Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.
Apparently no one wrote Congressman Paulsen this past week since he did not issue a Correspondence Corner, so let’s revisit his May 25, 2017 edition :
It’s been a signature issue for the Paulsen For Congress campaign … as first noted January 10, 2014 MN Political Roundtable commentary, Will Sex-Trafficking Save the GOP ?
Over the years, Congressman Paulsen has promoted various bills and resolutions … and spoke on the floor …. recently urging support for his sponsored legislation H.R.1865 – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017
As a rule, there is little if any opposition … okay, some Democrats have complained over inadequate funding before … but now, a Republican Senator has issued his own concerns
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) December 14, 2017
The Portman press release
“Here in the Senate, we’ve taken a thoughtful, deliberative approach to our efforts to help combat online sex trafficking, meeting with key stakeholders for months before ever introducing legislation. Our work together culminated in the Senate Commerce Committee’s unanimous support for the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act – bipartisan legislation now cosponsored by 53 senators. We are pleased that this legislation has the strong support of major stakeholders in this debate, including victims and advocates, law enforcement, the civil rights community, faith-based groups, and the larger tech community. We are confident the full Senate will pass this proposal very soon in an overwhelming, bipartisan fashion.
“It is disappointing that the House Judiciary Committee rushed through a new proposal after House members expressed concerns that it had not been fully vetted and was opposed by all of the leading organizations dedicated to supporting trafficking victims. Any legislative effort must ensure that trafficking survivors get the justice they deserve. Unfortunately, this rushed House proposal raises the legal standard and ensures that bad actors like Backpage continue to have blanket immunity. Don’t take our word for it; the victims advocacy groups have told us with a clear voice that the House Judiciary bill is harmful to our efforts to protect trafficking survivors.
“We’re in this fight to help trafficking survivors who’ve long been denied justice and ensure that state and local prosecutors have the tools they need to hold accountable bad actors that knowingly facilitate online sex trafficking. As this process moves forward, we will continue the dialogue with all stakeholders, but we’re not going to enact a hollow proposal masquerading as a serious solution.”
H.R.1865 could get a vote by the full House at any time now — along with H.R.3813 – Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act and H.R.3814 – No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act.
Congressman Paulsen needs to heed the advice of Senator Portman and demand that the House vote on the Senate version S. 1693 (which has broad bipartisan support including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
BTW, Senator Klobuchar is the author of S.1536 Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act which is the companion bill to HR 3813 (which Congressman Paulsen has not sponsored.)
The Senate bill has the support of a broad group — here are a few
“Like so many Americans, we are deeply concerned about the scourge of human sex trafficking. We also support a justice system that protects the most basic human rights, including the ability of victims to seek justice against those who have wronged them. S. 1963 will allow victims of sex trafficking on the internet to seek justice against those that promote and facilitate such trafficking. This legislation is narrowly tailored to correct the loopholes inadvertently contained in the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that provide a safe harbor for internet traffickers.”
— Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
“On behalf of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, I write to strongly support the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 which will empower law enforcement to effectively combat online sex trafficking hubs that provide a safe haven for modern day slave traders. We commend you for shining a light on the online marketplaces that profit from the growing epidemic of sex trafficking in the United States, and we encourage Congress and President Trump to join your effort to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to protect our most vulnerable citizens who are ensnared in the online sex trade…. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 is an important and critically needed reform that will protect women and children without undermining internet freedom or the first amendment. The vast majority of trafficking victims were sold on Backpage.com. Congress never intended Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to serve as a liability shield to companies so that they could profit from the sale of women and children for sexual exploitation.”
— Timothy Head, Executive Director, Faith & Freedom Coalition
“The 1996 Internet freedom law was never intended to provide a shield for web-based businesses to allow children and adults to be bought and sold online. Federal laws that protect sex-trafficking victims cannot be fully applied without enabling the courts to consider alleged criminal activity taking place on websites. Failure to pass this bill will continue to allow web companies to legally post ads selling women and children online. Let’s correct this outdated law — and potentially save thousands of lives.”
— Focus on The Family
“The Major Cities Chiefs Association, representing the Nation’s largest metropolitan law enforcement agencies, strongly supports any legislation that will help identify and bring to justice those in the heinous business of on-line sex trafficking. We believe the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 will do just that… The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act would change the language of the Communications Decency Act to ensure that those who create and operate websites to intentionally or recklessly facilitate sex trafficking will be held liable, and their victims will be able to seek justice. Those found to have assisted or supported such on-line sex-trafficking will also face federal charges. Finally, this legislation would enable state law enforcement officials to take action against individuals or businesses that violate federal sex trafficking laws. Currently, only the Department of Justice has such authority. Victims of this crime must live with physical and psychological repercussions for the rest of their lives. We believe that meaningful deterrents to be implemented with passage of this measure could spare countless women and children from becoming victims of sexual predators.”
— J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County Police Department and President, Major Cities Chiefs Association
Human trafficking should not be treated as just another opportunity for #PhotoOpErik to praise himself … he should rescind his sponsorship of the House version HR1865.
NOTE : During his floor speech, Congressman Paulsen misidentified the bill number. He said H.R. 1855 … which he should sponsor … that is Walter Jones’s legislative proposal to repeal the authorizations for office space, office expenses, franking and printing privileges, and staff for former Speakers of the House of Representatives. That’s a bill that fiscal conservatives should support — but sadly, Congressman Paulsen has not.