DC Memo: As stupid as selfish

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Hello and welcome to the DC Memo. This week you can find me… in North Star State itself! I had a great time this week seeing friends and family again, spending time in the great outdoors and meeting my colleagues in person for the first time. I started this work remotely during the pandemic, so this is the first chance I have to see someone beyond the Zoom screen. But Washington doesn’t stop when I leave. In this week’s memo: An Unauthorized Trip to Kabul, Representative Angie Craig speaks out against “Defund the Police” and the consequences of George Floyd’s death.

You are not supposed to be there

A quick update on Afghanistan, as conditions in Kabul change hour by hour: There has been at least two explosions confirmed, who according to POLITICS were ISIS-K suicide bombers on Thursday at the gate of Kabul airport and at a nearby hotel. This came after warnings of a terrorist attack.

The United States is still trying to extract vulnerable citizens, allies and Afghans from the country, but efforts are starting to falter as the situation becomes increasingly risky. President Joe Biden has declared August 31 to be the deadline for getting people out of Afghanistan.

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U.S. Representatives Peter Meijer, R-Michigan, and Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts, made an unauthorized trip to Kabul early Tuesday morning, departing less than 24 hours later on a flight to evacuate U.S. citizens, allies and vulnerable Afghans.

As you might expect, the Pentagon and the State Department were pissed off.

A senior administrative official spoke to the Washington Post on condition of anonymity to draw up a frank and uncensored assessment of the trip:

“It’s as stupid as it is selfish,” the official said. “They are taking seats away from Americans and Afghans at risk – while putting our diplomats and our military at risk – so they can spend a moment in front of the cameras.”

“We have been on the other side of this argument while we served and that is just not correct,” said Moulton and Meijer, both veterans who served in Iraq. “Trust us: the professionals in the field are mission-focused. Many thanked us for coming.

If you’ve been following MinnPost this week (you are, haven’t you?) You will have seen that Meijer recently met Rep Angie Craig in her home district as part of an exchange program. of Congress. I could not reach Meijer on the phone, with the explanation that he was busy with Afghanistan. I guess that’s what his team meant by that.

Senate Democrats cast votes on budget and infrastructure

I’ll be brief, as we’ve just released a detailed look at the infrastructure deal and the split between moderates and progressives, where you can read more about the key arguments unfolding between the disparate groups within the Democratic Party.

On a broader level, here’s what you need to know:

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  • Members of the House of Representatives voted on party lines on Tuesday to approve the $ 3.5 trillion budget spending bill for consideration. It does not mean that the bill has passed. It just gives lawmakers the chance to start drafting the legislative text of the bill, which will be a complicated process for anyone trying to get their priority projects off the ground.
  • This vote was an attempt to appease moderate Democrats who did not want to consider the budget before passing the $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill – now September 27 is the deadline for a vote to pass the law Project.
  • The end of September is likely to become very controversial as lawmakers from all political walks of life try to incorporate their priorities into the massive spending bill before September 27.

As for the Republican delegates from Minnesota: most were not very happy with the budget. Seventh District Representative Michelle Fischbach told Nancy Pelosi during the votes that the budget bill “provides for the consideration of two controversial and partisan bills … which remove local control and add billions of dollars to the budget. national debt “.

Sixth District Representative Pete Stauber also challenged the budget bill, saying it increased overall spending and the national debt, and that Congress needed to focus on different priorities: “Instead of ruining us, the Both sides of the aisle must start working together to find common sense solutions to the many crises caused by Biden, such as soaring inflation, chaos on our southern border, the dramatic increase in crime and the disaster that is taking place in Afghanistan, ”Stauber said in a statement.

Angie Craig Won’t Fund The Police

Representative Angie Craig issued a statement this week, showing his opposition to the “Defund the Police” effort in Minneapolis.

“There is a broad consensus around many police reforms in our communities and a lot of work to be done before all of our communities feel safe for everyone. However, I am strongly opposed to the Minneapolis Ballot Initiative, which I believe would jeopardize public safety and diminish accountability. The Yes 4 Minneapolis referendum is shortsighted, misguided and likely to harm the very communities it seeks to protect, ”said Craig.

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She also said it was “simply unimaginable” that the Yes 4 Minneapolis referendum could lead to the dismissal of leader Medaria Arradondo “at a time when his strong and trusted leadership is needed more than ever.”

“Given the gravity of this situation and the implications it could have on our great state and our region, I feel responsible for denouncing this initiative, which would create confusion and uncertainty around public security in the largest city in our state – while potentially undermining the safety and security of our communities, ”said Craig.

In the context of the 2022 midterm election, that’s probably a smart move for Craig. Republicans are eyeing his seat, and national media are associating Minneapolis’ “defund” narrative as a major responsibility for Democrats in suburban neighborhoods like Craig’s. She told me herself last week that her constituency has about a third Democrats, a third Republican, and a third undecided. This is dangerous ground for a Democratic representative in 2022.

Craig’s move here could be a harbinger of a distancing between centrist Democrats and progressives like Representative Ilhan Omar. Craig’s neighborhood will be one to watch in 2022.

What we can learn from the consequences of the business

Speaking of “Defund the Police,” the Washington Post published an analysis another national phenomenon that emerged from the police murder of George Floyd. Hundreds of companies, from large corporations to small businesses, have pledged on social media that they “listen and learn” and have made broad commitments to racial justice.

The Post’s analysis shows that where and how these companies spent their money have become “the most visible signs of their priorities.”

At first glance, the numbers look pretty good: To date, America’s 50 largest state-owned companies and their foundations have collectively pledged at least $ 49.5 billion since Floyd’s murder last May to tackle racial inequality.

Looking further, however, the Post found that “more than 90 percent of that – $ 45.2 billion – is allocated in the form of loans or investments that they could profit from, more than half under form of mortgage loans. Two banks – JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America – accounted for almost all of these liabilities. “

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So what does a commitment to racial justice really mean in a capitalist society? We probably won’t learn this from big companies, and it will likely come more from individual stocks than from good corporate actions.

What I am reading

  • Her name is not Honey Boo Boo, Teen Vogue. Do you remember the hold this 6-year-old child star had on society around 2012? Otherwise, this story probably won’t be very culturally relevant to you. But if you know, you know. On the cusp of her 16th birthday, Alana Thompson is no longer the exuberant childish beauty queen the world knew as Honey Boo Boo. In this article by author and journalist Rainesford Stauffer, Alana talks about her life as a public high school student and her dreams for the future.
  • The Secret Bias Lurking in Mortgage Approval Algorithms, The markup. Before reading this article, I had heard that homeowners of color have a harder time selling their homes than their white counterparts, especially if the family photos in the home show non-white residents. This survey from The Markup shows that similar inequalities exist in the home buying process – nationally, loan seekers of color were 40-80% more likely to be denied a loan than their counterparts white.
  • Trying – and failing – to save the family of the Afghan who saved me, New Yorker. I don’t necessarily have the words to explain this article, and in some ways the title says it all. Although thousands of people have managed to leave Afghanistan in recent weeks, many are still being left behind.

That’s it for me this week. Thanks for reading. As always, feel free to send any questions, concerns, or favorite ways to spend time in Minnesota to [email protected], or find me on Twitter at @byashleyhackett.



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