Amid protests and the pandemic, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu graciously gave of his time to answer questions from the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains.
With just five months before the November 3 General Election, about 21 local residents signed on to a Zoom meeting held by the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM).
They attended a meeting with U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, who has served Californiaâ€™s 33rd Congressional District since 2015, when he succeeded retiring 40-year incumbent Henry Waxman. Today, Lieu serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He is also an Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus.
Lieu is a former active duty officer in the US Air Force and currently serves as a Colonel in the Reserves.
Dorothy Reik, President of the PDSMM, hosted the event on May 30 and conducted an informative question and answer session with Lieu.
She asked how he felt about the protests throughout the world surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
â€śGeorge Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis police,â€ť Lieu said. â€śIt was clear to me he was murdered; but [President Trump] has done nothing to calm down the protests or make changes that heal the countryâ€¦ instead, he seems to be putting more fuel on the fire.â€ť
When asked about the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Lieu agreed there is a laundry list of things yet to be done.
â€śWe need free testing, medical sick leave, paycheck protection, hospitals, more testing, increased funding for small business loans and testing for hospitals,â€ť he said. â€śThe HEROES Act provides funding for frontline, paramedics and teachers. Itâ€™s now on the Senate side to pass with Leader Mitch McConnell; all we ask is for him to at least come to the negotiating table.â€ť
Lieu further emphasized there were three main things he felt needed to be done immediately, â€śtest, isolate, and trace contacts. That is how we can reopen safely.â€ť
Alan Minsky, Executive Director of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and current program director of KPFK-FM 90.7 radio, spoke up about how essential it is that progressives take action to defeat President Trump and flip the Senate.
â€śFor the elections in November, the polling data looks good,â€ť Lieu said. â€śTrump has the lowest approval ever. We need to hold our majority and expand it. Everything looks good for November, I feel a Blue Wave.â€ť
Lieu continued, â€śThe pandemic has shown the huge health care inequalities and the lack of affordable health care and the huge effects of disproportional Blacks, Asians, and Latinos dying at higher rates due to inequalities. We passed a $2-trillion stimulus bill just like that, itâ€™s just a matter of political will; I look forward to passing Medicare for All with a Blue Tsunami.â€ť
PDSMM Treasurer Mike Goldman asked about the November elections.
â€śI was just wondering, there has been a lot of talk about the suspension of elections,â€ť Goldman asked. â€śI donâ€™t know how viable those possibilities are; also, what can the Dems do about Trump withholding funding to the World Health Organization (WHO)?â€ť
Lieu answered that the issue of withholding funding has not been passed in the budget.
â€śThe Democrats think itâ€™s illegal; thereâ€™s going to be a lawsuit. We believe he doesnâ€™t have the legal authority to deny funding,â€ť Lieu said. â€śIn November, itâ€™s voterâ€™s choice; also, [Trump] didnâ€™t stop the funding that Congress allocated to the WHO.â€ť
Reik also asked about President Trumpâ€™s comments regarding withdrawing from the WHO.
â€śItâ€™s insane,â€ť Lieu said. â€śWe are in a worldwide pandemic, the WHO is dedicated to fighting diseases worldwideâ€¦there is a virus threat to Americans as long as it exists anywhere in the world. If you have this virus, we want to bolster and help the organizations that fight this worldwide. Trump does completely irrational things that hurt the United States.â€ť
Reik followed up, asking what would happen if Trumpâ€™s term expires and he refuses to leave office or cancels the elections in November.
â€śIf his term expired, he canâ€™t stay,â€ť Lieu said. â€śThe only way to change the date of election is to change the law in the House. There will be an election in November. If he loses, the Secret Service will likely escort him out of the White House in January; even Republicans would ask for him to exit the White House in January.â€ť
â€śThe 33d District is very lucky with Ted Lieu,â€ť said Alan Minsky.
Earlier, Iris Mann said even though she lived in Rep. Gil Cisnerosâ€™ district, she wanted to know if there was anything we can do to help Lieu in the November election.
â€śThank you,â€ť Lieu answered. â€śI am blessed to have an amazing district with rational, kind people.â€ť
People can safely send donations for Democratic candidates to Lieu at www.tedlieu.com, or the Blue Momentum PAC. Other safe Democratic sites for donations are democrats.org and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) at https://dccc.org.
History of the PDSMM - Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains is a chartered club of the Los Angeles Democratic Party that strives to cultivate progressive ideals within our community by supporting reformist elected officials. â€śWe believe that awareness of current events and involvement with local officials aids in our commonly shared goal of Waging Peace. We uphold a revered reputation with such officials by continuously jumping on pressing issues and advocating for moral justice. There is no compromise when it comes to the environment and equality among all.â€ť
In 2013, Dorothy Reik was elected to the Board of the Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party, several members of whom are delegates to the California State Party Central Committee. Reik won re-election to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee in the March 3 primary. To donate or become a member: www.pdsmm.org, or contact Dorothy Reik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The HEROES Act
Throughout the meeting, Lieu referred to questions about various issues by referring to the brand-new legislation, the HEROES Act that, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, will assist millions of people and government programs currently at risk.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act introduced in the House on May 12, 2020, responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses. The Bill has passed the House and now waits for a Senate vote. Among other things, the bill:
Provides FY2020 emergency supplemental appropriations to federal agencies;
Provides payments and other assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments;
Provides additional direct payments of up to $1,200 per individual; Expands paid sick days, family and medical leave, unemployment compensation, nutrition and food assistance programs, housing assistance, and payments to farmers;
Modifies and expands the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofit organizations;
Establishes a fund to award grants for employers to provide pandemic premium pay for essential workers;
Expands several tax credits and deductions;
Provides funding and establishes requirements for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing;
Eliminates cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments;
Extends and expands the moratorium on certain evictions and foreclosures; and requires employers to develop and implement infectious disease exposure control plans.
The bill also modifies or expands a wide range of other programs and policies, including those regarding: Medicare and Medicaid, health insurance, broadband service, medical product supplies, immigration, student loans and financial aid, the federal workforce, prisons, veterans benefits, consumer protection requirements, the U.S. Postal service, federal elections, aviation and railroad workers and pension and retirement plans.