Apparently Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen is alternating between the carrot and the stick for his re-election campaign.
First, he tweeted support for the “stick” when President Trump announced he was leaving the Iran Deal.
My view on today's Iran Deal decision: pic.twitter.com/yQh3feOxxq
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) May 8, 2018
Yep, President Obama opted for the “carrot” approach and by most accounts Iran was abiding by the agreement … heck, in April, even CIA Director, and now Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said “With the information I have been provided, I have seen no evidence they are not in compliance today.”
Germany, France, the UK, and Russia all wanted the agreement to continue, but with nothing more than animus toward his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump has withdrawn us from the deal — putting business and humanitarian concerns in jeopardy.
But this is the world of Trump … and the word is that President Trump wants to make the midterms about Trump loyalty …. so #TrumpPocketProtector Paulsen is on the “stick”.
The Iran Deal is just one of many issues that voters will weigh as they determine who to cast their vote on November 6th … like guns.
And so it is that #PhotoOpErik tweets that he was on a recent turkey hunt …
Early morning turkey hunting with my Minnesota colleague Colin Peterson pic.twitter.com/TqVesXfraN
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) May 11, 2018
… a “carrot” for voters concerned that gun legislation might impact their ability to hunt.
The timing was perfect as Congressman Paulsen also tweeted a “carrot” to voters concerned that gun legislation might impact their ability to live.
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) May 12, 2018
Hmmm …an interesting political choice the “carrot” over the “stick” ?
The “carrot” —H.R.5717 — the House version of the Senate’s S.2607 – Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2018 which was offered in March.
HR5717 would authorize the Attorney General to make grants to States that have in place laws that authorize the seizure of firearms from dangerous individuals.
President Donald Trump reportedly is encouraging the use of federal grants or other incentives to encourage States, like Minnesota, to adopt measures similar to the “red flag” law currently in effect in Indiana. The 2005 Indiana statute was enacted by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Republican Governor Mitch Daniels after a man who previously had displayed signs of dangerous behavior used a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns to shoot five Indianapolis police officers, killing one. The Indiana law is named after Timothy “Jake” Laird, the officer fatally shot. (More background here.)
After the Stoneman Douglas massacre, the NRA’s chief lobbyist said in a YouTube video the organization would support such laws — as long as there are sufficient due process protections for gun owners.
Hmmm … at this time there are only a few States that have such laws on the books — California, Connecticut, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — so they could get federal money to maintain the program. And since there does not appear to be any offset for this funding, the #PaulsenMantra holds — #WashingtonMustDoMoreWithLess — meaning that other programs will be cut to send these “grants” to States that are already doing this.
To summarize, Erik Paulsen, who is seeking his sixth term and feeling some heat over gun violence, is vocalizing his support for a bill that Trump wants and that the NRA won’t protest to loudly.
It’s a bipartisan bill … meaning that besides the Democrats who support it, there are Republicans — who primarily fall into two camps — those that are not seeking re-election in 2018 or are facing competitive races (besides Paulsen, that would include CO06 Mike Coffman, NJ03 Thomas MacArthur and MI06 Fred Upton).
Notable is who is not sponsoring the legislation, thus far, that includes Paulsen fellow-Republicans, MN02 Jason Lewis and MN06 Tom Emmer, and his “hunting buddy”, MN07 Collin Peterson.
When the next “Profiles in Courage” Awards are announced, don’t expect Erik “The Cowardly Lion” Paulsen to be mentioned — unless he gets Congressmen Lewis, Emmer and Peterson to sign on.
It took no courage to embrace H.R.5717.
Especially when there are other bills that would have greater impact.
H.R.3207 – Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, which has 98 bipartisan sponsors, was introduced July 12, 2017. When Republican Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) offered it, he said “When I was District Attorney, the crimes that kept me up at night were the ones that could have been prevented. There are clear warning signs – including a stalking conviction – before somebody commits serious acts of violence against a current or estranged partner. It’s common sense to keep tools of violence out of their hands. I know from experience that this legislation will save lives, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate … yet, Congressman Paulsen has not sponsored the propoasl.
Just another example proving the City Pages naming him “The Cowardly Lion” rings true.
Then there is H.R.2598 – Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017 which has 108 bipartisan sponsors and the bipartisan H.R.4183 – Domestic Violence Records Reporting Improvement Act of 2017.
Another bill that Congressman Paulsen has not sponsored is H.R.4344 – End Purchase of Firearms by Dangerous Individuals Act of 2017.
That bill has a real “stick” as it provides for the Department of Justice must reduce by 5% funds for a State that fails to comply with requirements.
In conclusion, expect to see a lot of meaningless tweets from Erik Paulsen about how hard he is working on issues that you are interested in … but realize that he is only doing what Trump and the NRA will allow him to do … after all, they are his real constituents.
Yep, when it comes to Trump loyalty and being a #TrumpPocketProtector, Erik Paulsen is your man … for the rest of us, he’s Minnesota’s “Cowardly Lion”.