The HR3 Ten: Meet Joe Donnelly: Not Quite as Big a D*** as Heath Shuler

Sarah Jaffe

If jobs, the deficit, and education are the top priorities for Blue Dogs like Donnelly, why are they supporting a radical anti-choice agenda to deprive pregnant people of access to health care?

Ten Democrats cosponsored H.R.3, even with language redefining rape; four of those ten also apparently don’t care if pregnant women die. Sarah Jaffe takes a closer look at all ten, find all posted to date here.

In the run-up to the 2010 election, Melinda Henneberger at Politics Daily wrote of Joe Donnelly: 

Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Donnelly and his Republican challenger in next month’s election, state Rep.Jackie Walorski, have a fair amount in common: Both are pro-gun, pro-life, and oppose climate change legislation, though it’s Donnelly who has been endorsed by the NRA, and he, too, who emphasizes his stand against illegal immigration. Both candidates are running against Nancy Pelosi and on Hoosier valueswhatever those might be

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Despite running against his own party and its priorities, Joe Donnelly got $770,760.74 in DCCC expenditures in his race. Not bad, eh? Donnelly’s district was a “red to blue” target in 2006, and so the party kept pouring money in to keep him in it.

Molly McClure is from Donnelly’s district, and she notes that while Indiana as a whole is pretty conservative, it did vote for Obama in 2008–the first time a Democrat had taken the state since 1964 and Barry Goldwater’s epic loss. Obama took South Bend/St. Joseph County in ’08, but much of the rest of the district voted McCain. She notes that the district is heavily Catholic–in addition to Notre Dame, other Catholic schools are prominent in the area.

So during the 2010 campaign, Donnelly was running ads slagging his (female) Majority Leader at the time and his (black) president, notably over the issue of immigration. As Greg Sargent noted, he’s from Indiana–not exactly a contentious border state. Yet he couldn’t even bring himself to vote for the DREAM Act to give immigrant kids citizenship if they went to college or joined the military. 

And of course, as soon as the election was over, Donnelly didn’t hesitate to jump in for HR3. What better way to prove he’s still independent, right? Although he isn’t (as of yet) a cosponsor of HR358, that hardly makes him a feminist, eh? 

He did release this statement on the removal of “forcible” from HR3, but notably says nothing about the fact that he was willing to put his name on the bill as is (and, as of now, it still is).

“I welcome yesterday’s news that Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, the author of H.R. 3, is going to strike the word “forcible” from the bill,” said Donnelly. “Doing so will bring the bill’s language in line with the language of the Hyde Amendment, which has been the law of the land for 35 years. The intention of the bill, as originally drafted, was not to change existing law regarding the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion-related services in cases of rape. Rape is a violent and despicable act in every circumstance. It is my firm belief that our laws should always reflect that fact.”

His other priorities in the current Congress are, apparently, celebrating the goodness of our Catholic schools and the “Collectible Firearms Protection Act.” No word on whether he thinks people ought to be protected from collectible firearms, but he apparently thinks you should be able to import a lot of them.

His top earmarks are defense (obviously) as well as local transportation and a million bucks to his alma mater, Notre Dame. They’ve paid him back with $46,702 in campaign cash, as well. 

Donnelly is on the Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. He’s also on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs,  Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs and the Subcommittee on Health. 

Donnelly is just fine with extending the PATRIOT Act and FISA, the Bush-era surveillance programs that have admittedly become slightly more bipartisan since Obama took office. He’s also voted with Republicans on war funding without benchmarks for withdrawal. 

He’s been squishy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, first voting against repeal “because the Pentagon study group was still working on its assessment of the impact of a possible lifting of the ban.” He did eventually call for repeal and vote for repeal. 

Donnelly appears to have gubernatorial ambitions–and so, apparently does Mike Pence. 

Unlike Critz and Shuler, Donnelly did not oppose health care reform and wasn’t on the original Stupak letter, though he did vote for the Stupak amendment and, Molly McClure notes, refuse to vote for health care until Obama committed to the executive order recodifying the Hyde amendment. He also did vote for the stimulus bill, making his claims of supporting “jobs and education” at least sort of valid. 

But then we have to ask–if jobs, the deficit, and education are the top priorities for Blue Dogs like Donnelly, why are they going along with a radical antichoice agenda that would deprive pregnant people of access to health care? 

You can ask him here or contact: 

1530 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3915
Fax: (202) 225-6798

And of course, ask the DCCC why they poured so much money into a Democrat who was running ads against them? 

430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: (202) 863-1500 

While you’re at it, you can ask them why they’re only asking for $100,000 for “the DCCC’s Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund.”  Antichoice Dems are worth $3.4 million and women’s health is worth $100,000?

Meet Mike McIntyre next! Meet Heath Shuler and Mark Critz here

News Politics

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns as Chair of DNC, Will Not Gavel in Convention

Ally Boguhn

Donna Brazile, vice chair of the DNC, will step in as interim replacement for Wasserman Schultz as committee chair.

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) resigned her position as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), effective after the convention, amid controversy over leaked internal party emails and months of criticism over her handling of the Democratic primary races.

Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel on Monday that she would not gavel in this week’s convention, according to Politico.

“I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future,” Wasserman Schultz said in a Sunday statement announcing her decision. “Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention.”

“We have planned a great and unified Convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had,” Wasserman Schultz continued.

Just prior to news that Wasserman Schultz would step down, it was announced that Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) would chair the DNC convention.

Donna Brazile, vice chair of the DNC, will step in as interim replacement for Wasserman Schultz as committee chair.

Wasserman Schultz’s resignation comes after WikiLeaks released more than 19,000 internal emails from the DNC, breathing new life into arguments that the Democratic Party—and Wasserman Schultz in particular—had “rigged” the primary in favor of nominating Hillary Clinton. As Vox‘s Timothy B. Lee pointed out, there seems to be “no bombshells” in the released emails, though one email does show that Brad Marshall, chief financial officer of the DNC, emailed asking whether an unnamed person could be questioned about “his” religious beliefs. Many believe the email was referencing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT).

Another email from Wasserman Schultz revealed the DNC chair had referred to Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, as a “damn liar.”

As previously reported by Rewire before the emails’ release, “Wasserman Schultz has been at the center of a string of heated criticisms directed at her handling of the DNC as well as allegations that she initially limited the number of the party’s primary debates, steadfastly refusing to add more until she came under pressure.” She also sparked controversy in January after suggesting that young women aren’t supporting Clinton because there is “a complacency among the generation” who were born after Roe v. Wade was decided.

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party,” said Sanders in a Sunday statement. “While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”

Sanders had previously demanded Wasserman Schultz’s resignation in light of the leaked emails during an appearance earlier that day on ABC’s This Week.

Clinton nevertheless stood by Wasserman Schultz in a Sunday statement responding to news of the resignation. “I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership,” said Clinton. “There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie—which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states.”

Clinton added that she still looks “forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid.” Wasserman Schultz faces a primary challenger, Tim Canova, for her congressional seat in Florida’s 23rd district for the first time this year.

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.