It was a tough call as to the biggest political story of the week just past. I came up with a category and even then, it is incomplete. I want to focus on three Congressional votes.
Republicans are good at complaining (they call it campaigning) and not very good at governing (a/k/a solving problems and getting something positive accomplished). The House Republicans had two glaring examples of that last week.
HR 7790 passed 231-192-5. It provided $28 million to combat the baby formula shortage. Guess where all 192 votes opposing it came from. If you guessed the Republicans, you are correct. Among those 192 were all the members of the Republican House leadership including their head spokesperson on the issue Elise Stefanik of New York. Keep in mind that $28 million is a drop in the federal spending bucket and this is a big problem.
Many factors are involved in the shortage. It may be one of the lesser ones, but part of the problem is that the Trump administration made it close to impossible to import baby formula from Canada. Think about that for a second.
Another complaint is the price of gas at the pump seems to keep escalating without a legitimate economic cause for the continuation. California Democrat Katie Porter introduced legislation that would enable the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to investigate accusations of price gouging at the pump. It passed 217-207. The 207 consisted of all Republicans joined by 4 Democrats. Don’t jump for joy just yet; the bill faces an almost certain Republican filibuster in the Senate. Can you say money in politics?
Speaking of the Senate, the $40 billion additional aid to Ukraine package finally passed after Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul obstructed it earlier. I’m not going to get into a lot of details here but what is basically at stake is democracy. There is a large Pro-Putin/Pro-Trump (is there really any difference?) contingent in the Republican party. The bill passed easily but 11 Republicans voted against it. In addition to Paul, they were: Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Just a note: Boozman, Crapo, Lee and Paul are up for reelection in November.
George Packer was correct; you are America’s last best hope. Remember that when you vote, volunteer and/or donate.
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