|INDIANAPOLIS – With a full week now to review President Trump’s budget and its horrendous cuts, both Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita continue to refuse to tell constituents where they stand.
President Trump’s budget, released last Tuesday, not only alienates Democrats and Independents, but a good number of Republicans as well. While prioritizing an expensive ramp up in military spending, it cuts nearly $1 trillion over the next ten years from the safety net and other programs aimed at helping the less fortunate. That includes nearly $200 billion from food stamp programs and an another $800 billion in Medicaid cuts that will hurt everyone from older Americans to disabled children and their families. The budget also includes nearly $6.2 trillion in new tax cuts, most of which would flow to the wealthy.
Both Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita have moved in lock step with President Trump so far, with Congressman Messer being described as “one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders” and Congressman Rokita talking up his “votes to support President Trump’s agenda.” But while their constituents clamor for clarity on whether they’ll stand against Trump’s brutal proposed cuts, or if they’ll act once more as a rubber stamp for the Trump agenda, both Congressmen have failed to take a position on the issue.
Congressman Messer has so far stayed quiet on the overall budget, only releasing a statement on a specific provision involving the Child Tax Credit but ignoring the other cuts. Congressman Rokita, meanwhile, released a statement praising the President following the release of the budget; however, his office later backtracked, reaching out to the Journal Gazette to clarify that his comments were not intended to be praise for the the budget itself, which Congressman Rokita is apparently “still reviewing.” Seven days later, he apparently still hasn’t reached a conclusion.
“A budget is a statement of priorities, and while President Trump’s priorities of massive cuts to the safety net and huge tax cuts for the rich are proudly on display, Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s only priorities appear to be avoiding their constituents and covering up their opinions,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Whether it’s refusing to say anything at all, or in Congressman Rokita’s case, backtracking and trying to claim that the statement he put out was actually meaningless, both Congressmen are trying to have their cake and eat it too by refusing to weigh in on this toxic budget. A week is more than enough time to reach an opinion—it’s time to stop hiding and come clean with Hoosiers on where they stand.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Joe Donnelly remains well connected to the people he serves while Republicans struggle with their “draconian” agenda, according to analysis from the latest Howey Politics. Immensely unpopular Republican proposals, such as the brutal cuts in the Trump Budget and their health care overhaul that will take away care for 23 million Americans, are setting the stage for a friendly Democratic 2018 environment. Meanwhile, Joe continues to put in the hard work that makes him popular with Hoosiers, making himself known to voters and reaching across the aisle to establish his independence. No matter the environment, Republicans “might have second thoughts” as they try to take him on.
From Howey Politics: How Trump will play in 2018 mid-term
WASHINGTON – The 2018 midterm elections are still a year and a half away, but Republicans in Washington are beginning to panic about their prospects. With questions about Russian interference and possible collusion connected to the 2016 Trump campaign on the rise, and the president’s approval ratings sinking, some political forecasters predict a big Democratic year.
Republican congressional leadership is said to be sticking to Trump for fear of jeopardizing their agenda, specifically repealing Obamacare and overhauling the tax code. But it is those very policies that may prove to be their greatest liability in 2018. The Trump budget includes cuts so draconian that even Senate Republicans like Lindsay Graham have blasted it. Those cuts are to be paid for by yet more tax breaks for the wealthy. Meanwhile, the House Republicans’ version of “repeal and replace” will eliminate health care for 23 million Americans according to the Congressional Budget Office, and empower the big insurance companies to make key health care decisions rather than doctors and patients.
…Donnelly has ridden both Democratic waves and withstood Republican routs. His 2012 win over the hapless Richard Mourdock for the Senate seat held by Dick Lugar was the first time a Hoosier Democrat won a Republican held Congressional seat, House or Senate, in a presidential year since Lee Hamilton and Andy Jacobs were swept into office by the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964. Donnelly comes across as genuine, is likable, and has demonstrated independence from Democratic leadership. He is visibly a hardworking senator in a state that believes in hard work.
Two Republican House members considering challenging Donnelly, Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, are raising money for a possible Senate race, but might have second thoughts about giving up relatively safe seats if a Democratic wave seems to be developing. They have until January 2018 to decide. Donnelly would be a tough out even in a more Republican friendly environment.
Failure to take a position comes less than a month after breaking with party and voting to shut down the government
INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Messer’s irresponsibility on government spending policy continued this week, as he remained silent on President Trump’s budget proposal less than a month after breaking with party leadership and voting against a crucial government spending bill.
As the dust falls from the release of the Trump Administration’s budget on Tuesday, nearly every Republican has made their stance clear on the document, with a surprising number struggling to embrace its draconian cuts. But while his likely primary opponent, Congressman Rokita, has embraced the budget and the “tough decisions” it contains, Congressman Messer has yet to weigh in. Congressman Messer has commented on one specific proposal in the budget closing a loophole in the Child Tax Credit—however, he’s managed so far to stay silent on the overall plan.
The budget Congressman Messer has been keeping quiet on doubles down on an expensive military ramp-up at the expense of domestic programs and initiatives aimed at helping the less fortunate. It also contains tax cuts worth nearly $6.2 trillion over 10 years, which would largely flow to the wealthy. In turn, the budget cuts nearly $1 trillion from safety net programs over the next ten years, including $193 billion from food stamps and nearly $800 billion from Medicaid.
Congressman Messer’s surprising silence comes only a few weeks after an earlier shocking move, when he voted on May 3 to shut down the government. Despite belonging to congressional Republican leadership, Congressman Messer, with little explanation, broke with his party and voted against a bill funding the government through the end of September. Congressman Messer still has provided little explanation for his vote.
“Congressman Messer has tried to leave as little daylight as possible between himself and President Trump, but now that the Trump Budget is out, he’s nowhere to be found,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Congressman Messer’s constituents deserve to know where he stands on this awful budget and its massive cuts. It’s time for him to stop hiding, show some leadership and tell Hoosiers where he stands.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Messer today claimed that a Montana Republican candidate’s decision to physically attack a reporter may benefit him in tonight’s election, raising questions about how he himself may campaign if he chooses to seek statewide office next year.
Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana’s at-large congressional seat, was charged with misdemeanor assault this morning by county police for his actions at a campaign event yesterday when he bodyslammed a reporter for The Guardian. When pressed for an answer about yesterday’s CBO score for the Republican health care overhaul, Gianforte “grabbed [the reporter] by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” yelling “I’m sick and tired of you guys… get the hell out of here.” Gianforte’s actions have been corroborated by numerous sources, including reporters for Fox News and Buzzfeed.
Asked about the incident this morning, however, Congressman Messer failed to condemn the candidate’s actions, instead telling an AP reporter, “I’m not sure whether it will hurt him or help him.”
“On the campaign trail and in front of witnesses, a Republican candidate screamed at and physically assaulted a reporter who simply wanted to ask a question about something the candidate may have to vote on if elected—and Congressman Messer thinks that might be beneficial?,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “If that’s how Congressman Messer is thinking about campaigning, Hoosiers ought to be worried not just about whether he’ll be transparent with voters, but whether he might throw them to the ground as well.”
INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody released the following statement on the latest CBO score on the Republican health care overhaul, which claims the bill will cost 23 million Americans their coverage in the next 10 years:
“Now we know why every Republican in Indiana’s House delegation, including Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita, shoved this bill through the House before the final CBO score came out. Tweaks around the edges can’t change the fact that tens of millions of Americans would still be stripped of their health care if this Republican proposal became law, all to finance another tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.
“The numbers in today’s score are so terrifying because the underlying framework of this bill—shoved through by Republicans like Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita to appease their base—is so terrifying. The Republican proposal would cut roughly $850 billion from Medicaid over ten years, gutting HIP 2.0 and vital programs that fund seniors’ beds in nursing homes, help children with disabilities, and combat the scourge of opioid abuse. It amounts to an age tax that that would cause working-class seniors’ healthcare premiums to skyrocket. And as it stands, it would once again allow insurers to discriminate against hundreds of millions of more Americans simply because they were unfortunate enough to have a pre-existing condition.
“That’s a proposal that was heartless even before we knew its impact. Now that we’ve seen the score, it looks simply insane.”