Virginia U.S. Congressman Donald R. McEachin and President Donald J. Trump have at least two things in common: having won elections last November is one of them.
Also, since being sworn into their respective offices 17 days apart in January, each has been marking his first 100 days in their new roles.
McEachin, sworn in January 3, will observe his 100th day April 17; Trump’s will be marked on May 4.
But this is where the similarities end.
The newly minted Democratic Congressman, an attorney by trade, lives in Henrico County near Richmond. He served as a Virginia State Delegate from 1996-2002 and 2006-2008, before becoming a State Senator from 2008 to 2017.
McEachin is diametrically opposed to most of the plans and policies of Trump and the House Republicans.
He has spoken out against the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare; Trump’s threats to workplace equality; Trump’s massive budget cuts which would hurt the poor; and Trump’s choice of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.
McEachin represents the Fourth District as the newest member of Virginia’s 11-member Congressional Delegation. A federal court converted his district from GOP control last year when it was shown to be gerrymandered.
McEachin and Rep. Robert Scott of the Third District, who has served in Congress for two decades, are Virginia’s two African-American Representatives now.
The first 100 days of any new presidency is marked by passage of laws and policies to address critical issues. Recall that President Barack Obama in 2009 had secured legislation to arrest the Great Recession.
He built support in the then Democratically-controlled Congress for his economic stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The bill passed in the House in January.
During his first week, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, relaxing the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits; and he expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), providing benefits to four million additional working families.
Trump’s short tenure has been a series of executive orders seeking to reverse much of of the Obama legacy. Today, Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have no notable accomplishments. They even failed to repeal and/or replace Obamacare.
But despite the lack of Trump accomplishments, McEachin has been busy during the first 100 days of the 115th Congress.
He has set up his new office on Capitol Hill, hired staff for that operation and for the offices back home throughout his district.
He also has managed to come back to the district to meet with constituents and issue policy statements and challenges to the GOP’s efforts.
“Serving Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District has been an incredible honor,” said McEachin. “From day one, my staff and I have worked diligently to help our constituents and to make a positive difference in the community,”
McEachin said in a recent dispatch to the media, “I constantly strive to represent the values, principles and priorities of my constituents and counter the senseless attacks on our hardworking families coming from the Trump Administration and House Republicans.
“In the first 100 days, I have spoken on the House floor on numerous occasions, including defending the Affordable Care Act so that millions of Americans can access life-saving health insurance; expressing my concerns about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reprehensible civil rights record; opposing the baseless Muslim ban; and condemning Russia’s attack on our democracy. I have co-sponsored 39 bills and resolutions that would help level the playing field for the majority of Americans – not the select few.”
Most recently, McEachin wrote two letters to the Postmaster General about the closure of the East End Post Office in Richmond.
In just the first 100 days, in addition to being in Washington, D.C. for 55 days of voting and Congressional hearings, Rep. McEachin has hosted and attended 47 events, 34 constituent meetings, six business tours, two town halls (“Coffee With Your Congressman” events), and two Facebook Live town halls.
Below are positions the Congressman has expressed on various issues.
Given the importance of strengthening armed services, he has worked hard to address defense-related needs, ranging from shipyard modernization to advance planning efforts in anticipation of sea-level rise.
He has introduced an amendment to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to use the best available science to respond to threats on public health. McEachin also recognizednMustafa Ali’s 24 years of public service fighting for environmental justice in the EPA. And, he serves as
the Ranking Member at an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the Endangered Species Act.
Equal Rights for Women and LGBTQ Community
He is an original co-sponsor of important legislation, including the Equal Pay Day Resolution, Paycheck Fairness Act, and the HER Act. He swiftly joined the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus to continue fighting for rights and access just as he did in the Virginia General Assembly. Recently, Rep. McEachin was honored as a 2017 Outstanding Virginian awardee for his commitment to fighting for equal rights and justice for all.
He has been critical of the president’s proposed education budget, has co-sponsored a bill to help fund more cost-effective renovations to rundown school buildings, and written a demand to Secretary of Education Betty DeVos to investigate disproportionate discriminatory punishment in public schools.
He has proposed the budget cuts of more than $5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) calling the reductions “a punch in the gut for millions of Americans and their families.”
McEachin has been vocal on his concerns for the safety and security of Virginians under Sessions’ watch.
“I have serious questions about whether Sessions will be able to impartially guide the Justice Department in sensitive areas like violent crime and poor policing,” he said.
By Leonard E. Colvin