by mail and/or drop boxes. Florida is the most recent state to advance a bill to their Senate and was just signed into law by the Governor. Stephanie is outraged by the bill and said that “if you have good ideas and good values, then you should be confident to battle those out and allow and encourage every American to vote.” As an immigrant, Stephanie believes every person deserves the right to vote and that these proposed bills are undemocratic. You can be sure that if (read: when) she runs for Senate, voting rights will be on the table!
Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)
Next Steps in Taking on Police Brutality
Ilhan introduced a package of bills to address police brutality and misuse of force. After dealing with the recent George Floyd trial and the killing of Daunte Wright – which were both in her district – she’s taking the lead on this issue. The most significant legislation Ilhan is reintroducing would establish an independent federal agency to investigate deaths that happened under police custody, officer-involved shootings and uses of force that resulted in severe bodily injury. The board would be composed of eight members appointed by the President and at the advice and consent of the Senate. Also, the package includes a resolution affirming the connection between police brutality at home and state repression around the world.
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
The government offers various services and benefits, especially to veterans, but often many people are unaware of these opportunities. Elissa and her Republican colleague, David Joyce (OH) introduced the Solid Start Act which ensures that the Department of Veterans Affairs reaches out to service members in their first year transitioning back to civilian life to connect them with critical benefits and services they have earned. This bill would make permanent a pilot program that was initially started to call veterans on the phone to check in. The rate of suicide among veterans within their first year of transition is nearly two times higher than the overall veteran suicide rate, which is certainly reason enough to get a plan like this in place.
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
Plastic Waste Champion
Haley became interested in plastic waste reduction when she found out that the U.S was shipping our plastic waste over to China for the purpose of recycling. On top of this she found out that the U.S. only recycles just 9% of its plastic waste (friendly reminder to stop drinking out of plastic water bottles 😊). She’s now introduced the bipartisan Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act with PP Leader, Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), to call on the federal government to develop a strategic plan for plastic waste reduction and also calls for the development of plastic recycling technologies. Recycling in America is a disaster and while we all need to continue doing our part, it’s exciting to see young politicians taking up the mantle of making things better.
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
The FAIRest of Them All
Innocent until proven guilty is a well known saying, but unfortunately it sometimes feels like the other way around. The U.S. law enforcement can seize all your assets before you even appear in court on a criminal charge. Kelly introduced bipartisan legislation called the FAIR Act, Fifth Amendment Integrity Resolution, which offers reforms to the U.S. civil asset forfeiture laws. The act will put higher standards of proof needed by the federal government to seize property and increase the IRS statute to protect innocent small business owners. For instance, the government would need to prove the owner of any seized property used it to facilitate a criminal offense.
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
Dan is Back… Almost
Dan returned for his first House event after undergoing emergency eye surgery last month. Unfortunately though, Dan still cannot see, and it will be a few more weeks before he can. The surgery was performed to address injuries that Dan sustained when he was hit by an IED blast in Afghanistan, which led to him having a detached retina. Ouch. As Dan puts it, he has half a good eye and not much else in terms of sign. Dan will have to lay off the dart games for a little while, but he’s definitely not one to give up or give in.
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
Their Fair Share
One of the big projects that Anthony promised to fight for was the treatment of NCAA student-athletes and their ability to profit off their name and likeness. As a former NCAA student- and pro-athlete, Anthony is the right person to introduce this kind of federal legislation. He and Democratic colleague, Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), hope to create universal standards that will govern how athletes can receive money off their name, image, and likeness. One caveat is that Anthony is not for paying student-athletes in the form of a salary or monthly stipend which he believes would kill the essence of college sports. Something to think about next time you’re making your bracket!
Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)
We Need More Truck Honks
The nation is dealing with a growing shortage of truck drivers which makes sense considering there seem to be more and more trucks on the road every day. Trey, along with many colleagues, are in support of the DRIVE-Safe act, which would promote opportunity and safety training for emerging truck drivers. Individuals under the age of 21 can drive a truck in almost all 49 continental states, but they cannot cross state lines until after 21. As well, they cannot drive anything that has come from out of state, such as cargo shipped by air. This bill has a lot of bipartisan support and it seems like a great way to get more people working. Get ready to start arm pumping for those truck honks!
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
Florida Water, I’m at Your Service
If you are a Florida resident and care about the environment, Brian is your man. He has consistently fought to protect Florida’s waterways and ensure that Floridians have access to safe and clean drinking water. Brian proposed three policies to be included in this year’s appropriations bill. The first defunds the spraying of toxic chemicals used to manage invasive plants, the second prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from spending any money to discharge dangerous water from Lake Okeechobee and third prioritizes funding for the Everglades Agricultural Area. That is a mouthful of environmental legislation, but at least Brian is working hard for his constituents.
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
GOP Conference Chairwoman?
Big news. Elise is getting the endorsement of House GOP Whip, Steve Scalise (aka the number 2 in GOP House leadership) to replace Liz Cheney as the new House Republican Conference Chair (the number 3 in GOP House Leadership). Cheney has been under fire after voting to impeach President Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol riots. The process to replace her will start next Wednesday and she might not survive the challenge. House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, has already expressed that he does not support her and Elise has been making calls to GOP lawmakers and cleared the field of any other potential rivals. In other news the Lugar Center ranked Elise as the 13th most bipartisan representative out of 435 members. Lots on the horizon for her!
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
Staff Retention Issues
William serves as vice-chair of the House modernization committee and one of the hot button issues for discussion was staff retention. No big surprise that it is difficult to keep staff on Capitol Hill, but increasing their salaries might be the way to get them to stay. Each year many staffers leave the public sector for the private sector because Congress does not offer competitive compensation or benefits. Lawmakers have not received a salary increase since 2009 and many lawmakers pay their staff extra through allowances, known as Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA’s). Peeks like this into the inner-workings of Congress can be pretty revelatory as to why things seem so dysfunctional sometimes.
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
Running the Circuit
If there are two things that Josh loves to talk about it is BIG TECH and CHINA. On today’s menu is China. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Josh introduced the Protecting Critical Boards and Electronics Through Transparency and Enduring Reinvestment (PCBETTER) Act. To sum it up, the bill will prevent Beijing from inserting and exploiting vulnerabilities in printed circuit boards (PCB’s) that are made in China and used throughout the U.S. military. The bill will focus on manufacturing these boards in the U.S. instead. Also in the news, Josh was the only senator to vote against the COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill which received 94 yeas and only one nay. Josh’s reasoning was the bill was too broad and open-ended. Let some angry phone calls commence?
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
Add It to HIS Tab
The lack of high quality, affordable childcare is hard to find and keeps many parents from being in the workforce. Mondaire, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act that would ensure every family has access to high-quality, affordable childcare and early learning opportunities. This was a top priority when Mondaire was running for Congress and a recent study shows that it would increase the number of women working with young children by 17% and increase women’s lifetime earnings by nearly $100,000 on average. It all comes to the cost of $700 billion over 10 years. Crunch the numbers – worth it?
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
The enactment of the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act used federal funds to build highways throughout cities to connect white families moving to the suburbs. Unfortunately, these projects went through Black and Brown neighborhoods and further segregated cities. Nikema introduced the Restoring Neighborhoods and Strengthening Communities Act to create a grant program that will reconnect communities by investing in redesign or removal of highway infrastructure built through communities of color. President Biden made reconnecting neighborhoods a necessary infrastructure investment as part of the American Jobs Plan so we wonder if Nikema might on the right side of the road here… get it?
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
The Space Blanket
Lauren is not one to shy away from the media and unfortunately the only thing newsworthy about her in the last couple weeks was that she brought out a space blanket during President Biden State of the Union address. Yes, a space blanket is the shiny silver plastic sheeting you have seen given to migrants at the southern border to keep them warm. In addition to her silvery dig, Lauren also tweeted 25 times during his speech. Since Biden did not address the border crisis, Lauren felt like she needed to, and her last tweet ended with “I miss President Trump.”
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
$6 Trillion… in Debt
Tracey gave an interview last week after President Biden’s State of the Union and he had some choice words. For starters, Tracey explained that everyone who wants to be vaccinated in Congress is and it’s time to take the masks off. Second, he thinks the spending is getting out of control. The American Rescue Plan cost ~$2 trillion and now there is a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, plus the $2 trillion American Families Plan… coming to a grand total of $6 trillion. On top of this, the administration is proposing the largest tax increase in a generation. Tracey is projecting a Republican sweep in the House in 2022… are you feeling the same?
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
Andrew’s first sponsored piece of legislation, the Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act passed the House floor (yay!). The act will provide transit security grant recipients flexibility in how they use the grants while establishing performance periods. So, what exactly does that mean? The grant program provides needed funds to transit agencies (ie: bus systems, ferries, passenger rails) to protect surface transportation infrastructure and the public from acts of terrorism. The grant program was originally established after the 9/11 Commission, but the Flexibility Act will allow these departments to access funds sooner and protect from future terrorism and future attacks. Let me see you flex.
Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)
Bringing in the A Team
“Agriculture is the backbone of my district,” Julia said at her first House Agriculture Committee meeting. She has wasted no time and already hired a well-known agriculture advocate to her staff. Zellie Duvall served as a policy and congressional adviser at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and helped coordinate the response to Congress on impacts COVID was having on the agriculture community. Julia has only been in Congress for a few short weeks, and she is already hitting the ground running and bringing in the experts.
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
USA’s Restaurant Reboot!
If your restaurant or bar had to close because of Covid, hopefully by now you’ve heard about this revitalization fund, but if you haven’t—like us – start applying! Pete just announced that folks can now apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, in order to reopen their shuttered watering hole. The $28.6 Billion fund, created through the American Rescue Plan, is eligible to a variety of owners, whether you owned a tavern, a tasting room or a taco truck to apply to lost revenues up to $10 million. As Vice Chair of the House Democrats, Pete was instrumental in shepherding this through, so maybe someone can treat him to a beer at a newly rebooted local joint. No wait, that may be a violation of the Hatch Act.
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
Unclog This Backlog
Nearly half a million rape kits currently sit untested in police stations all across the country, an alarming stat that Brendan is fighting to change. He’s leading a bipartisan effort of 47 congresspeople who are calling on the Appropriations Committee to increase funding for the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to $49 million. This Justice Department program aims to reduce the nation’s backlog, which tragically keeps growing mainly as a result of a lack of resources. Brendan first began fighting to address backlog issues on a state level as a State Legislator and now he’s taking that fight national. We’re rooting for him.
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
60 Is The New… 65?
That’s right folks, Jared is making the case that we should lower the required age for Medicare down to 60. He joined 80 of his Congressional colleagues in writing a letter to Biden and Harris making their case for the age drop. Jared says many of his constituents tell him that their need for healthcare coverage is the only thing standing in their way of retirement. Doing so would make 23 million more Americans eligible for coverage and could be paid for by giving the Government control over negotiating drug prices. Critics however worry it won’t carry enough funding to keep hospitals and other providers afloat. Perhaps most politically notable is that there is broad support from both the progressive wing of the democrats as well as the moderates like Jared. In other words, there’s Democratic consensus – wow!
Andy Kim (D; NY-3)
Run Towards The Fight
According to a recent study, there have been 3,800 cases of harassment and assault against Asian Americans in the past year. But rather than run away from that threat, Andy is advocating his fellow Asian Americans run towards it—by running for office. He recently started a Political Action Committee aimed at getting more Asian Americans to run for elected office and got personal in a recent interview. He said “the fear is palpable” and described how a lot of elderly folks will facetime with someone as they walk around the neighborhood, so that should any violence befall them, there will be someone else watching who can alert the authorities. The first step is to build that “political cohesion” among the community and that’s precisely what Andy’s PAC looks to do.
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
Get Out The Vax
Joe is one of the busier under-45ers in Congress and has just launched “Get Out The Vaccine” week, an initiative aimed at encouraging Black Coloradans to get vaccinated. Black Americans suffered one of the highest Covid 19 mortality rates in the country, and yet vaccine resistance remains very high due to misinformation and historical distrust of the medical system. So Joe and others in his state are making a big push to boost vaccine access in traditionally underserved communities as well as making it simple to pass the message along with this tweet. While it is everyone’s right to choose not to get the vaccine, one must nevertheless have access to it, along with the facts. And those facts tell us it’s safe!
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
This Is A Big F-ing Deal!
It sure is whenever the President signs one of your bills into law, but it’s an even bigger deal when your bill passes the House and Senate by a unanimous YAY vote! That’s precisely what landed Chris’s bill on Uncle Joe’s desk, and he promptly signed it into law. The bipartisan Fentanyl Scheduling Bill, which Chris introduced to the House, extends the DEA’s temporary order to keep fentanyl-related substances in the Schedule 1 category of the Controlled Substances Act. Essentially, this makes it much harder for these deadly drugs to flood communities through trafficking and over-prescribing. While it seems the war on drugs never ends, Chris is making sure he’s staying proactive in the fight.
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
It’s Just 11 Things…
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know about the surface transportation authorization legislation being drafted in the Transportation Committee right now—it’s a mouthful. Fortunately, Darren is on top of it, having submitted proposals for 11 different projects in his district. The new legislation builds on the Moving Forward Act of last year, which extended federal aid funding levels to a variety of transportation needs. Darren says these new transportation project proposals will create jobs and reduce traffic. Yeah, but will they cause more traffic and partisan gridlock in the meantime? Perhaps, but these requests come directly from the State’s Transpo Department so they must know something.
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
The recent raid of Rudy Giuliani’s apartment by the FBI got a lot of people talking, from vehement denials to hyperbolic proclamations of guilt. But Eric decided to take a much different tone than most. As a former impeachment manager who knows a thing or two about the justice department, Eric was firm in his belief that Rudy Giuliani has committed crimes. However, he struck a measured tone in saying DOJ should neither do him any favors given his relationship to the former President, nor treat him any harsher given his opposition to the current President. In other words, just follow the law. And it seems the Department under Merrick Garland has recalibrated it’s compass to do just that.
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
Moving The ‘Bus Downfield
If you follow Lauren then you’ve probably heard about her Black Maternal Health Momnibus, which is a large legislative package she reintroduced that aims at curbing the racial disparity in Maternity care across a variety of sectors. Well, one bill among that legislation is the Protecting Moms Who Serve Act, which successfully cleared the Veteran’s Affairs Committee with strong bipartisan support. This is the first of 12 bills encompassing the Momnibus, and this is certainly a good start. This also goes to show that legislating is often not a sprint but rather, a marathon. Keep at it, Lauren!
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
Watch Your Six, Liz
Jim has not been shy in hiding what Politico calls his “naked ambition” for the number three GOP job in the House, currently held by the embattled and outspoken Liz Cheney. Jim, a Trump loyalist, has earned praise from Leader McCarthy for his role as the Chair of the Republican Study Committee. Jim says his committee is “providing a [messaging and policy] framework better than anyone else on Capitol Hill.” Tensions between Jim and Cheney have remained at a steady boil until recently as Jim has stepped up his calls for taking a different path forward, in order to win elections and get the growth of the party back on track. Another rising star in contention to replace Cheney is fellow under-45er Elise Stefanik, so even if Jim doesn’t get the nod out of the bullpen this Congress, rest assured, he will in due time.
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
When The Going Gets Gaetz-y
The legal spotlight beaming down on Matt just got a little hotter this week after it was revealed that his associate, Joel Greenberg, allegedly communicated with Roger Stone in an attempt at seeking a pardon from Trump regarding his legal woes, which continue to ensnare Matt. So while that legal drama plays out, Matt joined Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in introducing a new bill that would defund a little-known surveillance program within the Postal Service. That’s right! Apparently, the Internet Covert Operations Program allows the Postal Inspection Service to secretly monitor social media messaging and this bill aims to defund that program. The question for Matt however remains: Which creates more PR–being under criminal investigation or sponsoring legislation with MTG?
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
Good-en Housekeeping Seal Of Approval
Lance has been an outspoken critic of the increasingly unpopular Liz Cheney, and predicted on the first of May that she will be gone by the end of the month! He believes the future of the GOP lies not in traditional conservatism embodied by Cheney, but rather cast squarely in the mold of the former President, to whom he remains a staunch loyalist. Lance went even further this week in throwing his full-throated support behind replacement frontrunner Elise Stefanik, a fellow under-45er, who has delighted much of the party with her allegiance to Trumpism. It remains to be seen what will happen, but one thing is clear and that’s the direction the party intends to head. Less clear is whether it’s the voters who are setting this course, or the politicians?
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
Build Back Better… And Finish What We Started!
You wouldn’t think being sequestered in the great state of South Dakota would readily make the southern border wall a top agenda item, but alas, it seems to be for Dusty. He introduced a bill this week called the Finish The Wall Act which looks to do just that: Finish Trump’s border wall. According to a recent report, border apprehensions have reached a 15-year high, with an estimated 171,000 migrants taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection last month alone. The bill would require the Homeland Security Secretary to immediately resume construction of the southern border wall. Dusty has long sought to forward this issue, one that seems to be in dire need of reform, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum.
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
Now that former Congresswoman Deb Haaland became the Interior Secretary, Markwayne is only one of Five Native Americans in Congress, along with fellow under-45er Sharice Davids. When asked what he thought about the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position he said “it’s exciting for someone… from Indian Country” but he also withheld praise, saying “we still, yet, don’t know what her policies are.” He went on to say that “just because you’re Native, doesn’t mean your policies line up with all of Indian Country.” In fact, Markwayne pointed out that as a democratic Congresswoman, she was no friend to the Oil and Gas Industry, which he says many tribes depend on financially. But perhaps, if nothing else, this kinship can help serve as an open door for conversation in such an otherwise bitterly divided Congress.
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions!
Bryan did not have to look far for bipartisanship this week, as he joined fellow under-45er and Financial Services Committee Member Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) in introducing a new bill dealing with sanctions. Sanctioning foreign bad-actors can be a very powerful tool for the US to curb adversarial behavior, however, sometimes waivers are granted to do business that supersedes those sanctions. The Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act looks to bring greater Congressional awareness to that very thing by requiring the Treasury Department to regularly provide Congress with a list of waivers granted. Bryan has been hawkish in his support of sanctions use, particularly with regard to Iran, and most recently sponsored two other bills dealing with that thing. A man on a mission.
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
Big Gains In The Big Apple State
Anyone who follows Lee knows that he not only has been steadfast in his criticisms of NY Governor Cuomo and his failures, but has also put his money where his mouth is by announcing he’ll challenge the political scion for his seat. And this week, Lee made some big strides in that quest, securing enough party endorsements to effectively now have a lock on the Republican nomination for Governor. He did it by gaining the nod from 30 different Republican Party County Chairs, amounting to about 52% of the state’s party members. He also has been on a financing tear, having raised $2.5 million last month alone. It remains to be seen whether an R can topple a D in the state, but Lee is sure making a strong go at it.
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
Is There A Ring For… Effective?
By now you’ve surely heard about the bling-heard-round-the-world (you can watch our breakdown in last week’s IGTV Happy Hour), but have you heard about what she’s actually been doing? Kyrsten just had not one, not two, but three of her bipartisan bills clear committee, which means they’ll be headed for a vote. The first revolves around protecting seniors from scams, the next helps protect tourism in the US, and the third uses FCC data to help target areas with poor maternal health services and infrastructure. Oh, and for good measure, she also just introduced another bipartisan bill aimed at helping offset home care costs for seniors. One thing now is for certain: She may not give a flyin’ filibuster, but this Sun Devil gets things done!
Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)
It’s usually anyone’s guess as to how a freshman Congressman will use his Committee assignments, but so far, Jake is off to the races on the Financial Services Committee, using it to introduce another piece of legislation related to sanctions use. Jake also didn’t haven’t to go far to find a bipartisan buddy, joining fellow under-45er Bryan Steil in introducing the Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act. Sanctions are among the most effective tools the US uses to curb foreign bad-actors, but sometimes waivers are granted for folks to do business in or with the sanctioned country. Jake’s bill requires the Treasury Department to regularly report to Congress any sanctions waivers provided, thus creating more transparency and returning proper oversight back to Congress.
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)
Etch It In Stone, Joe!
Sara joined fellow under-45er Ritchie Torres in writing a letter to President Biden urging him to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent and monthly. The credit was a key provision added to the American Rescue Plan and is set to expire at the end of this year. But rather than making it permanent, Biden has instead indicated his interest in extending the credit for four years. Sara and her colleagues are quick to point out that studies show the credit will cut childhood poverty in half. She’s made fighting to end childhood poverty one of her core missions as a Congresswoman, and many of her freshman colleagues have lent their support to her cause.
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
Droppin’ and Passin’
Madison has been dropping bills faster than a DJ these days and his latest one is aimed at beefing up Capitol Security, including a number of provisions that would enhance the capabilities of the Capitol Police. These include the construction of a new intelligence nexus/center, studying new and effective de-escalation techniques, as well as an assessment of how to modernize the physical complex. Yet, this bill also calls for the prompt fence removal as well as the requirement of a 3 to 1 vote for it to be resurrected, which could seem more concerned with vanity optics rather than practical security concerns. Nevertheless, we’re standing by with the bubbly for the “pass” part of this equation.
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
It’s fair to say that Peter is one of the most prolific freshman Congressmen when it comes to introducing bills on a bipartisan basis, from one condemning Putin’s treatment of Alexei Navalny to helping law enforcement more easily spot human trafficking. But the military veteran’s latest spin in the bipartisan-mobile was the introduction of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which also enjoys bicameral support as well. The bill would help create a new initiative to use cannabis to treat PTSD and other chronic pain ailments. In fact, a recent unrelated study showed that Ecstasy was found to be highly effective in treating PTSD. Interesting. But in a time of such partisan divide, all this bipartisan stuff does beg the question Peter: y’all on somethin’ right now?
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
All About The District
Jake is certainly one of the quieter members of Congress but one must not mistake that for ineffective. To mark his fourth month in office, Jake wrote an op-ed reaffirming his commitment to his constituents while highlighting some of the things he’s been doing. According to this, he’s answered more than 1,700 constituent’s phone calls and solved more than 800 of their cases. And his mobile hours have yielded high marks in terms of his accessibility to them. Jake hasn’t done much legislating in terms of introducing bills but he has been steadfast in holding the ideological line within his committee roles, including pro-life and pro-gun measures as well as trying to reign in proposed spending. It seems there are many ways to govern, and so far, his district seems very pleased with his chosen style.
Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)
Perhaps this can become a new verb for when a Congresswoman raises the bar and introduces a bunch of new bipartisan bills. In the meantime, Nancy is focused on doing just that, having introduced a similar VS Cannabis bill as fellow under-45er Peter Meijer (R-MI), and another one on enhancing protections for federal whistleblowers. However, perhaps the real thing to focus on with Nancy this week is that she had her first bill clear the VA Committee and it looks to have strong support. The bill looks to remove the 10-year limit on college assistance for families of fallen or disabled Vets. It feels impressive, in this partisan era, to get your bills passed when you’re in the minority, but having been the first female to graduate from an all-male military college, maybe this is just like any other Monday.
Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)
First there was “Bennifer” and then we had “Branjelina” but now do we have… Gottheimer and Malliotakis? We’re talking strictly legislatively, of course, as Nicole joined former under-45er Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) in introducing a bipartisan bill that looks to pull up the e-break on Congestion Pricing among NYC public transit. Congestion pricing is like when your uber ride is more expensive on New Year’s Eve because of greater demand. Everyone’s favorite Italian Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to implement this in New York transit, but Nicole is pushing back strongly, arguing it will have a huge negative economic impact, not to mention slow the City’s dire recovery. This bill calls for a full economic review before it is implemented. Hey, we’re all for paying less to cross the GW bridge at rush hour. It’s already a nightmare!
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
Get The Lead Out!
Georgia’s new favorite Booboo in the Senate had good reason to celebrate, as did the folks of the Peach State, after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a water infrastructure bill that includes a key provision from Jon. The bill provides funding for the remediation of lead pipes in Georgia schools, which rank among the worst for lead pipes in the country. Furthermore, federal funding didn’t exist to help states pay for the cost of replacement pipes. But now thanks to Jon, a total of $300 million will be allocated to this problem, with $200 million going towards repair and another $100 million for general remediation. Sometimes it’s easy to take these things for granted, but fortunately Jon doesn’t and that’s why he’s fighting for his state.