News you may have missed

• ERA continues to move forward in Virginia

Connie Brennan reports that the Nelson County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday to not send a resolution supporting for the Equal Rights Amendment to the Virginia General Assembly. The vote was 3 to 2, with Ernie Reed and Tommy Harvey voting in favor of the resolution.

Many Virginia localities have sent resolutions supporting the ERA, however. For example, the entire Harrisonburg City Council recently supported the ratification of the ERA.

Virginia is poised to be the final state ratification needed to push the ERA past the 3/4 mark, and force it into the courts. The ERA measure has been voted out of the Virginia Senate in part with the help of Jill Vogel, a Republican, of Fauquier County.

Besides pressuring our two local Delegates Republicans, Matt Farris & Dickie Bell, Del. Mark Cole, the chairman of the Virginia House Privileges and Elections Committee, also needs to hear from us voters.

• The new House opened January 3rd with a Democratic majority of 40 seats

–Besides having leadership elections and introducing HR 1, they have been dealing with President Trump’s shutdown of the government by passing funding bills for each section of the shut downed government, first with Homeland Security, then Treasury, Interior and the EPA.

• On Friday, the 11th House Democrats passed a bill ensuring government workers get their back pay. To be sure, these bills, at this moment, are going nowhere. They are , however, putting pressure on the Republican House members (as many as 12 House Republicans did support these bills) and the Republican leadership in the Senate where some earlier budget bills have already passed with bipartisan support.

• There was some controversy within the Democratic House Caucus

–Some members voted against electing Nancy Pelosi as speaker including Virginia’s new Congresswoman Abagail Spanberger.

–Some Democrats objected to upholding the PayGo rule which requires any increase in spending be offset with either raised taxes or decreased spending elsewhere. Paul Krugman has a good column explaining why the Democrats should jettison PayGo.

–Some progressives in the Caucus persuaded the leadership to set up a Select Committee on climate change; in fact, they held a sit-in at Pelosi’s office, along with the Sunrise Movement. Leadership relented but the committee has no subpoena power or the power to draft legislation. Expect more pressure to be brought on this issue as the House moves forward.

• And, also…

–Virginia Democrats got a million dollar donation of support for the upcoming legislative races. We hope this money will help candidates such as Tim Hickey finally turn the Virginia legislature blue.

Louis Harpster