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“Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for it,” Trump said during an immigration speech in Phoenix, Arizona on August 31, 2016.

Nebraska House Delegation Is Too Extreme For Nebraska

In last year’s elections, the Nebraska House GOP candidates ran on the theme that their Democratic opponents were allegedly “extreme.” The Democrats that ran for the House in 2018 campaigned on a platform of expanding affordable health care and education to all Americans. On a national basis, those positions have a high level of support from Democrats, moderate Republicans and independents.

At the same time, Nebraska’s House Republicans falsely presented themselves as moderates. Both Jeff Fortenberry and Don Bacon made the claim that they support protections for pre-existing conditions. However, those claims were contradicted by their voting records. Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith have voted over 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan. All three of Nebraska’s House Republicans voted for Trump Care in 2017, which would have gutted pre-existing conditions protections. The Trump Care bill was so bad that our representatives voted to exempt themselves from its provisions.

Since they have been sworn into office earlier this month, Nebraska’s House Republicans have continued to break their campaign promises and vote with their party bosses and the most extreme members of the GOP House caucus. On January 9, all three of Nebraska’s House delegates voted against allowing the House to intervene in opposition to the GOP lawsuit that was filed with the goal of declaring the ACA unconstitutional.

Last year, twenty red states — including Nebraska — filed a lawsuit aimed at invalidating the entire ACA- including the ban on pre-existing condition clauses. In December 2018, an activist GOP appointed federal district judge in Texas threw out the ACA. However, the ACA remains in place pending an appeal.

Simply stated, our representatives voted against allowing the House of Representatives to defend the ACA from a constitutional challenge. What that means is that Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith support this lawsuit. Once again they have broken their campaign promises and voted to take away insurance from millions of their fellow Americans while they continue to enjoy the benefits of taxpayer subsidized health insurance.

On the same day, our House representatives made another extreme vote by voting against legislation that would’ve partially ended the Trump shutdown by re-opening the Treasury Department and the I.R.S. This would have allowed the federal government to process income tax refunds during the Trump/GOP shutdown. If this ridiculous shutdown continues, millions of Americans’ tax refunds will be unnecessarily delayed for months or even years — if Trump gets his way.

The Trump/GOP shutdown is already hurting millions of Americans. Approximately 800,000 workers have been furloughed without pay. The Trump Administration has recommended that these furloughed workers hold garage sales and to try bartering for rent payments. Nancy Pelosi responded to this ludicrous advice by stating: “ Trump thinks furloughed workers can just ask their father for more money, but they can’t.”

The Trump/GOP shutdown isn’t only effecting tax refunds and federal workers, it is currently hurting millions of Americans in the following ways:

  • Has stopped most food safety inspections.
  • TSA employees are quitting to take paying jobs — this has posed a threat to passenger safety.
  • The immigration courts and e-verify system have been shutdown
  • The federal courts will soon no longer be processing civil lawsuit including ones filed against Trump and his various entities.
  • Food stamp payments will cease by the end of February.

The farmer sector has been hit especially hard by the Trump/GOP shutdown. The Department of Agriculture recently announced that it will be delaying the release of key crop reports depriving farmers of vital information. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. stated that the GOP shutdown has: “Left farmers to fend for themselves. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers and ranchers need information — right now, as a new growing season looms — on how the law will affect their operations heading into the planting year, but no one is in the office or staffing the phones to answer those questions or sign up producers for new programs.”

The Trump shutdown has compounded the damage to farmers already inflicted by the Trump trade war. The shutdown has delayed the payments of subsidies to farmers who have lost money and markets due to the destruction of the soybean export market. A North Carolina farmer reacted with outrage: “This shutdown is affecting small people like myself, but if it continues, America is going to feel the impact everywhere — grocery stores, small businesses, Right now, I need seed and diesel fuel; I do not need a damn wall. That does not help me in my farming operation.”

The Trump/GOP shutdown is a totally unnecessary, self inflicted wound. Lest we forget, let’s remind everybody of how we got into this mess in the first place. During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised numerous times that Mexico would pay for the wall — not U.S. taxpayers. Trump’s latest claim that he never called for Mexico to make a direct border wall payment to the US is yet another lie from the former TV reality star. In April 2016, he offered a plan demanding that Mexico “make a one-time payment of $5 to $10 billion,” or face a series of sanctions designed to extract the funds anyway.

On December 11, 2018, Trump said: “I will take the mantle. I’m not going to blame you for it. I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security. I actually like that in terms of an issue.” Asked on January 4, 2019, whether his feeling from December, when he said he would be “proud to shut down the government,” still stands, Trump said that he is indeed proud to be “doing what I’m doing.”

The House has done its job and passed a government funding bill identical to the one passed unanimously by the Senate in December 2018. It’s time for Fischer and Sasse to recognize that they aren’t Trump’s employees and begin to act as a co-equal branch of government. The GOP Senators need to join the Democrats in re-passing the funding bill that passed the Senate by a 100–0 vote just before Christmas 2018. Please call them now and ask them to do their jobs!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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