Cline votes against Uyghurs

Prisoners in a Chinese “reeducation” camp for Uyghurs

Congressman Cline has said he wants to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its many human rights abuses.

So it was surprising to learn that he was one of only seventeen House Republicans to vote NO on the Uyghur Policy Act (HR 4785) last week. (The bill, sponsored by Republican Young Kim of California, passed 407-17.)

According to the Council on Foreign Relations:

The Chinese government has reportedly arbitrarily detained more than a million Muslims in reeducation camps since 2017. Most of the people who have been detained are Uyghur, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group primarily in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang. Beyond the detentions, Uyghurs in the region have been subjected to intense surveillance, forced labor, and involuntary sterilizations, among other rights abuses. 

The United States and several other foreign governments have described China’s actions in Xinjiang as genocide, while the UN human rights office said that the violations could constitute crimes against humanity.

A summary of the Uyghur Policy Act states:

The bill authorizes the establishment of a Special Coordinator for Uyghur Issues position within the Department of State.

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs may, subject to appropriations, make certain funds available to human rights advocates working on behalf of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups persecuted in China. The funds, if made available, shall be used to facilitate the presence of such human rights advocates at public diplomacy forums to speak on issues related to the human rights and religious freedoms of minority groups persecuted in China.

The State Department must ensure that Uyghur language training is available to Foreign Service officers. It must also ensure that a Uyghur-speaking member of the Foreign Service is assigned to U.S. diplomatic and consular missions in China.

Would Cline have voted the same way if the Uyghurs were predominantly Christian? I’m sure he would be pleased to explain his objections to this bill to anyone who asks.

Cline votes against firefighters

Last week the House of Representatives voted 400 to 22 to pass the Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances Act (S 231) and send it to President Biden for his signature.

Congressman Cline was one of the 22 Republicans who voted NO.

The bill directs the Department of Homeland Security to offer guidance to firefighters about the best ways to reduce exposure to the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS widely used in their tools and equipment.

According to the Environmental Working Group:

Firefighters are exposed through their use of firefighting foam containing PFAS, called aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF. Foam manufacturers knew of the potential health harms for years, yet kept them secret. Firefighters’ protective gear is also made with PFAS textile materials and treated with additional PFAS for water resistance, posing further risks to firefighters who wear it.

…..

Studies show firefighters have higher levels of PFAS in their blood than the average American. PFAS are linked to various health harms, including some kinds of cancerreproductive harms and reduced effectiveness of vaccines.

Viable alternatives to AFFF are already on the market. Many meet rigorous international standards and are used around the world. As of April 2019, 90 fluorine-free foams were available from 22 manufacturers.

Congressman: From now on, please spare us your pious tributes to first responders. Your vote tells us all we need to know about your lack of concern for them.

Cline votes against pregnant women (again)

Last Thursday Congressman Cline– who claims to care deeply about the “unborn”– had two opportunities to vote in the House of Representatives to help pregnant women.

He chose not to.

Cline was one of 90 Republicans to vote NO on the Pregnant Women in Custody Act (HR 6878) to establish standards for medical care and nutrition for women in custody. The bill passed 324-90.

The Pregnant Women in Custody Act, authored by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), is designed to address health disparities that impact incarcerated women who are pregnant or in postpartum recovery. It guarantees minimum levels of health care and nutrition for the pregnant inmate and her newborn children, limits the use of restraints and solitary confinement, and offers incentives to states to adopt similar protections.

Then Cline was one of only 44 Republicans to vote NO on the Doula for the VA Act (HR 2521) to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on the feasibility and advisability of furnishing doula services for veterans. (A doula helps women during and after childbirth.). The bill passed 376-44.

You may recall that Cline was a NO voter last year on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, requiring private-sector employers with 15 or more workers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees.

It seems the “pro-life” congressman can’t bring himself to act on behalf of pregnant women and help them deliver healthy babies.

Now will you denounce him, Congressman? (A continuing series)

Congressman Cline likes to talk about how devoted he is to the United States Constitution. He considers it a point of pride to carry a copy of the Constitution in his pocket wherever he goes.

So surely Cline– who called Trump “our great president” six months after his term ended, who boasted about his endorsement from Trump in his 2022 reelection campaign and included it in his campaign advertising, who accepted a $5,000 campaign donation from Trump’s “Save America” PAC– must be feeling furious and betrayed that Trump has publicly declared that he wants to terminate the Constitution in order to be reinstated as President.

At least he ought to be.

Ever since Cline was elected in 2018, local media have been too willing to let him skate without answering tough questions– about Trump and many other matters.

So let me suggest the following questions for the Congressman: Is it OK with you if someone who takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States thinks it can be terminated at his convenience? Do you stand by your statement of November 29 that you will support Trump if he is the Republican candidate for President in 2024?

Now will you denounce him, Congressman?

Now that Donald Trump has hosted the notorious Jew-hater Kanye West and the notorious Holocaust-denying white nationalist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago, will Ben Cline– who called Trump “our great president” six months after his term ended, who boasted about his endorsement from Trump in his 2022 reelection campaign and included it in his campaign advertising, who accepted a $5,000 campaign donation from Trump’s “Save America” PAC– summon the courage to speak even a word of disapproval?

Based on Cline’s tolerance for Trump’s long history of outrageous conduct, I suppose the answer will be “no.”

Buy maybe he’ll surprise us this time. I’m sure he’ll be eager to discuss it at his town hall meetings next week.

Cline resumes in-person town halls

After almost a year, Congressman Cline will resume in-person town hall meetings in the Sixth District on Monday November 28 and Tuesday November 29.

Unfortunately, as in previous years, they are scheduled at times that are inconvenient for most working people

The schedule is as follows:

• In Rockbridge County, November 28, 8 a.m to 9:30 a.m., Natural Bridge Vol. Fire Department, 5705 S. Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge. (Register here.)

• In Waynesboro, November 28, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., Elks Lodge, 1700 Harvard Road, Waynesboro. (Register here.)

• In Rockingham County, November 29, 8 a.m to 9:30 a.m., VFW Post 8644, 118 N. River Road, Bridgewater. (Register here.)

• In Shenandoah County, November 29, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., Mt. Jackson Moose Lodge, 269 Dutch Lane, Mt. Jackson. (Register here.)

Residents of each location will be given priority regarding comments.

I hope the congressman is eager to hear opinions and answer questions from all of his constituents.

Feel free to use Cline Watch as a resource.

Interesting omission

I noticed something interesting about the video that Congressman Cline posted on his campaign Facebook page this week.

Not that it’s a silly video. (How can you be for LESS government and MORE government-funded police resources?) I noticed that when he first released the video last May during his primary election campaign.

Rather, it’s the omission from the earlier version of the ENDORSED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP tagline at the end.

This was an endorsement that Cline was proud to proclaim. And even though it was for the June primary, I assume it still holds good.

As best I can figure, Cline decided that a Trump endorsement would assure a primary victory among the largely hardcore pro-Trump Republican base. But for a general election in which he will need support from other segments of the electorate– not so much.

But don’t worry, Congressman. We won’t let anyone forget. Trump’s endorsement still stands– whether you like it or not.

Ben Cline and Lara Logan on Newsmax

Congressman Cline went on the far-Right channel Newsmax to claim without evidence that an excessively “woke” U.S. military is undermining unit cohesion and national security.

Now that the notoriously un-“woke” Russian army (which once dazzled Republican Senator Ted Cruz) is suffering multiple defeats and humiliations in Ukraine, perhaps Cline should reconsider.

And Congressman: It doesn’t do wonders for your credibility when you appear on the same channel that lends credence to the sadly delusional Lara Logan.

Ben Cline and Lara Logan may not be equally deluded. But they are both wrong.

Cline’s revealing campaign finance report

Some interesting highlights from Congressman Cline’s Third Quarter Campaign Finance Report, including the contributions his campaign received from corporate and political PACs between July 1 and September 30, 2022:

• Smith & Wesson Brands: $1,000

• National Rifle Association: $1,000

Cline’s position on “gun rights” is so extreme (more extreme than most gun owners) that when he was in the House of Delegates, he bragged about his endorsement by the Virginia Citizens Defense League— which believes the National Rifle Association is too soft.

He consistently votes NO on even the most modest and common-sense gun regulations.

As a member of the General Assembly, he actually opposed issuing a new Virginia license plate with the message: “Stop Gun Violence.”

• Abbott Laboratories: $1,000

Abbott is one of the nation’s biggest prescription drug manufacturers, with net earnings of more than $7 billion in 2021.

Cline voted NO on a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and offer new benefits for seniors. The bill was strongly opposed by Abbott and other Big Pharma companies. He has also voted NO on bills to make generic drugs cheaper and capping monthly insulin costs at $35 for millions of diabetic Americans.

• Altria Group: $2,500

All you need to know about Altria is that this appears on the home page of its website:

Although Altria (formerly Philip Morris) claims to be “moving beyond smoking,” it is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco products, from which it earns 88 percent of its revenue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking kills more than 480,000 American annually. But Cline has no qualms about accepting this blood money.

• The Walt Disney Company: $1,000

While many Republicans bash Disney for being excessively “woke,” Cline is pleased to accept the company’s largesse. Perhaps Disney isn’t as culturally enlightened as some would like to believe.

• Toyota Motor North America: $1,000

This one is fascinating and mysterious.

Before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Cline had been a regular recipient of donations from Toyota.

After the insurrection, and after Cline and 146 other Congressional Republicans voted against certifying all of the Presidential election results, Toyota said it was reviewing its ts campaign contribution policies: “Given the recent events and the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria.”

The review concluded with a decision by Toyota to resume contributions to some of the members of Congress who opposed certification.

Toyota Motor Corp., which had been reviewing its political contributions since January, said it “supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.”

“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” the Japanese automaker said in a statement. “However, we have decided against giving to some members who — through their statements and actions — undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”

For whatever reason, Toyota decided that Cline cleared that bar and so contributed $1,000 to his campaign in March 2021.

But that wasn’t the end of it. In July 2021 Toyota announced it had reversed its policy and “we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election.”

That statement remains on Toyota’s website. I have found no reports that the company changed its corporate mind since then.

So what’s with the $1,000 that Toyota gave to Cline on September 14, 2022?

• Koch Industries: $5,000

No surprise.

Save America: $5,000

This is Donald Trump’s personal PAC. So of course.