Sen. Gelser to speak Monday, July 9, to Linn Dems
ALBANY – State Sen. Sara Gelser will be the featured speaker Monday, July 9, at the monthly general meeting of the Linn County Democrats at Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Ave. S.E. Because of the Fourth of July holiday, the meeting has been moved from the usual first Thursday to the second Monday (July 9).
A social time, with light refreshments, will start at 6 p.m. The meeting begins at 6:30.
Child care will be provided.
Gelser, a Corvallis resident, is seeking re-election in Senate District 8, which includes Albany, Corvallis, Millersburg, Philomath, Tangent and portions of rural Linn and Benton counties. She faces Republican Erik Parks of Albany in the Nov. 6 general election.
She has served in the Legislature since 2005, first as a state representative and since 2015 as a senator.
Gelser is chair of the Senate Human Services Committee and sits on the Human Services Budget Committee. She serves on the Senate Education Committee, Senate Workforce Committee and the Senate Conduct Committee. She served as chair of the House Education Committee for six years, and also spent nine years serving on the House Revenue Committee.
Other Democratic candidates will give campaign updates during the meeting, and there will be reports about the 2nd Quarter Democratic Party of Oregon State Central Committee Meeting (June 9-10) in Pendleton and the Fourth Congressional District Committee Meeting (July 8) in Coos Bay.
For more information about the meeting and the Linn County Democrats, contact Linn Dems Co-chair Graham Kislingbury, 541-974-2075, or email@example.com.
Bernie Sanders: No SCOTUS vote until the people vote
The Supreme Court is the most important judicial body in the country. The decisions it reaches impact all Americans, even the ones that end up five votes to four.
Since the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court has taken a radical rightward turn. In the past 72 hours alone, it sided with big money interests against working people in an effort to destroy the union movement in this country. And it affirmed the president's Muslim ban and chose fear, racism and xenophobia over the American ideals of religious freedom and tolerance.
Those decisions, both 5-4 votes, were only possible because of the unprecedented actions of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deny President Obama's nominee a vote ahead of the 2016 elections. He did it because, in his own words, "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice."
Now that Justice Kennedy will retire at the end of July, Mitch McConnell should remember those words. And our job right now is to make sure he does, and to make it clear the American people want a say in Justice Kennedy's replacement.
The truth is, the American people deserve a Supreme Court justice who respects the rights of workers instead of bowing down to big business. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality in this country, we need a court that will protect workers' rights and not just concern themselves with corporate profits.
The American people deserve a Supreme Court that will move us back in the direction of one person, one vote and stop our slide into an oligarchy, in which the political life in this country is increasingly controlled by a handful of billionaire families. I fear that President Trump's next Supreme Court nominee would take the disastrous Citizens United decision even further by supporting the elimination of all restrictions on campaign finance, effectively allowing billionaires to contribute unlimited sums to candidates.
We also cannot risk a Supreme Court that would put in jeopardy the privacy rights of all Americans and a woman's right to control her own body. Reproductive rights in this country are at risk. Despite overwhelming opposition from the American people I believe there is a very strong chance President Trump's next nominee would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. We cannot allow that to happen.
The Supreme Court also recently sided with those who want to make it harder for people to vote. In the year 2018, it should not be too much to ask for people to be able to vote without harassment. Our job should be to make it easier for people to participate in the electoral process, not harder.
Now, the Koch brothers immediately pledged to spend more than seven figures pressuring Democrats into supporting President Trump's nominee.
This time, we must be united, from the start, that there can be no vote on ANY nominee until the American people have had their chance to make their voices heard.
I believe most Americans want a Supreme Court that will stand up for civil liberties, constitutional rights, workers' rights, environmental rights and women's rights.
By now we know that is not what we will get from Donald Trump's nominee. And I believe the American people have a right to make their voices heard about that at the ballot box in November.
Please sign my petition: Tell the U.S. Senate that we should not vote on any potential Supreme Court justice until after the American people have had a chance to vote in November and a new Senate is sworn in next January.
Tom Perez: They stole a Supreme Court seat from us
This morning (June 27) the Supreme Court's conservative majority handed down an awful decision, siding with corporations over working families by making it harder for unions to organize nationwide. This decision is merely the latest terrible ruling the high court has handed down in the last few weeks:
These rulings are proof that Elections matter.
We weren't able to confirm Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court in 2016, because Republicans held a majority in the Senate and refused to even give Judge Garland a hearing. They kept that seat vacant for a whole year because they knew it was the swing vote on the high court. Then they elected a Republican president, and a Republican Senate majority confirmed Neil Gorsuch.
If we don't do everything in our power to flip the Senate in 2018, and the White House in 2020, Donald Trump could appoint even more Supreme Court justices -- and as a lawyer, let me tell you: that would be absolutely catastrophic for our country.
Chair, Democratic National Committee
Oregon Democrats stand united with labor
Today, and every day, Oregon Democrats stand united with our partners in labor.
Today's (June 27) deeply flawed ruling from the Supreme Court undermines generations of work to create a more equitable and fair society.
Oregon unions, in particular, have led the way on improving working families' quality of life. From paid sick leave to minimum wage to tax fairness, they have been at the forefront of progressive victories across the decades.
We will continue to work in partnership with our brothers and sisters in labor, collectively fighting for union rights and securing a more just and prosperous future for all Oregonians.
Chair, Democratic Party of Oregon
Vigil set for Monday, June 18, at federal prison in Sheridan
This story was emailed June 14 by the Rural Organizing Project:
In the last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has torn hundreds of children away from their parents and placed both in separate detention facilities across the country. The sharp increase in the number of immigrants incarcerated has led ICE to turn to five federal prisons to house over 1,600 immigrants, including many seeking asylum. 123 immigrants and asylum seekers are now unjustly detained at Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Yamhill County, OR. To make matters worse, lawyers have been denied access to those detained inside, leaving little recourse for parents to be reunited with their children. Rural Oregonians are coming together to demand justice and an end to ICE ripping families apart. Join us on Monday for a vigil in Sheridan in solidarity with those detained behind the walls of the federal prison.
Unidos Bridging Community, a Yamhill County-based immigrant rights organization, along with otherlocal groups, jumped into action when they heard the news that the federal prison in their county was being used to incarcerate immigrants and refugees.On Sunday afternoon, Unidos held a vigil with 52 people near the prison and they are also co-hosting a statewide vigil this coming Monday. Read more about the vigil, organized by Unidos, Rural Organizing Project, Gorge ICE Resistance, Yamhill County Democrats, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition, and Causa on the facebook event here. Check out the vigil details and other ways to support the work at FCI Sheridan below.
Unidos and multiple local and statewide organizations are working to secure legal resources for those detained at FCI Sheridan, provide immediate support for those detained and to push back against the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy that separates parents and children. Learning from the experience of those working in the Gorge to end the ICE contract at NORCOR, they are building upon the statewide work to end of the use of public institutions and federal prisons to detain immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Here are the ways that human dignity groups and leaders around the state can support the work at FCI Sheridan:
• Join the vigil on Monday, June 18th from 5:30-7:00 pm in Sheridan, OR! Oregonians from all over the state will be gathering together this Monday to demand an immediate end to the use of FCI Sheridan for detention of immigrants and refugees. Stay tuned via the facebook event for details on location.
This is a statewide gathering, so please bring a sign that includes the name of your town or county to show our solidarity across rural Oregon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you are attending so we can also include your county/group in the roster of participating communities.
• Donate to support immigrants and refugees detained at FCI Sheridan: Unidos is collecting funds for phone calls and commissary items. Donate on their webpage here and include “For Sheridan” in the notes. Alternatively, you can mail a check to Unidos at 309 NE Third St. Suite 1, McMinnville OR 97128 and be sure to include “For Sheridan” in the memo line.
Support and/or volunteer as part of the legal response at FCI Sheridan: Innovation Law Lab is seeking volunteer attorneys, legal assistants, mental health providers, community resource people, interpreters and others for a coordinated legal response. Sign up here to volunteer with and support the legal response.
• Faith leaders take action: Local clergy from Yamhill County and Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) are coordinating a faith response. If you are a member of clergy sign onto this letter to FCI Sheridan by Sunday. In addition, clergy can sign up to do a visit to immigrant and refugees detained by ICE at FCI Sheridan by sending an email to email@example.com.
Just last month, as part of ROP’s Rural Caucus & Strategy Session, rural Oregonians rallied in The Dalles to demand an end to the ICE contract at NORCOR, a local public jail. This Monday we will come together again in solidarity with immigrants and refugees detained by ICE and held at FCI Sheridan. The sharp increase in the number of people detained by ICE means that the federal agency will increasingly turn to our public institutions, local jails and federal prisons to incarcerate immigrants and refugees. Rural Oregonians across the state are resisting the use of our institutions to detain and deport our neighbors. Join ROP and Unidos on Monday for a vigil in Sheridan and stay tuned to ROPnet over the next few weeks for updates and strategies to resist ICE and fight back!
Emma, Cara, Hannah and the ROP team
Hoyle, Beyer to speak at Linn Dems meeting June 7
ALBANY – Val Hoyle, State Bureau of Labor and Industries commissioner-elect, and Lee Beyer, state senator representing District 6, will be the featured speakers during the Thursday, June 7, meeting of the Linn County Democrats in the Albany Public Library Meeting Room, 2450 14th Ave. S.E.
A social time, with light refreshments, begins at 6 p.m. The meeting starts at 6:30.
Hoyle defeated Lou Odgen and Jack Howard in the May 15 non-partisan race for BOLI commissioner. Because she received 52 percent of the vote, she does not face a November run-off election. She will take office in January 2019, succeeding Brad Avakian, who decided not to seek re-election.
Hoyle, a Democrat and Eugene resident, is a former state representative from District 14, which includes west Eugene, Junction City and Cheshire. She was appointed to the House in August 2009 and re-elected to serve terms in 2010, 2012 and 2014. She was co-chair of the House Committee on Rules.
Beyer, a Democrat who lives in Springfield, was re-elected to his Senate seat in 2010 after serving for most of the previous decade on the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Senate District 6 includes south and central Linn County, Springfield and portions of Eugene. He chairs the Senate Business and Transportation Committee.
His first elective office was as a Springfield City Councilor, serving from 1987 to 1993. He was a state representative from 1991 to 1998, when he was elected to the State Senate.
Beyer faces Republican Robert Schwartz in the Nov. 6 General Election.
For more information about the meeting and the Linn County Democrats, contact Linn Dems Co-Chair Graham Kislingbury, 541-974-2075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Sen. Bernie Sanders send out this letter on Thursday, May 1:
Subject: Disney represents much of what is wrong with contemporary capitalism.
The Walt Disney Company is an enormously profitable corporation worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 billion. Last year, it made $9 billion in profits and rewarded its CEO, Bob Iger, with a compensation package worth up to $423 million over a four year period. And as a result of the Trump tax cuts, they were given an additional $1.6 billion.
At the same time — and this is a national disgrace — employees at the company’s theme park in Anaheim, California are paid so poorly that many of them are literally living in a tent city not far from the park.
According to one recent study, nearly 1 in 10 workers employed at the park reported being homeless in the past two years, more than 2 in 3 say they are food insecure, and 3 out of 4 employees say they do not make enough money for their basic needs.
This is not what Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are supposed to be about. This does not sound like the “happiest place on Earth” to me.
Now, I could be wrong, but I don’t expect you will see the plight of these low-wage workers at Disney discussed tonight on ABC, which is owned by Disney. Nor do I think you will be hearing too much about income and wealth inequality in the mainstream media.
That is why I am heading to California this weekend to rally with these workers and union organizers fighting to demand that Disney pay all of its workers a living wage.
Those workers could use your support as well:
Please sign my petition to Disney CEO Bob Iger: The greed at the Disney Company has got to end. It is time to pay all Disney employees a living wage of at least $15 per hour. Nothing less.
It is long past time that we, as a nation, stop worshipping the corporate greed of Disney and businessmen like Bob Iger, their CEO.
While he may be regarded as a brilliant and successful businessman among his peers in the financial, media, and political elite, the truth is that the way Bob Iger and Disney treat their workers represents much of what is wrong with contemporary capitalism.
This is a company, and a CEO, that accepted an obscene tax cut gifted to them by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, publicly promised to anyone who would listen a $1,000 bonus for all of their employees, and then withheld that bonus from some union employees unless they agreed to a contract that gave them a tiny raise to a wage that is still a starvation wage.
This is a company, and a CEO, that in addition to paying their workers here at home extremely low wages, employs many thousands of people in China to manufacture their products sold at Disney stores and online.
This type of greed and ruthless capitalism is not an economic model that we should be embracing. It is not to be celebrated. We can do better, and we must do better.
That is why this weekend I am heading to California to stand with Disney’s workers and to demand that Disney pay them wages and benefits which allow them to live with dignity and security.
I want to bring your voice with me. Make them hear the outrage that so many of us feel with regard to this type of economic exploitation.
In addition to my event with Disney workers and union leaders, I will visit Carson, California for a town hall with port truck drivers, who handle 40 percent of consumer goods and merchandise imported into our country – and warehouse workers serving the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These are some of the most abused and exploited workers in America, and I intend to support them and demand that they are paid a living wage with decent benefits.
The Political Revolution continues.
Paid for by Friends of Bernie Sanders
PO BOX 391, Burlington, VT 05402
Linn Circuit Judge candidates answer additional questions
The Linn Circuit Judge Position 3 candidates – Jennifer Hisey, Rachel Kittson-McQatish, Teri Plagmann and Rebecca Winters – spoke and answered questions during the Linn County Dems on May 3. Because of time constraints not all of the questions from the audience were asked that evening. Here are those additional questions and the candidates answers to them:• Do you approve of plea bargaining?
Jennifer Hisey: I believe that our current system is structured in such a way that plea bargains are necessary. The Court does not have sufficient resources to have every criminal case to go through trial. The vast majority of criminal cases settle prior to trial. If plea bargains were discontinued, then the number of judges would have to increase significantly.
Rachel Kittson-MaQatish: Absolutely. As a prosecutor, I come prepared to the defendant’s arraignment with an offer in hand. Plea bargains help with the efficiency of the process and can often be more tailored to the best interest of the community, the protection of the victim, and targeted to prompt change in the defendant’s behavior.
My offers often consider issues like drug and alcohol addiction, mental health issues, limitation of resources, protecting the victims, and can address weaknesses in a case. The defense attorney may have very good knowledge about the needs of the defendant. If the defendant needs drug treatment and is willing to participate, this can reduce criminal behavior. Often when prosecuting cases of theft and the defendant has children with them while committing the crime, I will make parenting classes part of my offer. Our office will even provide contact information to the court to refer the defendant for completion of the classes. The judge has so many cases to go through, and the demand on the entire system is high. It is not practical for a judge and a court to maintain very many outside-of-the box options in sentencing. I appreciate that this can be accomplished through plea bargains. A prosecutor and defendant may come up with a plea offer that on first look doesn’t sit right with the judge. Additionally, the public might cry out that the sentence doesn’t fit the crime. What the public and the judge does not know is that there may be weakness in the prosecutor’s case, that warrant a lesser plea offer. Or, maybe the victim could not hold up on the stand. The prosecutor, if going to trial, risks losing the entire case. The defendant, if going to trial, risks getting a much harsher sentence. Most judges in these situations realize that both the prosecution and the defense have a lot more information about the case then the judge and the judge has to trust that each have done their diligence in representation and justice is served by the bargain.
Teri Plagmann: Yes, a significant amount of criminal cases are settled by plea bargaining prior to trial. However, plea bargaining does have it's advantages and disadvantages. It helps clear up the court docket, gives the defendant assurance when being faced with an uncertain future, and can allow the imposition of programs, such as our drug court. However, it does take away a person's right to a jury trial and there may be times a defendant feels pressured to make an agreement. Therefore, both the prosecution and the defense counsel need to ensure that defendant understands and has considered all options before the person makes a decision that can affect them for life.
Rebecca Winters: Yes I approve of plea bargaining. As long as the law regarding plea bargaining is followed, it can be a benefit to the state and to the defendant.
• Who is your bluest donor (not yourself)?
Jennifer Hisey: My only other donor, besides myself, is my Aunt Jan. She does not live locally and she donated to me because I am family, not due to any political agenda.
Rachel Kittson-MaQatish: I don’t really know. I know people, not party. The people who support me do not support me because of party, they support me because they trust me to do the job. If I had to guess, I would say Frank Moore is a Democrat. I could be wrong. Frank is an amazing guy. He was my boss that oversaw my Linn County contract representing the State in Civil Commitments (Mental Health Law) before he retired. Frank was a tireless servant of Linn County, responsible for improving our communities physical and mental health, improving the lives for our veterans, our children, and the most vulnerable in our community. Frank contacted me wanting to lend support and I directed him to Friends of Rachel Treasurer. People like Frank, which I am sure include each party, have contacted my campaign and provided contributions of $50, $100 or $200. I am honored by the support of these donors.
Teri Plagmann: At this point, I have really tried to get through the primary without seeking outside donations. At the time of the forum, I stated that I was the only donor to my campaign. I do now have a donation from my father, but have not sought or accepted any others at this point and do not intend to unless I move forward after the primary. I have supported myself in this campaign financially because I cannot expect anyone else to be invested in elected me unless I am clearly invested in myself. I am hopeful that my actions are a strong indication of my belief that judges should be non-biased and that people can appear in my courtroom with the knowledge that I will not give preference to anyone. I will likely have to accept outside donations if this election ends up with a run off in November, simply so that I can continue to make a strong presence.
Rebecca Winters: I am financing my own campaign. (Here's hoping people don't vote upon the number of signs put up.)
• Do you have any endorsements from a political party?
Jennifer Hisey: No.
Rachel Kittson-MaQatish: No. Prior to this question, I had not sought endorsements from any political party. While I do have endorsements from people involved in party politics, their endorsements are because of my community service and my legal work and speak to their belief in my ability and my character, not my political beliefs.
Teri Plagmann: No
Rebecca Winters: I have no endorsements from a political party.
• Would the paramilitarization of the police force help or hinder justice?
Jennifer Hisey: I would need further clarification as to what the questioner means by “paramilitarization.” I do not think that the tools and equipment used by the police have a significant impact on justice. However, if the questioner is talking about the roll back of civil rights and rights protected by the constitution thereby allowing the police to behave like an occupying military force, then such action would clearly hinder justice.
Rachel Kittson-MaQatish: That is an interesting question. There is a balance. With terrorism, mass shootings, and intensified adversity between active groups the need for our officers to respond and protect in gear and equipment that keep our officers safe is important. I have a friend that is a state police officer and she is on the team that responds to riots in what you might call military style gear. I want her to be safe in performing her duties and keeping order. The appearance of officers in military style gear may help some feel safe, while others feel threatened. Improving the relationships of officers in the community with citizens should increase the safety individuals feel from the presence of officers regardless of what they are wearing. What I see from our Linn County Sheriff’s Office, our municipal police officers and our Oregon State Police Officers serving Linn County I do not see paramilitarization. Many of these officers are involved in our local communities. They coach, they volunteer, they are actively involved in solving community issues and individual concerns even when they are off duty. The majority are invested in the community. Having a community presence is key to having an effective police force that encourages justice. I have worked directly with local police in community events such as the Hero Half Marathon Memorial Day Celebration, Holidays in the Park, the Optimist Club, Child Abuse Awareness, Walk a Mile for a Child, and National Night Out just to name a few. I am proud of the commitment our officers have to our community and I appreciate the opportunities I have had to serve along side them.
Teri Plagmann: It does both. There have been concerns raised about the militarization of our police and some claim that it helps increase the police officer's safety, as well as that of the public. There are times that it is helpful for our police officers to have access to equipment and training for situations when it is needed. However, there are studies that show that the police use of military equipment actually incites and increases incidents of violence. It also gives people the fear that our police officers are an occupying force and are not in the role of an officer who is serving to protect. In 2015, Obama put into place restrictions on the type of surplus military equipment that would be transferred to police forces because of these same concerns, but then expanded it to be on a case by case basis for the very reason that there may be situations it is needed. I support that policy. I understand that ban was recently lifted completely, but I do not have enough information as to how this has been carried out.
Rebecca Winters: Hinder.
• Question directed to Jennifer Hisey: How would you balance efficiency/experience of moving cases along with taking the time to discover the truth of each defendant’s case?
Jennifer Hisey: I interpret the phrasing of this question as only concerning criminal cases because “defendants” is a term that is generally only included in criminal cases. Defendants are entitled to representation in criminal cases so anyone who wants an attorney should have one. The attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases have the obligation to provide the relevant information about the defendant and the case. The greater challenge would be dealing with civil cases where attorneys are not involved. I have significant experience dealing with the general public and explaining the system, the laws and the potential outcomes to people. I am good at asking questions and getting answers that reveal the relevant information about particular situations and I would continue that behavior if I was a judge.
• Question directed to Rachel Kittson-MaQatish: Is there a way that a circuit judge can help with the meth/opioid problems in Linn County? How? Rachel Kittson-MaQatish: There have been recent changes in the law that will affect how we can handle these problems. Recently a bill was passed that reduced certain felony drug charges to misdemeanors. The message sent by reducing usable quantities of meth/opioids from a felony to misdemeanor is likely the wrong message to send to our youth. However, as a municipal prosecutor, I have often been frustrated when I see such little time in jail for a felony pcs charge and I believe these lower amounts are required by sentencing guidelines (meaning the judge can’t sentence to more time). By reducing the possession of usable quantities of substances to a misdemeanor, the guidelines don’t apply, and the bench could sentence a defendant to more time, then what is allowed for a felony. But is that fair?
I believe that in the life of the defendant there are pivotal points where change is possible. When a person begins to use, maybe the consequence should be higher. If the opportunity to deter is greatest upon the first conviction, then it is on the sixth, when the user has already destroyed much of his or her life, would it be fairer to impose a greater penalty upon the first conviction? When I see a defendant with a criminal history pages long, the question becomes: Is there anything that I can do, short of locking up a person and removing them from society to prevent this person from using drugs and participating in the criminal behavior that goes along with it? And there is a point of diminishing returns, how effective is 180 days in jail as compared to 90 days? Of course, programs like drug court, and opportunities for treatment are imperative.
One of the biggest meth/opioid problems we face is the damage that it does to families and the harm and neglect that occur to children. Our judges must follow the law and at times, especially in juvenile dependency cases, it is tough to see the devastation drugs reap on children in our community. There is not one government entity alone that can effect change. Our courts work with other government agencies to address these problems. Increased communication, effectively understanding the problem, working together, removing barriers and setting measurable targets between the different agencies, including our citizens, our victims and our defendants is key to addressing such deeply rooted problems.
• Directed to Teri Plagmann: Please list several of the family values that you mentioned in the Voters’ Pamphlet statement.
Teri Plagmann: Honesty, loyalty, integrity, community involvement. My great great grandfather purchased the original 50 acres of our family's grass seed farm over 100 years ago and my family has been a presence in this community ever since that time. I come from a family of hard working individuals with depth of character, compassion and strength. I am very proud of my family roots in this area and intend to honor their legacy on the bench.
Update from Congressman Peter DeFazio
Biggest Banks Saving $19 Billion This Year Alone on the Backs of Taxpayers
Ever since President Trump signed the Republican tax bill into law in December, there has been mounting evidence that investors and wealthy shareholders are enjoying tremendous financial benefits while working families are getting very little or nothing at all. We now have yet another example that the Republican tax law is truly rigged for the rich.
Last month, the nation’s six biggest Wall Street banks posted record profits for their first quarter. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America saved at least $3.59 billion because of the law. Estimates say these banks will save $19 billion in this year alone. In other words, the federal government is borrowing almost $20 billion this year to pay off Wall Street. They’re using the windfall for higher dividends, stock buybacks, and business investments – not wage increases or support for working Americans.
In an interview this week, Republican Senator Marco Rubio further confirmed that the permanent benefits of the tax bill go to corporations, stating “There’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”
And how have Republicans proposed to pay for this $19 billion handout, as well as the rest of the trillions of dollars that this tax bill will cost American taxpayers? Attacks on Social Security and Medicare. In his retirement announcement, House Speaker Paul Ryan blamed retiring baby boomers and entitlement programs for the skyrocketing debt:
“That was going to happen — the baby boomers retiring was going do that. These deficit — trillion-dollar projections have been out there for a long, long time. Why? Because of mandatory spending, which we call entitlements.”
Due to the tax law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently announced that the federal budget deficit will explode. While Speaker Ryan pinned the blame on programs like Social Security and Medicare, the main cause for the ballooning deficit is the decrease in expected revenue because of the tax scam: previous CBO estimates predicted revenue would be substantially higher in the future, before the $3 trillion tax bill was pushed through. Blaming the debt on retirees isn’t just callous, but blatantly incorrect, and fails to mention how the tax plan made the debt much worse.
I will continue to fight to tear down the budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and instead target tax relief towards hard-working middle class families and the working poor.
Last week, I was honored to be the lead Democrat in the House of Representatives on the passage of H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which is a bipartisan, five-year reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs. This bill will give the FAA the long-term funding it needs to improve aviation safety, enhance consumer protections, make investments in U.S. airports and related infrastructure, provide much needed long-term stability for the nation’s aviation community, and improve America’s competitiveness in the global aviation sector.
As Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I pushed for critical safety standards and consumer protections to be included in the legislation. For example, H.R. 4 contains several important provisions to improve aviation safety, including:
To watch my opening statement on the House floor regarding H.R. 4, please click below:
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Scandals Continue
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is facing several investigations into his apparent violation of federal ethics rules and his wasting of thousands of taxpayer dollars, including his lavish travel and office expenses. It seems like every day we learn of more troubling accounts of the administrator’s contempt for the rule of law.
Recently, I signed onto a letter requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate whether the installation of a $43,000 “privacy booth” in Administrator Pruitt’s office violated congressional spending law. This booth is a fixture that no other EPA administrator felt the need to have, as the agency already has a secure room on another floor of the building. There is simply no need to waste taxpayer funds to merely make the administrator feel less inconvenienced. Thankfully, the GAO released its conclusion on April 16, determining that Pruitt’s privacy booth indeed violated the law.
Additionally, the GAO is investigating several statements by Administrator Pruitt that could be construed as lobbying or promoting propaganda for his policies. In an April 2017 meeting with the National Mining Association, Pruitt reportedly urged the group to advocate for the U.S. to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He also appeared in a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association video that urged farmers and ranchers to ask EPA to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule.
That’s why I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to remove Pruitt as administrator of the EPA. I have also signed onto a congressional resolution calling for Pruitt’s immediate resignation.
Beyond the apparent corruption and conflicts of interest, under Administrator Pruitt’s watch the EPA’s enforcement of environmental laws has dramatically dropped, letting polluters off the hook.
Administrator Pruitt appears beholden to industry and seems to have no interest in enforcing environmental laws or rules. Unfortunately, the Republican majority is turning a blind eye to his unethical behavior and his apparent disregard for Americans’ health and safety.
You can be sure I will continue to do everything in my power to stop the Trump Administration and Republicans from weakening our nation's important environmental and public health laws.
Protecting Special Counsel Mueller
On April 26, I was pleased to see the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee pass bipartisan legislation to protect the independence and integrity of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. However, while the Committee’s action was a step in the right direction, the bill still needs to pass the full Senate and the House.
That’s why I am a cosponsor of the House version of this legislation, H.R. 5476, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. This legislation would protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation by ensuring that the Special Counsel can only be removed by the senior most Department of Justice (DOJ) official not recused from the matter. This legislation would also prevent the president from installing an acting Attorney General who could then fire the Special Counsel at the president’s request. Additionally, if the Special Counsel is fired, H.R. 5476 would provide the Special Counsel with a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review to determine whether the firing was for good cause. If the judicial panel determines that the firing was not for good cause, the Special Counsel’s removal will not go into effect.
Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to complete his investigation free from undue political influence, including from President Trump. You can be sure I will continue to speak out against Republicans’ dangerous attempts to discredit the Mueller investigation by trying to undermine public trust in our law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
UO Museum Receives Highest National Honor
On May 1, the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History received the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, which is the nation’s highest award for museums and libraries. I was honored to nominate the museum for this well-deserved award, not only for the museum’s incredible exhibits but also its cutting-edge research, quality education programming, and its standing as a valuable community resource. I applaud the museum for its recognition and will continue to push for federal resources to help further its exceptional work.
Judicial candidates to speak May 3 at Linn Dems meeting
ALBANY – Candidates for Linn County Circuit Judge Position 3 will be the featured speakers during the Thursday, May 3, meeting of the Linn County Democrats in the Albany Public Library Meeting Room, 2450 14th Ave. S.E.
A social time, with light refreshments, begins at 6 p.m. The meeting starts at 6:30.
The four non-partisan candidates for Position 3 are:
Also invited to speak and answer questions at the May 3 meeting is Democratic candidate Kimberly Koops, who was unable to attend the candidates forum held during last month’s Linn Dems’ meeting.
Koops and Marty Wilde are seeking the Democratic nomination for state representative in House District 11. The winner will face the Republican primary winner, Mark Herbert or Joshua Powell. Phil Barnhart, the Democratic incumbent in District 11, is not seeking re-election.
For more information about the meeting and the Linn County Democrats, contact Linn Dems Co-Chair Graham Kislingbury, 541-974-2075 or email@example.com.