The Blue Dog Forum, lobbyists for conservative democrats organized by former congressman Bud Cramer (D-Ala), has changed their name to “Center Forward”. Their mission is to support discussions between Republicans and Democrats. Cramer has said, “I think from my perch, what I see is extreme pressure on members to not work together, for one side to stick with its side, for the other side to stick with its side. The centrists are there.”
They will be buying television ads for seven House members, five Democrats and two Republicans who have proven to be “Centralists”. They looked at all the House Representatives who supported the “No Budget, No Pay” effort during the Budget Shutdown last fall. The ads will support Democratic Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), Pete Gallego (Texas) and John Carney (Del.), as well as Republican Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.).
Hey, wait! Didn’t our congressman Rep. Tom Reed support “No Budget, No Pay”? Isn’t Rep. Reed a member of bipartisan “No Labels” group? Doesn’t Rep. Reed try to come across as a Centralist? Why did Central Forward pick, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY22) instead of our congressman? The answer is in their voting records. Even though they are both Republicans are from Upstate New York, they voted the same only 84% of the time. Digging deeper into their voting records, they seem to disagree on important issues. Here are some samples.
Economics: Rep. Reed voted not to allow the Department of the Treasury to pay our outstanding bills (H J Res 99, vote 570, 10/30/13), which would lower our credit rating. Rep. Hanna voted to allow the payments.
Abortions: Although the Hyde Amendment officially prohibits federal funding of abortions, Rep. Reed voted FOR the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2014” (HR 7, Vote 30, 1/28/14). Hanna voted NO.
They also disagreed on HR 1797, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protective Act, which limited abortions in the District of Columbia to earlier than 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is in danger, OR if the victim was a MINOR AND The Pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, AND it was reported to the Police within 48 hours of the incident. (Vote 251, 6/18/13).
Reed voted FOR HR 358, which would amend the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to modify rules dealing with abortions (vote 258, 5/16/2012). Hanna voted against it.
A related issue: In 2012, Rep. Reed voted “To Reauthorize the Violence Against Women’s Act of 1994” instead of updating it. Rep. Hanna, wanting to bring the VAWA into the 21st Century, voted against reauthorizing it. Also, Hanna supported the 2013 VAWA, Reed failed to vote.
Business: Rep. Reed was one of 53 Republicans voting against an agreement with the “Senate on the Small Business Program Extension and Reform Act of 2011”. The Act, with with 30 sections is difficult to summarize. Since there is no mention of it on his website, I would hate to guess why he was against it. The Act passed 352-66. Rep. Hanna voted for it.
Working Families: Rep. Reed supported the Working Family Flexibility Act (HR 1406, Vote 137, 5/8/13). Disguised as a benefit for workers, the Act would allow Management to give ‘compensatory time’ off instead of paying the workers overtime. Rep. Hanna voted against it.
Safety Net: HR 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act was supported and strongly promoted by Rep. Reed. (NN23 article) The Act would require abled-bodied adults without children, who receive SNAP benefits to work. He called it “Common Sense”. The problem is that those SNAP recipients already are required. The Act used different terms, changed the requirements a bit, and was used to demonize SNAP recipients. The only New York Representatives who voted for this act was Rep. Reed and Rep. Chris Collins.
Other issues that Rep. Reed and Rep. Hanna disagree on includes federal funding of National Public Radio (HR 1076, Vote:192, 3/17/11). Reed was against its funding. Also, in 2011 Rep. Reed voted to extend USA Patriot Act (HR 514, Vote: 36 2/14/11); and he was against the School Success Act (HR 5, Vote:374 7/19/13).
Even though Rep. Reed at times talks like a moderate, his votes represents the extreme right of the Republican Party. There is only one representative from New York State that is considered more conservative than our congressman, Rep. Chris Collins(R-NY 27). During the Government Shutdown Crisis of the fall of 2013, Collins and Reed voted together on the series of shutdown and debt ceiling proposals.
New York 23rd Voters Beware: The Bipartisan “Center Forward” group rejected Rep. Reed. We should, too.