When Alan Grayson brought up an Amendment to stop funding the extreme militarization of local police departments, the Republican House leadership flipped out and ordered it killed. Grayson outmaneuvered them by rounding up 19 Republicans to vote with him-- as well as some of the Blue Dogs like John Barrow and Jim Matheson who normally vote with Boehner. But the Republicans didn't need those 19 rebels and their pet Blue Dogs; this time they had the House Democratic leadership.
At the urging of the bill's Democratic floor manager, Military Industrial shill Pete Visclosky (D-IN), Hoyer and Pelosi gave the amendment an official thumbs down. Much to Grayson's dismay, 145 Democrats voted with the GOP against a bill that would halt using federal taxpayer dollars to arm local police with rocket launchers, tanks, guided missiles, mines, torpedoes, ballistic missiles, toxicological agents, grenade launchers and even nuclear weapons! Pelosi called Grayson's amendment "a blunt instrument." Every Democratic House leader voted against it: Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Wasserman Schultz, Van Hollen, Becerra, Crowley and, of course, the most odious of all, Steve Israel.
And then came Ferguson, Missouri.
As a Blue America member there's a good chance you contributed to at least one of the 43 Democrats in the House who voted for the Grayson amendment. That's because the kind of candidates we help recruit and back are the kind of political leaders who think the same way Grayson does on matters like this.
Blue America was the first national PAC to back Donna Edwards-- at a time when Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer were working frantically to defeat her. She voted for the Grayson amendment. We backed Bruce Braley (IA) when he first ran for Congress. This year he has a tough Senate race but that didn't stop him from doing the right thing and getting behind Grayson's proposal. Last cycle, we fought hard for progressive insurgents Matt Cartwright (PA) and Beto O'Rourke (TX) who ran against entrenched, conservative Establishment stooges. Matt and Beto were slammed by Hoyer's political machine but your contributions helped get them over the line. They both ignored Hoyer and voted for the Grayson amendment. So did all these past Blue America candidates: Raul Grijalva (AZ), Keith Ellison (MN), Barbara Lee (CA), Jerry McNerney (CA), John Tierney (MA), Mike Honda (CA), Judy Chu (CA), Rush Holt (NJ).
Kelly Westlund is running for the northwest Wisconsin congressional seat (WI-07) that Paul Ryan clone Sean Duffy was able to grab when Dave Obey retired. And Duffy, like Ryan, voted against the Grayson amendment. Kelly strongly supports it. "Police should be able to protect themselves," she told us "but there is a difference between military tactics and law enforcement tactics. Adding military weaponry to a crowd control scenario only has the potential to escalate conflict. I stand with Representative Grayson to limit the funding of military weaponry to local law enforcement agencies."
This cycle, Blue America is attempting to help elect another strong batch of sterling progressives. We don't know what all the specific issues that will come up are, but we do know where these men and women are coming from and we feel confident that they will do the right thing, not serve the interests of Big Business and not dance to the tune of corrupt Beltway forces.
Thank you for all you do to make this world a better place.
--Howie, for the whole Blue America Crew