THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: Is Age the Change We Need?
Colin Allred (D; TX-32)
Bring Back 1965
That’s when the Voting Rights Act was passed, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, making it easier for namely black citizens to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down part of the Act, deeming it unconstitutional and no longer needed. Colin and several other Democratic colleagues insist that it is indeed needed – now more than ever. In a recent letter to Democratic party leadership, he and other Reps from Republican-controlled states like Florida and Arizona are insisting that the House pursue legislation to combat what they see as voter suppression – things like making mail-in voting harder and limiting the number of ballot drop boxes. Did you have smooth sailing in your voting experience last fall?
Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)
It’s Not All About Party
It isn’t too often that you see a member of Congress taking their governor to task when they’re from the same party, but Sharice did just that when she recently wrote a letter to Gov. Laura Kelly (D) expressing frustration over the governor’s handling of unemployment funds and the functionality of the Kansas Department of Labor. Sharice wrote that she’s heard from thousands of constituents who have been unable to file weekly claims or even speak with someone from the Dept. of Labor on the phone. Kansas will be getting $1.6 billion through the recently passed American Rescue Plan which both women agree should help modernize the whole system. Modernization in government – what a concept!
Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)
Where to Next?
When Conor won his seat in 2018, he became an example of how Democrats could win in swing districts and swing states – an increasingly difficult task. Now, as he eyes what’s to come in 2022, the future is just as uncertain. His district is going to be redrawn (and might even disappear) and while he’s mentioned the possibility of running for PA’s open Senate seat, the field is crowded – namely with racially diverse candidates who might appeal to PA’s urban and suburban voters. He, however, rejects that Democrats should give up on the white working class (most of his constituency), saying, “It’s kind of amazing that we even have to ask what the Democratic Party has to do to appeal to working-class people. In my mind, the question contains its own answer.” Do you agree?
Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)
High Speed Ahead
All around America there have been intermittent talks of a high-speed rail. Seth and a group of Democratic colleagues, including Political Playlist leader Brendan Boyle (D-PA), want to make it a reality now… for real this time. They have introduced the American High-Speed Rail Act which would invest $205 billion in federal dollars into a high-speed rail. They say the legislation will create at least 2.6 million jobs over 5 years and provide a mode of transportation that is “faster, cleaner, safer, and better for our economy”. Might be time to hop on that train because it’s gonna move FAST.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)
Never Gonna Give You Up
The American Rescue Plan was passed without a provision to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour after the Senate parliamentarian deemed it did not fall under the budget reconciliation process that would be used to pass the bill. AOC and others from her party are not giving up though (that’s kind of her thing, isn’t it?). She has insisted that they’ll bring the idea of raising the minimum wage directly to the Biden administration which has also claimed they’re still in it to win it on the $15/hour front. However, Biden’s hands might be tied – even if he introduced a separate bill to raise the wage, the 50-50 split in the Senate will make it tough to pass. In other news, this ‘friendship timeline’ of AOC and her fellow Squad members is pretty cute.
Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)
Get the JOBSS Done
There is increasingly more attention being paid to alternatives to a four-year college degree. Abigail and her Senate counterpart, Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduced legislation that will make career and technical education more accessible in an effort to level the playing field between university education and vocational training programs. The bill will allow more existing programs to accept Pell Grants, giving possible students another avenue to pay for their training. In a surprising twist for the times we find ourselves in, the bill has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, co-sponsored by 33 senators and six representatives – yahoo!
Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)
Done with ‘Do Nothing’
Medicare for All is back, baby. Rashida joins a chorus of Democrats in introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2021 which brings back the progressive push to give universal access to healthcare for all Americans through a government-run healthcare program. Insisting that we have had a “do nothing approach” for too long, Rashida is counting on the growing number of lawmakers who support the initiative to bring this battle back to center stage. A new part of the argument is the breakdown of our healthcare system in response to Covid over the last year – would things have been different if we had a comprehensive, centralized system? They say yes… duh.
Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)
No More War for You
The power to declare war technically falls with Congress, but due to some war authorizations that are still around from as far back as the 1950s, administrations and those at the Pentagon have had the ability to launch attacks without explicit approval from Congress. Mike and fellow PP-ers Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jared Golden (D-ME), and Peter Meijer (R-MI), who all have national security backgrounds, have introduced legislation to repeal the 2002 Iraq War, the 1991 Gulf War, and the 1957 anti-communist authorizations that were never explicitly ended and are “no longer operationally necessary”. He says that taking these authorizations off the table sends “the signal that Congress has a constitutional role with it comes to war powers.
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)
I Can Explain
Jaime is known for her support for women’s causes in the Republican caucus so her recent ‘no’ vote on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act might come as a surprise. However, she has her reasons, as do many other Republicans. Most of them boil down to a provision that was added to the bill this time around to close the ‘Boyfriend Loophole’ which would prohibit unmarried partners who are convicted of domestic violence from buying a gun. Jaime and other Republicans claim that this provision is too broad and infringes upon 2nd Amendment rights. In explaining herself, Jaime doubled down on her support for the basis of the bill, which provides federal funding to prosecute domestic violence and other violent crimes against women, but insists that there was no attempt to create bipartisan support among some of the newly-added measures. The bill has passed the House, but provisions like the closing of the gun loophole among others could make for a challenge in an evenly divided Senate – stay tuned.
Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)
The situation in Syria is complex and frustrating to say the least. Adam is making sure it doesn’t leave people’s hearts and mind by doubling down on how the US can act and help. In a recent interview he insists that the U.S. hold Assad accountable by using the mounds of physical evidence of his violence against his own people. Additionally, Adam reminds us that the American power to bring people to the table is, in fact, powerful. While he acknowledges that our remaining troops must leave at some point, their presence in the country gives the US leverage to begin these negotiating discussions and, of course, protect the civilians whose lives are being dramatically changed and lost every single day. A good reminder to not forget crises around the world, even as we begin to recover (fingers crossed) from our own.
Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)
But What About the Crisis?
The House recently passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, which assists ‘Dreamers’ in maintaining their legal status in America. However, Guy claimed in a speech on the House floor, the bill is mired with so many pitfalls that fail to address the growing crisis at our southern border. Currently, there is an influx of immigrants crossing into the US, many seeking asylum, many of them children and teenagers, many unaccompanied. Guy laid out his concern that the bill creates pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but does nothing to secure our border and deal with the problem at hand. In fact, he says, Biden and bills like H.R. 6 incentivize more people to come into the country illegally.
Greg Steube (R; FL-17)
Did Not Protect and Serve
Greg, like many other Republicans, has been an outspoken supporter of law enforcement and specifically condemned any attempts to defund any police departments. However, when the House recently voted on whether to award Capitol police officers with Congressional gold medals, he voted ‘no’. Why? He defended his decision by calling out Speaker Pelosi, the Capitol Police Chief, and the Sergeant at Arms for not doing their jobs effectively in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol. This organizational failure, he said does not warrant a civilian medal. Does Greg’s defense hold water or is it too simple an answer to a complicated situation?
Tom Cotton (R; AK)
The Way it Was Before
Since January, there has been a 28% increase in illegal immigrants who have been apprehended at the border. No matter what political side you fall on, that’s not great news. Tom, however, has taken a very specific position on this crisis – go back to Trump’s border policies. He said that by not expelling unaccompanied minors (Biden’s new policy), the US is sending the message that it “will not secure our border and that is a big welcome sign to migrants from across the world”. While Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the news rounds insisting that Trump’s policies “dismantled the orderly, humane, and efficient way” of dealing with migrant children, Tom fired right back claiming just the opposite. Go back to the way things were, or we’re in for an unwelcome ride.
Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)
Rank ‘Em and Choose ‘Em
New York City, Ritchie’s home turf, just passed legislation that will make all of its 2021 elections decided by ranked-choice voting. That process allows voters to rank their candidates in order of preference and if one candidate does not win an outright majority, an elimination process takes place to secure the winner. Ritchie included a measure in the voting rights bill that just passed the House which would direct the U.S. Government Accountability Office to study how ranked-choice voting impacts “voter turnout, negative campaigning, and who decides to run for office”. Their findings might pave the way for the process to go nation-wide. In our conversation with Vote Run Lead, which helps women run for office, we discussed how ranked-choice voting is also often more effective for female candidates.
Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)
Jamaal has joined the ongoing discussion about how to get low-income Americans and those in rural areas more access to the internet. Beyond working on wiring rural and underserved communities, Jamaal has introduced the Broadband Justice Act, which would require the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to classify broadband internet as a utility. In turn, broadband in government-assisted housing could be subsidized like other utilities. It would also create a grant program to help wire buildings and create other broadband-related infrastructure. Something to think about next time you flip open your laptop and easily surf the web, as the kids say.
Cori Bush (D; MO-1)
On a Mission
Cori recently went on the podcast hosted by activist, educator, and TV commentator Brittany Packnett Cunningham. Both women were activists in Ferguson and discussed how no one in their community was surprised by the violence black people experience in this country. Brittany asked Cori about her priorities in Congress which included asking Biden to commute the sentences of people on federal death row, seeking environmental justice for black communities, and the issue of sending reparations to black people. Cori also discussed her journey of getting elected to office, which included many failed campaigns until she was finally successful. To sum up her desire to change things she said, “If my son or my daughter becomes the next hashtag and I could have done something to stop it and i didnt do what I knew that I could, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself, so I ran.”
David Valadao (R; CA-21)
All-In on Dreams
The House recently passed the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization. Nine Republicans voted in favor of it and David was one of them. In a press release explaining his vote, David noted that his district is home to 7,000 DACA recipients who deserve to be welcome in America. Additionally, he recalled his immigrant parents and being a lifelong dairy farmer to recognize that many farmworkers are immigrants who live in fear. These workers, he insists, are essential and deserve legal status. David is solidifying himself as an unexpected Republican and it seems most of that identity is linked to the local issues he promised to represent – that, we salute!
Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)
As immigrants and especially unaccompanied minors cross our southern border at record rates, Republicans like Kat are voicing their concern over the situation and criticizing Biden and his administration for mishandling it. In response to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ insistence that it is not, in fact, a ‘crisis’, Kat publicly recalled a relevant story from her past that’s stuck with her. When she was in high school, a classmate was held at knifepoint by an immigrant who was in the country illegally and had previously been deported. The incident, Kat said, rocked her entire town. Immigration is a complicated issue to say the least, but what Kat’s story reminds everyone is that government actions have personal consequences one way or the other.
Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)
Byron has introduced his first bill during his time in Congress and it tackles the sexy issue of algae blooms in Florida. As it stands, the government monitors potential harmful blooms in various waterways which not only affect the waters they thrive in, but also affect the communities surrounding them. One woman reported her stepdaughter needing to go on antibiotics and not being able to leave her house due to the smell. While there’s a lot more to be done at the federal, state, and local level to address this issue, Byron’s bill specifically insists that the federal government continue its monitoring even during a government shutdown. Despite government dysfunction, we’ll kick that algae in the butt!
Ashley Hinson (R; IO-1)
There’s some drama unfolding in Iowa and Ashley is eagerly running to support her fellow Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA). Miller-Meeks’ victory was called after intense recounting, declaring that she won by 6 votes (whaaaat?). However, her Democratic opponent is yet again filing a challenge, stating that there are 22 outstanding ballots that should have been counted. Rita Hart, the Democrat, might not have much ground to stand on as the Iowa State Board of Canvassers certified the recount with bipartisan support. Ashley has thrown herself into this controversy to defend Miller-Meeks and the outcome, calling out NPR for changing their headline to a more ‘Democrat-friendly’ one. Eeeek, or should we say Meeeek.
Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)
We Love PPP
415-3. That’s not a vote count you hear about very often in Congress. But the House just passed (by a large margin, clearly) to extend the Payroll Protection Program for small businesses in light of those still struggling badly from Covid economic fallout. Victoria discussed her vote by saying that the program will “help hundreds of small businesses in Indiana’s 5th district to keep their doors open” and that “it ensures that this money gets into the hands of… hard-working Hoosiers who need it most”. As for that ‘other’ Covid relief bill (the $1.9 trillion one), Victoria was a hard no and the five amendments that she introduced were all rejected by Democrats. It all goes to show that while we might not agree on much, we agree on some, and that’s still worth noting!
Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)
If It’s Broken, You Fix It
Tony’s district stretches from San Antonio to just east of El Paso and includes the longest stretch of all congressional districts along the southern border so he’s naturally got some important insight into the influx of immigrants. When he visited the border with a group of fellow congressional Republicans, Tony praised the U.S. Border Patrol Agents who “are doing God’s work keeping us safe”. He insisted that more robust immigration policy might help reduce the pressure our system is currently facing. However, he reminded all those listening that border security and policy go hand in hand. While this issue is sure to remain decisive, look for Tony’s voice to be an important one on the issue given that it’s playing out in his backyard.
Blake Moore (R; UT-1)
The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in 1972 as an effort to stop sex discrimination by the federal government or any state. It did not receive the needed number state ratifications before the initial deadline, though eventually enough states ratified it. Now, a Democrat-controlled House introduced and voted on it with a 222-204 result (4 Republicans joined Democrats). Blake was not among those four, though he has expressed his support for women’s rights. The content of the amendment is not what he takes issue with, but rather the process through which it’s being passed. A constitutional conservative, Blake insists that Article V “articulates a clear process for amendments and this legislation violates that process.” This poses the aged-old question: is the constitution meant to be taken at its word or is there some wiggle room?
August Pfluger (R; TX-11)
How About Some Warning?
August represents a district along the southern border and has been making his presence known and voice heard surrounding the situation unfolding with unaccompanied children crossing into the U.S. Last week he wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services criticizing the process in which a new facility for migrant children was opened in his district. Apparently, according to the letter, HHS “failed to notify, consult, or coordinate with my office or any of our state and local officials”. Yikes. He outlined 10 clear questions for HHS relating to how the facility was opened, with whose approval, and what the ages and status of the children being detained are. This complex, partisan topic is sure to stir more commentary from both sides, but we should all agree that transparency is probably key.
Nanette Diaz Barragan (D; CA- 44)
Park Lovers Assemble
Raise your hand if you love a good park! We do. In our ever-growing world though, open space is something that could become a thing of the past. Nanette, along with PP leader Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation to provide a historic (!) one-time $500 million for urban parks. The Parks, Jobs and Equity Act would provide a much-needed funding boost for urban parks located in the various states. It is estimated that the act will also create more than 8,000 new jobs, add $1.37 billion to local economies and fund more than 1,000 new and upgrade parks. All we need are the playgrounds!
Jason Crow (D; CO-4)
Jason was selected to join the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence which oversees the government’s top-secret information about threats to national security – pretty coooool. This does not come as much of a surprise, since Jason is an Army Ranger veteran and has been vocal about the Capitol attacks and his belief that it could have been prevented through various measures by the Capitol police. The committee focuses on all matters related to national security and Jason was one of two new Democrats appointed to the 23 member committee. We love seeing young members getting appointed to these prestigious positions.
Antonio Delgado (D; NY-19)
Who Drinks Whole Milk Still?
If you’re a 90s baby or a 90s parent, you remember… Got Milk? Take one step into Starbucks these days and you’ll realize there is a whole new world of milk choices. Antonio, along with Republican leader, Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), introduced a bill that would provide more milk choices in school cafeterias. The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2021 would allow for unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered. Over the years, milk has been criticized by various groups but the International Dairy Food Association believes the expansion of milk choices in school ensures students get the 11 essential nutrients daily that only milk provides. Well, for one thing the dairy farmers must be happy, on the other hand, we can’t say the same thing about the cows.
Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)
30 Year Bill Expires
In 1990, the original Native American Child Protection Act was passed to protect Native American children from being physically and sexually abused. The bill identified the issues, added child welfare and domestic violence programs and mental health treatment. Sounds great right? Sadly only $5 million of the $43 million annual authorization was used. Ruben and his Republican colleague introduced the same bill in 2019, but it failed, so they are re-introducing it again. This bipartisan, presented with Paul Cook (R-CA), seeks to protect Native children from expired laws. The updated bill would reauthorize and build on the tribal programs created in the original act. Hopefully, this time around if it does pass, that someone is making sure the money is allocated and it is done correctly.
Josh Harder (D; CA-10)
Ok everyone, let’s take a moment to congratulate Josh for being the 4th ranked most effective House Freshman. The Center for Effective Lawmaking announced its Legislative Effectiveness Scores this week and Josh is twice as effective as the average member of Congress. One main reason is that Josh wrote many bills that were signed into law by President Trump, a rare feat for a freshman, let alone a freshman Democrat. If Political Playlist drove a car, we would have a bumper sticker that said “My Child is an Honor Roll Student ” … you know what I mean!
Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)
Same Story, Different President
The border and immigration crisis was a hot topic during the Trump administration and people were shocked when immigrants and refugees were put in cages. Now, Ro is being vocal and critical about how the Biden administration is handling the current crisis. Ro said that the conditions many of these children were being subjected to were morally unacceptable. Like before, some of the children are supposedly not being given food or the ability to shower or access a lawyer. Ro is pushing for family reunification as soon as possible and provided with clean food and shelter. We could not even imagine the mental state a child must be going through this process, but it’s helpful to see even members of the same party pushing the president on this one.
Mike Levin (D; CA-49)
Mike is on Fire!
Raise your glass to Mike. He has been on a roll. For starters, he was voted 6th most effective lawmakers by the Center for Effective Lawmaking and the 8th most effective member in the House on defense and veterans’ issues. That is a big accomplishment. Mike introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation of which 14 bipartisan bills were signed into law. He recently reintroduced his bipartisan Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 with PP leader Nancy Mace (R-SC) to provide parity in GI Bill benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve. Oh, and Mike announced that $125 million in Federal Relief to open schools will be awarded to his area from the America Rescue Plan. We are burning up here at Political Playlist!
Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)
Well, we told you last week Stephanie is probably running for Senator and it looks like her campaign may have already reserved the website domain, but Stephanie is still pushing forward at her current post to make sure the country opens safely. She introduced a bipartisan bill, the Healthy Workplaces Act, to help businesses safely reopen and protect the health and well-being of workers and customers. This legislation will allow for businesses to apply for a federal tax credit to offset the cost of certain expenses they incur to test their employees for COVID-19 or other equipment/materials needed for the workplace. Seems like a no brainer and should pass easily and in the meantime, we will be looking for that Senate website to come up!
Illhan Omar (D; MN-5)
One in three women still experience domestic violence and unfortunately the COVID crisis has forced many women to stay in unsafe situations. Ilhan, along with her Republican colleague, Rodney Davis (R-IL), were critical in introducing three amendments in the Violence Against Women Act (VAMA). The legislation authorizes the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to track and report economic consequences of domestic violence by requiring a credit history report, analysis of legal costs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on survivors of domestic violence as it relates to their ability to maintain economic security. The debate around the VAWA is proving to be mostly partisan, but hopefully this part of the legislation gives people affected by domestic violence a helping hand.
Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)
Reporting for Duty
About a month ago we mentioned that Elissa became the Chairwoman of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee. She released a video on her Twitter that discussed how she could never imagine her life without a mission to make things better and to increase people’s security. Her call to action were the September 11 attacks and shortly after she was recruited to be a Middle East analyst by the CIA and served in three tours in Iraq alongside the military. Becoming the chair of the subcommittee is that next chapter in her life and to further her mission. After watching the video, we know Elissa has our backs!
Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)
Supply chains across the world were put to the test during the COVID crisis. Many manufactures could not rely on foreign counterparts and other companies completely shifted their lines to focus on medical supplies that were desperately needed. Haley introduced bipartisan legislation with Troy Balderson (R-OH) to strengthen the U.S. supply chain readiness and help American companies respond to future disruptions. The National Manufacturing Guard Act of 2021, also being introduced in the Senate under the same name, would establish an Office of Supply Chain Preparedness in the Department of Commerce that would be responsible for preparing for future crises. Our disorganized manufacturing capabilities were on full display at the beginning of the pandemic, but hopefully next time (ugh) we’ll be better prepared.
Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)
It is not quite often you see politicians split from the party line. Kelly, the lone North Dakotan member of the House, spoke about his thoughts on criminal justice reform. He spoke about the Equal Act which would eliminate the 18:1 penalty difference between crack and powder cocaine in federal sentencing guidelines. Since there is no major pharmacological difference between the two forms there should not be a major penalty difference. Kelly is one of two Republicans to sign onto this bill and he referenced his previous work as a defense attorney and his experience with law enforcement. Criminal justice reform is one issue to keep an eye on that has become increasingly bipartisan.
Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)
Dan worked with Democratic Texas colleague Henry Cuellar to introduce the ATF Accountability Act which would create an appeals process for the firearms industry. Today, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) are only allowed to sue the government to challenge rulings made by the federal government. The issue is that many manufacturers of the ATF have limited resources to sue the federal government and, in most cases, cannot financially defend themselves. This bill would allow an appeals process through Regional Directors of Industry Operations and Administrative Law Judges.
Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)
Coming Together Around Climate
Anthony is one of two new Republicans that have been selected to serve on Speaker Pelosi’s Committee on Climate Crisis. Many people believe that Republicans do not care about the climate crisis, but at Political Playlist we have seen that many young Republicans believe the climate is changing and the environmental result must be addressed. As Anthony stated, “Whether you think climate is a real issue or a complete hoax, the world is moving in this direction.” Anthony wants to take this opportunity to sell his district on the economic opportunity in developing and manufacturing clean energy technologies and promoting them around the world. Now this seems like a worthwhile mission to *hopefully* unite some young leaders!
Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)
In case you were looking for a new line of work, anyone under the age of 21 is NOT allowed to drive a commercial truck on the interstate across state lines. In response to this rule, Trey reintroduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act which addresses driver shortages caused in the trucking and food service industries. The act would establish an apprenticeship program to allow commercial driver license holders under the age of 21 to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. It is estimated that 1.1 million drivers will be needed over the next several years to keep up with the amount of retiring truck drivers. This bipartisan bill will not only allow for new jobs but would provide an extensive training program to get drivers ready. Get ready to honk that truck horn!
Brian Mast (R; FL-18)
For many Republicans, environmental issues don’t make it to the list, but over the last few years Brian has introduced many environmental bills. First, he introduced the Local Water Protection Act, a bipartisan bill to reduce water pollution in communities across the United States. The act is an effort to reduce harmful water pollution and increases grant funding for state and local governments to decrease water pollutants. The second were three bills to protect the Treasure Coast in Florida which would protect communities that are susceptible to harmful water discharges. Perhaps Green is Brian’ favorite color?
Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)
Teach a Man to Fish
Sadly, many people lost their jobs during the COVID crisis and they are still trying to figure out their next step. This is where politicians should be focusing their effort. Elise, along with PP leader Jason Crow (D-CO), introduced the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act to help displaced workers obtain necessary skills for sustained employment. The bill is mainly focused on training. It would give states funding to expand vocational training, grant local workforce boards money to reskill workers through training, and incentivize businesses to offer work-based training. As the saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
William Timmons (R; SC-4)
William was one of 29 Republicans to break with the party to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which offers women support and protection from domestic violence, sexual assault, and other harassment. William is a former prosecutor of domestic violence cases and has seen firsthand the importance of support in the aftermath of an assault. William said “Supporting survivors of domestic abuse should not be a partisan issue.” Why did so many Republicans oppose the bill? The bill closes the “boyfriend loophole” which would ban unmarried abusers from being allowed to own or buy a firearm. At present, the rule applies to those convicted of violence against former or present spouses—but not those in non-marital relationships. You with William on this one?
Josh Hawley (R; MO)
In 2020, more than 300 officers were shot, and 47 officers were shot and killed. And on top of these more than 300 officers lost their lives to COVID. In 2021, there have already been 14 officers killed by others in the line of duty, including the officer during the Capitol riots. Josh introduced the Protect and Serve Act that would create a federal penalty for individuals who “deliberately” target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence. The penalty could result in 10 years of prison for an injury and up to life in prison if there is a death. We must protect our servicemen at all costs, but we’re gonna go out on a limb and say that “deliberately” is going to be a tough call to make.
Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)
From Stateless to Statesman
A couple months ago, we wrote about one of Mondaire’s constituents, Paul Pierrilus, who was deported to Haiti, a country he had never been to. Paul had come to the United States with his parents when he was 5 years old. Essentially, Paul is “stateless” and unfortunately with a drug offense in his early 20’s, it came to ICE’s attention and he was deported. This is one of the reasons why Mondaire is so passionate about the American Dream and Promise Act passage which helps establish a pathway to legal permanent residency for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients. How do you feel about this act?
Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)
Equal Rights Fighter
Nikema campaigned on protecting and enforcing racial and gender equality for all so it was a big week for her when the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and a resoltuion eliminating the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) were passed. VAWA provides programs for women who have been victims of domestic violence, assault or harrassment and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) prohibits discrimination based on sex. She celebrated by saying “Both VAWA and the ERA bring our country one step closer to obtaining gender equality and ending sex discrimination for women. No woman should ever have to live in fear from abuse and reauthorizing the VAWA protects all women, especially those who are most vulnerable.”
Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)
$how Me the Money
It is quite amazing to see how politicians use a tragedy to raise money. Lauren fell right into that trap and sent an email two hours after 10 people were fatally shot at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. The subject line said “I told Beto ‘HELL NO’ to taking our guns. Now we need to tell Joe Biden.” However, Lauren is not one to care about controversy so this probably will not phase her at all. She also recently came precariously close to spouting some QAnon conspiracies on the House floor, saying that the Republicans will gain control of the House and Senate before the 2022 elections. We’re nonpartisan over here at Political Playlist, but we can assure you that that is not how things work.
Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)
In the wake of recent mass shootings, gun legislation that Tracey introduced to the House might be taking a back seat. The Home Defense and Competitive Shooting Act of 2021 is working toward eliminating rules and regulations surrounding short-barrel rifles (SBR). The National Firearms Act of 1934 prohibited the transportation of SBRs in interstate commerce, put state and local taxes and licensing requirements on SBRs. This bill hopes to eliminate all of those, but like we said, after recent current events we can see this being pulled. There were 18 cosponsors and of them were four Republican PP leaders – Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Rep. Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Rep. Gregory Steube (FL-17) and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11).
Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)
Keeping Things in Control
We live in a day of constant cyber threats and most recently there was a recent attack on a water treatment facility in Florida. Andrew is the Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Committee which just approved the DHS Industrial Control Systems Capability Enhancement Act of 2021. The legislation is focused on protecting industrial control systems from cyber threats and will now be sent to the House floor for a vote. The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by committee leadership and fellow PP leader Kat Cammack (R-FL). When not even our water and gas is safe from attack, you know it’s time to act!
Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)
Big Gov For The Little Guy
Lots of folks often ask “what can the federal government really do for me and my community?” Let Pete answer that – his office is accepting Community Project Funding (CPF) proposals from nonprofits and local government entities targeted at helping improve various elements of local communities through direct federal investment. Applicants must demonstrate strong evidence of community support, such as published support from the local newspaper’s editorial board, documentation of schedule plans with the city, and proof that they can match the requested funds received. Communities send representatives to Washington to make sure they’re looked after, and Pete is doing just that.
Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)
The Time Is Now!
Brendan co-sponsored two pieces of gun-control legislation that passed the House just three weeks ago which is now, sadly, looking quite prescient given this week’s two horrific mass-shooting tragedies. The first bill is the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which would require background checks for all sales, including between strangers online and at gun shows. The second bill looks to close the Charleston loophole, which currently allows a gun sale to proceed if a background check is not completed within three days. “It has been 25 years since the government last enacted meaningful gun safety law,” he said, noting that more than 100 Americans are shot and killed every day. Brendan is furiously working to change that.
Jared Golden (D; ME-2)
Time To Put The Parental Control On This
With the looming May 1st deadline to withdraw U.S Forces from Afghanistan fast approaching, Jared and a bipartisan group of fellow PP leaders who all have national security experience (Jared is a veteran) are introducing a bill that would repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which currently lies in the hands of the sitting President. Rescinding the decades-old authorization would help Congress reclaim its constitutional war powers, and formally end Congressional authorization for the Gulf and Iraq wars. This new generation of leaders, shaped by 9/11 and its aftermath, are looking to take a drastically different approach toward U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts.
Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)
Bring On The Lower Premiums!
Andy reintroduced the bipartisan SAVE Act, which looks to help states lower health care costs by authorizing grants to states that establish and run state-based exchanges. In other words, the states use subsidized plans to offer their residents coverage at a lower rate which is uniquely tailored to that particular state. Folks on both sides of the aisle agree that the data shows this to be an effective way for states to lower health care costs, except not every state offers this type of health coverage. Andy and Republican Congressman Fitzpatrick (PA) first introduced the bill in 2019, where it passed the House but failed in the Senate. Now, they hope there’s enough bicameral support to help improve the healthcare situation of many during this pandemic.
Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)
Enough Is Enough
Joe was once again thrust into the national spotlight this week when the most recent senseless act of violence at the hands of an assault weapon fell in Joe’s district of Boulder, Colorado. It has reawakened calls for more serious and significant new gun safety laws. He released a full statement on the devastation, pointedly saying “enough is enough”. He went further in a tweet saying that ending the filibuster would result in a clear path to achieving this – a move that most Republicans and some Democrats are against. It remains to be seen what actions Congress will take, if any at all. Perhaps a comforting reminder behind that cynical reality is that Joe will be fighting for his constituents.
Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)
Planning For Tomorrow
For the better part of a year, Chris has been pressing the VA to address their supply chain issues which have included shortages in PPE gear and other necessary equipment at VA hospitals. After holding hearings and reaching across the aisle, Chris has now introduced the VA Supply Chain Resiliency Act, along with fellow Under-45er Tracy Mann (R-KS). The legislation would direct the VA to be incorporated into the Warstopper program, which mandates that a government agency keep certain critical supplies and parts on standby, ready to go into production at a moment’s notice. Preparing for the next crisis just as this one is hopefully wrapping up is tough, but Chris and his colleagues are on it.
Darren Soto (D; FL-9)
Don’t Be A Block-head, America!
Darren recently reintroduced the bipartisan Token Taxonomy Act, which looks to address the many legislative questions surrounding the emerging blockchain economies. Currently, there is no clear regulatory structure for blockchain businesses, which many believe pose not only an economic value but also a potential value in voting systems and healthcare. This bill looks to lay the groundwork for a U.S. regulatory structure surrounding this new technology so that we can effectively write the rule book on it, rather than have it written for us. It remains to be seen just how dominant this new technology will become, but we’re pretty sure folks said that about “the world wide web” at one point too.
Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)
In the wake of two terrible tragedies this week, one can’t help but stand slack-jawed at how just three weeks prior, several gun safety bills were introduced to the House, including one sponsored by Eric. The bipartisan NICS Denial Notification Act requires federal law enforcement to notify state authorities within 24 hours when an ineligible person tries to purchase a firearm by lying on a background check. Currently, only 13 of the 50 states use State-run background checks, thereby leaving 37 states often unaware of illegal purchases until it’s too late. The bill, which coincides with a bipartisan Senate bill, would also increase the prosecutorial follow up on these instances, which often go un prosecuted. There does seem to be a growing swell of bipartisan support for gun reform, but it remains to be seen if it can take root.
Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)
Low-Pro’ With Big Results
Lauren might very well be the most effective Congresswoman who just quietly and calmly flies under the national media radar. This past St. Patty’s Day gave Lauren more reasons than one to celebrate, as the House passed her bipartisan bill to strengthen child abuse protections. The Stronger CAPTA Act provides $270 million in funding to build networks of prevention services that would reach over 3 million children annually. The bill also looks to improve the quality of child protective services by conducting research on best-practices for ensuring successful adoptions, specifically focusing on the effects of parental substance abuse. Certainly, plenty will balk at the price tag, but it’s hard to put a value on our kids, and that’s exactly what Lauren’s betting on.
Jim Banks (R; IN-3)
Whose Fault Is It, Anyway?
Many GOP lawmakers are vehemently condemning the Biden administration’s handling of what they see as an alarming crisis at our southern border, and Jim has gone one step further in saying this is “100% Biden’s fault, and everyone knows it.” He went on to lay the migration surge blame on the administration’s “promise of free healthcare and stimulus $” as well as the halting of border wall construction. According to an article Jim linked in his tweet, there are roughly 15,000 unaccompanied migrant children currently in U.S. custody, and well exceeding the 72-hour legal detainment limit. It’s hard to objectively confirm Jim is right in who’s to blame, but he’s most definitely right in saying this is now the Biden Administration’s problem.
Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)
Channeling My Inner Obama
Matt may be the most fun congressman to write about each newsletter because of just how interesting and unpredictable he can be. Now, the Surpriser-In-Chief has penned an op-ed in The Hill seemingly praising former President Obama on his refusal to accept PAC money during his tenure. He also calls out his fellow Republicans too, reminding us that he is the only Congressional Republican who similarly eschews big-lobby PAC money. Ultimately, Matt is calling attention to the very real conversation surrounding campaign finance in our political system, asking Joe, “Will you be an ‘Obama’ or a ‘Hillary’” when it comes to fundraising?
Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)
Swab For Entry
You couldn’t throw a football in the Capitol right now and not hit a Republican hollering about the crisis on our southern border, and indeed the situation seems to worsen by the day. Lance, however, is trying to actually do something about it, specifically regarding the cartel’s exploitation of children. What happens is a cartel-affiliated adult brings a bunch of kids over, claiming to be their family member, and then uses them to claim asylum, among other horrendous crimes. The End Child Trafficking Now Act, which Lance has introduced along with Senator Blackburn, would make DNA tests mandatory for all border arrivals, and impose prison sentences for those falsifying family ties. The legality of this remains unclear, but ideally it could be a simple and effective policy on behalf of protecting kids.
Dusty Johnson (R; SD)
All You Need Is Merge!
You wouldn’t think a Congressman from the Midwest would give much of a hoot about the escalating push for D.C. statehood but alas, such is the latest congressional surprise, brought to you by the Gentleman from South Dakota. Last week, Dusty reintroduced legislation that he says would circumvent the need for D.C. statehood by merging much of the district’s suburbs with Maryland, thus giving them representation in that state. This proposal is actually not unprecedented, having been done once before in 1847 when large parts of D.C. were returned to Virginia. On first glance, it seems like a radical idea, but upon further review, maybe genius?
Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)
You’ve Got Internet!
So here’s something fascinating: it supposedly wasn’t until just last year that Markwayne finally got internet in his house! WHAT??? That’s right, Markwayne came clean in his weekly column “Mullin’ It Over” acknowledging that he knows firsthand the challenges surrounding little-or-no internet coverage in rural areas. That’s precisely why he’s hoping to make rural access to high-speed broadband a core part of the big infrastructure debate coming up in Congress. Almost half in his district do not have internet, leaving many behind the digital curve, especially given the new-normal necessities like telework and telemedicine. In this day and age, this seems like a no brainer, especially since Schitt’s Creek isn’t going to be on Netflix forever.
Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)
No Checks Behind Bars
Given the overwhelming popularity of Biden’s stimulus package, the last remaining people who still don’t seem to be happy with it are Congressional Republicans. However, Bryan is sounding the alarm over the fact that in addition to hard working Americans receiving $1400 checks, federal prisoners are too! That’s why he’s introduced the No Taxpayer-Funded Checks To Prisoners Act, which fellow Under-45er Mike Gallagher (R-WI) is cosponsoring. The bill puts the kibosh on those in the clink getting what he calls the “Pelosi Payoff.” This, Bryan says, is yet another thing buried in the liberal wishlist masquerading as a relief package.
Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)
My Name Is Watson
You know those IBM commercials with the super-computer thingamajig? Well, that’s quantum computing, and Lee is a big proponent of expanding our quantum networks. As the co-chair of the National Labs Caucus, Lee has helped New York based labs like Brookhaven become leaders in this field. Now, he’s introduced The Quantum Network Infrastructure Act, cosponsored by fellow Under-45ers Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and David Valadao (R-CA), would establish a national research program to advance the network infrastructure and accelerate implementation, creating faster, more secure and more reliable long-distance computing. This is all a touch above our heads, but tech is certainly the here and now, so this seems worthy of consideration.
Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)
It’s Raining Chips…and Jobs!
Kyrsten had the bipartisan CHIPS For America Act included in 2020’s year-end National Defense Authorization Spending Bill. What the legislation hoped to do was incentivize the increase of semiconductor production through federal grants. Well, the fruits of her hard labor came to bear this week as Intel announced it was investing $20 billion in expanding their manufacturing operations within Arizona, creating thousands of new jobs. Ultimately, this all helps The U.S. remain on the leading edge of domestic semiconductor production—a vital behind the scenes element to our national security. Center stage is Kyrsten and the many jobs she’s helping bring to her state. Bravo!
Jake Auchinloss (D; MA-4)
Slash and Burn, Baby!
This new generation of former Veterans now in Congress seems to be making military reform an unofficial priority of theirs. Jake, a former Marine Captain, led 50 of his colleagues in signing a letter to President Biden urging him to decrease the defense budget for this upcoming year. Under President Trump, the budget ballooned by more than 20%, now at an annual total of $740 Billion. Jake says that as the U.S. “pivots away from these failed forever wars, our generation needs to lay down a marker for the pentagon.” And in effect, he and his 50 colleagues (of which many are Under-45ers) are arguing for reinvesting that money at home, where it really counts.
Sara Jacobs (D; CA-35)
…And YOU Get A Healthcare Plan!
It seems with everything going on in the country, and the world, so many “campaign issues” like Medicare for all have drifted to the proverbial governing wings. Sara, however, is not letting that happen, having signed on to the Medicare For All Act of 2021 as an original co-sponsor, joining 100 of her Democratic colleagues. Most people are probably at least loosely familiar with the concept, but specifically this Medicare for All bill would expand comprehensive healthcare benefits to every American. Furthermore, upon receiving care, patients would not be charged co-pays or out-of-pocket costs. We shouldn’t count on GOP support, but perhaps the bill forwards the very real need to continue to improve the healthcare system in this country.
Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)
We Out Here Droppin’ Bills!
As you browse through Madison’s press release section on his official government website, something unusual, and different, and downright funny jumps out at you. Instead of “introducing” bills on the House floor, he “drops” them! And also usually by video. Here’s Madison “dropping” the Better Businesses For Tomorrow Bill, which gives a tax break to small businesses who have to absorb the extra costs of training their employees in Covid safety requirements. Not one to mince words, Madison said “if the federal government’s going to make us do things, they damn-well can pay for it.” He also “dropped” a one and a half page bill that eliminates daylight savings under the auspices of superfluous regulation. Let the bear drop, Mads.
Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)
I’d Like To Make A Return, Please.
Nearly a third of our leaders under 45 have a military or national security background, and Peter is no exception. And despite varying partisan differences, they are almost all in sync regarding our need to curb military engagements and end what many colloquially call “the forever wars” despite having actively served in them! Peter, along with Jared Golden, Mike Gallagher and Abigail Spanberger, have introduced a bipartisan bill that would repeal the outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force, which empowers the executive branch to effectively start a war. Repealing this would return the war powers back to Congress, which is what the Constitution first intended. However, Peter humorously knows the new governing challenges that will likely pose.
Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)
Have Office, Will Travel
It’s always exciting and surprising when a member of Congress does a “first” and it seems like Jake is managing a new first: he’s taking his Congressional office on the road and holding mobile office hours. The seemingly unprecedented move by Jake began in February when he announced he would be visiting 25 counties and 40 cities in his district, every month! His reasoning for doing so was simple: “My greatest priority is ensuring all my constituents are receiving the best possible representation.” So far, he’s kept it up, and I bet you now wish your congressperson did this.
Congresswoman, Breaker Of Glass Ceilings
Having become the first female to graduate from the infamous male-only Citadel military college, Nancy is a pretty damn good authority on gender challenges in the workplace. Coinciding with Equal Pay Day, Nancy delivered opening remarks during the Oversight and Reform Hearing where she called out World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe and House Democrats for misrepresenting the facts on equal pay. Nancy vehemently emphasized that two people with the same degrees doing the same job should receive the same pay, regardless. However, her point of contention lies in the data supplied, arguing that the other side has twisted and conflated numbers simply to make a point. Clearly, Nancy ain’t afraid to take on a controversial challenge.
Nicole Malliotakus (R; NY-11)
Shots In Bulk!
What do you do when you need to get a lot of shots quickly? Get Costco involved! That’s exactly what Nicole did this week, announcing a pop-up vaccine clinic in partnership with Costco. The wholesale giant is coming to her Staten Island district, and when headed to the outer-boroughs what else do you do but set up shop at a local Italian restaurant. There, they will offer the single-dose J&J vaccine to about 400 residents most in need. Notable is the fact that Staten Island is the only borough without a permanent state-run vaccine site. Kudos to Nicole for thinking on her feet and taking swift action. Now why hasn’t every Congressperson thought of this?
Jon Ossoff (D; GA)
No Small Business Left Behind
In just a couple of days, the Paycheck Protection Program is set to expire, but Jon is working hard to push for an extension of this critical lifeline for small businesses. Last week, the house passed the PPP Extension Act, extending the deadline to May 31 and giving the Small Business Administration until the end of June to process and approve applications. Now as the bill heads to the Senate, Jon is leading the full court press on behalf of Georgians. To date, Small Businesses in his state have unitized nearly $19 billion, and Jon wants to see to it that no small business gets left behind.