THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: Your Elected Celeb Will See You Now
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
Dream a Dream
As a member of the House Hispanic Caucus and the representative of a heavily Hispanic district, Pete has not stayed silent on his advocacy for DACA recipients (Dreamers). He has co-written legislation with fellow Democratic California Rep. Juan Vargas that would legislate the ability for Dreamers to receive federally funded home loans. Due to lack of clear directive under the Trump administration, many federal loan agencies paused loans to Dreamers. Although, under the new administration, these loans seem to be coming to fruition again, Pete does not want Dreamers’ and their families’ futures to hang in the balance from one administration to the next. A poignant reminder of how a shift in administration can have a serious effect on certain communities if laws aren’t established in Congress.
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
Irish I Was There
One only needs to read Brendan’s name to become aware of his Irish descent (his dad was an immigrant in the 1970s), but he goes one step further in his role in Congress by fighting for better relations between the U.S. and Ireland. He has reintroduced legislation that would allot certain visas currently reserved for Australian immigrants to the U.S. to Irish immigrants as well. The E-3 visa program allows up to 10,500 Australians in specialty occupations to enter the U.S., though only half of those are typically used. Brendan would like to extend the remaining visas to Irish people in the same capacity. The bill previously died in the Senate, as it needed to pass unanimously and fellow Political Playlist leader (and staunch anti-immigration lawmaker) Tom Cotton (R-AK) voted against it, but Brendan is hopeful that with Democratic control of the Senate he can get it passed.
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
Holding His Ground
The Biden administration recently laid out a new Covid relief package, stressing the need to move quickly and not paying much heed to Republican support. In order to get the bill passed without bipartisan consensus, a process called ‘budget reconciliation’ has to take effect, which would require a simple majority. Jared, however, was the only Democrat to vote against invoking that process for one simple reason – vaccines. He argued that instead of driving through a full package that doesn’t have any bipartisan support, Congress should be focusing on legislation that WOULD have bipartisan support to “get more shots in arms”. While the administration’s bill will now make its way through the Congressional committees, Jared remains steadfast on prioritizing vaccine distribution first. Have you gotten your vaccine or run into any issues trying to?
Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)
Hard but Necessary
By now you probably have seen the image of Andy picking up debris off the Capitol Rotunda floor after the attacks last month. As the country pushes forward with one of the other (checks notes) hundreds of other crises we face, Andy had an important message in an interview – “It’s a hard day to remember, but it’s one that’s necessary for us to remember.” We’ve seen many politicians, especially Democrats, coming forward with more detailed accounts of their experience on January 6th and Andy clearly wholeheartedly supports that public sharing so that we as a nation can indeed move on, but not forget. On a lighter note, he shared a photo of he and newly confirmed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttegieg from college and it is pure gold.
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
Hear Me Out
There are too many health issues to count that we still cannot do much about. Hearing, however, is an area that has taken grand scientific leaps in recent years – granting the gift of sound to many hearing-impaired through cochlear implants and another device called a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA). One of Joe’s constituents, 11-year-old Ally, who has a BAHA, wrote a letter to him a couple years ago lamenting that her implant was not covered by insurance and that she was sure so many others who needed it couldn’t afford it. Joe introduced Ally’s act back in 2019, but has reintroduced it now to the 117th Congress to make such hearing aid devices covered by insurance. The bill now has bicameral and bipartisan support with Sens. Shelley Capito (R-WV) and Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) support.
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
S**t in the River
How would you feel about living on the banks of a river filled with sewage and untreated stormwater? Gross, right? Chris and other lawmakers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts (including fellow Political Playlister Seth Moulton) have sent a letter lobbying for a federal grant that would help address that very problem in the Merrimack River, which runs for over 100 miles from Central New Hampshire, through Massachusetts and out to sea. The grant money would allow local wastewater treatment plants to upgrade their infrastructure to prevent combined sewer overflow (CSO) releases. You’ll never look at a river in the same way, will you?
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
This Land is Your Land
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is immigration status given to individuals in the U.S. whose home countries are too dangerous to return to due to armed conflict (Syria) or natural disasters (Haiti). Darren is urging TPS to be given to refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador due to hurricanes that ravaged the countries back in November. Working with a team of immigration advocates in Washington, Darren has noted the destruction these countries are facing and how if there was ever a time to extend TPS, it is now. As an aid worker from Oxfam recalled, “I have never seen the situation so desperate and I have never seen people so lacking in hope.” He also used the opportunity to engage the Biden administration around giving TPS to Venezuelan refugees in the country.
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
Enough is Enough
Last week was National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Eric has made gun violence one of the pillars of his agenda as a lawmaker, even bringing it to the forefront of debates during his run for President last cycle. In a video, he noted that by February more people in the U.S. are killed by gun violence than in other countries during an entire year. He asked for a recommitment to gun safety legislation and to recognize that survivors are often leading the charge against gun violence, despite their trauma. With 58% of American adults being survivors of gun violence – either through experiencing it themselves or caring for someone who has experienced it – Eric is making a push to bring attention to the issue, despite the partisan politics it often sparks.
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
This One’s for the Mamas
As a former nurse, Lauren’s commitment to health – specifically black maternal health – has been unwavering. Now, she (along with a sizable group of Democratic Senators and Representatives) has unveiled the Black Maternal Omnibus Act of 2021. The historic legislation is meant to address racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health. It builds on existing legislation to address the drivers of the maternal health crisis in America by investing in addressing social determinants of health, funding community-based organizations, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, and improving data collection processes. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, has the only rate that is RISING, and black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications.
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
Not So Deep Pockets
The Republican Study Caucus is the largest conservative caucus in the House and Jim is now the head of it. In a recent video, he pointed to the caucus’s mission of making fiscal responsibility a hallmark of the GOP going forward – slamming Biden’s proposed spending package to address Covid and economic recovery. The drama of pushing this bill through Congress with what will probably be very little to no Republican support is not lost on Jim. He invoked comments by former Obama economic advisor, Larry Summers, that the bill will “devalue the dollar and send the economy into a tailspin”. As much speculation about the future agenda of the GOP swirls around the country, Jim is committed to making wasteful spending one of the top priorities.
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
Whatever it Takes
Matt is perhaps the most well known and most vocal supporters of Trump in Congress, so much so that he’s willing to give up his job for the former President. Insisting that Trump’s current defense team in the impending impeachment trial is shaping up to be inadequate, Matt said that “if the President called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life.” To do so, he would have to resign from his seat in the House. Trump’s legal team began to fall apart when five members quit a week ago, so it remains to be seen if he’ll take Matt up on his offer, but if it wasn’t clear before – this guy’s a Trump lifer if there ever was one.
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
Last April, Lance was one of 28 lawmakers who urged taxpayer-funded subsidies to be granted to high-interest lending companies (often criticized for targeting the working poor, uneducated, and veterans). Details like these often go unnoticed, but a nonprofit based in Austin just released a report that $20 million went to payday and title-loan lenders in the state. Some of these companies have interest rates up to 700%, making it near impossible for recipients of the loans to ever pay off the principal amount of the loan. This deep dive on an issue that wasn’t specifically driven by Lance, but was certainly bolstered by the letter he signed onto, is worth a read into one of the shadier and more complicated financial lending systems in our country.
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
Meat for All
The meat industry is generally controlled by a few large players – Dusty wants to change that. He has introduced the DIRECT Act, which would allow state-inspected (not just federally-inspected) meat to be sold across state lines. This would, he insists, allow local businesses to have access to larger markets. He introduced the bill during the last Congress, where it gained steam, but not enough to vote on before the session ended. By reintroducing it now in the new Congress, Dusty’s confident they can get it passed – especially with Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar on board.
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
The news of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s past comments about conspiracy theories and her subsequent removal from her committee assignments has now made its way through the national news cycle (over, and over, and over again). And… so has Markwayne. He took to various news programs to defend Greene, not on the basis of her comments, but on what he says is blatant hypocrisy by Democrats. He called out ‘Squad’ members like AOC (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and veteran lawmakers like Maxine Waters (D-CA) for offensive and outlandish comments they’ve made without repercussions. “What the Democrats are doing is dangerous, removing a Republican (from committees) without controlling their own members,” he said.
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
Let Them Work
The debate over a federal minimum wage has been raging on for a while, but given its inclusion in the recent Covid package proposed by the Biden administration, Bryan is making sure some of the pitfalls of the potential mandate are known. He recently visited a Wisconsin business, KANDU Industries, that employs intellectually disabled individuals to help with things like assembly. KANDU has a special certificate that allows them to pay lower wages to disabled workers based on productivity. Bryan and KANDU are arguing to keep this certificate intact, not because they don’t think that these individuals deserve to be paid fairly, but because if they didn’t have these jobs, they’d go into nonwork programs. KANDU insists that they’d rather be working. It’s a complex issue that no-doubt deserves a close look as both parties show down on the details of the relief package.
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
After Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was stripped of her committee assignments by Democrats and a few Republicans, Lee made his position to keep her on her committees clear. While he condemned the statements that Greene had made, he insisted that the act to take her off committees was full of hypocrisy by Democrats and set a dangerous precedence for the future. “No one should play along with Pelosi’s act as long as she refuses to hold her own to account simply because they are Democrats,” he said. He also invoked the circumstances two years ago when Republicans decided to remove then-Rep. Steve King (R-IA) from his committees due to a string of white supremacist comments – noting that Republicans were willing to condemn one of their own.
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
All Eyes on Covid
Kyrsten and her fellow AZ Senator Mark Kelly are among the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate when it comes to keeping their seats next election. They both campaigned on a centrist message and Kyrsten has been mindful to avoid partisan fights – always doubling down on what’s best for Arizona, not her party. Now, with Biden’s new Covid package about to push its way through Congress (most likely with little to no Republican support) the test is on for Kyrsten and how she’ll handle this hyper-partisan moment. Republicans want to push her to take a controversial vote that could potentially be used against her in reelection. She already voted in opposition to an increased minimum wage and certain protections for immigrants, which, you guessed it, angered many in her party.
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
Don’t Count Them Out
In the last round of Covid relief, money was set aside for local governments of cities with more than 500,00 people. Cities and municipalities smaller than that had their money directed to the state to allocate as it saw fit. Jon wants to change that this time around. He is a cosponsor of the Direct Support for Communities Act, which would guarantee that these smaller cities (there are many in Georgia) have control of their own funding to support public schools, transportation, etc. With Biden’s Covid relief package expected to push (operative word) forward through. On another note, it was reported that he and Sen. Warnok (D-GA) raised the most money EVER in a Senate campaign… wowzers.
Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)
The Race We Must Win
In a recent Q&A with Politico, Jake was asked about his legislative priorities. Unsurprisingly, he said what most members of Congress would probably say right now – Covid, Covid, Covid. He insisted that his focus is squarely on vaccine distribution and defending against the emerging variants. He also noted that the vaccine rollout in his state, Massachusetts has been less than stellar – lamenting the jumbled logistics of administering vaccines, but expressing real worry about the supply of vaccines to the state. Currently, he says, the state is getting about 100,000 doses a week, which isn’t nearly enough to keep up the pace to vaccinate the necessary number of people. He advocates for using the Defense Production Act and funding industry partnerships to scale up manufacturing. His last takeaway? If Democrats need to use budget reconciliation along partisan lines to get a big relief package through, so be it. “We should pass it big and pass it fast.”
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)
The news of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) past remarks about conspiracy theories and violence against Democratic leadership has now made its way onto your televisions, into your inboxes, and appeared on every social media feed imaginable. Sara assumed a leadership position, along with fellow Political Playlist leader Nikema Williams (D-GA), in drafting legislation that would censure Greene, effectively punishing her officially for her comments. Last Thursday, all House Democrats and 11 Republicans voted to remove Greene from her committees, putting into effect the work that Sara and Nikema began not long before. Where Greene’s fate lies remains to be seen, but you can be sure Sara has her eye on it.
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
Get Your Words Straight, Congressman
Before Madison entered office, he was fending off a scandal about a social media post of him excitedly visiting Hitler’s former vacation home – critics of the newly-elected Congressman categorized it as antisemetic. That scandal, for its part, seemed to die down a bit once Madison hit the national stage and began making news for a slew of other reasons, some good, some not so good. But now, his already tense relationship with the Jewish community has bubbled over again regarding a tweet he sent out, meant to drive people to his merch shop, that appropriated a poem about the Holocaust. In response, Madison met with local North Carolina Jewish leaders to ease any concerns about his intentions. All in all, the meeting seems to have reassured some of the Jewish leaders in attendance, but time will tell if Madison can wrangle in some of his words, intentional or not, from here on out.
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
Un-Censured for Now
After voting to impeach President Trump in light of the attacks on the Capitol last month, Peter has unsurprisingly drawn a lot of evil eyes from fellow Republicans (including a primary challenger for 2022). This week, they were the eyes of Republican leaders in his Michigan district, where a measure to attempt to censure Peter (remove him of certain official duties) was brought to a vote. With a final tally of 11-11, the resolution failed, but the message was clear. The chairman of the district committee expressed respect for the civil exchange and commended Peter for his graciousness in explaining his impeachment vote. Whether or not that explanation will remain enough in the two years to come will be interesting to follow as the seemingly civil war within the GOP takes place.
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
Down to Business
Amidst all the chaos of impeachment, GOP infighting, and the regular stresses of being a freshman member of Congress, Jake has lent his name to two controversial bills. One, a constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on members of Congress, is popular among several Republicans and a handful of Democrats. Jake says that term limits would, “provide the Legislature with new people who have fresh ideas and are strictly focused on serving the interests of their constituents during their short time in Congress”. The other, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would require healthcare workers to provide just as much lifesaving effort to a baby that survives an abortion as it would any other child (with a punishment of prison time if they fail to do so). Hot out the gates and we’ll see where Jake goes with these two bills.
Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)
After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recorded a video recounting, in detail, her experience inside the Capitol on January 6th, Nancy fired back. “My office is 2 doors down,” she said. “Insurrectionists never stormed our hallway.” This devolved into a public-facing feud (shocking nobody) as the two congresswomen shot jabs back and forth. AOC claimed that Nancy’s comments would deter people from listening to and believing survivors of sexual assault (AOC revealed she was a survivor during her video). However, in 2019, Nancy came out publicly as a survivor of rape. THEN, Nancy’s fundraising team sent an email both slamming AOC’s comments and division, and asking for campaign contributions. One thing is for sure, these two are no longer friendly neighbors…
Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)
Out on a Limb
Nicole is by no means an anit-Trump Republican – seen campaigning with him, objecting to the 2020 election results, and voting against impeaching the former president. However, when it came to one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Nicole drew the line. Last week, she was one of eleven Republicans that voted to remove Greene from her committee assignments. Nicole called the fellow congresswoman’s past comments “deeply disturbing and extraordinarily offensive and hurtful to thousands of 9/11 families… in my district” (one of the conspiracies that Greene supported was questioning the reality of the 9/11 attacks). Will sticking up for her home turf pay off politically for Nicole?
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)
Sometimes Micro is Better
When a new administration comes into power it offers an opportunity to reintroduce bills and Nanette took advantage of this window. Along with her colleague, Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), they reintroduced a bill that would alleviate concerns surrounding natural disasters. The Energy Resilient Communities Act will create the first federal program to build 100% clean energy microgrids to power critical infrastructure for communities in the aftermath of such events. It prioritizes energy equity and environmental justice by amplifying grant applications from low income and BIPOC communities to develop these clean energy microgrids, which would develop “green” jobs and reduce pollution, thereby fighting the climate crisis. Microgrids are still a bit of a mystery, so we’ll have to see what kind of traction this proposal picks up.
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
Mass shootings have been a major part of millennial and Gen-Z daily life. This threat inspired Jason to introduce the Closing the Loophole on Interstate Firearm Sales Act (Colorado Loophole Act) – common-sense legislation that would close the loophole that allows certain gun purchasers to immediately obtain rifles and shotguns when traveling out-of-state. Under current law, a federal firearms licensee may NOT sell or transfer a firearm to an out-of-state buyer BUT this only applies to handguns. Individuals can purchase a long gun or a shotgun outside their state of residence if the transaction is in-person and it complies with the laws in both the home state of the buyer and the state in which the seller is located. We have not seen much gun law in the last few years, but with a Democratically controlled House and Senate we bet it will be a hot issue.
Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)
Save Our Hospitals
New York hospitals are at risk of losing their Critical-Access Hospital status due to a change in policy by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Antonio teamed up with fellow PP leader and NY member, Republican Elise Stefanik, to introduce a bipartisan bill that would preserve the status for small and rural hospitals in New York. Altogether, there are 18 hospitals in New York that could lose their certification. During a time like COVID, we need more access to health care facilities, not less.
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
Ruben was elected to head the new subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations (ISO) that is part of the House Armed Services Committee. This panel will have oversight of the Pentagon’s special operations and military intelligence. As chair, he will examine the “use, and I would say abuse,” of special operations, whose deployments are sometimes opaque, even for members of Congress. He will have oversight over programs and accounts related to military intelligence, national intelligence, countering weapons of mass destruction, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, other sensitive military operations, and special operations forces. Wow, say that 5 times over. Fun fact, Ruben is the highest-ranking person of color serving on the House Armed Services Committee.
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
No, I’m Josh Harder!
“It costs more for a year of childcare in California than a year at Stanislaus State University.” Josh teamed up with fellow PP leader, Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) to introduce the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act to address the shortage of affordable childcare facilities and professionals across the nation, especially in rural areas. This bipartisan legislation will create a $100 million grant program to address the growing crisis of childcare accessibility. Unfortunately, it seems that costs for everything are becoming too high and sadly we will need more and more government programs like this for support. And in funny news, many people are confusing Josh with Senator Josh Hawley and sending him threatening messages due to Hawley’s involvement in the Capitol siege. We are not quite sure to laugh at this or be worried that people cannot tell the difference.
Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)
Cannot Stop Gamestop
Many politicians blasted Robinhood’s decision to curb trading on select stocks like Gamestop that soared due to collective efforts of online day traders. Ro is pushing for a congressional hearing on the topic and emphasized, “We’re done letting hedge fund billionaires treat the stock market like their personal playground, then taking their ball home as soon as they lose. American inequality is at new levels of extreme. The top .01% of Americans hold nearly the same share of American wealth as the bottom 90%.” Ok be honest, raise your hard if you downloaded the app Robinhood after the drama… In some under the radar news, Ro praised the Biden administration for the end of the U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. I guess that is something to celebrate!
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
Going Super Green
The environment is at the top of Mike’s agenda and not just because he represents a SoCal district heavily impacted by the changes in climate. Much of his background is actually in energy as a former environmental attorney and he founded a clean energy association. Mike congratulated Biden’s executive order to combat the climate crisis, protect public lands, and foster clean energy job creation. Many bills Mike introduced in the 116th Congress were aligned with this mission, as are some of the bills he plans on reintroducing like the Restoring Community Input and Public Protection in Oil and Gas Leasing Act. He also introduced the Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Act during the 116th Congress to facilitate nationwide adoption of zero-emission vehicles, and the Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act to fund the installation of ZEV charging infrastructure. Environmental bills galore!
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
When a new administration comes into play, it is always a good opportunity to RE-introduce legislation. So, we should be seeing many Democrats push legislation they introduced in the previous Congress but might have had trouble passing. Stephanie reintroduced the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, that shares best practices for school safety measures and identifies the resources necessary to implement them. This law was introduced after the Parkland shooting in Florida and many from the Florida delegation have signed onto this measure. The bill will do a variety of things, but most importantly give the ability to share and use best practices to mitigate future threats. These measures will be supported through grant programs by the Department of Education, HHS, DOJ and DHS.
Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)
Campaign Finance Woes
Ilhan is always going to be a target of Republicans as she is one of the most critical of their party. Republicans are trying to strip Ilhan of some of her committee assignments (for her previous “anti-Semetic” comments on Israel), like the Democrats did to Marjorie Taylor Greene. This will probably go nowhere, but there is a group that is trying. One point of contention revolves around Ilhan’s 2020 campaign and their use of her husband’s consulting firm, E Street Group, in which they received more than $3.7 million in campaign spending. While there is nothing against this, everyone knows this looks bad. Insert typical politician apology here and she will be severing ties with the firm (let’s pour one out for the E Street Group). In some uplifting news, Ilhan brought her new 3-month-old yellow lab, Teddy, to the Hill. Let the puppy photos commence!
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
Taking Down the Terrorists
Having spent her career preventing attacks on the United States as a CIA analyst and later as a senior Pentagon official, Elissa is now the Chairwoman of the Intelligence & Counterterrorism Subcommittee within the House Committee on Homeland Security. One of her main goals is to focus on the rise of domestic terrorism, referencing the Capitol riots and the alleged plot to kidnap her states Governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Elissa wants to mandate education, especially Holocaust education, to fight domestic terrorism. Elissa, who is Jewish, pointed to the Capitol riots and the anti-Semitic symbols that were portrayed. She was among the co-sponsors of legislation that passed last year that creates a clearinghouse of Holocaust resources for educators administered by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
Do You Accept These Cookies?
Everyone cares about their personal data and many of us have no idea what we are exposed to through different sites or when we click that “Accept cookies” box at the corner of our computer screen. This is why Haley introduced the Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act, to secure people’s personal data through data anonymization tools, confidentiality-enabling algorithms, and other privacy-enhancing technologies. Fellow PP leader, Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), was also part of a bipartisan group to introduce this legislation which requires the National Science Foundation to support research into privacy enhancing technologies. It also requires reports to Congress on progress with research and standard setting every two years.
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
Take a Ride on the Pipeline
After President Biden’s executive order, the Keystone Pipeline was the main topic of conversation for Republican politicians who pointed to the loss of jobs. Kelly introduced legislation with 83 other Republicans to authorize the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline and declare that a Presidential permit is not required. The Keystone XL Pipeline Construction and Jobs Preservation Act would allow for immediate construction. The legislation pointed to the economic aspects of the pipeline – it is expected to provide approximately 11,000 jobs and up to 60,000 indirect and supporting jobs, generate tax revenue, decrease our reliance on foreign energy, and strengthen American national security and energy independence. Where do you fall on this partisan issue?
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
Texas Jobs Stay
After President Biden’s executive order on the Keystone Pipeline, Dan quickly pivoted to protect Texas-based jobs in the oil and gas industry near the Gulf of Mexico. The Conservation Funding Protection Act would ensure that oil producers retain access to critical energy reservoirs on the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill requires at least two annual area-wide lease sales on available acreage in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico and maintains all current environmental laws and reviews. Fellow PP leader, Lance Gooden (R-TX) was a co-sponsor of this bill to help protect Texas jobs. While Dan is critical of the Keystone Pipeline decision, he has decided to protect his own constituents first and focus on the national issue later.
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
Sorry, Not Sorry
Anthony’s vote to impeach President Trump is still national news. While some say this could jeopardize his potential run for the Ohio Senate seat in 2022, he sees no reason to apologize. Instead, he introduced two bipartisan bills. First, the Improving Housing Incomes for Veterans Act, which helps local service providers collaborate more effectively with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and streamline the processes necessary to help house America’s veterans. Second, he teamed up with PP leader, Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) to introduce the Protecting Patient Access to Lifesaving COVID-19 Drugs Act, legislation that will expand access to lifesaving COVID-19 treatments by requiring private health insurance plans to cover the administration costs of monoclonal antibodies without cost-sharing. One thing is for sure, Anthony is not letting the naysayers get him down.
Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)
Indiana’s representatives voted along party lines as the House of Representatives removed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees. Trey released a statement saying, “yet another design by the Democratic Majority to consolidate their own power and weaken Congress itself.” Trey would have been more in favor of a censure than a removal from her committee assignments. Interestingly Trey pointed to “the majority for the first time in Congress, will be dictating the minority, through House Floor vote who can be assigned to a Committee. I hear unity being talked about on the House Floor, I see power consolidation happening.” Will the Republicans use this tactic against potential Squad members if they gain the majority next election?
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
Clean Water or Bust
Brian has been a big advocate for protecting Florida waters. The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a “discharge schedule” for the next decade which flows from Lake Okeechobee and into the St. Lucie estuary. Brian has been vocal about taking bold action, and wants to eliminate all discharge. He also re-introduced the South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act which would amend existing federal law aimed at combating harmful algal blooms to require the first-ever specific federal assessment and action plan to reduce harmful algal blooms in the Greater Everglades region. This would also include the St Lucie estuary. Fellow PP Leader, Darren Soto (D-FL), cosponsored this bill with Brian. While young members from either party may differ on many environmental issues, this one regarding clean waters seems to be uniting Florida representatives.
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
I Just Wanted Stamps
Elise has served on the House Armed Services Committee since her first term in Congress and now she is the ranking Republican member. She will also serve on a new Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Subcommittee. Her assignments will focus on critical issues that will be essential to securing America’s national security at home and abroad. Elise also cosponsored bipartisan legislation, THE USPS Fairness Act, to help solve the massive $160 billion deficit of the U.S. Postal Service. This legislation would get rid of a requirement that the Postal Service set aside money to pay for retiree health care 50 years in advance, which costs them $5 billion a year! Whoa…that is a big number to swallow.
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
The U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris island was opened over a century ago and has served a vital role in the defense of America. It employs over 6,000 people and brings in over $700+ million in economic impact to Parris Island. Six South Carolina Republican members of Congress have filed legislation, The Parris Island Protection Act, that would prohibit federal funds from being used to close or plan closure of the Depot. There is a second depot located in San Diego that might also face closure. There are rumors that the closure is happening due to the National Defense Authorization Act, which forces the Depot to meet gender integration requirements. Will, along with PP leader Nancy Mace (R-SC) are putting their full support behind protecting this Depot.
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
Listen to Me!
Josh is not one to shy away from being vocal and with his sudden fame (or shame depending what side you are on), he continues to fight for things he believes in. A few of the points he pushed over the last two weeks were a) to restrict federal funds from schools that do not open, b) he blasted Wall Street over the Robinhood scandal, and c) he called for a ban of big tech mergers and acquisitions. Other than his statements on these topics he introduced an amendment to transfer federal funds from Planned Parenthood to federal Adoption and Maternal Health programs. He said that “if Democrats are serious about unifying the country, now is the time to drop divisive, partisan agendas and come together on an issue that all Americans can agree with.” It’s a noble sentiment, but clearly both parties don’t share the same view on which issues those might be…
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
Pass the SALT
Did somebody say tax relief? Fun fact, Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York pay some of the highest property taxes in the entire nation according to Mondaire. This is why he introduced the SALT Deductibility Act, which would remove President Trump’s $10,000 cap on the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction for property taxes. The SALT deduction allows taxpayers of high-tax states to deduct local tax payments on their federal tax returns. Over 45% of the residents used the SALT deduction with an average deduction of $26,243 before the $10,000 cap was put in place. Sounds like some positive legislation for homeowners, we just have one question – more SALT please?
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
Season 117th Congress: Chopping Block
It would have been hard to miss the news that the House voted to remove Majorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments. This legislation was brought forward by Nikema and fellow PP leader, Sara Jacobs (D-CA), who introduced the legislation to censure Majorie Taylor Greene. They have also called for her resignation. The Williams-Jacobs resolution condemns Congresswoman Greene’s remarks supporting the assassination of current and former elected officials, calls for her to be censured in the well of the House Chamber, and calls for her resignation from Congress. A couple weeks ago Nikema also introduced legislation to ban President Trump entering the Capitol. Who else will be on the chopping block this season of the 117th Congress?
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
Put it on the Card
If you run for office, do not reimburse yourself for large amounts of money or use the campaign credit card for personal reasons. Many politicians come under scrutiny for their use of campaign funds – it always happens on both sides of the aisle. Lauren was reimbursed from her campaign for more than $22,000 in mileage reimbursements. The legality of this is yet to be determined, but it begs the question – can we not put in rules that prevent this and make members of Congress’ spending more transparent? Like other Republican members, Lauren introduced a bill to protect Colorado’s energy workers, after President Biden’s executive order. The Protecting American Energy Jobs Act repeals Biden’s job-killing executive mandates and ensures reliable and affordable energy supplies for future generations and fosters economic growth and job creation in rural communities.
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
Put ‘er There, MANN
Tracey introduced his first piece of legislation and we must give him credit on the name – the More Accountability is Necessary Now Act, or the MANN Act. Well played, sir. President Biden’s executive orders have been a hot topic of debate – he issued 25 executive orders, which is more than the last 7 presidents combined in their first 10 days! Tracey’s bill would force the President to notify Congress of his intended executive orders and the order would NOT go into effect for 30 days. This would apply to changes for major industries like agriculture, energy, food, and the environment. As well, after 6 months there would need to be reporting on what impact the Executive Order had on the economy. The idea is complex and certainly breaking with tradition, but Tracey’s efforts would theoretically add more checks and balances and prevent the current or future Presidents from abusing their powers.
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
Vaccine Distribution Package
Andrew is part of the 56-member bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. They are calling for an immediate vote on the $160 billion Vaccine Distribution Package, which would allocate new federal investment funds for the national distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. Andrew has been pushing to work across the aisle which makes him a great addition to the Caucus. While the larger Covid relief bill is sure to cause even more partisan division, this more focused bill coming from Andrew and the other Problem Solvers could be a glimmer of bipartisan hope in tackling one of the most important elements of economic and public health recovery.
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
August will play a greater role in matters related to national defense after becoming the senior Republican member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. He was also named the Ranking Republican member on the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Secret Service. As Ranking Member, August is the senior most member of the minority party and leads five other Republicans. Why is this important? August’s district in Texas is a critical intersection of national security for the U.S. and lies just north of the 1,254 miles of the shared border with Texas and Mexico. Take it away, August.
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Back In The Black
The United States Postal Service is making its way back to center stage on the House and Senate floor, but this time for profits! Colin has co-authored the USPS Fairness Act, a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation that aims to make America’s favorite carrier profitable again by doing away with a decades-old law that has financially crippled the agency. Beginning in 2006, a law required the USPS to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years, an unprecedented requirement amounting to the tune of about $110 billion, and in 2013 alone, this pre-funding cost accounted for 100 percent of the Post Office’s losses. The new legislation, endorsed by a number of organizations including the Postal Workers’ Union, would eliminate the pre-funding requirement thereby easing the financial burden and allowing for the department to be profitable again. We’re for anything that gets those Valentine’s day cards delivered on time!
Anthony Brindisi (D; NY-22)
We Finally Have A Winner…
Well, it wasn’t until day 37 of the 117th Congress that we finally have a winner called in the last remaining house race for the 22nd district of New York, and unfortunately it did not go Anthony’s way. On February 8th, after a judge finally ruled in favor of his opponent Claudia Tenney, Anthony conceded via twitter as he wished his new predecessor well. If you’ve been following this race at all, then you know it has literally come down to single votes that were recounted by hand per the court orders, with neither candidate willing to concede until the bitter end. While it brings an end to a hard-fought race, and marks the departure of Anthony from our platform, it does however offer a stark reminder that every. Single. Vote. COUNTS.
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
Sharice has long been a champion for small businesses not just in her district but across the country, particularly during this pandemic. This week, there was cause to celebrate some good news as she helped secure $1.4 million in funding for a local Lenexa business Dentec for the specific use of manufacturing PPE gear such as N95 masks and other supplies. Since March, the company is already operating at 12 times their capacity and have hired 5 times the workforce to make up for it. And these delivered results have not gone unnoticed. Sharice was also just named chair of the small business subcommittee on economic growth, tax and capital access where she will continue to lead the way for new and innovative ways to help grow small businesses across the country.
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Back on Track
Well, the federal funding spicket for Pennsylvania continues to flow thanks to Conor’s efforts and hard work on behalf of his state. This time, it comes in the form of desperately needed funding for the PA Department of Transportation. In the December Covid stimulus package, Conor fought for the inclusion of roughly $10 Billion to be dedicated to helping bolster state transportation systems badly affected by the pandemic. This includes PennDOT, which is now nearly out of money due to lost revenue from the combination of an increased gas tax and reduction in driving. The department will now have access to roughly $400 million in federal stimulus funding, which will allow them to keep almost all of their 50 existing projects going. And that means folks keeping their jobs too!
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
Not only did Georgetown University recently use Seth’s office as a case study for how to integrate tech into public service, but he also just won an award for using tech to provide the best constituent’s services in Congress. So when it comes to Gov + Tech, we might want to listen to him. Back in 2017, Seth introduced the Chance In Tech Act, along with fellow under-45er Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA), which looked to create job pathways for people in tech with no prior experience. He remarked that “even during a period of record unemployment, thousands of good jobs in the tech sector are unfilled simply because Americans lack the skills to land the job.” Finally, this gap might close as the House passed this bill and it now heads to a Democratically controlled Senate.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D: NY-14)
Laying it Bare
In a bare-bones, emotionally raw Instagram Live, Alexandria shared what it was like to be her on January 6th when an angry mob stormed the Capitol calling for her literal head on a stick. While she was barricaded in her nearby Cannon Building office at the time of the insurrection, she nevertheless confronted the very real possibility that she might not make it out alive—a feeling felt almost unanimously by lawmakers and staff members left, right and center. The roughly 90-minute retelling reminds us that we are all human beings at the end of the day. If there was ever a sterling example of a politician laying it all bare for the public to see, for better or worse, look no further.
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
Is There A Deadline To Accountability?
That is among the pressing issues before the Senate as they begin the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump, and Abigail is arguing “no there is not.” As a former CIA officer, Abigail quite literally learned the life-or-death value in always seeking out the truth, including about domestic extremism. In her mind – that starts with telling the truth about election results. Speaking with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Abigail said that lying to your constituency enables conspiracies to take root that further propel violent extremism, and while “that’s a conversation we must have, it will come after all this.” She believes this is well beyond party, this is about showing for future generations that “in the face of an insurrection, we all stood united to say it was wrong.”
Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)
Not Left Behind On my Watch
Rashida has spent the past year working hard on a bill called the Restoring Communities Left Behind Act and that’s precisely what it intends to do. The bipartisan legislation calls for $5 Billion in grant funding to be administered by HUD targeting traditionally underserved communities with revitalization and rebuilding efforts. Many of these urban communities have felt extreme economic hardship compounded by the effects of the pandemic, with many struggling to pay rent, let alone reinvest in building back their community. The grants would not only help create affordable housing opportunities for seniors and people with disabilities but also would see investments made towards improving local infrastructure like sidewalks and street lighting. A number of our under-45ers have joined as co-sponsors of the bill, and while it’s future is far from certain, this seems like a positive step towards helping those too often left behind.
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
Swamp Draining 2.0
The campaign slogan certainly had teeth, but the subsequent follow-through sure lacked the strength of poligrip dentures adhesive, which is why Mike has introduced a flurry of bills aimed at rooting out what he calls long-standing corrupt practices in Congress. The package takes aim at changing the cash incentive structure for members of Congress by first restricting employees of the executive branch from lobbying for five years afterwards. The bills also would prevent Congress from going into recess prior to adopting a federal budget, impose a 5-year ban on Congressional members accepting lobbying positions, and terminate tax-payer funded pensions for Members of Congress. These all seem like common sense ethically-sound proposals, though Mike may have a harder time than expected in getting Congressmen to give up even a penny of their pensions!
Jamie Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
Principled or Partisan?
Jamie has garnered headlines in recent days and weeks for two unexpected votes: to impeach then-President Trump and to NOT remove looney firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee positions. As one of only ten Republicans to vote for impeachment, Jamie has vigorously defended her position by saying the former President unequivocally committed impeachable offenses. So when it came to the full House vote to strip “MTG” of her committees, Jamie said this vote is “a route to madness.” To be clear, she vehemently denounced Greene but said this is a matter the Republican caucus must handle internally, not by the Dems butting in with their thin majority. This, she argues, sets a terrible precedent for future majority and minority parties.
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16
On the eve of the Senate impeachment hearing, Adam penned a stinging op-ed in the Washington Post pleading with his fellow Republicans: Convict Trump in order to save America. Adam, who was one of only ten Republicans to vote yes on impeachment, states unequivocally that this isn’t “political theater” as many of his colleagues say. But rather, “this is about accountability”.. Adam states unequivocally that the election was NOT stolen and calls out his fellow Republicans who helped perpetuate that falsehood. Lamenting that his party has deviated from the one he first joined, he argues that “enough is enough”. He aptly quotes Churchill in saying: “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
Last week, Guy voted against passing the House budget resolution for fiscal Year 2021, which ultimately only narrowly passed entirely along party lines, save for two Democrats who split with their majority. Guy called the measure a “partisan budget” and noted in a press release that this gets the Biden Administration one step closer to use the fast-track tool of reconciliation to pass his “wasteful and misguided $1.9 trillion stimulus package.” Guy goes on to list the litany of issues he has with the proposed nearly $2 trillion proposal, chief among his arguments being that it fails to address the already $1 trillion dollars previously allotted that hasn’t even been spent yet! Whether or not political unity is on the horizon remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: Guy and his colleagues aren’t just going to roll over for this new dude in the Oval.
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
All About The Veterans
Being a veteran himself, Greg has always prioritized the needs of veterans and their families, which is why he re-introduced last week a series of veteran-focused bills. The VA Fiscal Responsibility Act calls for greater efficiency on the part of the VA to improve its third-party billings and collections procedures, thus easing the financial burdens of veterans. The second is the Modern GI Bill Act, which would allow veterans entitled to post-9/11 educational assistance to use eligible funds to repay federal student loans incurred prior to military service. Kudos to Greg for always looking out for fellow vets. Oh, and kudos his district’s newest Super Bowl Champs too! FYI, Tom Brady is actually older than Greg.
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
Tom has been one of the most vocal critics of the Chinese Communist Party and has advocated the United States take the hardest of hard lines when it comes to carving out a beneficial foreign policy towards the super-power. One of those hard lines involves the tech sector which, no surprise to anyone, China is feverishly gaining world dominance in, particularly thanks to the strides made by a controversial company named Huawei. Back in 2019, then-FCC Chairman Ajit Pai designated the company a threat to national security, which Tom vehemently agrees with. Huawei has now filed an appeal in court to challenge that decision and Tom has joined other Republicans in threatening to hold up the confirmation of Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary if Biden does not keep Huawei on the threat list.
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
Raise A Glass For Apprenticeships!
POP–! That’s our champagne cork flying through the air for Ritchie, as this bright star congressman had his first piece of legislation pass in the House. Ritchie offered an important amendment, adopted in the Nation Apprenticeship Act of 2021, which ensures that grants are awarded to employers who participate in apprenticeship programs targeting folks with English language barriers. Ritchie points out that his district in the Bronx saw unemployment rise over 25% (Depression-era levels) and coincidentally, a fourth of his young constituents learn English as a second language. He pointed out that 94% of people who complete these apprenticeship programs find jobs, but only 0.3% of people with jobs have completed apprenticeships. The point Ritchie’s making is that training is the first step toward combating unemployment.
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
Buttering Up the Budget
Jamaal sits on the Education and Labor Committee and thus gets to/has to spend hours and hours drafting the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Reconciliation Proposal. Jamaal recently tweeted about their final 4 a.m. session to complete the proposal which is in the currently front and center stage because it’s how Biden plans to pass his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Jamaal addressed that raising the minimum wage to $15 is about bringing more resources into the communities that have been historically underserved and undercut because of institutional racism. The budget also seeks to bring more funding into public schools and that combined with folks earning a better wage, this funding will help people develop the skills they need to have economic upward mobility.
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
My First, For Jobs
Similar to her freshman colleague Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Cori is celebrating the passage of her first two pieces of legislation, both amendments to the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, which passed the House. The first amendment was co-sponsored with Ritchie and looks to increase access to childcare for formerly incarcerated individuals entering apprenticeship programs, citing the startling fact that more than 80 percent of incarcerated women are mothers and the primary caregiver. The second, joined by fellow Under-45ers AOC (D-NY), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), makes renewable energy jobs eligible for apprenticeship grants. She remarked that these are good steps towards the goals of the “Green New Deal” that will bolster “the green job workforce of St. Louis and across the country.”
David Valadeo (R; CA-21)
You Know H2O
One of David’s core issues is water conservation and rightfully so as his district consists of some of California’s most precious agricultural land. This week, he’s winning praise from his colleagues for introducing a bill called—stay with us here—the Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements Act otherwise known as RENEW WIIN. This builds upon the bipartisan WIIN Act of 2016, which many have praised for its effectiveness in restoring operations flexibility and water storage capabilities in Central Valley. David’s legislation extends many of the provisions and looks to keep much of the decision-making regarding California’s water in the hands of State officials who know their needs best. It’s all a little complex but two things are clear: Water conservation is a good thing and these Congressman need to work on their Bill-naming skills.
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
Kat has been taking the Biden Administration to task via twitter over a lack of unity and, most of all, a lack of fiduciary responsibility when it comes to Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus. She argues that $1.3 trillion is still available from previous relief bills and ought to be re-appropriated first before doling out more money—money, she says, that’s ultimately “only garnishing the wages of our children and grandchildren.” Furthermore, Kat goes on to say that there are people in her district who have yet to receive their FIRST stimulus check! While this is hard to believe, it does make one thing abundantly clear and that is that ALL of government needs to step up to ensure folks are getting the help they need.
Byron Donalds (R; FL-19)
Past, and Present
To commemorate the start of Black History Month, Byron took to an Op-Ed in the Washington Examiner to share his personal experience and journey to the halls of the Capitol. Byron is one of only three black Republicans in Congress and the first black American to represent his Florida district of Naples. He begins by noting that his rise from inner-city Brooklyn to Congressman is “living proof of our great nation’s promise.” He goes on to recount the many black Americans who fought to be firsts in their respective fields, and the inspiration drawn from their struggles. But, he says most notably, “that does not mean our work is finished.” He affirms unequivocally his continued commitment to prioritizing “access to capital initiatives, criminal justice reform…and standing up for life” on behalf of the black community.
Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)
Iowans Aren’t Gonna Do Your Dirty Work!
Ashley has joined the chorus of Republican deficit hawks who are sounding the alarms of Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package. For months, Ashley has been arguing for what she calls “targeted relief” specifically for small businesses and working families, not some big blank check from the broken Washington spending process. She goes further to say that this proposed Biden bill is a “bailout for blue states on the back of Iowa taxpayers”. But what really seems to be a driving motive to her ire is that she says there has been no transparency or inclusion of her—and transversely Iowans—at the negotiating tables. This conservative approach to much-needed relief could be a winning strategy for Republicans come next November or it could isolate them from voters who are clearly hurting right now.
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
I’ve Seen a Thing or Two
Victoria is among the growing chorus of Republicans criticizing the move to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour. She sits on the Education and Labor Committee, which deliberated on a budget proposal for hours before accepting none of the proposed Republican amendments. But the most detrimental impact the wage hike will have, she warns, is on small businesses, escalating job loss and the national debt. She goes on to cite the CBO’s estimate that the proposed wage hike would result in 1.4 million jobs lost by the year 2025, an estimate Senator Bernie Sanders was quick to refute. But with extensive small business ownership experience and a masters in business administration, Victoria is somewhat of an authority on this subject and we ought to always at least consider the advice of experts.
Tony Gonzalez (R; TX-23)
Border Tech Facelifts
One of Tony’s core issues is border security, and for good reason. His district in Texas sits along 820 miles of the US-Mexico border, the most of any congressional district. This week, Tony introduced his first bill in Congress called the Security First Act, which looks to increase funding for local law enforcement who augment border patrols. Through a FEMA program called Operation Stonegarden, this bill would double the funding from $90 million to $180 million with about a third earmarked for increasing and updating technological equipment and capabilities. Tony said the bill is aimed at “making sure our borders are safe, resilient and adaptive to 21st century challenges.” Well, if the EDD website is any indication of the sort of tech they’re using down there, then Tony’s right – they do need some updates!
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
Drill, Within Reason
Blake recently sat down with CSPAN to discuss his legislative priorities for his role on the Natural Resources Committee, and the key takeaway seems to be balance. He says we need “to balance our economic opportunities with our environment” and that starts with supporting the POWER Act, which was introduced in response to Biden’s executive order on halting energy leases on federal lands. The legislation would prevent the President from blocking energy leasing on federal lands and waters without Congressional approval. And with 65% of Utah comprising public lands, Blake believes that striking this balance between preserving our lands and protecting our energy independence and jobs is critical to his state’s well-being. There seems to be Republican interest to reach across the aisle, so we’ll see if Dems reach back.