|July 13, 2018|
Congress is broken.
Each day, more and more Americans are losing faith that their government actually works for them. More than 80% of Americans say they can’t trust Washington to do what’s right for them. More than two-thirds feel like our democracy is getting less responsive under Republican control. Working people today don’t even get a seat at the table.
The Republicans who control Congress have given away all the seats at their table to corporate special interests, to billionaires, and to the big banks and big pharmaceutical companies. That’s why the interests of working people are not being protected today.
On Wednesday, I forced a vote on the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that Senator Whitehouse and I have introduced to shine a light on the unlimited, secret corporate spending that has flooded American elections in recent years. The DISCLOSE Act is simple – it requires that organizations that spend money in federal elections have to disclose their donors. It closes one of the biggest loopholes that the Citizens United ruling opened – namely that corporations, billionaires, and even foreign governments can secretly funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into 501(c)(4)’s in order to covertly influence our campaigns.
Republicans rejected this bill – hardly a surprise – but I’m nowhere near done fighting for transparency in our elections. I will continue working to advance commonsense ethics and campaign finance reforms that end the rule of big money and begin a new era where working people get all the seats at the table.
Earlier this week, Republicans moved forward on a bill that will hurt Rhode Island’s commercial fishing industry. H.R.200 undermines science-based catch limits that we’ve used in recent decades to keep fisheries sustainable. In the 1990s, after fisheries were brought to the brink of economic and environmental collapse because of overfishing, Congress put these catch limits in place.
Since then, dozens of fish stocks have been brought back to sustainable levels and overfishing incidents have been cut substantially. Good-paying jobs in the fishing industry have thrived. The industry as a whole generates thousands of good-paying jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity each year in Rhode Island.
The bill Republicans passed this week will jeopardize the progress we’ve made. If it becomes law, it will hurt fishermen in Rhode Island, and in states up and down our coasts. As this bill moves to the Senate, I will continue working against it and standing up for Rhode Islanders who depend on the fishing industry for their economic well-being.
Yesterday, Republicans held ANOTHER hearing on Hillary Clinton’s emails. It’s July 2018. Hillary Clinton lost the election 21 months ago. We should be talking about health care costs, corruption in government, securing our elections from foreign interference, the President’s cruel family separation policy, job creation, raising wages, the opioid crisis, affordable education, workforce training, prescription drugs, renewable energy, climate change, preserving the future of Social Security and Medicare, resources for veterans, cybersecurity, fixing our broken immigration system, women’s reproductive health care, LGBT equality, or workers’ rights.
But instead, we spent 10 hours in a hearing that Republicans wanted to use to talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails one more time. Fortunately, I think the American people saw right through it, even as Republicans tried to take FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s closed-door testimony from June 27th out of context to use it against him.
On that note, I promised to release Agent Strzok’s closed-door testimony in full if Republicans couldn’t find a rule that prohibited me from doing so. They didn’t. Committee staff is currently working with the FBI to remove any sensitive information from the transcript. Once that’s completed, it will be released to the public.
On Monday, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. With this nomination, President Trump is rigging the system even more against working people and in favor of powerful corporate special interests. After all, Judge Kavanaugh was vetted and approved by right-wing special interest groups that are close to this White House. That alone should tell us all we need to know about him.
On the federal bench, he’s taken the side of corporations against consumers, questioned the value of commonsense environmental protections, and argued against a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. If he is confirmed, it will mark a major victory for powerful special interests at the expense of everyone else.
During the campaign, President Trump made one explicit promise about his Supreme Court appointments - he would only select justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. He openly discussed the possibility of “punishment” for women who seek an abortion. He’s trying to make good on those promises by nominating Judge Kavanaugh.
As a Member of the House, I don’t vote on this nomination, but I know that the stakes are incredibly high. In my view, it would be an enormous mistake to confirm this nominee who will move the Supreme Court dramatically to the right and out of step with the prevailing views of most Americans for a generation. Democrats in the Senate should use every tool at their disposal to stop this nominee from being confirmed. This is a fight worth having.
As always, if you or someone you know has any questions or concerns, please call my office at 729-5600 or send me an email at David.Cicilline@mail.house.gov.
You can also click here to follow my work on Twitter.
Member of Congress
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