Charges dropped in rape case exploited by Goodlatte

One of Congressman Goodlatte’s favorite pursuits is an effort to link undocumented immigration (and Barack Obama’s allegedly lax attitude toward it) to criminal behavior.

Despite well-pubicized cases, there is no evidence that immigrants in the US, illegal or otherwise, commit crimes at a higher rate than native-born Americans– a fact which does not unduly trouble Goodlatte when it comes to fear-mongering.

When two immigrant teenagers at a high school in Rockville, Maryland, were charged with raping a 14-year-old classmate, Goodlatte was quick to exploit the case to stoke fear and prejudice. He squeezed out every ounce of political advantage he could. He posted on his website, on Twitter and on Facebook. He wrote to the secretary of Homeland Security effectively blaming the Obama administration for the alleged crime. He went on Fox News and did the same.

The Washington Post reported Friday:

Maryland prosecutors said they will drop rape and sex offense charges against two immigrant teens accused of attacking a 14-year-old classmate in a high school bathroom stall in a case that shocked local parents, attracted international and White House attention and stoked the debate about illegal crossings into the U.S.


Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said at a press conference that “the original charges cannot be sustained and prosecution is untenable” because of “substantial inconsistencies” from witnesses.

In other words, there isn’t sufficient evidence that the crime even happened.

Rape is an awful crime, and those who commit it deserve to be punished no matter where they were born or how they entered the country. But using reported cases as a tool for political advantage does not contribute in the least to stopping it.

“Proud to support”? We’ll remember that, Congressman

After he and 216 other House Republicans voted Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and replace it with the abominable American Health Care Act, Congressman Goodlatte issued a statement claiming that “Obamacare is collapsing” and that the AHCA would give patients “more options.”

There is no question that Republican-induced uncertainty over the fate of the ACA is causing problems with the law. Goodlatte cited a report that Aetna is leaving the ACA marketplace in Virginia.

But Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine pointed out that the problems with the ACA can be fixed without repealing the law and replacing it with an ill-thought-out plan which would deprive tens of millions of Americans of affordable health insurance:

Aetna’s decision to leave the Virginia marketplace in 2018 shows the real-life consequences of President Trump playing politics with health care and unfortunately Virginians will be the ones paying the price for his actions. This week, Aetna’s CEO pointed directly to the Trump Administration’s threat to eliminate cost-sharing reductions as a move that put too much uncertainty into the system. He said he believes it’s time to admit that the ACA needs to be fixed, not repealed.

Finally, Goodlatte stretched the truth to the breaking point when he claimed:

[U]nder the AHCA no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. In fact, new protections are included in the AHCA for these individuals.

The Politifact website rates this claim as Mostly False. Under the AHCA, millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions could be forced to pay much higher premiums and forced into dubious “high risk pools” in order to obtain health insurance. Simply put, insurance companies would once again be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

Even some Republicans who voted for the bill recognized that it wasn’t much good.

“This bill is highly imperfect, imperfect, okay? There’s no doubt about that,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said after supporting the legislation.

The Florida Republican — who represents a competitive district — waited until the last 24 hours to come on board. He cited conversations with senators who vowed to address his concerns about how to handle the tens of thousands of his constituents who are signed up for the ACA insurance exchanges.

“Is this bill good? No, I don’t like it,” Diaz-Balart said. But he suggested that voting for the bill would allow him to be part of future negotiations: “So my decision was, how do I stay involved?”

But Goodlatte tweeted:

Proud to support in the House today.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release next week its report on the real-life impact of the AHCA in terms of insurance coverage and costs. For some reason, Goodlatte and his Republican colleagues couldn’t even wait for that before they voted. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say– or more likely, doesn’t have to say– when the report comes out.

Goodlatte says he’ll vote for latest version of ACA repeal

During another of his impersonal, tightly-controlled Facebook Live events, Congressman Goodlatte said he plans to vote Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the latest version of the misbegotten American Health Care Act– without waiting to find out from the Congressional Budget Office how it would impact insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans.

While reducing coverage for ordinary Americans, the bill would provide a huge tax cut for the wealthy.

Despite a cynical last-minute maneuver, the bill would severely weaken the provision in the current law preventing health insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. 

You can let Goodlatte know how you feel about this by calling his office at (202) 225-5431.