News From Congressman Ben Cline
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Sixth District Perspectives
with Congressman Ben Cline

This week the House finally turned its focus back to regular business after months of being distracted with impeachment. One major focus this week was highlighting the need for government reform, which I am hopeful can be accomplished in a bipartisan manner. The House also addressed the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment and many other legislative items. Further, I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting another town hall this coming week in Lexington. I look forward to meeting constituents both at this event and all throughout our region this week during the District Work Period. 

Government Reform:

Congress has an average approval rating of only 21.6 percent. This disapproval is largely due to the dysfunction, partisanship, and distrust that is prevalent throughout our Federal bureaucracy. That is why I am proud to work together with my colleagues on the Government, Efficiency, Accountability, and Reform (GEAR) Task Force of the Republican Study Committee. This task force is committed to helping reform our bloated Federal Government in order to expand opportunities for all Americans.

While it might not be a headline grabbing issue, government reform is something I have been passionate about since my time as a State Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. There, I worked to increase transparency both for constituents and lawmakers alike. As your Representative, I remain committed to finding ways here in Washington to increase accountability for my constituents and "drain the swamp". I am thankful to work with my colleagues on this task force who believe in the vital importance of reforming government so that it truly serves the people for whom it was created and by whom it is empowered.   

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Equal Rights Amendment:

In order to amend the U.S. Constitution, a two-thirds vote to pass an amendment in both the House and Senate is required, as well as ratification individually from at least 38 states. When Congress voted in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1972, it was sent to the states for ratification with a seven-year deadline. When this deadline came without having been ratified, Congress then extended it by an additional three years. Once the final deadline passed in 1982, the amendment only had 35 states supporting ratification. Since that time, five states have rescinded their support.  

This week, following recent approval of the amendment by the Virginia General Assembly, the House passed H.J. Res. 79, which would remove the ratification deadline for the ERA. I could not support this resolution because Congress simply does not have the ability to remove a deadline that expired four decades ago. Punting the issue to the courts for resolution is an abrogation of my duty to my constituents.  

Just this week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I would like to see a new beginning,” for ERA ratification. She continued,“There’s too much controversy about latecomers, plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said we’ve changed our minds?’” On this issue, most legal minds agree: The deadline for the ERA cannot be removed; and the process must start again. It is my hope that the language can be improved to ensure that the amendment would not enshrine taxpayer-funded abortion in the Constitution, and I will continue working to protect the sanctity of life as this debate continues. 

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Town Hall:

Prior to the new year, I hosted nineteen town halls – one in each locality – and plan to hold another nineteen in the coming year. Since January, I have already hosted an additional five town halls and will be holding another in Lexington this coming Tuesday. Citizens of Lexington will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall, but all are welcome. In order to accommodate the diverse schedule of Sixth District constituents, I have rotated all of my town halls between morning, lunch, and evening meetings. 

Lexington Town Hall
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Lexington Community Center
300 Diamond Street, Lexington, VA 24450
To Register, Please Click Here

HIRE Vets Medallion:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE (Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing) Vets Medallion recognizes the meaningful and verifiable efforts undertaken by job creators to hire and retain veterans. If you are or know of a business who deserves to be honored for giving back to those who have given so much to our country, please click here for nomination details. Last year, Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc. of Harrisonburg was awarded the medallion for their longstanding tradition of supporting our troops after they leave the service. 

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Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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