Let’s be honest … completing his fifth term in Congress, Erik Paulsen has had many successes … at least according to the mass mailings that have filled Minnesota’s Third District mailboxes.
FunFact : According to the House Disbursement report for the period April through June, Congressman Paulsen sent out 372,506 pieces of mass mailings … the cost to the taxpayers for Franked Mail postage alone was $46,084.35 (printing of the mailer was extra.)
Congressman Paulsen’s legislative successes are clear (even if some have not been approved by the Senate or President Trump) :
— Repealing the ACA mandate (H.R. 1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)
— Tax cuts for #PaulsenDonors (H.R. 1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)
— Women’s health (H.R. 36 Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act)
— Expanding gun rights (H.R. 38 Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017)
In addition to those, there were numerous bills addressing human trafficking and opioids … which help pad the resume since they were approved overwhelmingly by Democrats … but Congressman Paulsen wouldn’t want you to know that his Democrat opponent would have supported those too.
And there were successes when the House failed to act … yep, if it’s a controversial idea, he can claim that “he’s paddling upstream against the Trump Administration” but in reality it’s a win if he can portray that he is “listening” to his constituents.
Case in point : President Trump is ending the protection of Liberian refugees, so Congressman Paulsen becomes the only Republican to sponsor H.R. 5072 Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2018. The deportation date is set, but Congressman Paulsen had a good soundbite.
Congressman Paulsen takes the same approach on DACA.
As well as on the need to address gun violence with the solutions of encouraging states to adopt “Red Flag” laws by sponsoring H.R. 5717, the Jake Laird Act and addressing “bump stocks” by sponsoring H.R. 3999 Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act.
Yep, in the “playing politics” game, points are won on soundbites and mass mailings.
Now, many incumbents would say this is enough to ensure another term … but not Congressman Paulsen.
Last week, Congressman Paulsen went to the House floor to speak of the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
A very polished move by an experienced “politician”.
Side note : The definition of a “Politician” is someone who will do whatever party leadership or donors want versus the definition of a “Public Servant” who is someone who each day goes to work, thinking about how to use his/her voice in Washington to speak for working families.
Yep, “politician” Paulsen wants voters to know that he wants VAWA extended before it expires at the end of this month.
WHY he waited until there were 21 days left in the month before speaking out is irrelevant (heck, he could have made the same speech during Sexual Assault Awareness month last April) … the real story here is that “politician” Paulsen is not proposing improving VAWA … just extending it.
Congressman Paulsen rightly says that VAWA has been extended in a bipartisan manner … but fails to acknowledge how many Members opposed it.
The last version of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 was passed 286-138, with just 87 Republicans joining all 199 Democrats (one Democrat did not vote).
Turns out that some Republicans think that VAWA is not a federal issue, but instead something that should be handled local governments. In 2013, the Republicans proposed a weak version of VAWA which was rejected … and in irony of ironies, Republicans berated Democrats with stories of victims, and then voted against it.
Actually, Republicans had held up the law for more than a year over provisions designed to protect undocumented immigrants, Native Americans and members of the LGBT community.
Think things have changed for immigrants, Native Americans and members of the LGBT community since 2013 ?
Heck, it was only a few months ago (June 27, 2018) that Congressman Paulsen voted for H. R. 6136 Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 which would have made drastic reductions to legal immigration, and eliminate protections for vulnerable children, many of whom are fleeing sexual and domestic violence or human trafficking.
There are three bills that the House could vote on … none of which has garnered Congressman Paulsen’s sponsorship.
H.R. 6796 the Violence Against Women Extension Act provides a six-month clean extension of the expiring provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013.
H.R. 6797 is similar as it would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 through 2019.
H.R. 6545 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 – which reforms and improves the 2013 law.
Hmmm … a few Republicans “politicians” (just nine sponsors) have offered two extension bills while 164 Representatives view themselves as “public servants” proposing a five year bill that addresses many areas of concern — domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, child abuse, elder abuse, forced marriages, reducing homicides and improving public safety.
H.R. 6545 is a serious proposal and deserves debate.
Not surprisingly, the Republican-controlled House has chosen to ignore a bill that has 164 sponsors … especially when it contains provisions addressing gun ownership.
Heck, the Republican leadership wouldn’t even hold a hearing on the bipartisan H.R.3207 – Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (which Congressman Paulsen has FAILED to sponsor.)
Making the passage of H.R. 6545 even more difficult is that it authorizes additional funding for these programs … which violates Congressman Paulsen mantra — “Washington must do more with less”.
Congressman Paulsen may say he wants to “reauthorize” the Violence Against Women Act, but that’s the “politician” talking … in reality, the best the Republicans are offering is to let the next Congress decide.
And that is good news for Minnesota’s Third District … voters have a choice between Dean Phillips, whose priorities are aligned with being a “public servant” and “politician” Erik Paulsen whose solution to any problem is a tax cut … and no tax cut is gonna address domestic violence.
It’s time we quit “playing politics” … domestic violence isn’t a game.