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Aguilar Blasts GOP Efforts to Force Inland Empire Families to Foot the Bill For President Trump’s Border Wall

Washington, D.C. — In a press conference this morning and on the House floor this afternoon, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) stood up to House Republican efforts to include $1.6 billion to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall between the United States and Mexico in a spending bill that is intended to support veterans, American troops and defense priorities for the fiscal year. The construction of a border wall was a campaign promise of then-candidate Trump, who said he would make Mexico pay for it.

“The bill we’re talking about today should be about providing critical funds to keep our service members safe, take care of our veterans and to support necessary defense programs; it should not be about helping President Trump keep a campaign promise that has no grounding in reality,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “Rather than come to the table and work on meaningful, bipartisan and long-term solutions to fix our broken immigration system, House Republicans would rather give American families’ paychecks to President Trump so he can build his wall. We are here to do the people’s work. Building this wall doesn’t do the people’s work – it soothes the president’s ego at the expense of American families.”

Rep. Aguilar participated in a press conference with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) earlier this morning to urge his colleagues to oppose legislation that includes the dangerous policy rider that would force Inland Empire families to pay for a border wall with Mexico. Rep. Aguilar is the Whip of the CHC. He also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, the House committee tasked with appropriating funds and spending for the federal government. The press conference was streamed on Facebook Live and can be viewed in full on Rep. Aguilar’s Facebook


Aguilar Responds to Report Projecting 24 Million People Losing Health Coverage Under GOP Plan

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) issued a statement in response to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score of House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal plan. This afternoon, the CBO projected that 24 million Americans will lose health care coverage under House Republicans’ new bill. The legislation would also dramatically increase premiums by allowing insurance companies to charge older adults up to five times more for coverage, driving up premiums for older adults by as much as 25 percent.

“Today’s report confirms what we all feared – House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the ACA will strip health care from millions of hard-working Americans, drive up premiums for older adults, and give tax breaks to the uber-wealthy. This bill is being rushed through Congress because House Republicans know it’s a bad deal for middle-class families. This bill was written in secret, hidden from the public and forced through committees in the dead of night. Now we know why.” said Rep. Aguilar.

Rep. Aguilar worked with House Republicans in the 114th Congress to improve the ACA by repealing the tax on health insurance plans and on medical device manufacturers. Rep. Aguilar supports improving the ACA but remains committed to opposing any actions that threaten affordable coverage for San Bernardino County families, which includes a full repeal of the bill. Rep. Aguilar hosted a health care roundtable on Saturday afternoon, where he met with Inland Empire health care providers, patient advocacy organizations, union representatives and officials from the San Bernardino County Government to discuss the impact of the new health care bill on Inland Empire residents.

The CBO is a nonpartisan, independent federal agency that provides impartial budget analysis and cost estimates for legislation under consideration by Congress. You can read the CBO report on the American Health Care Act here.


No Hope, No Change: The GOP Buries Its Own Autopsy

Your Take: Three years ago the GOP undertook a project to expand its reach to people of color and women, yet the 2016 campaign reflects a more divisive, less inclusive party.

The Republican Party has largely been tone-deaf to the changing electorate, adopting a hands-off approach to the increasingly heated rhetoric we have heard from the party’s presidential front-runner. It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump’s divisive, race-baiting campaign has vaulted him to the top of the Republican primary field. The Republican Party has a long history of using wedge issues—from race to gender equality—to divide our nation.

Everything we have seen from the GOP field this election year directly contradicts the findings of its Growth and Opportunity Project, a so-called autopsy examining how the Republican Party should engage and broaden its appeal among women, people of color, aspiring Americans and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. As we mark the third anniversary of the autopsy, it’s become increasingly clear that the Republican Party never bothered to read its own report and that its findings have been buried alongside any hope the party once had of broadening its reach.

The autopsy noted that “many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.” I take offense at the suggestion that we are wrong in feeling this way.

Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and accused them of bringing drugs and crime into our country during his campaign kickoff in June 2015. His rhetoric has only grown more vicious, giving rise to protests like those we saw in Chicago. Nor did we fail to notice that Trump was slow to distance himself from white supremacist groups that endorsed him, and that he promised to pay legal expenses of supporters who assaulted protesters.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who would like to paint himself as Trump’s only viable challenger for the Republican nomination, is hardly any different. In 2013 Cruz bragged to a crowd at the conservative Heritage Foundation that the first political donation he ever made was to Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and exclaimed that “we need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.” Helms was known for his staunch opposition to civil rights legislation, pledging to make Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, cry by singing “Dixie.”

We’ve heard other dog whistles from the Republican presidential contenders. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush erroneously claimed that the Democratic Party owes its loyalty among black voters to “free stuff,” repeating a claim that Mitt Romney made after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio declared that the October Democratic debate was a competition to see who could “give away the most free stuff,” and Ohio Gov. John Kasich later made a similar claim at a New Hampshire town hall.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party refuses to acknowledge the dire economic realities in vulnerable communities like Flint, Mich. Flint is slowly recovering from a major public health crisis, a fact that was barely addressed at the Republican debate in Detroit. Flint looks like so many other cities across our nation and is grappling with the effects of Republican policies that prioritize tax cuts for the few at the very top at the expense of those who promote the public good.

The Republican Party was also content to let Detroit go bankrupt in 2013 and opposed President Obama’s plan to rescue the struggling American automotive industry. Make no mistake—their vision of a smaller government would reduce access to better educational opportunities for our children, roll back affordable health care for those who need it most and strip away critical environmental protections that safeguard our communities.

Republican Party leaders can write as many autopsies as they want to try to make sense of their failures and appeal to a more diverse constituency, but all the reports in the world won’t change the mind of a single voter if they don’t take their own advice.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Virgie M. Rollins, a Detroit resident, is chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus.

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