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Rep. Robert Hurt (R-acist) Can’t Leave Congress Soon Enough

And to think that the Virginia 5th CD used to be represented by the superb Tom Perriello. Fortunately, the abysmal Robert Hurt is leaving...

Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt: Do Something!

Several days ago, the three Republican congressman who "represent" the western half of the state made news when they appealed to the Postal Service not to close Roanoke's regional mail sorting station. It makes good sense not to close that station. The closure would cause 400 postal workers to lose their jobs. Mail destined for southwest Virginia would have to be shipped to Greensboro NC to be sorted and then trucked back to Virginia. However, perhaps those same Republicans should tell citizens exactly why the Postal Service is in such dire fiscal straits that it has to consider draconian measures that would otherwise make no sense.

Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) was a member of Congress in 2006 when both houses, which were under Republican control, passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). Under that bill, the Postal Service is the only agency of the government that is required to pre-pay future health benefits to retirees and all future pension costs for the next 75 years, and they have to do that in 10 years! That bill totals $103.7 billion. That means they're not just paying for present employees who will retire in the future, but they are also being required to pay for possible future employees before they actually hire them. Plus, none of this money can be used for benefits for employees who are now retired. Oh, no. That additional money also has to be paid by the Postal Service now.

Not only is no government agency or entity required to meet such draconian requirements. No private company is, either. So, the questions I have are these: Who thought up this idea that is guaranteed to bankrupt the Postal Service? Why and how was this law passed? The answers are pretty bad.

Douglass Pummels Hurt in Monday Night Debate

I attended the debate between Robert Hurt and John Douglass in Warrenton. One of the questions asked of the candidates was: "Please describe to us the most difficult decision you have made while holding a leadership position and how that bolsters or helps us understand your qualifications to serve in Congress?"

Robert Hurt spoke extensively about being a citizen legislator in the Virginia General Assembly, how two months out of the year he debated public policy, maintaining his successful law practice, and living on Main Street with his family in Chatham. He effectively related his pride in participating in that process. Then he said the most difficult decision he and his wife had made was to run for Congress. He never said he was proud of his work in Washington. He did, however, say, "The burdens of a job like this are hard on a young family."

General Douglass spoke eloquently about preparing and sending soldiers into harms way as a young officer and how his decisions directly affected peoples' lives. Becoming emotional, Gen. Douglass related to the audience about how difficult it was to tell those young 18- and 19-year old soldiers to "lock and load," and "son, get out there on point," knowing they might not return because they could be harmed. How he visited those hurt in the hospital. His final statement in the answer, "So politics is a piece of cake, compared to that."  

Goodlatte, Hurt Vote Against Virginia Students, Roads

Two days before it was too late, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, after  another of their delaying and obfuscating tactics, finally roused itself and voted to keep student loan rates from doubling by linking that action to a reprieve for vital transportation money for the next year. All the representatives from Virginia, except two, voted for the common-sense action. Those two were Bob Goodlatte (6th) and Robert Hurt (5th).

Had the bill not passed, before July 1, federal highway money would have dried up, costing millions of jobs, and student loan interest rates would have gone from 3.4% to 6.8%. Barbara Boxer (-CA) introduced a highway bill in the Senate last year and John Mica (R-FL) in the House in January. There, the proposed legislation languished until the obstructionists who are determined to stop Congress from passing anything were overwhelmed by pressure to do something and voted "yea" on the conference report with a student loan amendment that combined the Senate and House bills. All the obstructionists, that is, except  52 Republicans including Goodlatte and Hurt.

I'm sure I could contact Goodlatte's office asking why he voted as he did. I would receive back a form letter stating how glad he was to hear from me and then spending the rest of the letter telling me what a great fiscal conservative he is and how all our ills would be solved by a balanced budget amendment. After all, that's the response I've gotten in the past, no matter what the issue was. I don't think I'll waste my time.

Both of these men need to remember that the only "new" money Bob McDonnell's phony "transportation plan" found for Virginia highways came from bonds sold using money from future federal transportation funding as collateral. In fact, they both should remember that federal jobs in NoVA and defense dollars in Hampton Roads fuel Virginia's economy.

US Rep Hurt at the 5th District Republican Convention


On Wednesday the Nelson County Times reported that the 5th District Democratic Convention was going to be held at the Nelson County High School on May 19th.  Suddenly 4x8 Hurt for Congress signs began appearing along Route 29 in Nelson County.

Virginia Republicans Flunk Latest Congressional Conservation Scorecard

The latest Congressional scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters flunks every single Virginia Republican, including House members like Scott Rigell, Rob Wittman and Frank Wolf who'll be trying to sell themselves as moderate in November. Committed opponents of clean air & water, public health, and wildlife like Eric Cantor, Randy Forbes, Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt all scored in the teens. Meanwhile, Virginia House Democrats Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran and Bobby Scott all scored 100%. On the Senate side, both Sen. Mark Warner and Jim Webb scored 100%, though given that both support oil drilling off Virginia's shores and Webb has opposed clean air regulations, neither is perfect on conservation.

What drew the LCV's ire? Every single Republican voted for the House Republican budget resolution to gut the Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act, to protect billions in tax giveaways for oil corporations that banked $137 billion in profits in 2011, and to weaken offshore drilling safety rules even as they pushed to bring oil drilling to the Virginia coast:

Robert Hurt Outright Lies; PolitiFact Goes Easy on Him

Overall, I think that PolitiFact Virginia does a pretty good job in sorting out the lies from the truth among Virginia politicians. Unfortunately, PolitiFact doesn't always do a good job. For instance, I recently wrote about PolitiFact rating an audacious claim by Bob McDonnell on supposedly "balancing" Virginia's budget as "barely true." Wait a second, how can something that's totally false, by PolitiFact's own analysis, be "barely true?" Got me.

Today, there's another one where PolitiFact's being way too generous: this "barely true" rating of Robert Hurt's outright lie on "cap and trade" and jobs. First, the outright lie:

In a newsletter to his 5th District constituents, Hurt detailed his efforts to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's budget. The freshman congressman wrote he is "a co-sponsor of H.R. 153, which would prohibit any funds at the EPA from being used to implement a cap-and-trade system that would harm our agriculture and manufacturing sectors, destroy over 50,000 jobs in Virginia, and amount to a job-crushing national energy tax when we can least afford it."
If you wade down into the PolitiFact article, you'll find that, in fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office clearly says that although jobs in carbon-intensive fuels like coal would probably decrease, employment would "increase in sectors that require fewer emissions, such as nuclear, solar and wind power," resulting in "only a small effect on total employment" overall.

In addition, if you wade further into PolitiFact's analysis of Hurt's outright lie, you'll also find that Hurt cited "solely from a short report by the National Association of opponent of the legislation." Yeah, that's really credible (not)!

Apparently, in PolitiFact Virginia's world, as long as you can attribute something to a "study," even a completely biased and phony one by opponents of the very thing they're supposedly "studying," PolitiFact Virginia won't just outright say it's false. Lame.

In reality, as Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel points out, "the NAM analysis ignores the jobs that would be created due to a growth in new, non-emission technologies." The bottom line, as Frankel explains, is that "most economists would agree...the jobs created would approximately equal the jobs lost."

To summarize: there's no indication whatsoever, at least from anyone unbiased and knowledgeable, that Hurt's claim about cap-and-trade "destroy[ing] over 50,000 jobs in Virginia" is in the slightest bit true. So why the extremely lenient, "barely true" rating from PolitiFact Virginia? This one should be "pants on fire" all the way!

Robert Hurt: Much More Concerned About HIS Next Job Than Yours

As I talk to voters here in Virginia's 5th Congressional district, creating jobs is obviously one of their top concerns. It's hard to explain Robert Hurt's jobs "plan" to them, because it's completely nonsensical:
  1. Cut taxes for the rich, adding $700 billion to the national debt
  2. Keep encouraging companies to send jobs overseas by protecting their tax loopholes
  3. Roll back regulations on the industries that caused the economic collapse
  4. ???
  5. Watch the jobs roll in!
I'm actually not kidding. Look at Hurt's Promoting Free Markets & Job Creation page. It's 32 flavors of wishin' & hopin'.

Rep. Tom Perriello, on the other hand, has comprehensive plans for economic revival, education & job training, creating clean energy jobs. Is this even a close call?

Perriello Romps Over Hurt in 5th CD Debate


Just got done watching Rep. Tom Perriello debate Robert Hurt on WCAV CBS 19 Charlottesville.  Now that was a thing of beauty. I'm hoping there will be video shortly. For now, here are some tweets (including my own) from the butt-kicking Tom just delivered. Enjoy!

@VotePerriello: Crowd at the #va05 debate

@NotAndySere: Immigration: @RobertHurt slams @TomPerriello for open borders. No mention of McCain, Bush amnesty plan. GOP hasn't learned?

@NotAndySere: Do candidates have notes for debate? @RobertHurt keeps looking down like he's reading

@NotAndySere: @RobertHurt seems like a total flip flopper. @TomPerriello is at least consistent and on message.

@NotAndySere: @RobertHurt stuttering his way through a list of pre-selected businesses

VoteVets Blasts Robert Hurt for Having “voted against veterans when we...


Excellent ad, please help Tom Perriello defeat Robert Hurt in 2 weeks!