In political elections, perception is everything.
Do you want to be known as a leading obstructionist in the Do-Nothing Congress … or do you want to find an issue, develop bi-partisan support and enact it ?
For Erik Paulsen, the 113th Congress started off just as it had left off in December 2012 … with his signature issue of Repealing the Medical Device EXCISE Tax. January 1st came and the medical device manufacturers started the process of sending in excise tax payments for their product sales … some of which were passed on to the buyer just as other excise taxes are. Representative Paulsen got support from Ron Kind (D-WI) and on February 6th, they offered H.R. 523 : the Protect Medical Innovation Act … so Republicans signed up as cosponsors … and then Democrats heard from medical lobbyists and signed up also … and along the process, Congressman Paulsen would regularly issue tweets and press releases of more co-sponsors and more industry support (no surprise there) … but no committee hearings … and no votes. Soon conservative radio hosts were blasting Dave Camp, Eric Cantor and John Boehner as “obstructionists” and for failing to allow a vote. The calendar year ended with no legislative action.
As the year dragged on and the Do-Nothing Congress was firmly in shutdown mode, another issue started to get bi-partisan attention.
Ted Poe (R-TX) along with Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Kay Granger (R-TX) and Minnesota’s own Rick Nolan offered H.R.2805 — End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 … soon it got co-sponsors … and finally, four months after it was introduced Erik Paulsen signed on as the 45th co-sponsor. H.R. 2805 has a companion bill in the Senate — S. 1354 which is authored by Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn (R-TX).
Soon Erik Paulsen was tweeting and issuing press releases raising awareness of sex-trafficking … and then Congressman Paulsen and Gwen Moore (D-WI) got together to offer H.R. 3610: Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013.
The Republicans realize that the Do-Nothing Shutdown Congress is not way to enter an election … especially when polls indicate that they are having a problem with women voters.
So, all of a sudden Kristi Noem (R-SD) is writing OpEds about the Midwest Pipeline (instead of the Keystone pipeline) which is used to transport victims of human trafficking across the country and informing voters that January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
And making sure that Minnesotans know about Congresswoman Noem’s OpEd
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) January 7, 2014
Heck, let’s applaud the Rs and the Ds for working together … yet, can we ask when legislation will get a hearing and be offered for a vote ? Do voters deserve knowing who supports sex-trafficking and who believes our laws are inadequate ?
Congressman Paulsen’s H.R. 3610: Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013 legislation was assigned to Chairman Kline’s Education and Workforce Committee on November 21, 2013 … and in November and December, Chairman Kline did not hold any hearings on the legislation … and his most recent announced schedule says that next week, the committee has nothing on its agenda.
With three Minnesotans pushing this issue, when will Chairman Kline act ?
Heck, Congressman Kline has not even joined any of his other colleagues in sponsoring these bills.
So if it wasn’t sex-trafficking legislation, what was the big GOP-controlled House accomplishment this week ?
Was it to act on the expired unemployment insurance program ?
Was it to act on providing increased budget authority for LIHEAP ?
Was it to act on immigration reform ?
Was it to act on pay equity or raising the minimum wage ?
Was it to act on school safety ?
Or was it to start the year off Republican-style with a vote on Obamacare ?
Yep, on Friday, January 10th, the House held a vote on H. R. 3811 : Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act at 10:54 AM … two hours later they were done for the week !
It was a busy week … H. R. 3811 was offered on January 7th and already voted on within in three days !
Gosh, if only the Republicans were as concerned with sex-trafficking as much as they are with Obamacare, their image might improve.
The merits of the legislation deserve swift Congressional action … haven’t we had enough of the self-promoting tweets and not enough real action ?
While Chairman Kline has not commented on sex-trafficking, he did take time to issue a press release:
John Kline issued the following statement today after supporting the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act (H.R. 3811):
“Because of ObamaCare, Minnesotans are seeing their rates skyrocket or are losing their health insurance altogether and being forced into government run health care where they can no longer keep their doctor, clinic, or hospital. As we begin the new year, I will continue to fight for constituents by giving this health care law the scrutiny it deserves and press the President and colleagues in Washington to do the right thing and either scrap this law or delay it for all Americans before it does further harm to middle-class families and our entire economy.”
Nice pat on the back … but readers do not be confused, the Kline-supported H. R. 3811 does nothing to address “rates”, “losing their health insurance”, “keeping your doctor” or even “scrap” or “delay” this law. But Congressman Kline thinks he has done something.
Yep, in political elections, perception is everything — and John Kline and Erik Paulsen are trying to provide the best perception for their re-elections.