Tag Archives: House Democrats

Music 🎵🇺🇸 to our ears!

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman Jim McGovern

From Jim’s office:

McGovern: Republican EPA Bill is a Giveaway to Corporate Polluters

McGovern Slams GOP for Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health

Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern led debate for House Democrats on the House floor against the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, a bill from House Republicans that limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, and would lead to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests.

Below are excerpts of today’s remarks:

HOUSE GOP IGNORES REAL ISSUES

“Today we are considering a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent the EPA from protecting public health and the environment. This bill was brought [up] in an emergency meeting last night. I think the American people have a pretty good idea of what is and what isn’t an emergency.

“We have no shortage of actual emergencies that we should be dealing with – a devastating opioid epidemic, crumbling roads and bridges, mounting evidence of Russian meddling in our election, and people being killed every day due to gun violence, not to mention Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the residual health effects of toxically-polluted water. These are just a few examples of actual emergencies that Congress is doing nothing to address.”

“As we learned last week, the American people are paying attention to what we do here. They are smart enough to know what an emergency is. And this bill isn’t addressing an emergency. it’s creating one!”

GOP BILL ATTACKS SCIENCE, HELPS POLLUTERS

“The Science Advisory Board at the EPA provides a way for the agency to use sound, independent, and objective scientific data to help make their decisions. “This bill limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, leading to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests. Are these really the people we want making decisions about the health of our kids and the policies that should be protecting our environment?

“There’s nothing scientific about corruption and that’s exactly what this bill will open the door to.

“This bill is about allowing the Republicans’ big corporate cronies a direct route to the decision-makers at the EPA. It’s about disrupting the EPA’s ability to fairly enforce the rules, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect our health. It’s about undermining scientific fact with political cronyism.

“Americans can’t afford to have the EPA run by people who live in a fantasy land where facts and science don’t matter. Our environment and the health of our families is too important. This bill defies logic, it defies reason. It will hurt the people who sent us here and it will help polluters. Republicans are putting corporate greed ahead of public health and the American people will be the ones who will suffer. Americans deserve better. We should be fighting for them.”

FIRST GRADE SCIENCE LESSON FOR GOP

“Let me tell my Republican friends what I tell first graders that I visit back in my district in Massachusetts. Science is important. It’s a big deal.

“Scientists tell us things that are really important, like climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, something my Republican friends continually deny. They tell us that polluted air can give children asthma. They tell us that lead in children’s drinking water causes learning problems. They tell us pesticide exposure can cause cancer. These are important things.

“You know, the first graders I speak to, they get it. They understand the importance of science. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues in this chamber do not. I would bet that those first graders understand the importance that it is scientists that sit on scientific advisory boards and not corporate cronies.”

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech:

“ I rise in strong opposition to this rule and the underlying legislation. This is the 23rd closed rule of this short new Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans have been denied the opportunity to amend nearly 60 percent of the legislation that has been brought to the Floor through the Rules Committee. This effort by Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership to halt a fair and open debate in the People’s House is outrageous. We’re supposed to be a deliberative body – where both parties get to deliberate. These Putin-esque rules – that shut down all debate – need to stop. This isn’t the Kremlin.

“I think Representative Rooney – a Republican – said it best last week. Quote, “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,’

“Well, today we are considering a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent the EPA from protecting public health and the environment. Not exactly positive. This bill was brought to the Rules Committee in an emergency meeting last night. Let me emphasize that – an emergency meeting.

“I think the American people have a pretty good idea of what is and what isn’t an emergency. A tree falls on your house? That’s an emergency. Your rose bush needs pruning? Not an emergency. Timmy fell down a well? That’s an emergency. Timmy might stub his toe? Not an emergency. On April 28th, the government will run out of money. That’s an emergency, even if it is self-inflicted by the Republicans.

“And we have no shortage of other ACTUAL emergencies that we should be dealing with – a devastating opioid epidemic, crumbling roads and bridges, mounting evidence of Russian meddling in our election, and people being killed every day due to gun violence, not to mention Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the residual health effects of toxically-polluted water. These are just a few examples of actual emergencies that Congress is doing NOTHING to address.

“Instead, the underlying bill — the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act — was brought to the Rules Committee and to the House floor as emergency legislation. As we learned last week, the American people are paying attention to what we do here. They are smart enough to know what an emergency is. And this bill isn’t addressing an emergency. it’s creating one!

“The Science Advisory Board at the EPA provides a way for the agency to use sound, independent, and objective scientific data to help make their decisions. Science, you may have heard of it. It’s kind of a big deal.

“But this bill won’t help the EPA to include more scientists in their decisions – it will force them to include people with potential financial conflicts of interest on the Science Advisory Board, so long as they disclose them. Do we really want people on our advisory boards if they could profit from a decision they are about to make? There’s nothing scientific about corruption and that’s exactly what this bill will open the door to.

“This bill also limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, leading to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests. Are these really the people we want making decisions about the health of our kids and the policies that should be protecting our environment? Is that what we want?

“So what is this bill really about? It’s about allowing the Republican’s big corporate cronies a direct route to the decision-makers at the EPA. It’s about disrupting the EPA’s ability to fairly enforce the rules, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect our health. It’s about undermining scientific fact with political cronyism. Maybe things have changed lately – it’s been a while since my last science class – but I’m pretty sure there’s no step in the scientific method that says “consult corporate cronies.”

“The truth is that this Republican majority wants the EPA to base their decisions on fiction, not fact. Americans can’t afford to have the EPA run by people who live in a fantasy land where facts and science don’t matter. Our environment and the health of our families is too important. This law is going to have real life consequences. It will undermine science, hurt the environment, and help polluters.

“We need to allow the EPA to make decisions based on fact. We need to ensure the EPA is always free from financial conflicts – not making decisions based on panels filled with industry insiders like the ones this bill would create.

“This bill defies logic, it defies reason, and it defies sanity. It will hurt the people who sent us here and it will help polluters. Republicans are putting corporate greed ahead of public health and the American people will be the ones who will suffer. Americans deserve better. We should be fighting for them.

“Let me tell my Republican friends what I tell first graders that I visit back in my district in Massachusetts when I go to visit their schools. I usually begin by telling them that science is important. It’s a big deal. And it’s such a big deal that all our schools teach it. And if you do your homework, and you study hard, and you pay attention, you might grow up someday to become a scientist.

“Scientists are people who dedicate their lives to protect the health and well-being of all over the world. And they dedicate their lives to protect our planet. Scientists tell us things that are really important, like climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, something my Republican friends continually deny. They tell us that polluted air can give children asthma. They tell us that lead in children’s drinking water causes learning problems. They tell us pesticide exposure can cause cancer. These are important things.

“And we all learned in school, thanks to science, that the Earth orbits around the sun. That gravity causes this pen to fall when I drop it. That plants turn sunshine into energy. That dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago.

“You know, the first graders I speak to, they get it. They understand the importance of science. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues in this chamber do not. I would bet that those first graders understand the importance that it is scientists that sit on scientific advisory boards and not corporate cronies.”

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House Democrats Call on GOP to Investigate White House Aide Kellyanne Conway’s Promotion of Trump Business

But first:

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editor’s note: from Congressman Jim McGovern’s office. I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.:

Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat, joined 26 of his fellow lawmakers on a letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) demanding a full investigation of potential ethics violations concerning Kellyanne Conway’s recent public comments encouraging Americans to purchase items from the fashion line produced by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. The letter was led by Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI).

In an interview from the White House Press Briefing room, Conway, who is a Counselor to President Donald Trump, appears to have violated Office of Government Ethics laws by promoting Ivanka Trump’s brand on Fox News.

According to the Office of Government Ethics, “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private, for the endorsement of any product, service of enterprise, or for the gain of friends, relatives, or person with the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”

Congressman McGovern and his fellow lawmakers are calling on Chairman Chaffetz to “examine potential ethics violations concerning Kellyanne Conway’s recent public comments encouraging Americans to purchase items from the fashion line produced by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.”

“Across the government, federal employees are expected to be held to a high standard of ethics. As a federal employee, Kellyanne Conway appears to have clearly violated these standards with her recent comments,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is especially troubling that Kellyanne Conway appears to have used her position of power in the White House to directly enrich the Trump family through Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Such a blatant disregard for federal law and ethics standards set for public servants undermines public faith in our government.”

McGovern and House Democrats criticized Chaffetz for failing to exercise any oversight of the Trump White House up to this point. “To date, you have shown little inclination to conduct even basic oversight of President Trump or his top advisers. Appearing last night on CNN, you stated repeatedly that you would not request information about the President’s massive conflicts of interest, referring to such oversight efforts as a ‘fishing expedition.’ However, you did promise to investigate future incidents when ‘something goes awry,’ as it clearly has here.”

“We encourage you to examine the blatant and inappropriate remarks made by Kellyanne Conway immediately and ensure members of the Trump Administration do not continue to use their positions of power to enrich members of the Trump family.”

Joining McGovern and Pocan on the letter are Representatives Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Val Demings (Fl-10), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Theodore E. Deutch (FL-21), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Richard M. Nolan (MN-08), Jared Polis (CO-02), David Price (NC-04), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mark Takano (CA-41), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07).

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Full Text of the Letter from House Democrats to Chairman Chaffetz:

February 9, 2017

Chairman Jason Chaffetz
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Chaffetz:

We are writing to request the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform examine potential ethics violations concerning Kellyanne Conway’s recent public comments encouraging Americans to purchase items from the fashion line produced by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, is a federal employee and appears to have clearly violated federal ethics laws delineated by the Office of Government Ethics.

According to the Office of Government Ethics, “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” In a February 9, 2017, interview from the White House press briefing room with the Fox News Channel, Kellyanne Conway urged Americans to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff…It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it…I fully—I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

Across the government, federal employees are expected to be held to a high standard of ethics. As a federal employee, Kellyanne Conway appears to have clearly violated these standards with her recent comments. It is especially troubling that Kellyanne Conway appears to have used her position of power in the White House to directly enrich the Trump family through Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Such a blatant disregard for federal law and ethics standards set for public servants undermines public faith in our government.

To date, you have shown little inclination to conduct even basic oversight of President Trump or his top advisers. Appearing last night on CNN, you stated repeatedly that you would not request information about the President’s massive conflicts of interest, referring to such oversight efforts as a “fishing expedition.” However, you did promise to investigate future incidents when “something goes awry,” as it clearly has here.

We encourage you to examine the blatant and inappropriate remarks made by Kellyanne Conway immediately and ensure members of the Trump Administration do not continue to use their positions of power to enrich members of the Trump family.

Sincerely,