Apparently Rep. Tom Emmer didn’t get the word. Which is remarkable because he’s the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives. This week, Emmer emailed his Sixth District constituents asking what issues we want addressed by the 118th Congress.
He provided this list to get the discussion going:
- Reining in government spending and cutting the deficit.
- Curbing inflation.
- Addressing the mental health and substance abuse crisis.
- Supporting our farmers and ranchers.
- Restoring energy independence.
- Empowering our law enforcement.
- Securing our southern border.
He lays out the most pressing topics facing government. Whether Republican or Democrat, most of us would come up with a similar list. But there’s one big problem. Emmer’s House isn’t interested in those topics. During their first week in power, they passed a series of message bills that have no chance of becoming law.
On their first day of legislative business, they voted to repeal funding for a fictitious “87,000 IRS agents” who don’t exist and never will. When you figure in attrition, the expected increase in personnel would be more like 40,000, over the course of a decade, which would restore IRS staffing to 1990 levels. Only about 6,500 of the new hires would be agents. The rest would be customer-service representatives data specialists.
Next they approved legislation to outlaw infanticide, which is already illegal and always has been. The bill was one of three antiabortion measures House Republicans prioritized in their first week of legislating: New House rules promising a vote on permanently banning federal abortion funds, a denunciation of violence against antiabortion groups and the born-alive bill. In between, they set up a Judiciary subcommittee to investigate the “weaponization” of government.
So much for Emmer’s list about what the people want covered.
When the Republicans gained the House majority, Emmer moved up to the No. 3 spot – Majority Whip. The top two players are Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
If you watched the televised voting for speaker, you probably noticed Emmer scurrying around the House floor rounding up votes. That’s the whip’s job. Some might call him McCarthy’s enforcer. According to reporting, Emmer played even a bigger role behind the scenes bringing anit-McCarthy members to his office to win their support.
Last fall, Emmer headed the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House. While Emmer’s efforts fell far short of the predicted Red Wave, which would have given Republicans a 20-30 seat majority, the Republicans did gain control with a five-seat majority. Although he didn’t meet expectations, he outperformed his Senate counterpart, Sen. Rick Scott, whose efforts resulted in Republicans losing a seat.
Emmer earning these high-profile positions and being a key player in McCarthy’s election to speaker should be a win for the Sixth District. Whatever party, it’s always good when your congressman is in leadership. Many newly elected Republicans owe him favors for helping them win. And McCarthy certainly owes him big-time for his win. That should translate to support for Emmer’s legislation.
So why is McCarthy ignoring Emmer’s issues? When McCarthy was “interviewed” by Fox personality Sean Hannity last week, Emmer’s issues barely got a nod. Here’s what was discussed:
Total mentions of inflation: 1.
Total mentions of jobs: 1.
Total mentions of the economy: 2.
Total mentions of investigations: 20.
Do the Republicans have a plan for any of Emmer’s issues? Apparently not. The issues are complicated and challenging. Let’s just look at one – immigration – that’s been on everyone’s list of challenges for decades.
We all agree the country needs to control who comes across the border. But how? A big wall along the 2,000-mile border or how about stacking up spare shipping containers? What do we do with the more than 11 million undocumented people already here? Should there be a path to citizenship, or should we round them all up? What about the 800,000 people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? What’s your plan, Rep. Emmer?
When is Emmer going to lead on real issues instead of wasting time on messaging bills that have zero chance of becoming law?