THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: Who Run the World

A full rundown from our March 11, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: Who Run the World

Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)

Research Time!

The late John Lewis (D-GA) introduced legislation that would increase funding for research into minority health disparities. Now, Nanette has reintroduced the bill with her Republican colleague, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) AND there’s a companion bill in the Senate. If it passes, the National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities – yes that’s a thing! – would be able to resume giving grants to institutions doing this research. With bipartisan and bicameral support it seems like Lewis’s legacy might continue its momentum.

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

Don’t Forget the Spouse

One of the notable heroes during the attacks on the Capitol, Jason continues to call for civilians, law enforcement, and even lawmakers who were involved to be held accountable. But ALSO, he’s introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) regarding military spouses. The Military Spouses Retirement Security Act would help spouses of active duty service members save for retirement by expanding their access to retirement plans. Since military spouses are subject to constant moving based on their partner’s assignments, they often don’t work anywhere long enough to qualify for retirement benefit. This bill would change that for the unsung heroes of the military!

Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)

Gather Round the Roundtable

The new Covid-19 bill is about to be passed and Antonio’s provision to include more direct funding to local governments across the country is included. He held a roundtable with officials from his district to explain how the $400 million in funds that the district would receive would be allocated. This, he said, is a big deal for his district, which is made up of several towns and villages that are often overlooked by federal funding for… anything. Now, those small NY communities that he represents will get over $160 million in relief. Pays to be a small-town boy, finally!

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Diversify the Classroom

Even though a majority of American K-12 students are non-white, only 20% of the teachers in the country are people of color. Ruben and a handful of other Democratic colleagues have introduced the Teacher Diversity and Retention Act which would authorize grants to 1.) provide funds for teacher training programs at minority service institutions like HBCUs and 2.) expand programs that make sure teachers are better prepared to meet the needs of all students (like those in special education or in need of behavior management). Also, with so many teaching jobs lost to Covid, the bill would strengthen the teacher pipeline as we recover.

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

800 Strong

The toll that the pandemic has taken on businesses is no secret and Josh’s district has not been immune. He’s been on the forefront of trying to fix the EDD pitfalls in California and around the country and last week was proud to announce that his district would receive $158,293 (how about that precise number?) to help local small businesses. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) estimates that the program will save 800 jobs and leverage $40.5 million in private investments in the district. In the grand scheme of things, 800 might not seem like a lot, but when you’re one of the 800, it sure as hell is.

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

Conceding Defeat

Unlike his old boss, Biden has decidedly not prioritized the classic ‘peace in the Middle East’ refrain from most American presidents. Ro thinks this is a problem, arguing that Biden is essentially “conceding defeat”, and has criticized many parts of Biden’s approach to policy in the Middle East. He chastised the president for not imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia’s crown prince after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and joined other Democrats in speaking out against the recent airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iran-backed militia groups. Ro, for his part, has a five point plan suggesting withdrawal of American forces in Iraq, providing additional resources for stability, and asks regional players to increase their presence in the region as the U.S. withdraws. This, of course, is more complex than our little summary allows, but it’s clear that Ro’s got his finger on the Middle East button.

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Changing the System

Inspired by the nationwide push to end systemic racism, Mike fathered a virtual panel of local Black leaders in education to discuss the challenges for black students in the area. The panel included college students from Howard University, the vice president of student affairs and diversity and inclusion at San Diego State University, a UC San Diego professor and critical race theorist, and the Encinitas Union School District trustee. The panel covered how each of these education leaders has tackled racism in their upbringing and careers and how familiarizing current students with stories like theirs can help to move the needle further. Kudos to Mike for putting together this innovative discussion!

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

Watch Out Marco

We love some good gossip and it appears that the word on the street is Stephanie is considering a run for Senate against the one and only Marco Rubio. After releasing a video on her campaign website, she confirmed that she was “seriously considering it, either in 2022 or 2024”. A notable part of the video showcases her family’s escape to America from communist Vietnam – they were rescued by the U.S. Navy. This gives her some real klout in running against Rubio – who’s of Cuban descent – in appearing tough on socialism, a word that stings for many of Cuban descent in South Florida. Senator Stephanie? We shall see.

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

We Didn’t Keep Our Promise

The new Covid relief bill that will almost certainly pass includes stimulus checks like the previous ones – but not quite under the same terms. Ilhan and other progressives are lamenting that although the new bill includes $1,400 checks, there are tighter income caps on who receives a full or partial check. Individuals making up to $75,000 will be eligible for the full amount, but anyone making $80,000-$100,000 will get no money. In previous bills, these higher-income brackets still got something. In an interview, Ilhan noted that ultimately this will be something Democrats have to answer to – “I see it as a really disappointing development. We obviously are not ultimately sending money to less people than the Trump administration.” Ouch.

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Supply Chain on the Brain

Supply chain isn’t really something that crossed most people’s minds before we saw so much of our consumer lives interrupted during Covid. Elissa now has two supply chain-focused issues – one local and one national – that she’s tackling. Formerly at the CIA, Elissa knows a thing or two about defense in our country. She and fellow PP leader Mike Gallagher (R-WI) are leading a 90-day review of the U.S. defense supply chain to identify any vulnerabilities and threats and figure out how to best spend the nation’s money. On the homefront, a GM plant in Elissa’s district was just temporarily shut down due to supply-chain issues, as many of the parts they use to assemble vehicles come from abroad. Her response? Focus on American manufacturing capabilities so this doesn’t happen again!

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

Pension Protection Party

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is about to pass and along with measures to fund state/local governments, help with vaccine distribution, aid small businesses, and other initiatives directly related to Covid, it also includes several measures that Democrats have been fighting for. One such measure regards pension plans that over 10 million U.S. workers have paid into that are slowly dwindling. Now, Haley is lauding the inclusion of this $86 billion push to save these plans and thus the workers who will rely on them in the near future. Republicans argue that this measure was thrown in as part of a ‘liberal wishlist’, but Democrats like Haley defend the measure as many of these pensions were thrown into further tailspin during the pandemic. Do you know anyone with a pension? Perhaps one that wasn’t doing so well? They might be in luck.

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)

Acquitted but Not Really?

If you commit a crime (please don’t), you have the constitutional right to a trial by a jury of your peers. However, if those peers find you not guilty of that crime, there’s still a chance you can get sentenced for it. This is the loophole that Kelly and a group of bipartisan Representatives and Senators are addressing with their recently introduced Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021. The legislation would prohibit judges from increasing sentences based on conduct for which a defendant has already been acquitted by a jury. It seems obvious, but unsurprisingly, very little of our justice system is ‘obvious’. There’s a lot of interesting pieces of this to unpack, which you can read more in-depth in Kelly’s press release here.

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

The Anti-Lockdown Guy

Throughout much of this pandemic, Dan has been an outspoken critic of massive state-wide lockdowns, calling them unscientific and doing more harm than good. Now, he’s really put his money where his mouth is by introducing the End Lockdowns Now Act, which would require states and localities to submit economic reopening plans in order to qualify for Covid relief money. The bill also ensures that the president can’t impose any national lockdowns or bans on interstate travel. Have lockdowns worked in your area? Do you think Dan’s plan is the right move? As many states reopen partially and fully it’s clear that more and more people do.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

Persever-Anthony

As Anthony fields off a drove of Trump-aligned primary challengers (one of whom has now been officially endorsed by Trump), he took an opportunity to highlight something more positive. In a speech on the House Floor, he highlighted his district’s role in the development and construction of the Perseverance Rover that landed recently on Mars. The NASA Glenn Research Center, located in Anthony’s district of Northeast Ohio, developed the rover’s powersource and developed the parachute that helped it land on the Red Planet. To Anthony and his district – see ya in space!

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

Securing Seniors

Americans over 50 account for about 77% of financial assets in the United States and as they continue to get older the fear of their finances being exploited only grows. Trey and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) have introduced a bipartisan bill that would establish a ‘Senior Investor Task Force’ within the SEC to identify problems that senior investors might encounter. Currently, it’s estimated that seniors are being exploited out of billions of dollars a year, mainly by family members and caregivers. This bill would require the newly established task force to report observations and areas of improvements to Congress every two years. It’s areas like this that don’t get much news coverage but could have a real lasting effect on the individual finances of so many citizens. You can tell your grandparents that Trey’s lookin out for ‘em.

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

We’re Thirsty, Joe!

Brain is a longstanding advocate for clean water projects in his region. Now he, along with a large delegation of other Florida politicians, has requested that Biden include $725 million for Everglades restoration in his upcoming budget request to help complete several water projects. Interestingly, though the group includes several Republicans like Brian who have supported Trump in many respects, the coalition of officials is also asking for action against a lengthy list of environmental policy rollbacks by Trump that left fragile ecosystems like the Everglades vulnerable. Just goes to show you, politics isn’t always black and white or left and right.

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

Protecting New Yorkers

Along with many other Republicans and now Democrats, Elise is adamantly calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign (he’s said no, by the way) AND has hinted at a possible run for governor herself. However, amidst all of this, she’s also introduced legislation to address a different issue she sees as impeding citizens of her state. She has put forth the Second Amendment Guarantee Act, which would override provisions of the SAFE Act that prohibit certain New Yorkers (targeting criminals and those with certain mental illness) from owning, transferring, or selling firearms. However, Elise insists on the unconstitutionality of the SAFE Act and, as more gun control measures are expected to make their way through Congress, has introduced this new legislation to combat that.

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

That’ll Be a No For Me, Dawg

Several Democratic-led measures have made their way through the House and William has not held back in his criticism of the new Covid package, the Equity Act, and H.R. 1 – voting rights legislation. All of it has one common thread – government overreach. Like many Republicans, he signaled that the Covid package includes wasteful spending, that the Equity Act violates religious freedoms and endangers women, and that H.R. 1 will lead to too much federal oversight in elections. While he’s doing the work of supporting his party, we wonder what legislative actions he might take as Congress pushes on. As we mentioned in the last newsletter, he’s now vice-chair of the Modernization Committee, so we’ll see what he can conjure there.

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

Turning the Tables

Despite the blowback after the attacks on the Capitol on January 6th, Josh continues to be a spokesman for and even the face of the future of the Republican party (or, at least, a version of it). In a recent interview, when asked how Republicans would continue to gain ground with minority voters, Josh had a simple answer – to show them that the GOP is the party of the working class. He lambasted Democrats for working alongside big corporations, shipping jobs overseas, and making American workers “compete with slave labor”. Josh has been a consistent critic of certain trade agreements, a proponent of a higher minimum wage, and also proposes job training programs to help people get employed without needing an expensive four-year degree. Do you vibe with this future GOP Josh envisions?

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

Just the Beginning

H.R. 1, the For the People Act, passed the House as a package of voting-rights proposals. Mondaire and fellow Political Playlist politician Cori Bush (D-MO) introduced an amendment to the package that would grant voting rights to convicted felons and allow them to vote from prison (currently Maine, Vermont, and D.C. allow it). The amendment failed, kind of by a lot, 97-328, but activists are hopeful that this was the beginning, not the end, of the debate over voting rights for prisoners. As the conversation continues, Mondaire noted, “Every human being then deserves to be able to vote in their best interest. Anything less than that is inhumane and a form of slavery. Indeed it is the ‘New Jim Crow’.”

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

Solidarity

Though Amazon pays its employees the federally-proposed but yet to be approved $15/hour minimum wage, it has spoken out against workers’ attempts to unionize. One such effort is being made at a fulfillment center in Alabama, which Nikema visited last week with a group of lawmakers that also included Political Playlist leaders Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Cori Bush (D-MO). Other than voicing their public support for the unionizing effort, Nikema and the others met with labor organizers and workers from the center who are voting on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. While Amazon disputes any unfair working conditions, many workers at this Alabama location (85% of whom are black) have reported grueling work, unsafe conditions, and inadequate restrooms and food breaks. Something to think about next time you order a roll of paper towels from the shopping giant.

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

You’re Obsesssssed

Lauren’s relationship with Q’Anon is complicated. While she insists she is not a follower of the online conspiracy theory, she has also expressed hope that it might actually be true. If so, it would mean that “America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values,” she said. There was a lot of talk surrounding the date of March 4th, the date that presidents USED to be inaugurated and a date that some Q’Anon followers expected Trump to assume his second term. With intel that there could be unrest in Washington, the Capitol was locked down and Lauren was not having it. Her beef? Dems are too obsessed with conspiracy theories!

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

A Farm Boy Like Me

As our country becomes more urban and suburban, it might be easy to overlook the hardships and priorities of our nation’s farmers – that’s where Tracey comes in. He’s been selected to serve on two different agricultural subcommittees to bring his expertise as a self-proclaimed ‘farm boy’ to aid farmers in Kansas and around the country. He vows to protect crop insurance, conduct proper oversight at the Dept. of Agriculture, and advocate for trade and new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Kansas ranks in the top three states for beef production and has growing pork and dairy industries, so the connection between his district and state and the new subcommittees he’ll serve on is pretty strong.

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

What Comes Next

As small businesses around the country suffer due to the pandemic, Andrew and a group of bipartisan lawmakers that also includes Political Playlist leader Jason Crow (D-CO) are looking out for one of the many challenges these business owners face – what happens when they leave, retire, or die. The Small Business Succession Planning Act would direct the Small Business Association to create an online succession planning toolkit and host workshops around the country as well as providing small business owners with a one-time $250 tax break to create a business succession plan and an additional $250 when the plan is implemented. Recalling his own small business – a law firm run by him and his father – Andrew is hoping to bring some relief to similar business owners around the country to ensure their continued success.

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Hackers BEWARE

Ever been hacked? Same. Now, Colin is leading a group of bipartisan colleagues (including PP leaders Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Joe Neguse (CO-02), and Andy Kim (NJ-03)), to introduce the Homeland and Cyber Threat (HACT) Act. The act would allow Americans to make claims in federal or state courts against foreign states that conduct or engage in cyberattacks against Americans. The legislation would give Americans the right to hold foeign governments accountable for damage done by cyber attacks by eliminating immunity afforded to foreign states (like officials, employees or agents) in U.S. courts and give them the opportunity to seek monetary damages resulting from the attack. Who’s ready for a lawsuit?

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Knock Knock: It’s Infrastructure

Infrastructure. Infrastructure. INFRASTRUCTURE! Sharice was one of the 8 lawmakers to sit down with President Biden to discuss a massive infrastructure plan. Sharice is the vice chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and she is focused on creating an infrastructure bill that would build back the U.S. economy with materials made in America, create good-paying jobs, and combat the effects of climate change. Sharice touched on her home state as a reason for bringing more infrastructure – “The Kansas City Metro is a key transportation hub for the entire country, so smart investments in infrastructure to grow our economy are especially critical for us.”

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

Rescue Us

Conor has been instrumental in passing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, noting that the funding in this bill will deliver vaccines quicker, make schools safer, and better support the unemployed. It will help the millions more who have lost hours at work due to the pandemic and will protect people’s jobs, especially those who work for airlines and the public sector. This bill provides wartime-level funding to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing we might all agree on is we need to open the country back up, but we also need a little government help. If you’re into this new Covid bill, Conor’s one politician to thank!

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Pass the Turkey

Since 2016, more than 80,000 Turkish citizens have been imprisoned or arrested, and more than 1,500 nongovernmental organizations have been closed to suppress political opposition. WOW. Seth was one of the leaders, along with PP rep, Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), to focus on a “major course” correction in US-Turkey relations. Seth and Anthony sent a letter to President Biden urging him to “emphasize to President Erdogan and his administration that they should immediately end their crackdown on dissent at home and abroad, release political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and reverse their authoritarian course.” With Covid still top of mind, it’s easy to forget foreign policy like this – thankfully, Seth and Anthony have us covered.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

51st State

Many people do not know that Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1952. As a representative from New York, many of AOC’s constituents are Puerto Ricans which is why she is reintroducing a bill that would ensure that Puerto Ricans have access to “a legitimate, accountable and inclusive process for decolonization and self-determination.” The bill would come up with a long-term solution for the island’s territorial status — whether it be statehood, independence, a free association or any option other than the current territorial arrangement. One interesting bit of info to supplement this is that Puerto Ricans were split on whether they would want to be a U.S. state or not – 53% in favor. Know any Puerto Ricans? Where do they stand?

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Are You an Influencer Now?

Foreign interference in elections has been a hot topic since 2016 and Abigail has introduced a bill to require disclaimers clearly stating that content is coming from a foreign principal. The Foreign Agent Disclaimer Enhancement (FADE) Act would increase transparency by requiring disclaimers attributing political content to a foreign principal to be embedded on the face of a social media post itself. With this new requirement, disclaimers would remain with a post whenever the post is subsequently shared. This amendment would help protect against foreign influence that seeks to sow political division and promote dangerous disinformation. As Americans, don’t we deserve to know where social media posts are coming from?

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

You Better RESPOND

We never thought that federal pensions and climate change would be in the same sentence, but Rashida introduced an act that included both. The Restructuring Environmentally Sound Pensions In Order to Negate Disaster (RESPOND) Act would protect federal pensions from the economic consequences of climate change. It would establish a Federal Advisory Panel on Climate Change within the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) and require the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue an annual report on the economic costs related to climate change and federal pensions. “The $565 billion in retirement benefits under federal management represents a critical opportunity to meaningfully divest from fossil fuels that are killing the planet and harming communities at home and around the world.” Ok, I guess we got it now!

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Defense Supply Chains

97% of all U.S. imports are delivered by foreign ships which is one of the main reasons why the House Armed Services Committee is launching a new task force to dig into defense supply chain issues. Mike and under 45-er, Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) will co-chair the group as it investigates threats and vulnerabilities in the defense industrial base. Their work is only to last about 3 months but could be as long as 6 months. At Political Playlist we think this could take longer 😊. Mike also introduced a resolution this week to stop the use of proxy voting in the House now that many members are vaccinated. Many Republicans like him were averse to the system at first, though many have now embraced it. Is this a sign of us nearing the end or is Mike jumping the gun?

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

Are You an Organ Donor?

If you are a living organ donor, did you might be getting charged higher premiums from your insurance company? Jaime introduced bipartisan legislation, The Living Donor Protection Act, to protect living donors from high insurance premiums. It would also codify Dept. of Labor guidance that covers living donors under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the private and civil service, remove barriers to organ donation, and provide certainty to donors and recipients. Most importantly, the bill will help remove barriers for those waiting in a long line to receive a transplant and save more lives. Just when you think you are doing something good you get charged a higher price for it!

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

Diversify the Supply

Adam referenced the recent weather storms as a great reminder of how important it is to have a diverse energy supply, as well as a reliable source of baseload power. This is why he reintroduced legislation to streamline and increase the efficiency of nuclear technology. The Nuclear Licensing Efficiency Act builds upon the recent efforts by Congress to modernize nuclear fees and licensing procedures. The act establishes updated procedures and timelines for environmental and safety evaluations necessary to make timely permitting and licensing decisions. The bill also expands fee reforms to cover nuclear fuel facilities, ensuring a more cost-effective regulation of the nuclear supply chain. Bill Gates has been a big proponent of nuclear energy so maybe we’ll see a Gates/Kinzinger mashup.

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Educating Those Who Served

Are you one of the millions of Americans hindered by student debt? Guy, along with his colleagues, reintroduced bipartisan legislation to make college more affordable for National Guard and service members. The Improving College Affordability for Our Guard and Reserve Act would allow National Guardsmen and Reserve personnel under the age of 25 to claim independent student status when applying for federal student aid. Under current law, only active duty servicemembers, veterans, and other individuals with limited circumstances can claim independent student status. Seems like a no brainer and a great way to give back to our service members.

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Water IS Life

As a Florida congressman, water is always a top priority and making sure it is safe is top of mind. Greg sent a bipartisan letter with other Florida colleagues to President Biden requesting $725 million in federal funding for the Everglades restoration. The Everglades is the source of drinking water for 8 million Floridians. Furthermore, if the Everglades receives funding it will create 65,000-70,000 new jobs over the next four years. The 117th Congress has been vocal about identifying these large-scale infrastructure projects, so it will be interesting to see what is accomplished and how the Biden administration reacts to requests like this one from Florida.

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Detention or Reception Centers?

As we mentioned before, Tom will be one of the biggest critics of President Biden as he explores a potential run for President in 2024. This week, Tom took to the U.S. border to see what’s going on with the current flood of immigrants into the country. Tom criticized the current border plan and says that the detention centers are becoming more like reception centers for immigrants. Tom went on to say that the Democrats do not believe there is a crisis at the border. More broadly, this issue shows how quickly policy can change from one administration to the next and what the real time implications can look like. How do you feel about what’s happening at the border?

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

LGBTQ Businesses and the Banks

LGBTQ-run businesses add more than $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy every year. The passage of the Equality Act includes an effort to protect LGBTQ people and enterprises against credit discrimination. Ritchie, the first gay Afro-Latino member of Congress, is going a step further and wants to re-introduce the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act which will require financial institutions to collect data on credit applications submitted by minority and women-owned small businesses. It would require financial institutions to report the extent to which LGBTQ-owned businesses are applying for and accessing credit. In doing so, this transparency will ideally strengthen the incentive for the financial community to extend capital to LGBTQ businesses.

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Care Worker Crisis

Sadly, care workers are at major risk due to Covid. During any recession, care type services tend to be the first to be cut. Millions are struggling to access childcare, health care, long-term supports and services, and paid family and medical leave. Jamaal and Senator Warren (D-MA) introduced a resolution to dramatically expand and strengthen the care economy and improve conditions and compensations for care workers nationwide. A growing number of care workers (disproportionately women of color and immigrants) face poverty wages and exploitation across all parts of their life. The resolution calls for raising pay, benefits, protections, and standards for all care workers, ensuring pathways to unionization, and creating millions of new care jobs over the next decade. A good reminder to think back to any care workers who have had an effect in your life.

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Madame Vice Chair

Cori was appointed as vice-chair of the Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Why is this important? Cori campaigned to defend Black lives and was a major voice during the movement, dating all the way back to her activism in Ferguson. Her new leadership position will put her at the center of bringing change to certain parts of our government, especially our criminal legal system. The subcommittee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Criminal Code, drug enforcement, sentencing, parole and pardons, internal and homeland security, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, prisons, and criminal law enforcement. A lot to take on, but we have a feeling Cori’s up for the challenge.

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

Reapply for Your PPP

After David narrowly avoided a censure from his local Republican party for voting to impeach President Trump, he’s refocusing on one of his major campaign promises – improving water and agriculture in California’s Central Valley. David co-sponsored legislation called PPP Flexibility for Farmers and Ranchers Act which would allow farmers and ranchers in a partnership (LLCs, LLP, Ltds) to utilize gross income when calculating their maximum PPP loan amount. If you applied for a PPP loan you will understand how confusing some of these formulas were in calculating your loan amount, so any attempt to simplify it and aid those who grow and raise our food is an effort worth exploring!

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

The Wrong Way to Reform

You may have seen Kats speech on the House floor expressing her opposition to the police reform bill that was just passed. Why was she opposed? Kat is married to a first responder and brought her husband’s ballistic vest to accompany her speech. The bill will defund the police and take necessary equipment like the vest away from them as well as limit the transfer of military goods to police departments. Kat acknowledged that improvements are needed in the police force but taking necessary equipment from them is not the right way to do it. This issue, quite literally, hits home for her.

Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)

An Unequal System

Byron spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week and addressed criminal justice reform in both messaging and policy. First, he said that we need “a system that punishes and completes the punishment of those who do wrong,” but as well mentioned these people “are still American citizens and there must be a conduit for them to come back into society.” Byron acknowledged that most people getting voting rights restored after incarceration were white males. As one of only three black Republicans in Congress, it will be interesting to see if Byron works together with some of his Democratic colleagues on these issues that are becoming more and more bipartisan as the next generation of leaders takes hold.

Ashley Hinson (R; IO-1)

A Small Biz Trifecta

As a representative from Iowa, Ashley knows that many of her constituents are small businesses owners. That’s why she is cosponsoring three pieces of legislation that will give small businesses certainty and help families save money. These bills (The Main Street Tax Certainty Act, the Emergency Savings Account Act, and the Small Business Emergency Savings Account Act) are intended to help both small businesses and families recover from the financial toll of the pandemic. There are a lot of down and dirty details, but if you or someone you know is a small business owner, keep an eye out for these potential tax benefits.

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

200 vs. 2

It is becoming very clear that this Congress plans on staying divided by party lines, despite calls for unity from both sides. Victoria spoke against the new Covid bill on the House floor, taking some elements of it to task. First, 200 Republican amendments were proposed and only 2 were accepted by Democrats. Victoria authored 5 of them to approve transparency and accountability, assist juvenile justice and foster care systems, and address concerns with standardized testing. All of them were unanimously rejected by Democrats. Regardless of who is right on this side, the process is showing the American people that our government STILL cannot work together to save their own lives!

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

Not So Fast, Iran

Tony introduced the Constraining Human Rights Offenders in the Middle East (CHROME) Act, which would prohibit the re-entry of the U.S. into the Iran deal unless President Biden certifies to Congress that any sanction relief would not benefit terrorist organizations in Iran that have engaged in the violation of human rights. This includes anything related to torture or the killing of peaceful protestors or the persecution of members of the LGBT community. Putting money in foreign hands that are connected to terrorist organizations, he notes, is a major conflict of interest. Though this is an incredibly complex issue, we’re glad to see that the consideration of human rights is being included in the debate!

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

This Ain’t Your Average Depot

Blake became co-chair of the bipartisan House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus. Why is this important? Blakes home state of Utah has various bases that he oversees like the Hill Air Force Base and the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. The committee advocates for a variety of military depots and industrial facilities throughout the nation and world. The group educates members of Congress and the public on matters of critical importance to the military depot and industrial facility community and champions policy to keep American military airplanes flying, ships steaming, and stock moving worldwide. Basically, he’s looking out for the coolest airplane hangars you’ll ever see.

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

Red Notice

Trevor Reed, a former Marine, was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for assault back in 2019. Travis’ lawyers say that he did not commit this crime and the U.S. ambassador called the sentencing a “show trial.” To make matters shadier, Russia destroyed video evidence from the night in question. Hmm… August is at the forefront of the push to get Travis returned home and introduced a resolution that calls for immediate release of the Texas native. August’s bill received bipartisan support and the Biden administration has made public statements calling for Travis’ release, so hopefully we’ll see some movement on this soon.

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

Dishonored

Pete has long been attuned to the growing threat of white supremacy and violent extremists in this country, having witnessed it’s horrors in his very district back in 2015 with the San Bernardino attacks. So following the deadly Capitol riots, Pete introduced the Shielding Our Military from Extremists Act which aims to keep the military free of white supremacists and other extremists. The bill looks to have the Military better interface with the FBI on identifying and interpreting various indicators such as tattoos and coded ideologies in order to ultimately codify into law the recommendations of the report. If the January 6th events showed us anything, it’s just how vulnerable even our most sacred institutions actually are.

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Billionaire Shmillionaire

Brendan joined Senator Elizabeth Warren and others in introducing a proposal for the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act which looks to do just that: tax ultra-millionaires. Brendan, who sits on the House Ways and Means committee, remarked that “wealth inequality is at its highest level since the Gilded Age” with the wealth share of the richest 0.1% having nearly tripled since 1970. The proposed tax would garner 2% of households or trusts worth $50 million to $1 billion, and 3% for those worth in excess of $1 billion. Effectively, this would only tax about 100,000 American households, and economists estimate it would yield $3 trillion in revenue over the next ten years without raising taxes on 99.95% of Americans. Wow, that’s a lot of money. And it would cover the entirety of the stimulus package Congress just passed.

Jared Golden (D; ME-3)

Energy Is The New Black

While the country (rightfully) has their eyes on the Texas energy crisis, Jared is keeping his eyes on a potential energy red-flag developing in Maine. He’s asking the Biden Administration and Energy Secretary Granholm to review a presidential permit previously granted by the last administration for a $1 billion project that would connect Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid. Proponents of the project say it will stabilize energy prices and reduce carbon pollution, while critics say that it may have serious environmental effects. Jared isn’t asking to squash the deal, he’s simply saying that the people of his district have their voice heard.

Andy Kim (D; NY-3)

Lock Down Covid

Andy is leading a bipartisan effort in the house to get a handle on the soaring Covid case numbers and deaths within our federal prisons. The Bureau of Prisons tabulates that 45,000 inmates, roughly one third of their entire system’s population, have tested positive for Covid, and another 220 have died. Andy and his colleagues are calling on the Justice Department to increase on-site testing of staff, ensure the appropriate use of compassionate release, and provide hazard pay to staff retroactively from the start of the pandemic. Throughout this entire pandemic, Andy, who sits on the Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus, has been looking out for the safety of this often-forgotten subset of our federal government.

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

Sprucing Up The Labs

Joe became an overnight rising-star after his performance as a House manager during the second Trump impeachment trial, and he’s not letting that momentum go to waste. His Federal Labs Modernization Act caught our eye, which looks to invest in modernizing our science and research labs. It turns out that his district is a hot-bed for scientific research, with over 30 federally funded labs in the area. Joe’s bill calls for an evaluation every two years on necessary improvements and directs funds to make it happen. So let the experimentation begin, but please don’t blow the roof off the place, okay fellas?

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

First Person Accounts

Chris recently held a Veteran’s town hall centered around Mental Health challenges for Vets during the pandemic. Several Vets and health experts joined the conversation to voice their own experiences and help Chris better understand actionable legislative steps that could improve things. One such step is a bill Chris introduced this week called the PAWS Act, which increases access to services dogs for folks with PTSD. Furthermore, Chris just put together an advisory committee made up of Vets from all branches from his district to better advise on the challenges facing veterans in the Granite State.

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

Vax Without Tax!

Darren really seems to have an eye for the finer details and his latest bill backs that up. The HAPI Act, which has a companion piece spearheaded in the Senate by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), seeks to eliminate out of pocket vaccine costs for some folks on Medicaid. So get this, if you are enrolled in traditional Medicaid prior to the ACA rollout, then you can face varying out-of-pocket costs for vaccines whereas new Medicaid recipients do not. This bill looks to eliminate those costs and establish parity between those who enrolled at different times. The sooner we can remove all the barriers for everyone to get vaxxed, the better off we’ll be!

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Sue!

Eric turned up the temperature this week as he formally filed a lawsuit against former President Trump as well as his son Don Jr, Rudy Giuliani, and fellow Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL), all for their roles in inciting the January 6th insurrection. Eric, a former impeachment manager, has upped his charges and alleges that this gang broke Washington DC laws, including an anti-terrorism one related to an incitement of violence. Eric has named these gentlemen in their personal capacities, meaning the shields and protections of their public offices would not apply. The gloves sure seem to be coming off now!

Lauren underwood (D; IL-14)

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’…!

Keep this Lauren Underwood legislative train rollin’! She’s had a flurry of bills gain steam over the past few weeks and months, and this week the Health Care Affordability Act, included in the American Rescue Plan, looks to be heading to passage. The bill would lower out-of-pocket healthcare premium costs for families by making premium tax credits for Health Insurance Marketplace plans more generous and available. In other words, it would help alleviate high premium costs for people who are already getting financially crushed from the pandemic. It’s safe to say that no one likes insurance premiums, so maybe, just maybe, this can bring us all together???

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Bridging The Divide

Jim spoke at the CPAC conference in Florida and turned quite a few heads in the national news media. He sees the future of the party with the “ex-President still ruling the GOP,” but Jim has also been a strong supporter and early endorser of former VP Mike Pence, who’s begun laying the groundwork for a possible 2024 run. So it’s clear Jim recognizes the mounting opposing forces taking shape in the GOP. Additionally, Politico’s recent profile of him alluded to his challenging Liz Cheney for the House GOP Conference Chair position so it seems nothing is off the table.

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Hit Me Gaetzy One More Time!

Well, it was only a matter of time before one of the millennials in Congress hopped on the #FreeBritney train, but our guess certainly wasn’t that it would be Matt. That’s right, our fearless Floridian lawmaker has lent his megaphone to the issue of conservatorship, which is where a judge orders a guardian to oversee all financial and life decisions for a person deemed incapable of such a task. And that’s precisely the case with Britney Spears and her father, who’s legally managed all of her affairs since 2008. Matt has called for the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the practice and examine whether or not alterations need to be made to the law’s bill of rights. Hope he gets some concert tix out of this one.

Lance Gooden (R: TX-5)

Whoopsie-Daisy!

That was more or less the response from Lance when he accidentally became the lone Republican defecting vote in the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which bans the usage of chokeholds among other policing reform measures. Lance later realized and acknowledged his mistake, and apologized for the mishap, which fortunately for him had no bearing on the bill’s fate. He went on to tweet a reminder that he has “arguably the most conservative/America First voting record in Congress” and that he “wouldn’t support the radical left’s Anti-Police Act.” Being from the Dallas area, perhaps he was just distracted by the weather crisis in his state, and for good reason.

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

The Spinning Bouncy Ball Of Death

Dusty joined forces with fellow Under-45er Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) to introduce bipartisan legislation that will improve broadband internet speeds (no more blood curdling rainbow spinny wheel). Known as the Speedy Updates Act, the bill would look to improve on outdated internet speed thresholds used by the FCC to determine necessary improvements, particularly in rural areas, which suffer greatly from slow speeds. Internet speeds have obviously become of even greater importance to folks during a pandemic. Now, Dusty, if we could maybe just quietly tuck into this bill a free year of Netflix or Hulu, that’d be just fine with us!

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

Don’t Delay… Drill Away!

Markwayne joined Steve Scalise (R-LA) and several of his Republican colleagues in writing a letter to the Acting Secretary of the Interior regarding the 60-day suspension of new gas and oil leases on federal lands. The letter details the numerous ways this creates great uncertainty in producers planning their day-to-day operations, and insists that it puts workers’ jobs in jeopardy. While the Interior Department spokesman said that nothing has been “paused or suspended, simply elevated to a level of review,” the letter details how in practice, that’s not the case and the risk of an accelerated shutdown actually poses environmental hazards. Not sure if letters like these move the needle but it’s fun to compare all the lawmakers’ signatures, at least.

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

We Do Not Negotiate With Terrorists

A South Korean oil tanker was recently seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz because South Korea is holding between $7-10 billion worth of oil payments that have been frozen under terrorism sanctions imposed by the United States. South Korea is agreeing to pay $1 billion of that, effectively a ransom, in exchange for the release of the ship, all of which the U.S. appears to be condoning, most notably, Bryan says, without the consent of Congress. He wrote to Treasury Sec. Yellin, warning of this potential grave mistake in softening our Iran sanctions policy and asked for a full briefing of the matter.

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Cuomo’s Gotta Go!

Lee has been a vocal critic of Governor Cuomo since the beginning and things have only escalated in recent days. Lee has ramped up his calls for the embattled governor to resign immediately, first because of the nursing home cover-ups and now because of the flurry of sexual harassment allegations. Not only is Lee turning up the temperature, but he is also putting his money where his mouth is and has begun actively exploring a Gubernatorial run for 2022. He’s received very positive initial feedback, and says that he’s only going to run if there’s a path to victory. Lee put it bluntly by saying “Nothing motivates me about the idea of finishing second.” If ya ain’t first, your last.

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Finally, There’s An App For That!

Millennials want an app for everything – even Government, preferably a secure one. Fortunately, Kyrsten gets it, which is why she’s introduced a bill that will improve security and delivery of unemployment insurance. It directs the Labor Dept. to work with governmental and private sector experts to develop a suite of new technologies that will ensure easy use and fast delivery of insurance funds, as well as better identify fraud claims. This is a great start to a highly technologically antiquated system, and we hope this forward thinking can transcend many other sectors of Government. Please, please, please!

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

For The…Next Generation

Jake recently had two amendments included in the “For The People Act” ( H.R. 1), which has gained much national attention, and passed entirely along party lines. Both of his amendments added to this sweeping electoral reform bill target his generation of young voters. The first amendment expands the requirements for poll worker grants by broadening their reach to include recruitment of youth from higher education institutions as well as secondary schools. The second makes sure young voters aren’t discriminated against by voter challenges, which is the practice of challenging a voter’s eligibility, something that’s escalating in states like Georgia. While these amendments may seem small, that fact that Jake is looking out for the next generation of voters only gives us hope the bigger things are on their way.

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

The American Rescue Plan Is Also For Kids

Sara was more than pleased with the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan and it seems her constituents were too. In addition to touting the many components she views as gains for her district, Sara singled out the inclusion of the Child Tax Credit as a particularly huge win. Back in February, she cosponsored a bill called the American Families Act, which proposed to make the Child Tax Credit fully refundable with an annual credit of $3,000 and $3,600 per child. Because of her successful fighting, along with members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, these measures were included in the final package, along with an additional $39 billion in child care grants. Once again, Bravo to one of our leaders looking out for the next-next Gen!

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Censorship Much, Big Tech?

Madison’s recent beef with Twitter over censorship began with an attempted tweet, supposedly praising Governor Abbott for his deployment of the National Guard to the Texas border for what many Republicans are calling a National Emergency. But then a pop-up bar prevented the tweet from going through, reading “something went wrong, try again.” He does – same message. Finally, Madison types out a tweet that reads simply “testing” and voila—it goes through, no problem! Madison says Big Tech “doesn’t like this idea that we can have state leadership” and pointedly asks them “why are you so pro-illegal immigration?” That charge may be a hard one to prove, but clearly something is afoot in techville here.

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

Time To Reign It In

When it comes to endless wars, Peter is well versed in their realities, having been deployed to Iraq as an Army soldier when he was in his early twenties. Now that his constituents have deployed him to DC, one of his core issues is to start reigning in what he calls “endless wars on autopilot”. He tweeted out his surprising, full-throated endorsement to President Biden’s proposal to curb back the 2002 Authorization for the Use Of Military Force, which was enacted post-9/11. A bipartisan Senate bill has been introduced on the matter, and Peter has indicated it shares broad bipartisan support, which he will lead, in the House. He said it’s “time to align our foreign military involvement with long-term strategy” and we couldn’t agree more.

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Can’t Us Energies All Get Along?

With the weather crisis in Texas and the Midwest blasting the energy debate onto center stage, Jake and a few colleagues penned an op-ed arguing for common sense energy policies. Jake has been vocally critical of Biden’s Executive Order halting the Keystone XL pipeline construction, and warns that Democrats’ push for an everything-solar policy would be catastrophic. He points out the need for traditional energy sources, noting that last year “we became a net energy exporter for the first time since 1953.” Ultimately, Jake says we cannot ignore the realities of our energy needs and the necessity of our traditional energy sources. Sun… wind… gas… somewhere in between?

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

I’ll Take Two Dozen Coexist Bumper Stickers, Please

With the recent passage of the Equality Act in the house, Nancy was a “no” vote but she unequivocally defended the need for equal rights for all Americans, especially those in the LGBTQ community. However, she also said the same must go for religious organizations. Ultimately, this bill made it one or the other, but Nancy insists that both can co-exist! She acknowledged that many young center-right voters recognize the increasing need for LGBTQ rights and she is working to set an example for both sides of the aisle showing “there are Republicans who care.” As one of our young leaders, trying to solve issues with her even younger, further-in-the-future leaders in mind, we salute you, Nancy.

Nicole Malliotakus (R; NY-11)

Illegal Guns! It’s What We’re Not Prosecuting…

They say Republicans aren’t into common sense gun laws, but Nicole introduced legislation that looks to crack down on illegal purchases of firearms and go one step further by actually prosecuting those criminals, something which is currently occurring at an alarmingly low rate. Here are some figures: In 2017, roughly 25.6 million people attempted to purchase firearms from licensed dealers. Of that, 112,090 were denied by the FBI but only .09% of them were actually prosecuted. Nicole’s bill “aims to get the feds more teeth to enforce these laws” by directing the Attorney General to prioritize these prosecutions. Guns in this country are an ever-escalating and partisan problem with no easy solutions, but this seems like a good start.

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

Always Down To Collab

Jon and fellow Senator Warnock (D-GA) have all the makings of a great buddy-comedy film, but their recent actions have had a far more dramatic effect on Georgia and the American people writ large. They were essentially the two decisive votes in passing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Jon took to Twitter to celebrate that $2 billion was headed to Georgia specifically for Medicaid expansion, a controversial subject in the state. Local Republicans have long-sought to prevent this expansion but now armed with deep pockets, Jon and his fellow Dems look to inject quite a bit of capital behind the cause. If nothing else, this is a clear reminder that elections do have consequences.