Speaking to an audience in Clifton Forge on October 5 for about 20 minutes, Congressman Cline couldn’t restrain himself from a number of dubious and outright false assertions.
Discussing asylum seekers at the southern border who are allowed into the United States and assigned dates for hearings, Cline claimed, “Most of them disappear.”
A study published last year in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review found that “88% of all immigrants in immigration court with completed or pending removal cases over the past eleven years attended all of their court hearings.” The analysis of government data also revealed that 95% of nondetained individuals who filed for asylum or other forms of relief from removal attended all of their court hearings over the same time period from 2008 to 2018, the authors said.
Referring to the fentanyl crisis in alarmist terms, Cline said, “Fentanyl is killing children, literally… I’m not trying to create any kind of uh, uh, uh, just fever, but I am worried about Halloween because the fentanyl is showing up in multi-colors looking like candy. It’s scary stuff.”
Fentanyl is a serious problem. But even Fox News debunked that one:
Dr. Sheila Vakharia, who is the head of the Drug Policy Alliance, said dealers use the colors to “distinguish their product from other products on the street.”
Other experts questioned why dealers would be motivated to target children, arguing that kids lack the financial resources to be consistent customers and that penalties for dealing drugs to children are much more severe.
Joseph Palamar, an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at New York University Langone Medical Center, told Fox News Digital last week that the drugs are also likely too expensive to give away.
“I’ve always found this concern to be exaggerated. I’m sure this does happen sometimes, but it is unlikely. Even if fentanyl pills were only a few dollars each, most people would likely find them too expensive to give to kids on Halloween as a sick joke,” Palamar told Fox News Digital last week.
On the topic of energy, Cline insisted, “The Biden administration is putting a lid on any new [oil] exploration, any new approval of leases [on federal land].”
But while the Biden administration did pause new oil leases on public lands and water in 2022, the oil industry was awash in unused permits.
Combined, the oil and gas industry holds leases to more than 25 million acres of publicly-owned minerals, roughly half of which sit unused. Companies now hold more than 9,000 approved, but unused, drilling permits on national public lands, all of which could be put to use today. Further, oil production on public lands is near all time highs, despite industry claims that the Biden administration has suppressed domestic production.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which Cline and every other Republican in Congress opposed, opens more federal land to oil and gas projects as a tradeoff for solar and wind projects getting access to federal land.
Discussing inflation, Cline said, “I was told by an economist that one of the signs of a recession is when folks switch from hot dog buns to white bread. I was mocked by my opponents for making that point.”
Inflation is certainly a hardship for low-income families. And there may be people who have had to make that switch. But the savings would surely be minimal even for financially-stressed families. And it would be interesting to know the name of the economist who told that to Cline.
I looked for other evidence of people making the switch from hot dog buns to white bread, and the only other reference I found were these tweets from Natalie Allison, a reporter for Politico, who covered a speech at a CPAC conference last summer by JD Vance, Republican candidate for US Senate from Ohio:
Ben Cline was at the same conference. Did he hear Vance’s remarks and mistake him for an economist?