Goodlatte’s strange effort to link opioids to sanctuary cities

Congressman Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to devote valuable committee time to a hearing Thursday on “The Effect of Sanctuary City Policies on the Ability to Combat the Opioid Epidemic.”

In effect, Goodlatte is choosing to ignore the many more salient causes of the opioid crisis (pharmaceutical company spending, shortages of addiction treatment options, poverty, unemployment, lack of health insurance) to put the most divisive and partisan spin on a national tragedy.

According to the Harvard Business Review:

Every part of the country is battling opioid addiction, but the worst-hit states include Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.

In fact West Virginia and New Hampshire have no sanctuary cities, and Ohio has only one (Cincinnati). Despite Goodlatte’s bizarre effort to link the opioid crisis to sanctuary cities, there is no evidence of a connection between the two.

Responding to Goodlatte’s plan for the hearing, Judiciary Committee Democrats wrote to the chair calling for a more comprehensive examination of the epidemic:

In 2016, more than 42,000 people died of opioid overdoses, which equates to 115 people dying every day of preventable causes. On October 26, 2017, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a Nationwide Public Health Emergency. At the time, you stated that ‘the House Judiciary Committee will continue to review our nation’s laws to determine if more resources are needed to address this crisis.

Shortly thereafter, on November 1, 2017, the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its final report setting forth 56 specific recommendations to address the ongoing epidemic. It is long past due that the Committee held a hearing to examine these issues and how we can work in bipartisan manner to consider comprehensive measures to combat the opioid epidemic.

 The Democrats concluded their letter:

[W]e should explore the opportunities for bipartisan action on these issues instead of focusing on divisive anti-immigrant politics. Therefore, we request that the full Committee or the Crime Subcommittee convene hearings to address means by which we can do more to prevent and fight opioid abuse in our country.

Goodlatte’s laughable fiscal hypocrisy

It is time for Congress to finally put an end to fiscal irresponsibility and stop saddling future generations with crushing debts to pay for our current spending. We must rise above partisanship and join together to send a balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, introducing a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the Constitution on January 3, 2017

As I noted at the time, Goodlatte’s vaunted fiscal conservatism only seems to kick in when a Democrat happens to be president.

Goodlatte’s votes in Congress– along with those of other Republicans and some Democrats– helped turn the budget surplus that George W. Bush inherited from Bill Clinton in 2001 into the huge budget deficit that Barack Obama inherited from Bush in 2009.

While supporting Bush’s across-the-board tax cuts, which cost the Treasury $1.8 trillion in the first eight years, Goodlatte also voted for the president’s unfunded Medicare prescription drug program ($495 billion from general revenue through 2015), as well as the hugely expensive and unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (at least $1.6 trillion through 2014).

For Goodlatte, introducing a balanced budget amendment is like saying, “Stop me before I slash hundreds of billions in revenue and spend hundreds of billions we don’t have again.

Then in November Goodlatte voted for the Republicans’ budget-busting tax plan, which promises to add up to $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

Finally– as if to make sure we understood how phony his pious anti-deficit talk really is– Goodlatte joined in voting Friday morning for $300 billion in additional spending over the next two years– with no additional revenue to cover it.

GOP Senator Rand Paul was quite willing to call out the hypocrisy of Goodlatte and other Republican “fiscal hawks” who voted for spending.

“I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits,” he said on the Senate floor.

Bottom line: If, during his final months in Congress, Goodlatte dares to complain about out-of-control federal spending, his constituents will be perfectly justified in laughing in his face.

Goodlatte’s “conspiracy” theory is blown away

Efforts by Congressman Goodlatte and other Congressional Republicans to protect President Trump by undermining the credibility of the FBI have been crushed by a CNN report.

Emails obtained by CNN show the FBI agent at the center of a Capitol Hill storm played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign just days before the 2016 election: the letter to Congress by then-FBI Director James Comey announcing the bureau was investigating newly discovered Clinton emails.

The new revelation about FBI agent Peter Strzok comes as Republicans accuse him of being sympathetic to Clinton while seeking to undermine Donald Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign season.

Strzok, who co-wrote what appears to be the first draft that formed the basis of the letter Comey sent to Congress, also supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the emails were discovered on disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop, according to a source familiar with Strzok’s thinking. The day after Strzok sent his draft to his colleagues, Comey released the letter to Congress, reigniting the email controversy in the final days of the campaign.

Last week Goodlatte alleged an anti-Trump “conspiracy” in the FBI based on messages criticizing Trump and supporting Clinton which Strzok exchanged with a colleague. Now it turns out that Strzok, far from protecting Clinton, helped write a letter that probably flipped the 2016 election to her opponent.
 
So, sorry, Congressman– no “conspiracy.” No “secret society”. Just an FBI agent doing his job despite his personal opinions.
 
Now can we move on to something more important– like the President of the United States improperly questioning the Deputy Attorney General about his personal loyalty?

Goodlatte blows credibility with “conspiracy” charge against FBI

As the Mueller investigation appears to zero in on President Trump himself, and as news emerges of Trump’s efforts to fire the special counsel last June, the President’s diehard defenders in Congress are in panic mode.

Among them is Congressman Goodlatte. As Politico reports:

On Fox News, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House committee that oversees the Justice Department and FBI, alleged an anti-Trump “conspiracy” by FBI agents whose text message exchanges have been made public in selective bursts by GOP lawmakers.

“Some of these texts are very disturbing,” Goodlatte said, adding, “They illustrate a conspiracy on the part of some people, and we want to know a lot more about that.”

…..

Congressional Democrats say it’s no accident that the GOP probes have escalated as Mueller has homed in on Trump’s top allies. Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Jerry Nadler of New York and Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrats on three GOP-led committees unearthing internal FBI documents, say the Republican efforts smack of a partisan campaign to protect the president and sully the investigators who have questioned his behavior.

Noah Rothman, an editor for the conservative Commentary magazine, observed on NPR Friday morning: “Over the course of the last year, something has taken hold among Republican legislators and the Republican base that seems convinced that this President is a victim of a concerted effort behind the scenes by members of the FBI to sabotage this administration.”

Rothman said Congressional Republicans “got way out over their skis on this and suggested the conclusion that they were implying outright, which was that there was a concerted conspiracy, a shadow organization within the FBI, exposed by these anti-Trump texts from a former member of the counter-intelligence division of the FBI who ended up on the Mueller probe for about six weeks. And the suggestion was outright, from people like Representative Bob Goodlatte, that this was a conspiracy. Using that word. And we’ve since seen a lot of these texts in in their appropriate context, and it seems as if this was really overblown, to the point now where you have to wonder whether some credibility has been lost by these Republican members. And if you’re a Republican and a conservative, you should be furious over this.”

This isn’t the first time Goodlatte has squandered his credibility in support of Trump. I suspect it won’t be the last time before he exits Congress at the end of the year.

Goodlatte’s deceit on CHIP

As the federal government approaches a possible shutdown, Congressman Goodlatte and other Republicans are scrambling to place the blame on Democrats.

He posted this on his Facebook page:

fb post

Some useful background:

Goodlatte and other Republicans refused to pass a simple bill to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as the Democrats wanted. Instead they passed a bill funding CHIP only with cuts to other vital federal health programs. Now they are suddenly willing to extend it with no conditions in an effort to avoid compromising on a plan to protect DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients who were brought to the US illegally as children.

With Goodlatte’s encouragement, President Trump rejected a bipartisan compromise on DACA– which is why there is an impasse now.

In 2009 Goodlatte voted in Congress against a law that extended CHIP coverage to four million children without health insurance. Does anyone believe CHIP has now become his primary concern?

The cynicism and deceit are breathtaking.

Goodlatte protects Trump while blocking bipartisan DACA plan

A new Washington Post report on the White House meeting last week where President Trump spoke abusively about immigrants to the US from Haiti and Africa makes two things clear:

— Congressman Goodlatte, who was at the meeting, raised no objection to Trump’s racist remarks.

— Goodlatte helped kill a bipartisan agreement on immigration that would extend protections for DACA recipients who were brought to the US illegally as children.

Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that [Democratic Senator Dick] Durbin and [Republican Senator Lindsey] Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “shithole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.
…..
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly was in the room and was largely stone-faced, not giving any visible reaction when Trump said “shithole countries” or when he said Haitians should not be part of any deal, White House advisers said.

At one point, Graham told Trump he should use different language to discuss immigration, people briefed on the meeting said.

As Trump batted back the Democrats, he was urged on by Republican lawmakers. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told Graham and Durbin their proposal would not fly, and he told the group they should instead embrace his more conservative bill. Durbin was not interested, White House officials said.
…..

[S]ome White House officials, including conservative adviser Stephen Miller, feared that Graham and Durbin would try to trick Trump into signing a bill that was damaging to him and would hurt him with his political base. As word trickled out Thursday morning on Capitol Hill that Durbin and Graham were heading over to the White House, legislative affairs director Marc Short began to make calls to lawmakers and shared many of Miller’s concerns.

Soon, Goodlatte, one of the more conservative House members on immigration, was headed to the White House. Trump also called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and asked him to come, McCarthy said. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Cotton were also invited to rush over.

So when Trump changed his mind and decided he didn’t want a bipartisan compromise on immigration after all, Goodlatte was more than willing to help scuttle the plan– while failing to raise any objection to Trump’s vulgar dismissal of immigrants from certain countries.

And now Goodlatte won’t even speak about what happened at the meeting. This is a complicit and dishonorable man who cannot leave Congress soon enough.

Will Goodlatte stand up for that which is right and true?

A tweet from Congressman Goodlatte on Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

In view of Goodlatte’s craven silence about President Trump’s appalling and racist remarks about immigrants at a White House meeting Thursday which he attended, I would like to remind the congressman of another quote from Dr. King:

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”