CMR’s “Waste of time”

Dear Group,

We’re being lulled. McMorris Rodgers’ justification for voting against bills (since passed by the House and waiting on McConnell’s desk), bills that would end Trump’s shutdown, should be met with knee-slapping, howling derision. 

Her justification from her website for voting against H.J.Res 1: 

For bills to reach the president’s desk in a divided government, both parties must work together to responsibly govern. It’s time to make deals. Unfortunately, Democrats signaled through this legislation that they would rather waste time on bills the Senate won’t consider and the president won’t sign. Speaker Pelosi pledged this Congress will be ‘bipartisan and unifying.’ She should stick to her word and come to the table to negotiate.

Wow. Think about that statement for a moment. How many dozens of times during the Obama administration did she vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Never once did the repeal she voted for stand a chance of being signed into law, yet she voted for repeal time and time again. Were those votes a “waste of time?” She applies “waste of time” at her convenience. Is it a “waste of time” to reopen the government? Is it a waste of time to vote to pass bills already passed by the Senate in the previous (115th Congress), bills McConnell now refuses to bring to the floor in a blatant display of partisanship? 

Is she enjoying the Trump shutdown? Apparently. It hasn’t curtailed her travel or kept her in D.C. to work on a solution. She was among the honored guests at the MLK Day Annual Commemorative Celebration at the Holy Temple of God in Christ at 806 W. Indiana Ave. Sunday afternoon during MLK weekend. 

She and most (but not all) of her Republican cohort is content to sit by and watch the country slowly unravel as their petulant child of a President holds the country hostage hoping to get his way. 

It keeps appearing in the news that Republican Congresspeople are receiving high volumes of calls, texts, emails and tweets in support of the shutdown. The zealots are activated. We need to Republican Congresspeople aware there is a cost to their complicity. Contact the folks who are supposed to represent you. Encourage those who want the country to function again and register your disapproval with those who sit by, conveniently dismissing actions by Congress to end Trump’s grandstand. Here are the numbers:


Spokane Office       (509) 353-2374

Colville Office         (509) 684-3481

Walla Walla Office  (509) 529-9358

D.C. Office              (202) 225-2006

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

D.C. Office          (202) 224-2621

Spokane Office  (509) 624-9515

Yakima Office     (509) 453-7462

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

D.C. Office          (202) 224-3441

Spokane Office  (509) 353-2507

Richland Office  (509) 946-8106

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)

D.C.  202-224-6142

North ID,  208–664-5490

Sen. James Risch (R-ID)

D.C. 202-224-2752

Coeur d’Alene  208-667-6130

Rep. Russ Fulcher (new R, ID)

(202) 225-6611 

Then call Call/Email Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and ask him to bring the House-passed bills to the Senate floor for a vote. He needs to let the Senate do its job. Phone: (202) 224-2541. 

Keep to the high ground,


What Underlies Trump’s “Compromise” Offer

Dear Group,

Always remember the Republican’s biggest fear: that brown people become citizens and able to vote. Trump, one hopes, jumped the gun by activating the nativist base to get elected. He thought this base would be all he needed to push his anti-immigration crusade over the top and exclude for the long term the threat of brown people becoming citizens and voting against Republicans. His nativist base (and the greater Republican Party) is now doubly invested. They have taken ownership of the full-on, anti-immigrant brand, anti-refugee, anti-legal immigration (except Norwegians), and anti-DREAMER, the latter a group for which many have sympathy. For many seeking refuge and many who have lived among us, contributed to society, and paid taxes for years (but are not yet citizens) the Republican Party is now an adversary. The result: the Republicans are ever more dug in and ever more determined never to offer citizenship for the DREAMERs or any brown people. Lacking compassion…or decency…, the Republicans use their threats to deport the DREAMERs as a bargaining chip. “We won’t kick them out of the country, at least for a few years, if you….” or “We might offer the DREAMERs some sort of complicated ‘legal status’, if you…” This is hostage taking. 

Listen and read carefully every time you hear a Republican offer anything that might help the DREAMERs. You will never see in their proposals an offer of a functioning pathway to citizenship. The DREAMERs came to this country through no fault of their own as children and have lived here as tax-paying citizens for years. Breitbart, Ann Coulter, and the Republican base are already screaming “Amnesty!” at Trump’s Saturday offer of the best compromise he can muster: a promise not to go forward deporting the DREAMERs for three years. “Amnesty” for the screaming Trumpian base is somehow construed as an issue of “fairness,” that somehow letting the DREAMERs out of bondage is “unfair” to those who, as adults, came legally. (How very Old Testament of them. . Apparently, the “sins of the fathers [Exodus 20:5],” their parents bringing the DREAMERs to the U.S. illegally [often by overstaying a visa], are to be visited on the children,,,and the children punished…with deportation from the only country they have known.) 

Last summer McMorris Rodgers helped craft a bill within her own Party (of which she was then a supposed “leader”) to strike an immigration bargain. It failed spectacularly, 121 Yea to 301 Nay with 112 of her fellow Republicans voting “Nay.” Her bill offered a select group of DREAMERs “permanent legal status,” She seemed surprised at her mini-townhall at Greenbluff when I asked her to clearly state the bill offered no path to citizenship. She’s in a tough spot. She’d like to groom her sympathetic mom brand, but her base might turn on her if she offers any long term help to the hostages her Party so delights in threatening with deportation. [For more on CMR and her bill read CMR’s Immigration Duplicity.]

The DREAMERs deserve a path to citizenship. They will not be offered one until the Presidency and the Congress are out of the hands of Republicans. Until then Republicans will use the DREAMER’s issue to rile their nativist base. 

Trump’s Saturday “compromise” offer to get his border wall funding was dead before it was all out of his mouth. A three year lull in his and his Party’s effort to deport the DREAMERs, keeping them from one day voting against Republicans, this lull offered as a “compromise,” is an insult to our intelligence. Furthermore, for all his pandering to them he can’t even get his base to dampen their desperate xenophobia. 

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. Remember Republican hand-wringing in the early years of Obama’s presidency, the Jeb Bush and other relative centrists talking about wooing the hispanic vote? One wing of the Republican Party worried out loud that demographic trends would make white men a minority and corrode their support? The other wing of the Party decided to buck those trends by demonizing and excluding immigrants. That wing won. Trump’s election, riding in on the votes of racist, anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party, marked a takeover from Republicans who at least mouthed words suggesting unity and compromise. Trump flipped the switch to the most rabid, denigrating, partisan politics we’ve seen in our lifetimes. This has long brewed on the right. The question of our time is whether Trump and the Stephen Millers of his Party flipped the switch before enough groundwork was laid. Can they leverage their success into a durable power grab? 

CMR’s Legislative Hypocrisy

Dear Group,

In McMorris Rodgers we have a Representative in Congress who seems to have lost her voice. “Donald Trump was elected President” is her stock phrase when asked about her support for the leader of her Party. She is all about falling in line in order to advance the agenda. Instead of standing up for what she claims to believe, the values she claims to support, it is all about her “leadership” position in the Party. The disconnect is nowhere more apparent than in her stance on DACA.

Below is a quote from an excellent article in The Inlander by Daniel Walters, one of several articles of his concerning McMorris Rodgers, all of which are well worth the time to click and read [the bold is mine]:

One by one, the DACA students told their stories that evening. One says she didn’t know she wasn’t an American citizen until she applied for college. Another lost his legal status because of a clerical error.

As McMorris Rodgers listens, according to several attendees, tears well up in her eyes.

…”I have personally observed a journey of compassion and heart-shifting in Cathy,” McAuley [a church engagement director for Youth For Christ] says. “I can state that unequivocally.”

At the DACA meeting, some of the pastors and DACA students push McMorris Rodgers to take a stronger stance beyond words uttered in private. Sponsor a bill. Let one go to the floor. Give a passionate speech.

She doesn’t bite, attendees say. She talks about the political limitations. She says she doesn’t want to push a bill that Trump would veto.

The sentiment of the last sentence was also on display at the Green Bluff mini town hall on May 29th. There she mentioned the discharge petition signed by all but one Democrat and twenty-three Republicans, a discharge petition to bring DACA to the House floor against the wishes of Republican leadership. McMorris Rodgers carefully avoids any mention she has not signed it. She said “we” are working on a compromise, not saying “we” probably means just Republicans. Finally, “I don’t believe the President will sign it without a path forward on the wall.” Asked if she would prefer a stand alone DACA bill, she answered, “I would have to look at it.” Really, Cathy? You have tears in your eyes listening to Dreamers tell their stories and you don’t know if you personally would prefer a stand alone bill? Suddenly you’re all about the practical details of legislation, not your values, not your heart. You don’t want to push a bill that doesn’t have a chance of passage? You prefer to use your “leadership” position to work behind the scenes in the dark, not make waves. The more I ponder that sentiment the more angry it makes me. 

You, McMorris Rodgers, say you don’t want to “push a bill” your President would veto. May I remind you that Barrack Obama was also “your President?” Do you wish to deny that accolade to a man who actually won the popular vote? While Barrack Obama was the duly elected President, “our” President, how many bills did you vote for, in your “leadership” position, that had no chance of passage in the Senate and, if they did, would certainly have faced a veto?

How many times did you vote for your “Balanced Budget Amendment,” knowing full well it had zero chance of passage, knowing it was pure political theater?

How many times during your period of “leadership” did you vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act knowing the bill was dead on arrival?

How many times did you vote for bills constructed around the bogus term “Partial Birth Abortion?”

How many times did you vote to support gag rules concerning information about abortion while you spoke out of the other side of your mouth about the importance of ‘free speech?”

How many times did you vote to please the NRA, making a joke out of locally issued Concealed Carry Weapons Permits.  How do you justify pushing a bill (co-sponsoring it) to remove silencers from weapons regulations that have been in existence since 1934?

And now you have the unmitigated gall to tell us that you don’t want to “push a bill the President would veto?” You are so enamored of the ways in which THIS president can advance Republican goals that you refuse to notice, much less speak out against, the manifest horror of his bullying, pandering to white supremacists, scapegoating of immigrants, name-calling, and demeaning of the judiciary? Why can you not consider any legislation to curb this man’s autocratic tendencies? How can you stand by and listen to him demean mainstream media, media that actually still funds investigative research instead of thinly veiled propaganda?

Spare me, McMorris Rodgers. Hypocrisy is not a leadership skill. You may shed a genuine tear over the plight of the Dreamers, but you have too much fealty to your rotting Party to stand up and actually offer the Dreamers any help unless you can extract money for Trump’s wall and avoid the threat of their becoming real citizens and able to cast a vote.

Keep to the high ground,


CMR’s DACA Bait and Switch

Dear Group,

Trump has whipped up a storm of anti-immigrant fervor (with the considerable assistance of Steve Bannon). He seems to delight in firing up his base with tales of MS-13 gang member activities and then avoiding any distinction between gang members and immigrants in general. His crowds eat it up. To be sure, in his mercurial way he did once throw out a lifeline to DACA recipients, but only after making a show of putting their lives in jeopardy by announcing he would cancel DACA this spring. (So far, that is mostly stalled in the courts, but DACA recipients live lives of ongoing insecurity.)

I was surprised at the Green Bluff Town Closet to hear McMorris Rodgers say they were working hard on a “deal” in the House that would give relief to DACA recipients, the very people that her President has been threatening with deportation and using as a bargaining chip since last fall. It seems clear that if offering DACA recipients a path to citizenship were to come to a clean vote it would pass both the House and Senate. So when she spoke of a “discharge petition” around DACA I briefly dared to hope.

If an absolute majority of the House sign a discharge petition a bill or bills will be “discharged” from committee and voted on the House floor. In this particular case a successful discharge petition would bring to a vote on the House floor four competing DACA “solution” bills. The one that gets the most votes would go to the Senate (only if the approval vote of the winning bill is a majority). The parliamentary details are laid out in an article from the this highly right-biased publication RedState. An “absolute majority” of the House (for a discharge petition) is 218. 192 of 193 Democrats have signed on, as have 23 Republicans, making 213. Obviously, Republican leadership (Ryan/McConnell) would not be happy if this reaches 218. It is a black-eye for them.

Here’s where it gets interesting: McMorris Rodgers is NOT a signatory to the discharge petition. I suppose it would be bad form for her, since she is most often seen behind Paul Ryan’s right shoulder. To hear her speak on Tuesday you would be forgiven if you thought she had a lot of sympathy for the Dreamers (DACA recipients) and she were actively “working” on coming to their aid.

She did discuss one “solution:” funding for the wall in exchange for “a path to ‘permanent residency status.'” I asked for clarification: “That is, NOT a path to citizenship, is that right?” I had heard correctly. Her excuse was to claim that “it wouldn’t become law” implying, I guess, that Trump wouldn’t sign it. But who knows what Trump might do on any given day?

Here’s the crux: The Republicans really, really don’t want any more brown skinned voters in their future, especially brown-skinned people whom they have threatened and bullied.

So in summary, Trump riles up the anti-immigrant, racist base of the far right. Trump threatens the Dreamers with deportation claiming DACA was unconstitutional and knowing the Democrats can always be counted on to be sympathetic. Trump sets a time line and bangs the drum for money for his wall. McMorris Rodgers and company offer themselves as saviors who will broker a tough deal the President just might sign, but they are careful NOT to offer citizenship as even an eventual goal. Meanwhile she pretends sympathy but refuses to sign the discharge petition. Her goal: we leave Green Bluff thinking her heart is in the right place and she’s working hard to make things right for the Dreamers. Pretty slick. Is anyone paying attention?

Keep to the high ground,