Goodlatte likes Trump’s “bold set of priorities”

Congressman Goodlatte issued the following statement Thursday on President Trump’s budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018:

President Trump ran on a platform of stronger national defense, reprioritizing domestic spending, and strengthening our nation’s borders. That is exactly what his budget blueprint released today does – he told America what he would do, and now he is following through on his promises. While I am still reviewing President Trump’s proposal and its impacts on the Sixth District specifically, this bold set of priorities is a strong step forward in reducing bureaucratic waste and ensuring a strong national defense. As a matter of policy, however, the President’s budget is just one plan of many that Congress will consider as it crafts the FY18 budget and individual appropriations bills. I look forward to working with leaders in the House to pass a fiscally responsible budget that balances, ensures that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively, keeps us safe from terrorist threats, protects our individual freedoms and liberties, and sets the stage for a healthier American economy.

Among many other unconscionable things, the budget blueprint “reprioritizes” out of existence federal funding for the Meals on Wheels program, which provides nutritious meals to elderly shut-ins. It does the same to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which has has boosted economic development and infrastructure in our region– including parts of the Sixth District– for more than 50 years.

There are a lot of other ways this budget would harm the people Goodlatte claims to represent in Congress.

Yet presumably knowing this, Goodlatte calls Trump’s proposal a “bold set of priorities” and a “strong step forward.”

Goodlatte’s phone number is (202) 225-5431. He is up for reelection on November 6, 2018.

Does Goodlatte know what Trump knows?

When House Republicans released their proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Goodlatte was noncommittal. He promised to review the bill (it’s been more than a week now, Congressman), although he told an interviewer, “This plan is headed where it needs to head.”

 I wonder if Goodlatte still believes that after Donald Trump picked an awkward moment to be honest for a change.

The counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump are mostly rural counties with older populations– including many of the counties in the Sixth District. And their residents would bear the brunt of a switch from the Affordable Care Act to the Republican plan.

Whom do we believe, Congressman?

“It’s important for people to know that this is phase one of what will be at least a three-phase process.”

Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte discussing the House Republicans’ proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

“There is no three-phase process. There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin.”

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas saying otherwise.

CBO punctures Goodlatte’s health care fantasy

It’s not clear whether this interview with Congressman Goodlatte on WHSV3 in Harrisonburg was conducted before or after the Congressional Budget Office released its finding that 24 million Americans stand to lose health insurance under the Republicans’ proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, but here are some of the things he said:

“This plan [i.e., the Republican alternative] is headed where it needs to head.”

“We will replace the mandates with greater access to health care.”

“Those people [i.e., people currently covered by the ACA] will have a long transition period to switch over to something else.”

The Washington Post reports:

The analysis, released late Monday afternoon by the Congressional Budget Office, predicts that 24 million fewer people would have coverage a decade from now than if the Affordable Care Act remains intact, nearly doubling the share of Americans who are uninsured from 10 percent to 19 percent. The office projects the number of uninsured people would jump 14 million after the first year.

The CBO is led by a Republican appointed by GOP leaders in 2015.

The “well-suited” Steve King speaks his racist mind again

In January, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte appointed Congressman Steve King of Iowa to be chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

As Goodlatte knew at the time, King has a history of saying stupid and racist things. But he chose to ignore that.

“His expertise on many of the issues facing our nation and the committee make him well-suited to serve as chairman of the Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee,” Goodlatte said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with him as we seek to safeguard Americans’ liberties and promote an efficient and just legal system.”

Now The Washington Post reports:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has gained notoriety for his often contentious — and, occasionally, almost overtly racist — comments about immigration and the demographics of the United States. On Sunday, in a tweet about the nationalist Dutch politician Geert Wilders, King again appears to have crossed the line.

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” King wrote. “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

The formulation of “our” civilization being at risk from “somebody else’s babies” is a deliberate suggestion that American civilization is threatened by unnamed “others” — almost certainly a reference to non-Westerners. The idea that national identity and racial identity overlap entirely is the crux of white nationalism; King’s formulation above toes close to that line, if it doesn’t cross.

So congratulations, Congressman Goodlatte, for recognizing how “well-suited” Steve King is to head an important subcommittee that is supposed to help ensure equal justice for all Americans. Come out and take a bow.

Congressman? Congressman?

Update: There’s more. What now, Bob?



Goodlatte-sponsored bill makes it harder for consumers to sue for damages

While most media attention was focused elsewhere, Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed through a bill authored by Congressman Goodlatte that makes it harder for ordinary consumers to join class-action lawsuits.

David Lazarus, consumer affairs reporter for The Los Angeles Times, spoke with Goodlatte (something relatively few of the congressman’s Sixth District constituents have been able to do):

“Frivolous lawsuits have no place in our legal system, and the true victims of frivolous lawsuits are often small businesses and individuals who cannot afford to fight these claims,” he said.

Apparently this is an extremely urgent issue because Goodlatte introduced his bill only a month ago. It was approved by his committee’s Republican majority less than a week later without any public hearings or debate.

“The legislation … addresses the abuses within our civil justice system, helps ensure that baseless lawsuits are quickly dispensed with and improves protections for deserving victims so the doors to justice remain open for parties with legitimate claims,” Goodlatte said.

What it really does is impose strict new rules on class actions that make them a lot harder to get off the ground. Not surprisingly, the bill is strongly supported by the business-boosting U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent millions lobbying on its behalf.

The legislation’s key provision would allow a class to be certified — that is, to receive court approval for plaintiffs to band together — only if all members “suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative.”

That’s a spectacularly unfair stipulation for a bill claiming to be all about fairness.

Take air bags. Let’s say the originator of a class-action lawsuit was severely injured by an exploding air bag. If Goodlatte’s bill were law, the only people who could join the suit would be people who received similarly extensive harm.

Someone who sustained lesser or different injuries probably wouldn’t qualify for the case.


The shame of it is that Goodlatte’s bill also contains some thoughtful provisions, such as limiting lawyers’ payouts to “a reasonable percentage” of whatever plaintiffs are awarded. Often, attorneys walk off with a big chunk of the cash and leave individual class members with relatively little.

But these worthwhile ideas are far outweighed by the ridiculous “same scope of injury” provision.

Lazarus concludes:

Our legal system is far from perfect and, yes, there are abuses of class actions and damages claims. But significantly tilting the playing field in favor of businesses doesn’t improve things.

Consider recent fraud and defective-product scandals involving Wells Fargo, Volkswagen and air bag maker Takata. Consumers and employees responded with class-action lawsuits.

Anyone think those cases are frivolous?

Goodlatte and Judiciary Republicans send silly letter to Comey

After House Judiciary Committee Republicans last week killed Democratic resolution calling on the Department of Justice to provide Congress with documentation on President Trump’s conflicts of business interests and ties to Russia, Politico reported:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) called the resolution “unnecessary, premature” and driven by politics. Instead, he said Republican members of the committee are drafting a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting his voluntary cooperation in any investigation related to Russia and Trump’s business conflicts — with Democrats encouraged to sign on.

On Wednesday the letter emerged. However it was not sent to Sessions– who has recused himself from investigations relating to Trump’s presidential campaign– but to FBI director James Comey. And although the letter was signed by Goodlatte and every other Republican member of the committee except one, not a single Democrat signed on.

The letter requests a briefing from Comey on two matters: “Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election” and “the very serious allegations that the President and/or his associates were or are under surveillance.” The letter notably does not ask for information on Trump’s business conflicts, which may well include ties to Russia.

There is abundant evidence of Russia’s interference in the election. There is absolutely no evidence to support Trump’s bizarre tweet claiming that President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower. In fact Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s assertion.

The effort by Goodlatte and the Republicans to equate an issue of critical concern with a product of Trump’s paranoia indicates their utter lack of seriousness. No wonder the Democrats refused to sign on.