Why Rep. Trent Franks is a terrible choice to oversee changes to the Voting Rights Act

Remember Trent Franks? He seems familiar. Why did he last show up on the radar?

During a House Judiciary hearing on his abortion bill Wednesday, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said that he opposes an exemption for rape victims because "the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." (HuffPo)

Oh, that's right. He hates women. 

FranksBut that was back in January. Since then he's had some time to think of another way to show just how out of touch he and the rest of the GOP have become on just about... everything. 

He's the point man in the House for rebuilding section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. If anything, putting Trent in charge of the Voting Rights Act has answered the question that everyone's been asking since preclearance was struck down. The House, indeed, will not move in favor of the VRA.

Most of the talk coming from him and others have been that Justice Roberts said what everyone is thinking, that we don't really need section 4, that preclearance is a relic of the past, and that we need to stop thinking like it's 1965. Because there are no more racial motives in electoral politics. 

The GOP knows that Democrats will be hit hard if voter ID laws go through. Republicans scream and shout for these laws to fight fraud. The reality is that fraud takes place very rarely, and the same week preclearance was struck down, several states it once applied to introduced those exact ID laws. The timing isn't remotely fishy. At all.

The tragedy of giving Franks the charge of overseeing a change in the preclearance formula is that he doesn't care. He calls marriage equality a "treat to the nation's survival." We know his stance on reproductive rights. Now he gets to add the notch of suppressing democracy to his belt.

Why do we still need the Voting Rights Act? There's the 1,500 discriminatory laws it's blocked since it was passed, the 80 bills introduced in 2013 alone that are trying to suppress votes. 

Congressional action on the issue is in its infancy. There's still time to change the face of our democracy's future. 

Add your name to the campaign telling congress to build a new, responsible Voting Rights Act

Read Comments (9)

Categories: Voting Rights

How Elizabeth Warren was the real winner in the Senate

From: SalonRepublicans cave over threat of "nuclear option"

It seems like every single headline coming out of the Senate this week has been some variation of that title, and the brinkmanship that nearly brought Majority Leader Reid to use the "nuclear option" (gutting the filibuster) against the GOP's obstructionism. 

While the threat of filibuster reform was enough to move the GOP to end its filibuster on a few Executive Branch appointments, it wasn't enough to actually change the filibuster.

So who came out on top? Elizabeth Warren, that's who. 

Richard Cordray of Ohio has finally been confirmed as the boss of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after a very protracted Senate fight to have him seated. The CFPB was created by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (usually just called Dodd-Frank), and Cordray's confirmation ends the 700 day GOP blockade.

How is Warren connected to the CFPB? She basically oversaw its creation and organization. Her work on it made her a widely popular choice to be nominated as the director, but she was ultimately rejected due to overwhelming Republican opposition (read: she scared the hell out of them). 

Warren began her fight for the CFPB in 2009, a time when the Great Recession was tearing apart the economy. Now? She not only got the CFPB, but she was presiding over the Senate when Cordray's nomination passed. Talk about icing on the cake.

The fighting in the Senate was definitely a boost for progressives, but it left the filibuster unchanged. We got the CFPB, we got the nominations, but we still need comprehensive filibuster reform.

Add your name and join 80,000 progressives demanding Harry Reid reform the filibuster!

Read Comments (13)

Categories: Economy and Jobs

Boehner confirms that the House won't get anything done

First, check out this short video produced by John Boehner's office. 

Straight from the horse's mouth: The House isn't going to do anything. You can see that Boehner is complaining about "real border security" at around 0:40 seconds, and sure, why not complain about that? If they really want a militarized border with 20,000 new border patrol agents, drones, radar, a hundreds of miles of new fences then maybe they should pass a bill that has that, unlike the Senate. I mean, it's not like their immigration bill would have any of that, right?

So wait, it's not enough that the Senate passed a bill with bipartisan support that militarizes the border with tens of thousands of agents and drones - I mean, really? Drones? If introducing what amounts to a new military the size of Ireland's standing army along the border isn't enough "border security," what would be?

The answer is, "Anything but the Senate." They could pass immigration reform that reintroduces the gold standard, outlaws marriage equality, and privatizes social security. Boehner simply wouldn't accept it as "good enough."

This is all part of a bigger trend that shows John Boehner's House doesn't care about what happens outside of the House. Need another example? He passed student loan legislation that MORE than doubles interest rates for millions of students!

Read Comments (4)

Categories: Immigration

How the GOP tried and failed to make Obama a "one term president"

In the first 6 months of Obama's 2nd term, GOP obstruction has only allowed 15 bills to come to his desk for signing. When Reagan and Nixon had a split congress, they each had 60 or more in the same amount of time. 

But in Obama's first term, a few might remember that the GOP's goal was to make him a one term president. From 2009-2013, here are a few of the standout filibusters that took place:

  • H.R. 12 - Paycheck Fairness Act
  • H.R. 448 - Elder Abuse Victims Act
  • H.R. 466 - Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
  • H.R. 515 - Radioactive Import Deterrence Act
  • H.R. 549 - National Bombing Prevention Act
  • H.R. 577 - Vision Care for Kids Act
  • H.R. 626 - Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act
  • H.R. 1029 - Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act
  • H.R. 1168 - Veterans Retraining Act
  • H.R. 1171 - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
  • H.R. 1293 - Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
  • H.R. 1429 - Stop AIDS in Prison Act
  • H.R. 5281 - DREAM Act

  • S. 3985 - Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
  • S. 3816 - Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
  • S. 3369 - A bill to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs, and other entities
  • S. 2237 - Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act
  • S. 2343 - Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act
  • S. 1660 - American Jobs Act of 2011
  • S. 3457 - Veterans Jobs Corps Act


The GOP's use of the filibuster has taken on a new meaning than even 10 years ago. Its "proliferation," so to say, has been extremely obstructionist and in the cases listed above, used to force Obama to be a one term president. 

These policies have made the GOP a much different party than it was in years past, and where many Senators might go to Washington with the same passion that Mr. Smith did, thinking the filibuster could change minds and move hearts, those days are gone.  

Read Comments (3)


Stay informed -- like DFA on Facebook. ×