House Republicans say that Democrats are out of touch with the country because they refuse to leave Capitol Hill to address national emergencies in the states.
Republicans launched their “Commitment to America” plan outside the Beltway in the last few weeks by hosting hearings in several towns and cities to hear from communities affected by the administration’s border policies.
These hearings, held by GOP lawmakers representing the Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, and Homeland Security committees, took place in Yuma, Arizona; Petersburg, West Virginia; and Midland, Texas.
They covered issues ranging from the flooding of illegal migrants at the border to the fentanyl crisis. Democrats, according to Republicans, however, were no-shows at all the field hearings.
“House Democrats refused to show up, listen and lead across America. House Republicans will continue to show up, listen and lead on behalf of the American people,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, House Republican Conference chairwoman.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said Republicans have focused on the fentanyl crisis “for a long time” and that families and law enforcement are frustrated that Democrats nothing seems to be happening to address the problem.
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“I think it’s disgraceful that a majority of Democrats refuse to even show up at these hearings. These are full committee hearings — Republican, Democrat,” he said. “Citizens are coming, law enforcement officers are coming … talking about the problems that Washington can fix.”
Republicans were not only critical of House Democrats for their absence at the recent border hearings but also of President Biden for not visiting the town of East Palestine, Ohio, the site of a recent train derailment and the massive release of toxic chemicals and fumes.
In early February, about 50 cars derailed in East Palestine on a train traveling from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania. The Environmental Protection Agency is at the site, testing the air quality and involved in the site’s cleanup.
Rep. Bill Johnson, whose Northeast Ohio district includes East Palestine, called on Mr. Biden to finally visit the small town and reach out to its residents.
“It’s past time for you to make a short trip to East Palestine and show up for the 5,000 Americans who call that little small Appalachian village ‘home.’ You pride yourself on your ‘lunch bucket Joe’ nickname and tout your blue-collar Scranton, Pennsylvania, roots,” he said.
“I urge you to show the residents of East Palestine the same respect, the same courtesy, the same love I’m sure you would have shown the residents of New York or San Francisco had the derailment and chemical spill happened there.”