Gearing Up for 2020

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The Public's Business

Can You Believe?

Can you believe that the EPA has spent about $25,000 on a soundproof phone booth for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt? If you are doing the public’s business, what are you trying to hide?

Can you believe that the Department of Education has paid Federal Marshals $5.2 million to protect Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for the eight months she has been Secretary? She is the first Education Secretary to demand such protection.

Can you believe that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been flying around on private jets, just like former HHS Secretary Tom Price? All these administration officials seem to forget that those taxpayer dollars could be going to protecting wildlife and parks, educating our children, or providing health care for people in need.

Hits and Misses – the week’s best and worst moves

Hit of the Week:  My former colleagues Dianne Feinstein and Chris Murphy for making our nation’s safety a priority by introducing legislation to close loopholes on military-style weapons and on new requirements for background checks.

Miss of the Week:  The paper towel rim shots offered by President Donald Trump while attempting to show his hard work on Puerto Rico recovery. They don’t need paper towels thrown to them. They need food, water, medicine, electricity, telephone service, open roads, and so much more.

House Race of the Week

Following the shooting in Las Vegas, Rep. David Valadao, tweeted, “Praying for every victim affected by this horrific tragedy in Las Vegas and their loved ones.” While I support his prayers, how about his actions? He has been one of the most consistent votes to weaken reasonable gun laws on weapons primarily used to kill people. And he is an original cosponsor of the NRA’s top legislative priority, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. Needless to say, he is also a top NRA priority, having collected their PAC money in the past three election cycles.


Imagine two commercial airplanes colliding. Dozens are killed. Hundreds injured. In the wake of such an event, would political leaders say that it is “particularly inappropriate to politicize events like this?” Of course not. Yet Mitch McConnell said that it would be “particularly inappropriate to politicize events like this” regarding the shooting in Las Vegas. He is wrong. Now is the time. The United States Congress is the place. There should be serious consideration – bipartisan consideration – of better background checks and ways to stop modification of weapons making them more deadly. And there should be no more talk about loosening gun laws or allowing greater access to silencers. Instead, let Congress begin to consider real ways to protect us. Just like as if it were a plane crash. Let’s have real answers to this very real problem.