Cline schedules constituent meeting in Roanoke City

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Friday March 3 at 8 a.m. in Roanoke City at Golden Corral Buffet & Grill, 1441 Towne Square Boulevard Northwest. Register here.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Roanoke City will be given priority regarding comments during Coffee with Your Congressman. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

Cline schedules town hall in Frederick County

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Monday February 20 at 5 p.m. in Frederick County at West Oaks Farm Market, 4305 Middle Road, Winchester. Register here.

.According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Frederick County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

“Bulldog” Cline takes a walk on the dark side with Steve Bannon

Congressman Cline sank to new depths last week when he appeared as a guest on “War Room,” the podcast of self-styled Leninist (“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too.”) Steve Bannon. (Bannon’s interview with Cline starts at 26:57.)

Bannon, former chief strategist for then-President Trump, was indicted in 2020 for collecting donations to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall and using some of the money to enrich himself. Trump pardoned him on his last day in office.

Bannon opens his podcast by ominously proclaiming: “Pray for our enemies. ‘Cause we’re going to go medieval on these people.”

I can’t help noticing that Bannon favors the word “enemies” rather than “opponents.” I’m not sure who Bannon’s enemies are, but I suspect they include me and tens of millions of other Americans. And “go medieval” doesn’t exactly suggest inviting people for a civil discussion of differences.

If Ben “Mr. Bipartisanship” Cline had any qualms about this, he didn’t raise them.

Bannon began the interview by claiming that President Biden’s assertion that some Republicans want to cut Social Security is a “bald-faced lie.” (It’s not.)

Cline replied: “We have to put out a balanced budget that preserves and protects Social Security and Medicare and does not go after those essential programs.”

Bannon then asked: “What are your constituents telling you after they heard the State of the Union?”

Cline said: “They’re furious and so am I.”

(Earlier this month Cline said we were furious that DirecTV was no longer streaming the rightwing Newsmax channel because of a dispute over carriage fees. Does he think we live in a permanent state of fury?)

He continued: “[Biden] baits us by saying, ‘Oh you all want to cut Social Security and Medicare.’ Well, of course we’re going to object in the middle of his speech…When somebody lies to your face, you’re gonna tell them they’re lying to their face. And that’s what we did during the State of the Union.”

If Biden was baiting Cline and his fellow Republicans, he succeeded quite well. He got them to agree that there would be no cuts to Social Security or Medicare. And Cline is the one who is lying about wanting to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare. He is a member of the Republican Study Committee, which wants to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits for tens of millions of aging and retiring Americans.

Just this week, Cline told a meeting of constituents in Winchester that he thinks Social Security should be “means tested.” He said that “millionaires shouldn’t be getting Social Security.” Does that mean people who pay into Social Security all their working lives aren’t necessarily entitled to it? And how does Cline propose to determine who is a millionaire and who isn’t?

Bannon then switched the subject to Cline’s role on the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Cline’s friend Jim Jordan, who is purporting to investigate the Biden administration’s “weaponization” of the Department of Justice and the intelligence agencies.

Cline explained: “When the DoJ and when our intelligence agencies don’t respond, that’s when they bring me in. I’m the chair of this little rump subcommittee called ‘Responsiveness and Accountability Oversight.’ And so they want me to haul these people up to the Hill, read them the riot act and try and convince them that cooperating with the Judiciary Committee is better than the alternative, which is being held in contempt… [Jordan] needs a bulldog at the subcommittee level to make their lives hell, quite frankly. And so he’s tasked me with that responsibility.”

I can’t wait to see how that plays out. But on the matter of non-cooperation with House committees: In October 2022, Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison and a $6,500 fine after he was convicted for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He is free pending appeal.

Mysteriously, that topic never came up during the interview.

Cline schedules town hall in Salem

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Thursday February 16 at 12 noon in Salem at Lydia’s Italian Kitchen, 1713 Riverview Drive.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Salem will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

Register here.

Cline schedules town halls in Alleghany County and Winchester

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Monday February 13 at 5:30 Alleghany County at Family Tree T’s Cafe 100 Old Church Street, Low Moor (register here); and on Wednesday February 15 at 12 noon in Winchester at Piccadilly’s Public House & Restaurant 125 East Piccadilly Street (register here).

There is no shortage of possible questions for the congressman.

Are you furious?

Congressman Cline, a regular guest on the rightwing Newsmax channel, thinks those of us who live in his Congressional district are “furious” that they can’t watch it on DirecTV anymore.

He said so during an interview on, um, Newsmax:

“My constituents are furious because they rely on Newsmax for information that cuts through all the woke rhetoric to actually provide people in the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys with facts and not a spin in a liberal direction. So, they’re so upset at losing [Newsmax], they’ve been calling my office.”

Despite the best efforts of Cline and others to turn this into a case of liberal censorship of conservative viewpoints, DirecTV’s decision to drop Newsmax was an economic one, a function of the free market that Cline purports to revere.

In a statement, DirecTV said it wanted to “continue to offer the network,” but the channel’s demands for carriage fee increases would have led to “significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base.”

Newsmax wanted more money from DirecTV, and DirecTV didn’t want to pay it. So they dropped it. Capitalism in action.

While I have no doubt that some people in the Sixth District are angry, and have contacted Cline’s office, I would be curious to know exactly how many– compared, say, to the number who have contacted him to support reproductive rights or gun violence prevention measures, or to denounce his votes to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, or to urge him to protect Social Security and Medicare from cuts…

Strangely he has never discussed these contacts.

My guess is that only a very small percentage of Cline’s constituents are devoted, furious viewers of Newsmax. But of course those are the ones to whom he thinks he needs to pay attention.

Cline’s hypocritical letter to Biden

In his new role as chair of the Republican Study Committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force, Congressman Cline signed a letter to President Biden with other House Republicans faulting the president for missing budget deadlines and failing to submit a balanced budget.

They wrote:

The American people have spoken and made it abundantly clear that the United States must no longer be governed in a state of crisis or brinkmanship. They expect their duly elected leaders to take the initiative to ensure that the vital functions of government are managed responsibly and in a timely manner.

The urgency of our Nation’s fiscal crisis is unprecedented. It is imperative that we move quickly to address skyrocketing inflation, a crippling $31.5 trillion in national debt, and the impending insolvency of our Nation’s major trust funds.

With the induction of a new Congress, Democrats and Republicans must seize this opportunity to fix our Nation’s unsustainable financial trajectory. That process must begin with your submission of a balanced Presidential Budget to Congress.

What makes this letter laughable is the following:

• As president, Donald Trump missed deadlines for submitting a budget in two of his four years as president. Cline and his fellow Republicans were silent.

• Trump never once submitted a budget that was even close to balanced. Trump’s administration incurred nearly 25 percent of the current national debt. Cline and his fellow Republicans were silent.

• Instead of considering ways to protect the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, Cline and his RSC cohorts propose cutting benefits to seniors who depend on them.

Cline’s balloon blather

Not only did Congressman Cline display his ignorance by faulting the Biden administration for failing to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon while it was over Montana, and the debris could have injured or killed people or destroyed property on the ground, but he somehow connected it to classified documents found in Biden’s garage and to Hunter Biden’s laptop.