Another week, another Virginia Republican weekly address that is delivered in what appears to be Big Lie, Orwellian “Newspeak” (e.g., war is peace, hot is cold, up is down). Here, I’ll attempt to translate into plain English what Del. Rob Bell (R-Albemarle, Fluvanna, Rockhingham, Greene) is really saying.
1. Bell: “First, I am glad to report that the House of Delegates has passed a responsible budget that spends nearly $1.1 billion less in general fund dollars than last year’s budget.”
Translation from Newspeak: Actually, there’s almost nothing “responsible” about this budget, nor is it a good thing that it spends $1.1 billion less than last year’s budget. In fact, as House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano (D) explained recently, this budget badly underfunds education, while continuing “massive transfers of Virginia taxpayer dollars to a small number of companies,” and not accepting “billions of dollars in federal money [in Medicaid expansion that could provide health care coverage to] 400,000 Virginians…30,000 jobs,” and money that could have been freed up to spend on education, public safety, mental health, etc. Meanwhile, as Del. Kaye Kory noted, this Republican budget also “imposes new restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.” Great stuff, huh? No, but it’s apparently something to brag about in the Orwellian Virginia GOP weekly address!
2. Bell: “We rejected Gov. McAuliffe’s latest proposal for an Obamacare Medicaid expansion.”
Translation: Virginia Republicans, unlike their fellow Republicans in many other states, to – as the Washington Post put it the other day – continue “insisting on a policy that targets its least advantaged citizens,” for no good reasons other than rigid, right-wing ideology combined with utter terror by Republican incumbents at the thought of being primaried from their far right. And, believe it or not, they actually appear to be PROUD of denying health care coverage to 400,000 Virginians, while watching Virginia hospitals struggle and Virginians’ hard-earned tax dollars flow to other states. No shame.
3. Bell: Brags about the House of Delegates passing Tea Party Del. LaRock’s “Virginia Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts” bill.
Translation: Every Democrat (not counting Johnny Joannou, who isn’t really a Democrat) voted against this bill, as did a number of Republicans (Tom Rust, Robert Bloxom, Jeffrey Campbell, Gordon Helsel, Terry Kilgore, Israel O’Quinn, Todd Pillion, Nick Rush, David Yancey, Joseph Yost). Here’s how Politico describes these “Education Savings Account” programs:
…many advocates for traditional public education are horrified at the concept, saying it’s not fair to force taxpayers to pick up the tab for whatever curriculum a parent assembles.
A POLITICO investigation last year found that states already subsidize hundreds of creationist schools through vouchers and tax credits. Parents enrolled in ESAs could also use public funds to teach the Bible as biology text.
ESAs create “an unregulated, unaccountable market,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers…
Other critics fear a two-tier system will emerge: Families with the time, energy and savvy to put together education plans for their children will take advantage of ESAs, while parents with less income, education or fluency in English will remain with the public system.
Oh, and one guess who’s pushing this garbage? That’s right, our old friends at ALEC, the authors of so much extreme legislation (e.g., the infamous “stand your ground” laws; all kinds of anti-clean-energy and anti-environmental legislation) it’s hard to keep track of. Again, Virginia Republicans are actually PROUD of this?!? As a Democratic Senate staffer put it to me, “if your goal is to eventually do in the public schools ystem, yes, big accomplishment.” (note: as for the terrible “virtual schools” idea, that’s another one ALEC is pushing, and it’s worth reading about)
4. Bell: “The House stood strong for the Second Amendment…”
Translation: The House stood strong for bills that — as this Blue Virginia diary explains — allow “convicted violent abusers to maintain access to the very firearms that they may have been using to terrorize or dominate their family members;” permit “an infant, or child up to the age of 4, to handle a loaded gun as long as a parent is present;” continue to maintain extremely lax requirements for purchasing guns in Virginia; etc, etc. Yep, that’s what Virginia Republicans “stood strong” for this session. Great stuff, huh?
5. Bell: “We continue to lead and govern…strengthen our public schools, make college more affordable and make government work better…ethics reform.”
Translation: None of this is even remotely true. As to “ethics reform,” what Republicans passed was extremely weak (e.g., no ethics commission with investigative powers), watered down, narrow, and FAR from sufficient. And even the pathetic “ethics reform” Republicans DID pass came about despite their disgust at having to do anything at all, with Senate Republican leader Tommy Norment whining about how they were forced by “the media” to do it, and how “the media” will never be satisfied, blah blah blah. Quick, somebody call a waaaaaaaaaaaaaambulance for these corrupt, corporate-owned-and-operated legislators! LOL