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FACT CHECK: Trump says no more planes or cows under Dems

The Free Press WV

Let Democrats have their way, President Donald Trump suggested, and the United States will become a country without border security, airplanes or cows.

Trump warned of a variety of dire consequences from the Democratic playbook as he rallied Monday night in the border city of El Paso, Texas, in a hall where banners proclaimed “Finish the Wall” even though he barely has a start on the one he promised.

Both at the White House and in El Paso, he presented the border wall as a work in progress, hailing the start of a “big, big portion” with much more coming soon. It was a hefty exaggeration from a president who has yet to see an extra mile of barrier completed since he took office.

With another government shutdown looming — a tentative agreement reached by lawmakers Monday could avert it — and illegal immigration still at the heart of the budget dispute, Trump is pulling out the stops to portray his proposed wall as an answer to crime and drugs. As he’s done repeatedly, Trump also defied the record in claiming that the wall that Congress has refused to pay for is rapidly coming together anyway.

In the course of the evening, he also took a swipe at the Green New Deal, a sweeping plan put forward by a group of Democrats last week to transform the U.S. economy to combat climate change and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy. This is where gaseous cows come into it.

A look at his remarks:

TRUMP, on the effects of the Green New Deal: “You’re not allowed to own cows anymore.” He added that the plan would “shut down American energy” and “a little thing called air travel.”

THE FACTS: The Democratic plan would do none of those things. Trump chose to ignore the actual provisions of the plan, which calls for a drastic drop in greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas but would not ban methane-emitting cows or air travel.

Instead, Trump took his cue from a fact sheet that was distributed by the office of Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York last week, then clumsily disavowed by her and replaced with a more accurate summary of the plan.

The first version described measures beyond those contained in the plan, such as: “Build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.” And it made the impolitic statement: “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.” Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, said that was meant as an ironic quip.

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TRUMP, on the effect of a border wall on crime in El Paso: “When that wall went up, it’s a whole different ball game. ... I don’t care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat. They’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference. I heard the same thing from the fake news. They said, ‘Oh crime, it actually stayed the same.’ It didn’t stay the same. It went way down. ... Thanks to a powerful border wall in El Paso, Texas, it’s one of America’s safest cities now.” — rally remarks.

THE FACT: Trump falsely suggests a dramatic drop in crime in El Paso due to a border wall. In fact, the city’s murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. It’s true that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that El Paso’s annual number of reported violent crimes dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in 2016. But that corresponded with similar declines in violent crime nationwide and included periods when the city’s crime rates increased year over year, despite new fencing and walls.

Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.

___

TRUMP, on his proposed wall: “We’ve built a lot of it.” — rally remarks.

TRUMP: “We’ve actually started a big, big portion of the wall today at a very important location, and it’s going to go up pretty quickly over the next nine months. That whole area will be finished. It’s fully funded ... and we’re going to have a lot of wall being built over the next period of time.” — White House remarks.

THE FACTS: There’s less going on here than his words convey. Construction is getting started on merely 14 miles (23 kilometers) of extended barrier, approved by Congress about a year ago in an appropriation that also authorized money to renovate and strengthen some existing fencing. The extension will be in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. That’s not a “big, big portion” of the grand project he promised in his campaign and countless times since — a wall that, combined with existing fencing and natural barriers, would seal the nearly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilomete) border with Mexico.

The recent fight with Democrats in Congress has been over his demand for a $5.7 billion down payment on the wall. That money would pay for a little over 200 miles (320 kilometers) of new barrier. Democrats have refused to approve anything close to that for extended barrier construction.

Trump also promised in the campaign that he would make Mexico pay for the wall, which it refused to do.

He inherited over 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) of border barrier from previous administrations.

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TRUMP, on preparations for his rally: “We have a line that is very long already. I mean, you see what’s going on. And I understand our competitor’s got a line, too, but it’s a tiny little line.” — at the White House.

THE FACTS: That’s not true. His comment came about four hours before his El Paso rally and a competing one nearby, led by Beto O’Rourke, a prospective Democratic presidential contender. The gathering for both events was small at the time. People were standing around in a dusty wind, not so much lined up.

___

TRUMP, addressing El Paso rally: “He has 200 people, 300 people, not too good. ... That may be the end of his presidential bid.”

THE FACTS: That’s not true, either. O’Rourke’s march and rally drew thousands. Police did not give an estimate, but his crowd filled up nearly all of a baseball field from the stage at the infield to the edge of outfield and was tightly packed.

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TRUMP: “Drugs pouring through the border kills tens of thousands of innocent Americans a year, including heroin, meth, cocaine, fentanyl, so many others — they come through the southern border. We have a drug problem over the last 6, 7, 10 years like we have never had before. We can have such a big cut in the numbers, the percentages, if we get the wall built.” — rally remarks.

THE FACTS: His assertion that a wall would stop most drugs from “pouring” into the U.S. runs counter to his government’s findings on how the illegal substances get in. Most of it is smuggled through official border crossings, not remote stretches of the border.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says “only a small percentage” of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. The same is true of drugs generally, with the exception of marijuana.

In a 2018 report, the agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the U.S. through entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also employ buses, cargo trains and tunnels, the report says, citing other smuggling methods that also would not be choked off by a border wall.

___

TRUMP: “Illegal immigration hurts all Americans, including millions of legal immigrants, by driving down wages, draining public resources and claiming countless innocent lives.” — rally remarks.

THE FACTS: These assertions are unsupported by research, which Trump appeared to acknowledge obliquely by making a crack about “phony stats.”

The weight of research on wages suggests that immigrants have not suppressed them, although it’s not cut and dried. What’s clear is that macro forces that go beyond immigration are at work in the sluggishness of wage growth: the decline in unionization, an intensified push to maximize corporate profits, growing health insurance costs that supplant wages and the rise of a lower-wage global labor force that in an intertwined worldwide economy can hinder pay growth for Americans.

On public resources, the National Academy of Sciences concluded: “An immigrant and a native-born person with similar characteristics will likely have the same fiscal impact.” The academy found that because state and local governments supply most of the money for public schools, immigrants often receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. But education produces children who grow into adults who get jobs, buy cars, buy houses and pay taxes and thereby contribute to economic growth. And succeeding generations of immigrant families become net contributors to government budgets, according to the study.

On the loss of lives, plenty of research challenges the assumption that people in the country illegally drive up violent crime. In one such study, sociologists Michael Light and Ty Miller reviewed crime in every state and the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2014. They found that a rising number of immigrants in the country illegally corresponded with a drop, not a rise, in reported crime.

___

TRUMP: “We’re going to El Paso. ... We’re going there to keep our country safe, and we don’t want murderers and drug dealers and gang members, MS-13, and some of the worst people in the world coming into our country. ... We need a wall.” — remarks at White House.

THE FACTS: Trump suggests that weak border enforcement is contributing to vicious crime committed by MS-13, a gang held responsible for murders in cities across the U.S. But sealing the border completely would not eliminate the gang. It was founded in the U.S. in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants and has sunk roots in the country. Some of its members are U.S. citizens and not subject to deportation or border enforcement.

The government has not said recently how many members it thinks are citizens and immigrants. In notable raids on MS-13 in 2015 and 2016, most of the people caught were found to be U.S. citizens.

WV Legislative Update

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At this hour on Sunday evening, I’m preparing to head back to the Capitol by looking over some bills, committee reports and budget documents.  However, I’m really excited that Jessica and the boys are coming in for a long weekend from South Carolina this weekend.  Hopefully, we can get the entire family together, at least for a few hours before everyone is pulled in different directions before heading south.

Every session has a handful of bills that you readily remember by bill number instead of topic or sponsor.  As we’ve eclipsed the halfway point in the session, the most controversial and generating the highest number of emails is Senate Bill 451. This bill is the omnibus education bill that contained literally dozens of separate topics – most being highly controversial.  Thus far, the contact from constituents has been overwhelming opposed to the version that passed the Senate on by a scant 18 – 16 margin.  The vote against was bipartisan.

The bill came to the House Education Committee last week and, to their credit, spent nearly three days dissecting, discussing and debating each separate component of the bill.  What emerged from the Education Committee last Friday night is considerably improved over the Senate version.  However, the bill comes to the House Finance Committee, where there is another opportunity to further improve a bill that, in my opinion, should be chopped up in to separate bills and let each topic stand or fall on its own merits.

Whatever emerges from the Finance Committee will make its way to the House Floor later in the week for a vote at some point late in the week or early next week.  I think at this point it is near certainty that the bill is destined to be returned to the Senate and eventually sent to a House – Senate Conference Committee.  Public hearings are scheduled for Monday morning and later Monday afternoon to provide all concerned to offer their views of SB 451.

An important logjam has been cleared in regard for the banking services for medical cannabis.  HB 2538 seeks to provide banking services to allow implementation of the WV Medical Cannabis Act. Currently, there are no existing laws regarding banking services for medical cannabis, so each state must improvise until Federal law is changed.  The full House will take up the bill this week and send to the Senate for their consideration.  This is important to cancer patients, veterans with PTSD, those suffering from seizure disorders and other qualifying medical conditions specified in Senate Bill 386, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Justice in 2017.  If the bill passes, it could clear the final roadblock in starting up a medical cannabis program.

I want to follow up on notices by DHHR that have or will shortly appear in local publications regarding the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).  DHHR began accepting applications between February 04 and February 22 or until the funds have been exhausted.  The federally funded program assists eligible state residents in paying home heating bills. Eligibility is based on both income and household size.

Applications can be obtained at the local DHHR offices. I’ve had several constituents ask me about this program, as the applications are usually available at an earlier date.  So, if you believe you may be eligible, apply immediately.

I’ve had many visitors from the district visit the office during the first half of the session, which I always encourage and enjoy.  This week, I’m expecting a large delegation from the Farm Bureau; members of the Association of Retired School Employees; YLA 8thgraders from BCMS; and lots of active and retired teachers throughout the week. 

Finally, at week’s end, our nation sits on the precipice of yet another government shutdown.  This should be unacceptable to everyone.  Once again, over 800,000 dedicated federal workers are going to be used as pawns, with hundreds of thousands of other federal contract workers likewise being held hostage at no fault of their own.

Washington DC is dysfunctional from one end of town to another, with workers and their families caught in the middle.  They’re plenty of blame to go around to both the Congress and the Executive branch.  It’s time them to step up and do their jobs, without doing further damage to our dedicated workers and to our reputation around the world.

During the legislative session, please send your inquiries to the Capitol office: State Capitol Building 1, Room 258 M, Charleston, WV 25305. My office telephone number is 304.340.3142; Please send your inquiries to my home office as well:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

A grave violation of the First Amendment

The Free Press WV

The justices who rescued a baker over a wedding cake couldn’t muster the spirit to allow a Muslim prisoner religious guidance before he died.    Slate


You don’t need to have sympathy for a murderer to respect his religious rights at the hour of his death.      National Review


If you’re a non-Christian in Alabama, God help you.

Because the Supreme Court won’t.        Los Angeles Times

A Big First for Female Lawmakers in the US

The Free Press WV

In the US, more than half of the population—50.8%—is female. But it wasn’t until this year that a state legislature has been made up of more than 50% women. In Nevada, which began its legislative session Monday, 50.8% of state representatives and senators are women, NPR reports. Just one other state, Colorado, has a female majority in any one chamber (Colorado’s lower house has three more women than men), and such a single chamber majority has only occurred once before in the nation’s history. Of course, the gender gap remains wide in other states (only about 15% of state lawmakers in Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, and Louisiana are female), and nationwide, women make up just 28% of representation.

Have A Minute?‏

The Gilmer Free Press

I hope you had a chance to catch President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this week. He outlined a number of commonsense policy that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to get behind, and I stand ready to work with the president to build on what we’ve already accomplished and help make this vision a reality.


The State of Our Union

As I mentioned in my Weekly Video Message above, President Trump outlined a clear vision for our nation’s future that everyone should be able to support. Among the many priorities he discussed were two that are of great importance to our state and our people:

Border security and infrastructure.

These are two areas that I am not only passionate about, but I am also in a strong position in the U.S. Senate to take action on these issues.

When it comes to border security, I serve as the chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and am one of handful of members serving on the committee tasked with negotiating a compromise to keep the government open and secure our borders.

On the infrastructure front, I was recently named chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, allowing me the ability to lead efforts in putting together an infrastructure package that will strengthen the country’s transportation and infrastructure systems.


Border Security Update

This week, we continued our negotiations on the conference committee to reach a bipartisan agreement on the Homeland Security Appropriations package. On Wednesday, my fellow conferees and I were briefed by Border Patrol and Customs officers who reiterated again the need for increased resources to strengthen and improve our nation’s borders. Border security isn’t just a physical barrier. It’s also technology and personnel, and all three are equally important in keeping our country safe.


New Jobs Coming to Charleston

We had an exciting jobs announcement in West Virginia Thursday: Infor, a global technology company, will be locating its new office in Charleston. Infor develops cloud-based solutions for federal, state, and local government entities. The company anticipates it will hire 100 technical employees and will also partner with Marshall University and West Virginia State University to build a pipeline of skilled software engineers, cloud operations, and support software. This announcement helps reaffirm our ability to compete for high-skilled jobs and attract investment from leading global firms. In late 2018, I met with Infor CEO Charles Phillips to explain why West Virginia is exactly where the company should be. So glad he agreed!

Sincerely,
The Gilmer Free Press
Shelley Moore Capito
United States Senator

The McKinley Capitol Report

The Gilmer Free Press

Green New Deal Released: Massive Expansion of Government

We got our first look at Democrats’ Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is a clear call for a socialist expansion of government to address climate change. Some of the drastic ideas include: eliminating air travel, completely changing our nation’s energy infrastructure in just 10 years and providing economic security for those unwilling to work. The policies laid out in this resolution are simply unrealistic and unaffordable.


McKinley Calls for Innovation to Address Climate Change

Most Republicans and Democrats agree that the climate is changing, and that industrial activity is a major contributor. However, we strongly disagree with what the solution is. If anyone thinks that decarbonizing America is going save the planet, whether that’s 10 or 20 years from now, they’re delusional.

The Democrats seem to prefer the hammer approach of taxes and regulations while Republicans opt for innovation. We can increase the use of the carrot and incentives to promote promising technologies that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.


SOTU

President Trump used his State of the Union address to encourage Members of Congress to put our nation first and reminded us that the only victory that matters is one that helps the American people.

We were honored to have Toni DiChiacchio with us as our guest for the State of the Union.

Toni is the assistant dean at the West Virginia University School of Nursing. She has been a tremendous help as we work to address issues regarding access to affordable healthcare and the opioid epidemic.


WV’s Economic Comeback

Fascinating read from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board this week. “West Virginia’s revival started in early 2017 as coal and natural-gas production picked up. Coal had been in free-fall amid competition from cheap natural gas and Obama hostility. But exports and the Trump Administration’s deregulation have lifted the industry.“


R.I.P. John Dingell

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Rep. John Dingell. John was the longest serving representative in history. He was a giant in Congress for decades and it was an honor to serve with him in the House. Rep. Debbie Dingell and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.


Securing Retired Miners’ Pensions

Miners put their lives on the line every day to produce the energy that powered our nation’s economic engine. We need to keep our promise to them, so they have peace of mind and certainty for the future.

Have a great week,

David McKinley
The Gilmer Free Press

Showdown

The Free Press WV

Matthew Whitaker doesn’t want to testify on Capitol Hill about whether he obstructed justice or not at the Justice Department.    Slate


When an acting attorney general faces a subpoena and the threat of contempt.    Just Security

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