Backbone for Monday, April 24, 2017
By Congressman Lacy Clay (D) Missouri
“Progressive politics, positive leadership
for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District
Welcome to this special edition of “Backbone.”
Backbone question of the week:
According to the latest scientific polling (Washington Post/Pew Research), after nearly 100 days in office, who is more popular than President Donald Trump?
Answer: The Affordable Care Act (thanks Donald); The Democratic Party, United Airlines (yes, really) and Joseph Stalin (not really, but I just wanted to make sure you were paying close attention.)
But seriously, at the almost 100-day mark, Donald Trump is the most unpopular President (41% approval) since scientific polling started tracking this stuff after World War II.
So the ultimate Backbone strategic question to Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans is just this…
With the President’s numbers in the tank…why would you want to follow him over the cliff by shutting down the federal government to build a wall that nobody at the border really wants, and then vote to strip healthcare coverage away from 24 million Americans and make it legal for insurance companies to once again deny coverage for preexisting conditions?
WHITE HOUSE DEMANDS MAKE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN MORE LIKELY
When the House reconvenes tomorrow after the Easter/Passover recess, we will have just four days to come to an agreement to fund federal spending for the rest of the FY17 fiscal year. If we fail to meet that deadline (midnight on Friday) there will be another Republican government shutdown.
The United States government should never shut down, and most grown-ups on both sides of the aisle agree on that. However, when it comes to House Republicans…the grown-ups aren’t really in charge. The Freedom caucus is, and they are prone to tantrums.
If we can get a clean Continuing Resolution with a low “crazy quotient” I think it would pass. But if the President and his extremist Tea Party friends try to strip federal funding away from Planned Parenthood and Meals on Wheels, in order to pay for his idiotic border wall…we are going to have a big problem.
Come to think of it…the President is good friends with Bill O’Reilly, former head of workplace harassment, appeasing white supremacists and insulting strong Black women at Fox News Channel. I understand that Bill just got a big check ($25 million) to shut down his racist mess and finally leave (good riddance)…maybe he could help pay for Trump’s wall.
Meanwhile, here is an excellent analysis on the looming Republican shutdown sequel…authored by Burgess Everett, Heather Caygle and Rachel Bade in POLITICO (4.20.17) http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/20/trump-government-shutdown-talks-237435
THE GOP HAS A NEW PLAN TO DESTROY OBAMACARE. IT’S EVEN CRUELER THAN THE LAST ONE
Just when you thought it was dead, President Trump and House Republicans have resurrected TrumpCare 2.0 (special Zombie edition.) And like most things that should have been left buried…it doesn’t smell too good.
Last month, TrumpCare 1.0 was so bad that House Republicans had to pull the bill because they could not cobble together enough votes in their own caucus to pass it. Conservatives hated TrumpCare. Liberals hated it. Doctors, nurses and hospitals hated it. And even the AARP hated the bill because it would devastate Medicaid and greatly weaken Medicare.
So in an effort to buy a few more extremist votes from the Freedom (love to take you hostage) Caucus…Republicans actually made TrumpCare 2.0 even worse than the original version.
As reported in this excellent Plumline piece by Greg Sargent in the Washington Post (4.20.17), TrumpCare 2.0 would:
“Allow states to seek a waiver to get rid of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, on the condition that states set up or participate in high-risk pools that would help cover any of those people who lose insurance.
But the waiver on prohibitions against jacking up premiums for people with preexisting conditions — which is called “community rating” — is a major problem. It would smack them with far more in costs — potentially pushing them off coverage entirely.”
In other words, TrumpCare 2.0 would bring back discrimination against patients with preexisting conditions by pushing them out of the insurance market with huge premium surcharges…just because they’re sick.
I would never ask you to sign up for phony healthcare coverage like that, and I will fight like hell to kill this bill if they try to bring it up again.
For more on the TrumpCare 2.0/GOP Zombie Apocalypse healthcare bill, please go to:
TRY THE CHOCOLATE CAKE…AND I’LL HAVE A SIDE OF CRUISE MISSILES WITH THAT
Apparently, President Trump likes to have his cake and cruise missiles too. As reported by Dan Merica of CNN (4.12.17) President Trump, while hosting Chinese President Xi for a mini-summit at Mar-a-Lago, his exclusive Palm Beach resort, (which costs taxpayers approx. $3 million every time he goes there) said:
“Isn’t this the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you have ever seen?” And then he casually informed President Xi that he had just launched 59 cruise millions at Syria.
Now, I love a good piece of cake as much as the next man…but giving the order to commit an act of war, especially without proper congressional authorization, is a deadly and dangerous decision.
I really can’t imagine General Eisenhower giving the order to “Go” on D-Day over a nice plate of beignets.
Besides the odd choice of dessert conversation…President Trump lacked the legal authority to do this. But that didn’t stop him.
If he plans to commit our Armed Forces in the Middle East or Korea (BTW…so glad he found that Navy carrier taskforce that he misplaced…)
Then he absolutely must come before Congress to ask for a new authorization to use military force.
The last time a President asked us to just “trust him” on the use of force…we invaded Iraq based on a lie which resulted in 4,423 brave Americans killed in action, 31,952 wounded and over 100,000 civilians killed. Not to mention the $3 trillion that we rang up on the taxpayers’ credit card.
Taking our nation to war is a grave and irreversible decision, and the President has a legal and moral obligation to come to Congress first.
That’s not optional…it is what the Constitution requires.
THE BEST WAY THE U.S. COULD HELP SYRIANS: OPEN THE BORDERS TO REFUGEES
As this excellent piece by Dylan Xanga in Vox.com (4.6.17) points out…using our military might against the murderous Assad regime in Syria makes no sense unless we are also willing to step up and greatly increase the number of innocent Syrian refugees that we allow to resettle in the United States after intensive security screenings.
But instead of balancing hard power with soft power, President Trump has slammed the door shut to refugees who look to America as their last, best hope.
As Xanga states in his story:
“It’s very, very hard to argue that any military intervention that could avert further bloodshed in Syria — or even have prevented the bloodshed of the last four years — would have done more good, at lower cost, than this: simply issuing green cards to every Syrian who wants one — or even issuing them to just 1 million, or 500,000 — and providing airlifts to bring people here.
Let’s take immigration to start. The potential benefits to Syrians are enormous. For one thing, we would avoid the huge humanitarian toll associated with existing refugee migration. Many fewer boats would capsize. Many fewer children would drown. Many fewer people would suffocate in the back of trucks.”
I strongly agree. Immigrants, and especially refugees, are not a threat…they are a precious opportunity to do right by them and to also make our nation stronger. To read more about this important human rights crisis, please go to:
CLAY TO APPEAL JUDGE’S REJECTION OF
STUDENT PAINTING. SAYS IT’S A MATTER OF THE 1st AMENDMENT
As this excellent piece by Eric Garcia in ROLL CALL (4.19.17) indicates, I have just begun to fight for the rights of my brave and talented constituent, David Pulphus, and for the fundamental 1st Amendment right of freedom of expression that he has been deprived of.
After the Judge ruled against granting us an injunction, David and I issued this joint statement:
“Our nation was founded on the very principle of freedom of speech, and there are few places where that core freedom warrants greater respect than the U.S. Capitol. That is why we are confident that the U.S. Court of Appeals will eventually vindicate not only our legal rights, but those of the American people. We believe our Constitution simply cannot tolerate a situation where artwork can be removed from the Capitol for the first time ever as a result of a series of ideologically and politically driven complaints.”
This case is about just two things: Defending my constituent, and standing up for the 1st Amendment.
Censorship based on a purely political viewpoint is wrong, especially in the citadel of our democracy, the U.S. Capitol. Freedom of expression is worth fighting for. To read more about this important 1st Amendment case, please go to:
CLAY, COHEN, DUCKWORTH TEAM UP TO INTRODUCE POLICE TRAINING, INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR LEGISLATION…BILL WOULD PROTECT POLICE OFFICERS AND THE CITIZENS THEY SERVE
I was truly honored to join with my bi-state colleague, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) Illinois and my good friend from Memphis, Congressman Steve Cohen (D) Tennessee, to introduce an updated version of my police training and independent prosecutor bill.
In the wake of Ferguson, MO; Staten Island, NY; Cleveland, OH; Sanford, FL; St. Paul, MN; Memphis, TN; North Charleston, SC; Baltimore, MD; and far too many other communities…the urgent need to require all police officers to receive specialized sensitivity training to help them deescalate volatile situations remains an urgent public safety priority.
Our legislation would require sensitivity training in the areas of race, ethnic bias, disabilities, and interactions with new immigrants. It would also establish incentives to encourage states to adopt new laws to require an independent prosecutor in all cases when police use deadly force.
This act was originally crafted as part of my post-Ferguson legislative agenda and it is based on some of the key findings of the Ferguson Commission.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED MY AWESOME TOWN HALL MEETING IN ST. LOUIS
I want to thank the 17th Ward Independent Democrats for hosting my live town hall meeting in St. Louis’ Central West End. And I also appreciate the strong contingent from Indivisible St. Louis for being part of it.
We had a great conversation on a wide range of issues including Syria, saving the ACA, protecting voting rights, cleaning up nuclear waste at West Lake landfill and bringing together all the strong voices across the spectrum of opinions in the Democratic Party to forge a powerful, united coalition so that we can move forward together to win at the national, state and local levels.
Hope you enjoy this video highlight from the town hall meeting and I look forward to doing it again soon.
IN MEMORIUM: HONORING CHUCK BERRY, THE REAL KING OF ROCK N’ ROLL
It was my great honor to offer one of the eulogies for a true St. Louis original, an American treasure, and a long-time friend of the Clay family…the immortal Chuck Berry.
In my remembrance, I said in part:
“Chuck Berry did more than just create hit records. He combined his artistic genius with enormous personal courage to help break down the barriers of race, intolerance and bigotry in this country through his music.
Chuck used his music to smash the color barrier in popular culture. He was the first Black recording artist to become as popular with White audiences as he was with Black audiences. And that changed the way that America looked at race…especially with young people.
And that’s the wonderful thing about artistic expression. It doesn’t come in a color. It doesn’t care about race, nationality, age or gender. It just speaks the truth. And millions around the world listened and loved…Chuck Berry’s truth.”
HEALING PRAYERS AND STRENGTH TO CARDINAL HALL OF FAMER LOU BROCK
Growing up in St. Louis, Cardinal Hall of Famer Lou Brock was one of my biggest baseball heroes. I remember going to old Sportsman’s Park with my Dad to see him patrol left field and drive opposing pitchers crazy with his base-stealing brilliance.
Recently, the Cardinals announced that Lou is fighting the toughest battle of his life against cancer. But as usual, Lou retains the heart of a champion and his positive outlook on life.
So I join with Cardinal fans everywhere to send him healing prayers and best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. #20…always.
As we face the Republican assault on the 1st Amendment and their misguided and mean-spirited drive to undue all the good that President Obama achieved over the last eight years, I need your help more than ever before.
I’m counting on you to step up with your donation today to help me defend our values, our essential freedoms and the future of this country against those who are trying to take us back in time.
Your financial support not only helps me, it also allows me to help other progressive Democratic voices across this country.
If you’ve already stepped up, thank you.
If you haven’t helped out yet, your donation to my campaign today would be greatly appreciated at this secure link. Thanks again for all your friendship and support.
Please remember to follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lacy.clay.3
And on Twitter @LacyClayMO1
Paid for by Clay Jr. for Congress, Willis Lloyd, Treasurer