Questions that Cline needs to answer. Now.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin writes:

Republicans — any member of Congress and any Cabinet member — must be asked in any media or congressional appearance whether the “threat of withholding congressionally authorized funds to — in the Post’s words — ‘extort’ a foreign leader into investigating a domestic political opponent and his family” is impeachable. No hedging, no filibustering. The American people have a right to know if Republicans actually think this is acceptable. They should also be asked if the president has the power to prevent a whistleblower’s complaint from reaching Congress in contravention of the whistleblower statute. Until a firm answer to those two questions is obtained, the questioner should keep at it for as long as it takes to get an answer.

This, of course, applies to Congressman Cline. I hope our local media will take this seriously, and will put these questions to him at every opportunity.

Cline’s willingness to defend (or ignore) the indefensible when it comes to President Trump is well-documented here and elsewhere. But Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election in his behalf, and the refusal to let Congress know the details, crosses all kinds of lines. If that pressure came with a quid pro quo (explicit or implied), it would be even worse.

For the president to use congressionally appropriated military aid as leverage to pressure another government to investigate one of his potential opponents in the 2020 election is a blatant misuse of power. If Mr. Trump promised aid in exchange for an investigation, it would represent direct collusion with a foreign government to help his reelection campaign. If the White House is now attempting to block investigation by Congress of that act by illegally withholding the whistleblower’s complaint, that would be another major offense.

Congressman Cline: Do you agree with Trump that “it doesn’t matter what I discussed” with Ukraine’s president? Even a highly partisan Republican like you must recognize the dangers that Trump’s actions pose to our democratic and Constitutional system of government.

He gets away with it only because you and your fellow Republicans are afraid to break your shameful silence.

Say something. Do something.

 

Cline again rejects gun safety laws

The day after the May 31 Virginia Beach massacre, Congressman Cline told a meeting of Republicans in Harrisonburg that when he entered Congress this year, he urged Republican leaders to appoint him to the Judiciary Committee and “task me with defeating gun control bills.”

They did, and he is doing his part.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee committee advanced three gun safety bills on Tuesday over unified Republican opposition.

The committee voted along partisan lines to approve “red flag” legislation that seeks to limit access to firearms for those deemed a risk to themselves or others. The committee also voted to advance legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines and another measure to prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing firearms.

Republican Rep. Ben Cline of Botetourt County, the lone Virginia lawmaker on the committee, voted against all three bills.

All three measures are likely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but are certain to face a steeper climb in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republican lawmakers have blocked efforts to enact tougher gun laws in recent years.

Cline will hold town hall September 9 in Page County

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Monday September 9 in Page County at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 621, 218 Veterans Lane, Luray, VA. The meeting is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., an inconvenient time for many working people.

According to the announcement:

Constituents planning to attend should register on Eventbright. Citizens of Page County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Perhaps some of our Page County readers can take the opportunity to ask Cline about some of the things he has said and done, as chronicled here and elsewhere, since he was sworn in as our representative in Washington.

Cline stands with Trump on damaging tariffs

Despite growing and widespread anger among American farmers at President Trump’s erratic and misguided trade and tariff policies, Congressman Cline says farmers believe Trump is on the right path.

“The farmers who I talk to want to give him a chance to get a better deal with China,” Cline told radio station WFIR last week.

Really, Congressman? How many farmers have you talked to about the tariffs? Do all of them share this view?

Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin is skeptical.

You know the setup — a sturdy farmer suffering from Trump-imposed tariffs grits his teeth and says he’s hurting but, by josh, he’s not parting with Trump whom he trusts to do the right thing. We are to conclude that Trump possesses magical political power, that farmers are too dumb to know what’s good for them or both.

Well, it turns out Trump has no magic, and farmers know exactly what the president is doing to them. MSNBC on Monday interviewed Bob Kuylen, vice president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, who explained that his wheat farm, which depends on overseas markets, has lost $400,000 because of the administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and subsequent trade wars. During another interview, Christopher Gibbs, a soybean and corn farmer in Ohio, ridiculed Trump’s farm bailouts — which he called “hush money” intended to “sedate” farmers — and made clear that taxpayers are paying for this, not China. He, too, is losing money.

Last month Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner expressed concerns about how Trump’s trade war with China is affecting farmers and others in Viriginia.

“What creates recessions? Uncertainty, trade wars can create recessions,” Sen. Kaine said.

The two spoke before the business community at a Hampton Roads Chamber event. Both agree China is a problem, but think the U.S. needs to work with other countries in addressing them.

“This president tends to do everything on his own and that means the trade war with China is dramatically hurting, for example, Virginia farmers,” said Warner.

Despite massive evidence to the contrary, Cline assures us that Trump understands all the complexities involved in the trade war and knows exactly what he is doing:

I think we’re in a constant state of change and modification so that the President is on top of where all the different markets are, what’s going on with our relationship with China, what’s going on with their relationship with other countries, whether it’s Japan or South Korea or North Korea, making sure that America comes first, that American farmers come first, that American consumers come first.

Jennifer Rubin has an apt observation:

Republican red-state congressmen and senators are so busy fawning and kowtowing to Trump, excusing his ignorance and craziness, and straining to avoid mean tweets that they have, along with Trump himself, failed some of the most reliable Republican voters in the country.

Cline will hold town hall September 6 in Rockbridge County

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Friday September 6 in Rockbridge County at Shenandoah Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1499, 105 Memorial Lane (just off East Midland Trail between Lexington and Buena Vista). The meeting is scheduled for 4:30 to 6 p.m.

According to the announcement:

Constituents planning to attend should register on Eventbright. Citizens of Rockbridge County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Perhaps some of our Rockbridge County readers can take the opportunity to ask Cline about some of the things he has said and done, as chronicled here and elsewhere, since he was sworn in as our representative in Washington.

Cline visits the border

In his latest newsletter to constituents, Congressmen Cline wrote about visiting the southern border with other Republican congressmen and touring a detention facility for migrants in McAllen, Texas.

While there, I was pleased to see that conditions at the Customs and Border Patrol detention and processing centers are much different than those portrayed by some of my Democratic colleagues. Families are kept together, and migrants are provided with immediate medical care, evaluated for sickness and disease, provided with hot showers, clothing, shoes, blankets, and meals. I saw children with crackers, granola bars, juice boxes, and amenities like cartoons, books, and soccer balls. The conditions in the holding facilities are not the picture some of my colleagues and the mainstream media want you to believe.

Congressman Cline: Just because you didn’t see or hear what other members of Congress reported doesn’t mean they were wrong.

And did you have a chance to talk to any detainees outside the presence of Customs and Border Protection officials? Did you even try?

After El Paso and Dayton, Cline is still in the NRA’s pocket

In his latest newsletter to his Sixth District constituents, Congressman Cline wrote about the terrible mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. He called the El Paso massacre “terrorism” but seems to have backed down from labeling it #WhiteSupremacistTerrorism, as he did on Facebook in the immediate aftermath. I hope that had nothing to do with the commenters on Facebook who objected to that term.

Cline claimed he has “worked with my colleagues to offer realistic solutions to address the issue of violence in America.” But none of those “solutions” would seriously address the issue of access to firearms.

Even President Trump has spoken vaguely about supporting expanded background checks for purchasing guns and “red flag” laws. But Cline is still unwilling to challenge the NRA’s position on anything.

In February he was pleased to record an ad for the NRA’s position opposing any restrictions on firearms purchase or ownership:

In June, the day after the Virginia Beach massacre, he told a Republican meeting that when he entered Congress this year, he urged Republican leaders to appoint him to the Judiciary Committee and “task me with defeating gun control bills.”

Which they did.