Whichever media source you turn to underscores that the American public — both conservative and liberal — is frustrated and disappointed with the performance of Congress. This frustration seems well placed.
The Senate has used its powers to block a variety of actions, laws and presidential appointments, including the appointment of a Supreme Court justice. The Republican-dominated House hasn’t passed a budget in years; hasn’t repaired a bridge; hasn’t created a job; but has spent millions, according to Republican sources, trying to smear the administration or Hillary Clinton.
Incredibly, the 114th Congress has enacted into law only six of the more than 2,600 bills that were introduced in the first session.
The previous 113th Congress, by all accounts, was the absolute worst in terms of legislation passed in all of American history. It looks like the 114th is well on its way to surpassing the 113th in terms of abysmal performance.
Unfortunately, our own congressman, David Brat, part of a distinct minority faction called the “Freedom Caucus,” seems comfortable with this chaos. Perhaps it will keep the focus off of his failure as a congressman. Indeed, he may hope to continue this debacle by seeking re-election this coming November. The far right is apparently happy with this anarchy. The rest of us — moderate Republicans, Independents, Democrats of all persuasions — may prefer that our government representatives in the Congress perform the duties that are assigned to them by our Constitution.
Brat is so out of line with the vast majority of his colleagues that he voted against Paul Ryan for House Speaker. His back-bencher minority status and performance makes him a singularly ineffective representative from the great Commonwealth of Virginia and for our congressional district.
Brat has been so inconsequential that he has sponsored only 12 bills during his 18 months in office and only one of them has actually been passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president: H.R. 2693 — to designate the arboretum at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, as the “Phyllis E. Galanti Arboretum.” All the rest of his bills, which have at the very most only 15 cosponsors, but mostly between two and five, have been referred to committee where they languish.
What else has he accomplished? Brat voted against a Republican-sponsored bipartisan bill to help developing countries to reduce global poverty and hunger, especially for women and children. Brat was one of 12 who voted against the Republican-sponsored bipartisan bill for the provision of grants to maintain the national 9/11 memorials at the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. Brat voted against his Republican colleagues in passing a federal program providing American workers displaced by foreign trade agreements with job training and services. Brat voted against the Iran Nuclear Deal, which has now demonstrated complete success in sending all of Iran’s bomb-capable uranium on a one-way trip back to Russia. Brat voted against fellow Republicans in reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and allowing it to resume offering assistance in the form of loans and insurance to foreign companies that want to buy U.S. goods. Brat voted against an amendment to the Patriot Act that would severely limit U.S. agencies spying on American citizens.
Brat strongly disagrees with allowing women to make their own health care decisions. He strongly disagrees with providing health insurance to 400,000 of Virginia’s poorest citizens. Brat strongly opposes any sensible efforts to try to reign in the gun violence afflicting America. He strongly opposes any efforts to expand energy production into solar, wind, or any other sector that might mitigate the effects of climate change. He strongly opposes any efforts to stimulate the economy.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Do your own research and fact-checking at https://ballotpedia.org/David_Brat and at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/david_brat/412605/report-card/2015.
Voters in Culpeper County and the 7th Congressional District do have an alternative to Dave Brat — in Eileen Bedell, a Virginia-born and educated attorney from Richmond. As a small business owner and mother, she is focused on the issues that affect us all. Her kitchen-table approach to these issues in meetings with citizens and on radio and TV are moderate and practical. You can watch these interviews yourselves and draw your own conclusions.
Check her out on Facebook and on www.BedellforVirginia.com. You can meet Eileen and discuss your viewpoints and problems with her directly at the Beer Hound Brewery in Culpeper at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. If you are concerned about your future and your family’s future, I urge you to attend.
NOTE: This article was reprinted with authors permission, and in the Culpeper Star Exponent appears here in the Culpeper Star Exponent.