Wittman must answer for his questionable votes

As we begin to see mid-term election candidates come forward and the campaign season intensify, we are tasked with deciding who should represent Virginia on the national stage.

Our nation is at a crossroads, and we must choose who is best equipped to be the voice for Virginians on issues of grave importance for the next two years. We need to choose an individual who is focused on listening to the people they represent.

Time and time again, Rob Wittman has shown that he has no interest in listening to his constituents. During the past year, 1st Congressional District Representative Wittman has had the opportunity to address the concerns and needs of his constituents head on. Instead, he has chosen a softer, easier route. He holds online meetings, often unannounced, and selects only the questions he wants to answer.

Anyone living in his district recognizes that a lack of face-to-face constituent meetings is a glaring admission that Wittman is not prepared to answer for his congressional voting record.

There are many failures, but three votes in recent months clearly demonstrate his inability to adequately represent the district.

Consumer protection

On June 8, 2017, Wittman voted to dismantle consumer protection laws contained in the Dodd-Frank Act. The law was enacted to protect consumers from the fraudulent lending practices of major banks that lead to the 2008 recession.

Repealing these protections provides a safe hiding spot from lawsuits in instances where lending institutions fail to comply with laws requiring verification of the ability to repay. This is the precise reason for the recession following the 2008 sub-prime mortgage collapse.

Much of the 1st District is made up of hard-working people who value homeownership and work to protect their investment. Wittman knowingly opened them to substantial risk by putting blind faith in an industry that has already proven itself untrustworthy.

This H.R.10 vote draws into serious question his judgment and concern for his constituents.

Health care

It was a common battle cry for Republicans to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. However, Wittman forgot the replace portion of the campaign promise. On May 4, 2017, he voted “yes” on the American Health Care Act of 2017.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates 685,000 Virginians would have been without health care and the bill would have cost an estimated 10,243 jobs across the state. Regardless of how you feel about the ACA, a total repeal would have removed health care from an estimated 32 million American citizens during the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office report is available for all to see and was available at the time of the vote.

Wittman again demonstrated that he cares less about his constituents than he does about gaining favor from the Republican establishment.

Tax reform

On Dec. 20, 2017, Wittman again followed suit when he voted “yes” on tax breaks for millionaires. There is little doubt this tax break was for the wealthy.

In Virginia, the average family of four will see a weekly tax saving of $18, or about 2 percent of income, for the next seven years. In 2027, most Virginians will pay more in taxes when the cuts expire.

Meanwhile on Wall Street and K Street, companies already flush with cash rejoiced at the Christmas gift. The Republican establishment would have Americans believe the tax cut will pay for itself because these companies would hire more people and reinvest in their companies. Yale University conducted a survey of 110 prominent businesses across the country and found only 14 percent said they would reinvest the money back into their companies.

This wasn’t news. In November 2017, during the White House Business Roundtable, less than half of the CEOs who participated said they would reinvest this money in growth. Instead, the money would go to shareholders and stock buybacks.

So, again, Wittman knew this would not benefit his constituents, yet he voted for it anyway. He knowingly voted “yes” for a tax bill he knew wouldn’t achieve the intended purpose and adds $1.4 trillion to the deficit. Perhaps he was more interested in his personal gains. These votes say a lot about where Wittman’s loyalties rest. In the past six months, he has voted to take health care away from 685,000 Virginians and to increase the tax burden on future generations to the tune of $1.43 trillion. He must answer for what he has done.

Mayfield lives in Williamsburg.

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