Cline will hold town halls in Amherst County and Buena Vista on March 16

Congressman Cline will hold town hall meetings on Monday March 16 in Amherst County and Buena Vista.

The Amherst County town hall will take place from 8:30 AM – 10 AM at the Amherst-Monroe Ruritan Club, 115 Bruner Road, Monroe, VA. (Register here.)

The Buena Vista town hall will take place from 5 PM – 6:30 PM at American Legion Post 126, 1953 Magnolia Ave., Buena Vista, VA. (Register here.)

Among the questions participants may want to ask is whether– given current circumstances– Cline will support legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick leave so low-wage workers (of whom there are many in the Sixth District) can afford to stay home when they are ill rather than going to work and possibly infecting others.


Cline’s Q4 campaign finance report

During the first nine months of 2019, Congressman Cline’s campaign committee reported raising $302,528.31.

Now the reporting is in for the all of 2019. Cline’s receipts for that year total $390,860.81, which means he collected more than $88,300 between October and December.

Some noteworthy donations to Cline’s 2020 campaign during the fourth quarter:

–Dell Technologies: $2,500

–Amazon: $2,500

–Verizon: $2,500

–Microsoft: $1,000

–WalMart: $1,000

–Raytheon: $1,000

During the same period, Cline paid $21,257.95 to Republican fundraising consultant Laura Kilgore McMenamin of Alexandria.

Two-faced Ben Cline

The Lexington News-Gazette reports on Congressman Cline’s town hall meeting in Lexington on Tuesday:

Congressman Ben Cline began by chronicling his efforts to “reach across the aisle” in Washington, but many residents called into question his sincerity, city divisive rhetoric on past occasions.

When he speaks to largely Democratic audiences, as he did in Lexington, Cline likes to talk about his supposed unhappiness with the partisan divisiveness in Washington and his alleged efforts to achieve bipartisanship in Congress. But Lexingtonians and others in the Sixth District have good reason to question his earnestness.

He proved it once again when he spoke to a reporter after the town hall.

The majority of the audience shared concerns about how much power President Trump has.

The reporter asked: “Is that a question you get asked often of how much power is the president allotted?”

He replied: “No, I think that question was born of frustration at what Democrats see as a lack of balance between the branches of government. This president is winning and it is frustrating for some people on the other side.”

So Cline dismissed the genuine alarm of many people– not just Democrats– about Trump’s increasingly authoritarian style of governing: his willingness to defy and bypass Congress and ignore the courts whenever it suits him, his absurd assertion that Article 2 of the Constitution give him the right to do whatever he wants as president, his politically- and personally-motivated use of his powers of pardon and clemency, his proclamation that he is the law of the land.

Instead, Cline said, the only reason Democrats and others are upset is that Trump is winning and they are losing.

Congressman Cline: If you believe that, your willingness to shrug off Trump’s appalling abuse of power makes you and your fellow sycophants as dangerous to our Republic as he is.

Cline will hold town hall February 18 in Lexington

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday February 18 in Lexington from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Lexington Community Center, 300 Diamond Street.

According to the announcement:

Citizens of Lexington will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Constituents may register for the town hall here.

Perhaps some of our Lexington 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 the union hater

Congressman Cline not only joined almost all other House Republicans to oppose the Protect the Right to Organize Act, he tried to justify his anti-worker vote with a speech on the House floor.

The Washington Post reports:

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, known as the PRO Act, would amend some of the country’s decades-old labor laws to give workers more power during disputes at work, add penalties for companies that retaliate against workers who organize and grant some hundreds of thousands of workers collective-bargaining rights they don’t currently have. It would also weaken “right-to-work” laws in 27 states that allow employees to forgo participating in and paying dues to unions.

Cline is wrong to claim that “right to work” laws protect “the fundamental right to work.” The first thing to know about “right to work” laws is that they do not guarantee anyone the right to work. (“Right to work” is a phrase invented by anti-union interests.) Instead these laws weaken unions by forbidding agreements requiring all workers who benefit from a union contract — including wage increases, health and retirement benefits, paid vacations and a grievance procedure — to pay a share of the cost of union representation. It’s a matter of simple fairness.

Cline went on to assert: “Because of Virginia’s pro-business and pro-employer stance, it has once again been ranked as the number one state in which to do business by CNBC.”

You will notice that Cline didn’t mention anything about Virginia also having a “pro-worker” stance. That’s because it doesn’t. A study last year by Oxfam America ranked Virginia last among the states on protecting workers’ rights, based on wage policies, such as state minimum wages; worker protection policies, such as accessibility to paid time off; and right-to-organize policies, including union protections.

Cline continued: “Every American should have the right to get a job or keep a job or keep a job without having to join a labor union. This bill would inappropriately pre-empt and prohibit that right.”

Wrong. The PRO Act would strengthen the rights of workers to organize a union, but it would not force anyone to join a union. It would simply permit employers and unions to agree to contracts allowing unions to collect fair-share fees covering the costs of collective bargaining and administering the agreement from any workers who don’t want to join.

Cline then complained that the act would require employers to provide unions with contact information of employees before a vote by employees on unionization, claiming this would “enable harassment and intimidation” of workers.

In fact almost all the harassment and intimidation of workers trying to organize is carried out by employers. A study released last month revealed: “Employers were charged with violating federal law in 41.5% of all NLRB-supervised union elections in 2016 and 2017, with at least one [Unfair Labor Practice] charge filed in each case.” This included illegal firings, coercion, threats and intimidation of workers trying to exercise their right to organize. The PRO Act would strengthen the weak-to-nonexistent penalties against employers who engage in such behavior.

Finally, Cline may want to take into account the opinions of his constituents in the Sixth District. In 2016 Virginia voters rejected a Republican effort led by, among others, then-delegate Ben Cline to enshrine Virginia’s anti-union “right to work” law in the Commonwealth’s Constitution. Opposition to the ballot measure came not just from traditionally Democratic urban areas but from rural Republican-leaning parts of the Commonweath. The overwhelming majority of those voting “no” were not union members.

In fact voters in much of the Sixth District — including majorities in Republican-leaning Augusta, Bath, Highland, Page and Rockbridge Counties, as well as Buena Vista and Waynesboro — opposed Cline’s “right to work” amendment in 2016.

It seems most of the people Cline represents in Congress don’t hate unions as much as he and other Republican politicians think they should.

Mitt Romney puts Cline to shame

Following the Senate’s vote to acquit President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress– after hearing no relevant witnesses and receiving no relevant documents– Congressman Cline issued a statement repeating the talking points he has relied on since the impeachment process began.

Unlike a handful of Republicans– who said that Trump acted wrongly in the Ukraine affair but not wrongly enough to warrant removal from office– Cline continues to excuse Trump’s behavior while accusing Democrats of “fueling rancor and division” in the country.

Unfortunately for Cline, his effort to shift the blame to Democrats was undercut by the one Republican in Congress who refused to bend to the fierce pressure on his side to acquit Trump– and who happened to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2012.

Congressman Cline: Before you wrote those tired talking points, I hope you at least took the time to listen to Senator Mitt Romney explain his vote of conscience– a concept you may be unfamiliar with. Romney had nothing to gain politically from his vote and a lot to lose. Listen and learn what it means to put country above party. I hope you will feel some shame.


Cline shrugs off Trump’s insults to combat vets

At a town hall meeting last week in Lynchburg, Congressman Cline repeated his usual talking points: opposing impeachment of President Trump,  denying a woman’s right to choose abortion under any circumstances, rejecting any law restricting anyone from owning and carrying any kind of gun.

But this account from The Lynchburg News and Advance caught my attention:

Ken Smith, a local Army veteran, took issue with some of Trump’s negative comments directed toward the late Sen. John McCain, as well as other remarks aimed at top military leaders.

Smith said he also feels some of Trump’s comments are demoralizing and won’t lead to a better America. “One of the views that I would like you to take back to Washington is we need better leadership, and to support anybody who has this attitude to our military personnel is personally an affront, I think, to all veterans,” Smith said.

Cline said he thinks Trump through his legislative agenda and policies has demonstrated clear support of servicemen and women. “Some of his rhetoric is that of a New York businessman,” Cline said in response to remarks Smith pointed to. “I am neither a New Yorker nor a businessman.”

There are reasons to question the Trump administration’s support for servicemen and women and their families as well as for veterans.

But what is Cline saying here? That routinely insulting war heroes and other combat veterans is the sort of thing one expects from a New York businessman? And hey, what’re you gonna do?

Surely even a New York businessman should be smart and informed enough not to say things like this:


Will Cline summon whatever small courage it takes to join the VFW in demanding an apology?

Cline’s irresponsible tweet

As Congressman Cline surely knows, none of the bills introduced in the Virginia General Assembly would require the confiscation of anyone’s guns. But here he is enabling Donald Trump’s scaremongering shortly before what is sure to be a tense day in Richmond on Monday.


A more responsible statement came from House of Delegates Republican leader Todd Gilbert.


Cline could have said something like that. But he seems only interested in pandering to what he imagines is his base.

Cline will hold town halls in Lynchburg and Roanoke on January 23

Congressman Cline’s next town hall meetings have been announced.

The Lynchburg town hall is scheduled for Thursday January 23 from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at American Legion Post 16, 1301 Greenview Drive, Lynchburg. (Register here.)

The Roanoke town hall is scheduled for Thursday January 23 from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at VFW Post 1264, 4930 Grandview Avenue NW, Roanoke. (Register here.)

Perhaps some of our Lynchburg and Roanoke 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 opposes bill protecting older workers from discrimination

Nearly 40 percent of the people in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District are 50 years or older. So Congressman Cline should be especially sensitive to the problems faced by older workers.

He’s not. Cline joined most other House Republicans to vote against the bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.

This bill amends the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to establish an unlawful employment practice when the complaining party demonstrates that age or participation in investigations, proceedings, or litigation under such Act was a motivating factor for any unlawful employment practice, even though other factors also motivated the practice (thereby allowing what are commonly known as “mixed motive” claims).

The bill (1) permits a complaining party to rely on any type or form of admissible evidence, which need only be sufficient for a reasonable trier of fact to find that an unlawful practice occurred; and (2) declares that a complaining party shall not be required to demonstrate that age or retaliation was the sole cause of the employment practice (thereby rejecting the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., which requires a complainant to prove that age was the “but-for” cause for the employer’s decision).

The bill passed with the votes of 227 Democrats and 34 Republicans. Cline and 153 other Republicans voted no.

One of the leading Republican supporters of the bill is Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York. As you may recall, Cline sent out a fundraising appeal for her reelection campaign following her outspoken support for President Trump during House hearings on impeachment.

So Cline helped Stefanik when she joined him in defending a corrupt Republican president engaged in abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but couldn’t bring himself to join her on a simple matter of workplace justice for older Americans.