“Pro-life” Cline votes NO on keeping kids fed

One day before declaring that #LifeWins following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Congressman Cline was one of just 42 members of the House (all Republicans) to vote NO on the Keep Kids Fed Act.

As NBC News reports, the legislation extends “some food assistance measures for children that anti-hunger advocates have called critical as more parents struggle with the rising costs of inflation, less than a week before the measures were set to end.”

The pandemic-era child nutrition waivers have helped millions of kids get access to meals both in school and during the summer for the last two years and were scheduled to expire June 30.

The bipartisan legislation now heads to the president’s desk for his signature. It would extend some of the dozens of child nutrition waivers that Congress gave the Agriculture Department the authority to issue at the start of the pandemic.

…..

The Keep Kids Fed Act would enable summer meal program providers to operate with more flexibility and help schools in the coming academic year as they continue to cope with supply chain interruptions and labor shortages.

So once again, Cline’s professed concern for “life” ends with the birth of actual children whose families depend of federal nutrition assistance to keep them fed and, um, alive.

Cline’s split reaction to overturning of Roe

There’s an interesting contrast between the way Congressman Cline reacted to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on his Congressional Facebook page and his campaign Facebook page.

Here is the former:

And here is the latter:

So on his Congressional Facebook page, Cline frames abortion as strictly a matter for states to decide, with no reference to the moral issue. He doesn’t seem to be celebrating.

On his campaign Facebook page, clearly aimed at what he perceives as his base, he’s in a celebratory mood.

Is he nervous about a backlash among the majority of voters who support at least some abortion rights? Perhaps he has reason to be– even in the Republican-leaning Sixth District.

Cline is silent on January 6 hearing

Yes, physical threats against Supreme Court justices are abhorrent. And those who make them deserve to be arrested and prosecuted.

You can believe this and also appreciate the work of the House January 6 Committee to investigate and report on the attempt by former President Trump (“our great president”) to subvert the results of the 2020 election, and on those who aided and abetted that effort– violently or otherwise.

Unless you are Congressman Ben Cline, who posted on Facebook today about the former and has yet to acknowledge the Committee’s powerful opening hearing on Thursday.

I hope Cline has the decency to feel the sting of his brave Republican colleague Liz Cheney’s words.

Where does Cline draw the line on guns?

My letter to the editor in the June 8 edition of The News-Gazette, which circulates in Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista:

I’m not currently a gun owner. But I know that many good people of many political persuasions own guns, and I have no problem with responsible owners having firearms for hunting, recreation and protection.

Which brings us to our Sixth District Congressman Ben Cline.

In an interview on WRVA radio the day after the Uvalde massacre, he repeated the worn-out talking points that Congressional Republicans use to avoid enacting serious gun violence prevention measures.

Cline proposed posting retired police officers at schools. A retired police officer fired at the racist mass murderer at the supermarket in Buffalo on May 14, but the murderer was wearing body armor and the retired officer was among those killed.

He said, “Let’s talk about mental health counseling.” But as far as I can tell, Cline has never done anything in Congress to provide resources to woefully-underfunded mental health services.

And other countries have mental health problems too. But ours is the only country where horrors like those in Buffalo and Uvalde happen on such a regular basis.

Cline talks endlessly about protecting “Second Amendment rights.” But as the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, the Second Amendment “is not unlimited. [It is] not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Does Cline believe this? His position on “gun rights” is so extreme (more extreme than most gun owners) that when he was in the House of Delegates, he bragged about his endorsement by the Virginia Citizens Defense League— which believes the National Rifle Association is too soft.

He actually opposed issuing a new Virginia license plate with the message: “Stop Gun Violence.”

Cline shouldn’t be allowed to go unchallenged. He needs to be asked specifically why he opposes universal background checks for gun purchases. (Does he support any background checks at all?) Why is he against red flag laws to temporarily remove firearms from people who are a clear threat to themselves or others? Why does he oppose limits on high-capacity magazines? Does he support any restrictions on private arms ownership at all? How about fully automatic weapons? Grenade launchers?

Where does he draw the line? Does he draw it anywhere?

And after Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, etc., etc., this is all that Cline can say:

Thoughts and prayers?

Congressman Cline: Is this all you have to offer after the mass murder of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas?

No matter how frequent and horrific these tragedies are, we can’t expect anything different from you. Can we?

Going back to his days in the Virginia House of Delegates, Cline has prided himself in standing with the most extreme “gun rights” advocates– far more extreme than most gun owners.

From previous posts at Cline Watch:

Cline on the Virginia Beach massacre

On Saturday– one day after the atrocity– Cline addressed a meeting of the Sixth District Republican Committee in Harrisonburg. He did not mention Virginia Beach at all. But he did restate his commitment to opposing any and all forms of firearms regulation. He said that when he entered Congress this year, he urged Republican leaders to appoint him to the Judiciary Committee and “task me with defeating gun control bills.”

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Cline helped kill virtually every legislative effort to impose regulations of any kind on ownership of firearms or the kinds of weapons and accessories that can be sold or owned in the commonwealth.

In 2018, after he was named chair of the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee in the House of Delegates, he bragged about his endorsements by the National Rifle Association (one of the largest donors to his campaigns) and the Virginia Citizens Defense League— which prides itself on being more extreme than the NRA.

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“This, after all, is a man who opposed issuing a new Virginia license plate with the message: ‘Stop Gun Violence.'”

Cline toes the NRA line on background checks

Congressman Cline joined other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday to oppose a bill to bolster background checks for firearms purchases.

By opposing universal background checks, Cline and other Republicans are defying the vast majority of Americans, including those of their own party and gun owners.

Nonetheless the NRA opposes the background check bill. And Cline– a recipient of NRA campaign contributions as a candidate for House of Delegates and for Congress— was pleased to record a spot for the NRA toeing their line.

Cline opposes expanded law protecting women from violence

Cline, who dutifully supports the NRA’s position on every issue, has in turn been generously supported by the the NRA as a candidate for House of Delegates and for Congress.

See also:

Who’s funding and who’s defunding?

For his latest campaign fundraising gimmick, Congressman Cline has posted this ad on Facebook:

The White House recently reported that states and localities throughout the country have so far dedicated $10 billion from the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress in 2021 to public safety and violence prevention, including billions in funding for law enforcement.

Among them is Frederick County, Virginia, soon to be part of the Sixth Congressional District, which “has invested $20 million for provision of a new radio communications system to support mission-critical public safety communications within the county. The communications system will provide enhanced, two-way wireless communications capabilities to all public safety users.”

The irony of all this: Cline and every other Republican in Congress voted NO on the American Rescue Plan. “AOC and the ‘squad'” and every other Democrat voted YES. That is, Cline voted against Frederick County getting this public safety upgrade. “AOC and the squad” voted for it.

So, Congressman: Who is actually funding the police and who is just paying lip service while denying them funding?

Cline votes NO on baby formula funds

On Wednesday the House of Representatives approved $28 million in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the shortage of infant formula in the United States.

Two hundred and nineteen Democrats and 12 Republicans voted YES. Congressman Cline and 191 other Republicans voted NO.

This bill provides FDA with the resources to strengthen and increase the number of FDA inspection staff, provide resources for personnel working on formula issues, help the agency stop fraudulent baby formula from entering the marketplace, and improve data collection on the infant formula marketplace.

The next time Cline claims to be “pro-life,” is it now permissible to laugh in his face? (That is, if he ever shows his face again at a town hall meeting, which he hasn’t held in person since December.)

Will Cline reject “Replacement Theory”?

We shouldn’t be surprised by Congressman Cline’s utter silence on social media about the horrific murder on Saturday of 10 African Americans in Buffalo by a white nationalist.

For one thing, Cline– who rejects any kind of regulations on firearms– would have to confront the inconvenient fact that the 18-year-old shooter was able to purchase the AR-15-style assault rifle he used to gun down his victims.

For another, he would have to address the shooter’s espousal of the “Great Replacement Theory” propounded by many leading figures on the political Right.

[The theory] has two parts: 1) a belief that non-White immigrants are taking not just White people’s jobs but their communities and culture, and 2) a conspiracy that this is all being orchestrated by the left to replace Republican voters with illegal voters of color.

As I reported last September, Cline’s buddy Congressman Matt Gaetz posted on Twitter that Tucker Carlson of Fox News “is CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America.” (Carlson is a leading proponent of the theory.) I wondered if Cline had returned a $2,000 campaign contribution he received from Gaetz. I’m still wondering.

Despite Carlson’s longtime advocacy of the racist and antisemitic theory, Cline was proud to be featured in one of Carlson’s misleading reports.

Another believer in the theory is Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. In 2019 Cline helped raise funds for Stefanik’s reelection campaign.

I realize that Cline (like most Congressional Republicans) has absolutely no use for the courage, honesty and integrity of his Republican colleague Liz Cheney. But for the sake of his own soul, he should take her words to heart.

And not just leaders, but pathetic mouthpieces like Cline.

I can’t think of a more urgent question for his constituents and the media to ask him.

What say you, Congressman?