From the Campaign Trail

posted Jul 29

I did a quick interview with HuffPo yesterday regarding the latest GOP attempt to bring the entire regulatory process to a screeching halt.  This issue galvanizes one of the defining political questions of our time—and what’s really at stake in the 2016 elections.  Most of my Republican colleagues are good people who philosophically and ideologically do not appreciate the essential role and the critical value of regulations.  If their extreme proposals were actually allowed to became law, it would take our country back 100 years to a dark chapter in history when an activist, pro-industry Supreme Court invoked “substantive due process,” “economic liberty,” and private “contract rights” to strike down laws or regulations that, in the opinion of the court, unduly burdened big business—things like child labor laws, minimum wages, and banking regulations.  Today’s GOP version of substantive due process wouldn’t include child labor laws and it wouldn’t be administered by an activist Supreme Court, but through mechanisms like the REINS Act it would block regulations that protect workers, our environment, public health, consumers, and certainly anything that tries to address climate change.  Substantive due process didn’t go well for America a century ago.  Income inequality soared, our economy became so lopsided that it eventually collapsed, and it took many years—and ultimately a new Supreme Court, the New Deal, and WWII—for our country to recover from the mess they made the last time this extreme ideology became the law of the land.  We should always work to make the regulatory process work better, but we do need regulations.  And we don’t need to repeat the mistakes of history.

WASHINGTON—A bill that critics say would make any significant new regulation all but impossible easily passed the House Tuesday. The measure, known as the REINS Act, for Regulations from the Executive

posted Jul 28

I agree with Bill Press.  Month after month we see senseless mass shootings in theaters, shopping malls, schools, churches and work places. Yet in my three years in Congress, the only hearing involving guns was today in the Natural Resources subcommittee chaired by Rep. Gohmert, and it wasn’t to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country, or our porous background check system, or the many loopholes that make assault weapons readily available to any violent mentally ill person or angry teenager.  It was about whether allowing federal law enforcement officials with the US Forest Service to carry guns was a type of federal overreach.  We certainly have a Congress of intense ideologues, if not cowards, on this issue.

OPINION | Mass shootings are happening in the U.S. on average once a week.

posted Jul 28

Incredibly, House GOP leadership just announced they are adjourning 2 days early to start the August recess.  Given the many critical issues this Congress has failed to resolve, this is nothing short of outrageous.  I will certainly keep busy in my district over the next six weeks, but we should not be adjourning the House without passing a fully-funded, long-term transportation fix; without reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank; without renewing and strengthening the Voting Rights Act to protect that most fundamental right in our democracy; and without coming anywhere close to viable appropriations bills to avoid a government shutdown on October 1st, among other pressing priorities.  Shouldn’t we at least TRY to govern?

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