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?

Why isn’t Cline celebrating?

You might think that as an opponent of abortion rights under any circumstances (including rape, incest or protecting the health of the mother), Congressman Cline would be celebrating the news that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, thus enabling states to once again criminalize abortion.

But as with most self-described “pro-life” (in reality pro-forced birth) members of Congress, that appears not to be the case.

Instead he joined other Republicans to mainly complain about the fact that the news was leaked.

Perhaps Cline has noticed that his extreme position is rejected by the vast majority of Americans– even those who favor some restrictions on abortion.

And now that the end of Roe is in sight, with all that implies, maybe he doesn’t want to call attention to it– especially in an election year.

According to a Washington Post article:

Republican lawmakers are facing renewed internal pressure to support child benefit programs for parents after a leaked opinion on Monday showed the Supreme Court is prepared to strike down federal abortion protections.

Does anyone expect Ben Cline to start supporting laws that help children and families after birth?

You and everyone else, Congressman

In recent days Congressman Cline has taken deserved heat for his anti-NATO votes in 2019 and again last week. The latest vote was particularly ill-timed at a moment when NATO is largely united in standing up to brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine.

That may explain why Cline is so anxious to point out in his latest campaign fundraising letter that he was one of “several” members of the House of Representatives who have been officially sanctioned by Russia.

What Cline didn’t mention is that the “several” were in fact 398— ranging from Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Republicans like Marjorie Talyor Greene.

Even North Carolina Republican Madison Cawthorn— who has called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and the Ukrainian government “incredibly evil”– is on the sanctions list.

In fact the only reason some House members (such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi) are missing from the list is that Russia had previously sanctioned them.

The sanctions are in apparent retaliation for the US government sanctioning more than 300 members of the Russian Duma in March.

So, much as Cline might want us to believe that Vladimir Putin regards him as a particular threat to Russian interests, that appears not to be the case.

UPDATE: More on why all this rings a little hollow.

Cline votes with insurers who deny treatment for birth defects

On April 4 the House of Representatives approved the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act.

According to the American Dental Association:

The legislation requires that all private group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services resulting from a congenital anomaly or birth defect.

…[T]he ADA noted that one out of every 33 children in the U.S. is born with a congenital anomaly — including severe oral and facial defects — that can interfere with the ability to breathe, speak and/or eat in a normal manner.

“For many children, specialized surgery is needed, and the procedures are reconstructive, since they are performed to correct abnormal structures,” the [ADA] said. “However, despite the reconstructive nature and necessity of such procedures, many insurance companies consider these services to be merely cosmetic. While they may provide coverage for the preliminary surgeries, insurers will delay or deny follow-up or corrective procedures, including necessary dental treatment, which can have a negative impact on a child’s developmental milestones.”

The Association hopes that the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act will make sure that “all children have coverage for treatment of these anomalies,” the [ADA] concluded.

Did Congressman Cline side with the insurance companies or the children?

Do you need to ask?

Cline and 109 other House Republicans voted NO.

Cline versus NATO (continued)

One of Ben Cline’s first votes in Congress was against a bill to block then-president Trump from withdrawing the United States from the NATO alliance, as Trump had suggested doing. Cline was one of only 22 members of the House– all Republicans– to vote NO.

Perhaps Cline’s vote was a pathetic effort to prove his loyalty to Trump; he offered no explanation. But what are we to make of his vote on Tuesday against a resolution expressing “unequivocal support” for the NATO as an alliance founded on democratic principles? (The resolution was approved by all of the Democrats and 143 of the 206 Republicans who voted.)

At a moment when NATO is largely united in opposing Russia’s brutal and murderous invasion of democratic Ukraine, why would Cline vote NO on a resolution affirming that stand?

Cline votes NO on insulin price cap

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to cap monthly insulin costs at $35 for millions of diabetic Americans.

Lawmakers approved the measure in a 232-193 vote, with just a dozen Republicans joining Democrats in support. It now heads to the Senate.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would take effect in 2023, would limit cost-sharing under private health insurance for a month’s supply of certain insulin products at $35, or 25 percent of a plan’s negotiated price, whichever is less.

…..

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes.

Needless to say, Congressman Cline was not one of the 12 Republicans supporting the legislation.

For all of Cline’s professed concern about the “ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs” and rising prices in general, he was unwilling to help millions of the people who bear the brunt of those high costs.

Cline voted NO on bill to provide service dogs to vets

It’s nice that Congressman Cline welcomed veterans and their service dogs to the Capitol last week.

It’s not so nice that he voted NO on the PAWS Act— one of several bills in a package supported by all House Democrats and most House Republicans– which helps make service dogs available to veterans suffering from PTSD. I hope he didn’t have the nerve to take credit for it.

This is one of the votes that earned Cline a 0% score on animal-related issues from the Humane Society Legislative Fund.