With this we introduce a (hopefully, regular) weekly feature, Rodster Watch™. We’ll track what Representative Davis is doing in the District and in DC.
If you have additions or corrections, please comment!
What Rod’s peddling:
- National Defense Authorization Act: NDAA’18 is a yearly act funding US defense. Its passage in Congress is usually a Kabuki dance of posturing. This one gives the DoD way more troops and weaponry than Trumps’ administration requested (remember though, this is just the House version, the Senate will surely correct it). Rod did perform his share of posturing (three tweets and a press release), but actual voting came with some interesting quirks, see below.
- FDA reauthorization bill (akaFederal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) included some language on pediatric cancer: clearly something Rod cannot miss using for publicity – a tweet and a press release followed. The actual legislative contribution by Rod looks mostly thus:
‘(A) in the heading of paragraph (2), by striking “MEETING” and inserting “MEETINGS”; ‘ …
(If you chortle, ask yourself – could you make a grandstanding press release out of this bill? It takes some skill!)
- As an advance shot in the upcoming battle on tax reform, Rod tweeted following this release from Ways and Means. We wrote about it.
- A slew of bills on human trafficking yielded three tweets and a press release. The bills themselves do little to help the victims, but rather provide more funds to law enforcement, such as extra pay for policemen posing as johns. (Scratch PR coating off anything looking humanistic but created by a robot like Rod, and you’ll find more money for police. Seems to be a universal law.)
- Rodney couldn’t refrain from firing a couple of tweets on #NationalDayofCivility. Like scores of other members of Congress, he extolled “the Golden Rule”. The lawmakers, ever looking for
compromise on meaningful policiesnovel ways to grandstand, think they found one. We think this was a lame joke.
- A visit to a VA hospital in St.Louis yielded a press release and two tweets. The optics were funny (to visit a hospital in Missouri to continue his “work to help veterans in the 13th District” of Illinois? A “tour of the Women’s Imaging Center”?), but who cares.
Importantly, Rod did some service to the administration, saying that “[he] continue[s] to work with the White House and VA Secretary David Shulkin to reduce the veterans’ claims backlog…” In reality, the backlog in VA system was dramatically reduced by the Obama administration, and if anything, jumped on Trump’s watch.
- Grandstanding tweets (involving military or law enforcement officers): three.
- Two (bizarre) tweets about a visit to a community center in Edwardsville. It seems Rodney/Ashley believe some “harmful regulations affect” the community center. Community centers mostly connect people to governmental services and charities, – what did Rod/Ashley mean? An enigma, – although a parsimonious explanation would be they just insert “harmful regulation” as a semicolon.
- Bills cosponsored:
- RACE for children – this is the pediatric cancer one, mentioned above. (Rod jumped on the bandwagon months after the bill was initially introduced.)
- Anwar Sadat Centennial Celebration Act – Rod and the Middle East? The peace should be near! but see below…
- Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2017
- Voting: most important vote was, clearly, on NDAA, an utterly uncontroversial defense spending bill, you’d think.
There’s a rub though: NDAA comes with a slew of amendments often addressing some pretty thorny issues that can irritate opponents or the base, such as the (failed) amendment to prohibit the Dept of Defense to pay for gender changing surgeries.
Another such (symbolic, but still) amendment requires DoD to report on the threats that climate change poses to the US military. This amendment was supported by the Climate Solution Caucus, membership in which was touted by Rod as the evidence of his bipartisan bona fides.
So, how did Rod maneuver through these minefields?
- By skipping the votes on these amendments, on July 12 and 13.
Our overworked Rod (the House is in session 106 days out of 196, up to now this year) decided just not to show up for work on these days.
Some family problem? Probably not: Rod tweeted that he is “running into heroes” over there, in DC, on the afternoon of July 12th… What was Rod doing these days, and who else did he meet?</ominous music on the background>
Department of the Bizarre:
But more seriously, speaking of mystery of Rod’s whereabouts: did you know he visited Middle East about a week ago “and met with leaders of Jordan, Egypt, and Israel“? We didn’t either, and we are surprised: typically Rod loves to talk about himself meeting important people. What’s up, Rod?
- CNN interview on Saturday – we didn’t watch it. Why bother? on Twitter, the last outlet where the public still can provide some feedback, Rodney’s tweet garnered above hundred negative comments against a dozen likes, and it is clear that the same tired points are reiterated in the interview.
- An interview on friendly Byers & Co, a show on decaturnow.com.
- Lying with abandon on Sinclair networks. It is not just Fox News or talk radio now, FM frequencies are being taken over by right wing outlets more and more and more.
- Praising his bill enhancing apprenticeship programs. This “who needs college, let’s cut taxes” drive will be a sustained push, we predict. We will write about it later.
- Extolling Paul Ryan’s help with fundraising on buzzfeed. Who doubted that Rod owes Paul bigly.
- Not Rodney but rather his communication director, Ashley Phelps, is quoted in SJ-R with the now standard talking points on health care reform.
What we expect will matter next week:
- Most of the noise will be on the health care and tax reforms. Health care is a losing proposition for the GOP, as long as those affected understand what’s coming upon them: a lot of people on Medicaid do not know they are on it (the names of the program are different in different states, -guess why!), and this will be used by Rod and his ilk.
- Subcommittee on Nutrition holds public Hearing on The Next Farm Bill: Pathways to Success for SNAP Households (Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 10:00) As important as Rod presents himself as an essential advocate for the Farm bill, – which is mostly, in dollar terms, SNAP, i.e. food stamps program, – and we know the history of Rodney’s fight against SNAP.
- Agriculture, Full Committee – Public Hearing RE: The State of Infrastructure in Rural America Wednesday, July 19, 2017 @ 10:00
- Floor: The FAA reform – the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act will be discussed again.
Rod supports drive to privatize the traffic control, which is an amazingly successful government-run program: it oversees 1/4 of all flights worldwide, and has an insanely good safety record. Why change it? Right, – money.
We are watching you, Rod!