As a member of the obstructionist Freedom Caucus, Maryland Congressional District One Congressman Andy Harris is one of the most partisan, least productive members of the House of Representatives. Compared to the Maryland delegation, he has joined bipartisan bills and supported government transparency the least often, and introduced the fewest bills. In the House, he is tied with other Freedom Caucus Republicans in getting the fewest bipartisan sponsors. Harris introduced no bills in 2017, held no leadership positions on committees and subcommittees, and worked with the Senate zero times. He has voted with President Trump about 90 percent of the time, and is projected by 538.com to vote with Trump 95 percent in 2018. In short, he has done nothing for his constituents. We don’t need a congressman who is a Trump stooge and commits legislative malpractice.
We don’t need a congressman who has consistently voted to deprive 145,000 of his CD-1 constituents of health care, and by extension another 43,000 children. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured has dropped nearly 10 percent in the 13 counties Harris represents. In Somerset County, the poorest jurisdiction in Maryland, the number of uninsured fell from 18 to 7 percent. Yet Harris voted several times to repeal the ACA, and also voted for Trumpcare, which would have dropped 13 million from health care, as well as tens of thousands of his constituents.
We don’t need a congressman who supports offshore drilling and fracking in Maryland, wants Trump’s EPA to slash $13 million to foul the Chesapeake Bay, and ignores the overwhelming evidence recognizing the reality of climate change, and favors evidenced by the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Harris supports Trump’s efforts to foul the air with the myth of increased coal production, and is opposed to any government effort to improve air and water quality. Harris has a zero environmental rating from The League of Conservation Voters.
We also don’t need a congressman who endorsed, and thus aligns himself with an Alabama Senate candidate who is a proven white supremacist, homophobe, and credibly accused of pedophilia. Harris also enables a president who calls Mexicans “rapists”, bans Muslims based on their religion, invented the racist birther lie, calls white supremacists “fine people”(thus equating neo-Nazis with those who oppose them), and refers to Haiti and African countries as “s…holes”, preferring white Norwegians instead. Harris and Trump’s America is vividly white, walled off, isolationist, and racist.
We certainly don’t need a congressman who votes against DACA recipients at every turn. The fact that there are 1,600 current and eligible Dreamers living in CD-1, whose loss would cost his constituents $33.6 million, doesn’t seem to bother Harris. The Dreamers are doctors, scientists, teachers, soldiers, police officers, homeowners, good students, and contribute to society in every way. Harris doesn’t seem to care about the lives his xenophobia will ruin by his myopic immigration policy, and has shown he is willing to shut down the government over this.
We don’t need a congressman who votes consistently with the gun lobby, no matter the number of almost daily mass shootings. He opposes any restrictions on the right to bear arms, opposes any law restricting gun purchase and possession, and wants to loosen restrictions on interstate gun purchases. Even after the Las Vegas massacre, he is opposed to restrictions on bump stocks that enabled the gunman. He is opposed to background checks in any form, and thinks guns and assault weapons from other states should be carried into Maryland.
We don’t need a congressman who votes against disaster relief for his own constituents, even after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy on Somerset County in his district. Evidently thinking Puerto Rico is a foreign country, Harris voted with 69 other Republicans not to extend relief after Hurricane Maria.
We don’t need a misogynist congressman who supports a president who has little respect for women, calling those he disliked slobs, fat
pigs, and disgusting animals, when not “grabbing them by the p…y”. Twenty women have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, he has paid hush money for his “encounter” with a porn star (just after his wife gave birth), and he continues to mock the physical characteristics of women (see Megan Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Mika Brzezinski, and Heidi Cruz, among many others). Harris has voted consistently against women’s health care issues, including contraceptive care. He is content with an unequal pay scale, as long as women remain underpaid.
And we definitely don’t want a congressman who enables Trump’s lies at every opportunity, whether it be a fraudulent voter commission, the Russia cover-up, the budget busting corporate tax heist, a wall paid by Mexico, partisan trashing of the FBI, ad infinitum. Trump’s isolationism weakens America’s moral standing in the eyes of the world. America has been diminished by Trump’s “America First” mantra, which has been a failure, an embarrassment, and has made America less safe. Harris, who professes to be a Christian, seems to revere Trump’s warped values over his alleged faith. That, in religious terms, is called idolatry. We don’t need a do-nothing congressman who is a political idolater, and refuses to recognize that Trump is a clear and present danger to America’s cherished values. We don’t need this congressman.
Richard Calkins is chairman of the communications committee of the Talbot County Democratic Forum (demforum.com)