Cline prepares to chase wild geese

Following his reappointment (after a two-year gap) to the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Cline posted on Facebook:

In fact there’s a lot more evidence that Cline’s “friend” Congressman Jordan (now the committee chair) ignored reports of sexual abuse of wrestlers at the Ohio State University than there is that the Biden administration is “weaponizing” the federal government. But I don’t suppose Cline and other House Republicans will be pursuing that.

Now Cline is pretending to be outraged at the discovery of some classified documents in Biden’s possession from when he was vice president and a senator.

I say “pretending” because Cline expressed absolutely no outrage about the discovery of classified and secret documents at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence following an FBI raid last year. In fact the only outrage he did express was that the FBI executed a legal search warrant approved by a federal judge based on evidence of possible criminality.

By contrast, Biden voluntarily allowed a search of his property.

And we have yet to hear from Cline about the discovery of classified documents at the home of Republican former vice president Mike Pence.

Congressman Cline: Do you also have “some questions” for Trump and Pence?

With all the time and effort that Cline will devote to chasing wild geese, I hope he’ll have some time to devote to the real needs of his constituents.

Cline’s committee takes aim at Social Security and Medicare

Congressman Cline seems awfully proud to be selected to chair the Republican Study Committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force.

What Cline doesn’t mention is that the RSC wants to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits for tens of millions of aging and retiring Americans.

Under a plan developed by the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservatives in the House, senior citizens would face a five-year delay to claim Medicare, the government health care program for seniors that currently allows people to access the program when they turn 65. And the retirement age for Social Security would also increase to 70, compared with today’s full retirement age of between 66 and 67 years old.

The reason for the push? The “miracle” of longer life expectancies, according to the Republican Study Committee’s documents. But while Americans are living longer than in earlier generations, the average age of retirement is 61 — or 5 years earlier than workers say they had expected to step back from the workforce, according to Gallup. In other words, people may believe they’ll work longer, but on average, Americans are stepping back five to six years before they even reach Social Security’s current full retirement age.

Because of this, boosting the age to claim benefits would likely increase hardship and poverty for older Americans, especially for low-income, rural Americans and those who have to stop working due to health issues or to take care of family members, experts say. 

Older? Low-income? Rural? That’s a big part of the population of the part of Virginia that Cline purports to represent.

That means either missing three years of benefits compared with current retirees, or opting to claim benefits earlier — which Social Security allows retirees to do — in exchange for a permanent reduction in benefits. Generally, retiring three years earlier than the full retirement age equates to a 20% decline in monthly benefits, according to the Social Security Administration.

“That means that for even those people who work to age 70, you never catch up with the cut in benefits,” said Nancy Altman, the president of Social Security Works, an advocacy group for the benefit program.

She added, “It particularly hurts those in low-income, physically demanding jobs” who are more likely to stop working earlier due to health issues.

Postponing eligibility for Medicare “would leave most older Americans age 65 -70 significantly underinsured and threatens their finances and their health,” said Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst, at The Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group for older Americans. 

While Cline claims to worry about the long-term fiscal stability of Social Security, and whether it will be available for his daughters, his only solution is to make it harder for older Americans to achieve financial security in their later years.

Would he support legislation to protect Social Security by lifting the cap on taxes for the highest-income Americans and requiring them to pay more to protect a program that’s essential for the well-being of lower-income Americans?

I think we know the answer to that.

Cline wants to have it both ways

During the four-day Passion of the GOP in the House of Representatives this week, Congressman Cline received sharp criticism on social media from some of his hard-right constituents for voting 15 times to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that he is trying to reconcile two irreconcilable things: His repeated support for McCarthy and his congratulations for the handful of House Republicans who just as repeatedly refused to do so.

Hint: It wasn’t Ben Cline

Only one Republican member of Congress turned out for a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol marking the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection. That Republican was not Congressman Cline.

Gathering on the House steps with the families of officers who lost their lives in connection with the riot, lawmakers honored the fallen officers as well as those injured in the lengthy battle with those who stormed the Capitol.

And again, no acknowledgement from Cline about what happened two years ago Friday.

Here’s a reminder of what we know Cline was up to before, during and after the assault.