civil-rights

Dan Lipinski demurs on LGBTQ bill, Marie Newman pounces
Illinois congressman is only House Democrat not co-sponsoring Equality Act

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., hasn’t signed on to the Equality Act because he says it conflicts with his position on religious liberties. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When House Democrats introduced a signature measure this week that would extend civil rights protections for LGBTQ people, only one from their ranks was missing from the long list of co-sponsors — Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski. His likely primary challenger was watching. 

Marie Newman, who is exploring another progressive bid to unseat the eight-term lawmaker, drew attention to Lipinski’s apparent lack of support for the measure, dubbed HR 5, in a fundraising email Thursday. 

How big and little lies, plus cash, prop up the ‘American dream’
It takes some major gaslighting to turn the long-excluded into the villain

Charles Boyer menaces Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film “Gaslight.” If the outraged reactions to the latest college admission scandal are any indication, Americans may be ready to wake up and smell the gaslighting, Curtis writes. (Courtesy MovieStillsDB)

OPINION — In the 1944 film “Gaslight,” a greedy Charles Boyer, trying to convince his rich, naive wife Ingrid Bergman that she is insane, dims and brightens the gaslights in their home, while insisting it is a figment of her imagination. Today, the term “gaslighting” has come to mean that same psychological manipulation.

America is being “gaslighted.”

Congress pressures immigration officials on sexual abuse allegations involving minors in custody
Senior officials at DHHS have taken offense at the use of the word ‘staff’ to describe predators

Cmdr. Jonathan D. White, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, third from left, took offense at Rep. Ted Deutch’s description of employees who preyed on children in U.S. custody as "HHS staff." (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATE, 2 p.m.:  In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for HHS said officials have been “briefing Members on both sides of the aisle, in both the House of Representatives and Senate, on the allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate sexual behavior.” The spokesperson did not name the lawmakers the agency met with.“HHS ... has communicated to Congressman Deutch that we will be happy to meet with him, once he corrects the hearing record from last week and provides an apology to the dedicated men and women working tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of unaccompanied alien children in our care,” she said.

Trump administration officials overseeing the sheltering of migrant children have refused to meet with some members of Congress about recent allegations that adult employees preyed on children in their custody.

After HR 1 vote, Democrats ready to move quickly on other top 10 bills
Pelosi has been steadily rolling out bills HR 1 through 10 to keep priorities advancing

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are following through on their campaign promises with legislation. She’s designated bills HR 1 through HR 10 to reflect those top priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:03 p.m. | House Democrats were in high spirits Friday after they passed the top item on their policy agenda — a package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls dubbed HR 1 — but they’re not going to stop to celebrate for too long.

The new Democratic majority has been quickly, but steadily and deliberately, rolling out legislation to fulfill their 2018 midterm campaign promises and reintroducing bills that languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House. 

A half-century after Selma, the ‘black friend’ defense is going strong
Too many Americans, like the Oscar-winning ‘Green Book,’ think racism can be solved by making an ‘exceptional’ black friend — as long as the family doesn’t move in next door

Rep. John Lewis stands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The specter of partisan rancor — fueled in part by Mark Meadows’ performance at the Cohen hearings — hangs over this year’s commemoration of Bloody Sunday, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — On a “Meet the Press” appearance a few weeks ago, Ohio Democrat and maybe presidential hopeful Sen. Sherrod Brown was commenting on that slam-bang start to Black History Month, Virginia officials in blackface, when he said, “This country hasn’t dealt well with issues of race. We have a president who’s a racist.” That led host Chuck Todd to ask Brown if he believed Donald Trump was a racist “in his heart,” to which Brown answered, “Well, I don’t know what ‘in his heart’ means.”

Exactly.

Why politicians, and everyone, need to think about legacy
Anti-lynching bill should be a reminder of how history will judge the present

Visitors at the National Memorial For Peace And Justice in Montgomery, Ala., on April 26, 2018. The memorial includes over 800 hanging steel columns, each representing a county where people were lynched. (Bob Miller/Getty Images)

OPINION — At least the bill was approved on a voice vote. That was the bill that would make lynching a federal crime, passed in the Senate late last week — in 2019.

Let that sink in. The legislation still must be approved by the Democrat-controlled House, which is expected to happen with no problem, and be signed into law by President Donald Trump. But it would be unwise to take anything for granted since similar legislation has stalled for more than 100 years, held up by elected public servants who felt that taking a stand would be too politically risky.

Violence Against Women Act extension could complicate spending bill
The existing act has received bipartisan support, but Democrats want an expansion of the law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Violence Against Women Act has arisen as a potential issue with the spending package. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a potential extension of the Violence Against Women Act has emerged as a bit of a complication to passing the spending package. 

“The Speaker is objecting to a modest extension of the Violence Against Women Act,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

How Ralph Northam is spending his Black History Month
The African-Americans of his state have done a whole lot of forgiving since the first enslaved people were brought there centuries ago

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been doing a lot of learning this month — about blackface, apologies and redemption. African-Americans who believe he should stay in his post are used to making political compromises to survive, Curtis writes. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

OPINION — The lessons of this February’s Black History Month commemorations have already veered far beyond the usual ones that begin and end by quoting a snippet of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech — the part about judging folks not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. A new curriculum is being written in real time, affecting real-life politicians and their constituents. And Virginia is hardly the only state not ready for the big exam.

Of course, the politician in question, Gov. Ralph Northam, has been learning as he goes — about blackface, about apologies and about redemption.

The outsiders: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
“We need people like ourselves fighting for policies that work for us”

Sayu Bhojwani is the founder of New American Leaders, which trains first- and second-generation Americans to run for public office. (Marcia Myers/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roll Call’s list of the People to Watch in 2019 continues with three players from outside the Beltway expected to play key roles on the political and policy fronts.

One is working to give immigrant communities greater representation in the public sphere. Another is a state attorney general squaring off with the Trump administration in the courts. And the third is a Canadian politician whose government has plenty of concerns about U.S. positions on trade, human rights and democratic principles. 

Who won’t be at Trump’s State of the Union address
At least 4 are standing the president up, others will wear white to promote a ‘pro-woman’ agenda

Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis is one of at least four Democratic lawmakers to skip President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address tonight. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least four Democrats have openly announced they’re playing hooky for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address tonight.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, and John Lewis will not attend the address, Trump’s third speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol.