And he’s proud of it

Here’s what Congressman Cline and 216 other House Republicans voted FOR when they voted YES on the GOP’s plan to force spending cuts of about $4.8 trillion in exchange for avoiding a default on the federal debt.

Shutting down at least two air traffic control towers in Virginia.

Jeopardizing outpatient medical care for 162,300 Virginia veterans.

Throwing up to 175,000 Virginians off food stamps and ending food assistance for another 25,000 through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Cutting or ending Pell Grants for 162,900 Virginia college students.

Eliminating Head Start for 3,600 Virginia children and child care for another 1,300 children.

Adding at least two months to wait times for Virginia seniors seeking assistance with Social Security and Medicare.

Denying opioid treatment for more than 600 Virginians.

Ending 180 days of rail inspections per year and 1,350 fewer miles of track inspected.

Kicking 13,400 Virginia families off rental assistance.

Unlike his Republican colleague Jen Kiggans from southeast Virginia, he doesn’t have the decency to feel queasy about what he did.

He’s proud of it.

Cline schedules constituent meeting in Augusta County

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Tuesday May 2 at 8:30 a.m. in Augusta County at Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant & Catering, 74 Rowe Road, Staunton. Register here.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Augusta County 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 joins GOP’s farcical stunt

Could it be any more obvious that Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee’s farcical hearing in New York City, purportedly investigating crime in Manhattan, was a stunt to retaliate against District Attorney Alvin Bragg for daring to bring charges against Donald Trump?

Congressman Cline, a member of the committee, was pleased to play along.

But as Democratic committee member Adam Schiff said:

[The Republicans] would have you believe it is mere coincidence that all of a sudden, and out of the blue, the chairman decided that the state of New York is a wonderful place to do a hearing. Not the chairman’s home state of Ohio, with its high rates of murder. But New York State. And of all the cities in New York, they would pick New York City. and of all the Boroughs in New York, they pick Manhattan. Apparently, Manhattan is just lovely this time of year.

What a remarkable coincidence — we are meant to believe. Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, we just happened to walk into this one.

Can we assume that the next hearing will be held in Chairman Jim Jordan’s district in Ohio?

Praise for Ben Cline

As the author of Cline Watch, I’ve been accused of being excessively negative about Congressman Cline.

Although I strive to be as factual as I can, I’ll admit to a fundamentally different political and ideological viewpoint from Cline’s.

However I do want to single him out for some rare approval.

The Roanoke Times reports:

Internet expansion continues to interconnect Botetourt County like never before, officials said Tuesday.

A combination of $5 million and counting in state grant money, and millions more in federal coronavirus relief funds, have enabled the county, and other localities in the region, to broaden availability of broadband internet access to thousands more homes.

Local, state, federal and business officials gathered at the Botetourt Center at Greenfield in Daleville on Tuesday to discuss those and future internet expansion efforts. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said broadband is essential to helping communities succeed.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner was there for the occasion.

Congressman Cline was absent. That’s why I want to praise him.

Like every other Republican in Congress, Cline voted NO in 2021 on the American Rescue Plan Act, which has helped fund broadband expansion in Botetourt County (part of Cline’s district) and elsewhere in Virginia and the rest of the country. (Senators Warner and Kaine and all of Virginia’s Democratic House members voted YES.)

So unlike some of his Republican colleagues, Cline is not brazenly taking credit for the positive results of a federal program he opposed. At least not yet.

Well done, Congressman!

I think we know the answer

Congressman Cline was full of praise for Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s meeting with Taiwan’s president last week.

But last year, when Democratic then-speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan despite threats from China, Cline said:

“I am concerned that she created an international incident with what is essentially a farewell tour. [Republicans] will continue to stand strong for Taiwan. But we will do it in a way that doesn’t inflame tensions, and actually addresses the challenges facing that part of the world.”

Congressman Cline: Why did you have such different reactions to McCarthy’s meeting and Pelosi’s visit?

Cline schedules constituent meeting in Buena Vista

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Wednesday April 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Buena Vista at Todd’s Barbecue Restaurant, 1176 Magnolia Avenue. Register here.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Buena Vista 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’s dangerous “demand”

In order to block what he calls the Department of Defense’s “pro-abortion agenda,” Congressman Cline is prepared to play politics with the military preparedness of the United States.

(As a commenter on this Facebook post pointed out, “respectfully request that you give consideration” is not the same as “demanded.” Even when he tries to sound tough, Cline undercuts himself.)

Cline is obviously inspired by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. The New York Times reports that Tuberville “has single-handedly held up promotions for the military’s senior commanders at least through mid-April as he attempts to pressure the Pentagon to change a new abortion policy created to ensure access to abortions for service members after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

According to The Times:

Mr. Tuberville, a right-wing freshman, began blocking the promotions of generals and admirals across the services in mid-February, after the Pentagon announced it would give U.S. service members up to 21 days of leave for abortions or fertility treatments and reimburse travel and transportation costs incurred while obtaining such treatments.

The Pentagon created the policy in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last year, which overturned the precedent that enshrined abortion rights nationwide and gave rise to a national patchwork of laws. That left Americans including military personnel — who are housed at bases throughout the country, sometimes with little control over where — with unequal access to abortion.

Under the new policy, a service member living in a state where abortions are banned or severely restricted would have time off and reimbursement to travel to a place where the procedure is legal and accessible.

The military’s health care plan covers abortions in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother, but under the new policy, service members would be able to request travel reimbursement for any reproductive health procedure, including those not covered under the official plan.

Apparently it’s of little concern to Tuberville and Cline that the senior ranks of the military could be dangerously depleted due to their efforts to force service members to give birth against their will.

“It may not be his intent, but [Tuberville] is effectively accomplishing what our adversaries could only dream of: denying our military of its leadership and degrading our ability to fight and win the nation’s wars,” Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and the Armed Services Committee chairman, said during a floor speech this week. He accused Mr. Tuberville of a “profound assault on the professionalism of the men and women of the armed services.”

“Military promotions are not a political matter and they are not toys for political gains,” Mr. Reed added.

He noted that Mr. Tuberville’s blockade could affect not just the 150 to 200 pending nominations for generals and admirals, but potentially 650 more that are expected over the next eight months — including a replacement for the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“If this policy continues or this practice continues, we are wiping out the leadership of the Department of Defense,” Mr. Reed said.

Neither Cline nor Tuberville has served in the military. So they might want to pay attention to what Reed, a West Point graduate, has to say, based on his background.

He served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer.  He eventually joined the faculty at West Point, teaching cadets about economics and international relations as an Associate Professor within the Department of Social Sciences.  He served as a professor at the U.S. Military Academy until August of 1979 when he resigned from active duty as a Captain.  He continued serving in the U.S. Army Reserves until June of 1991, when he left the Reserves with the rank of Major.  Over the course of his military career, he earned the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Expert Infantry Badge.