By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
For the past four months, Virginia’s 3rd District U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott has been busy presenting much-needed funds for various projects in his district in Hampton Roads.
Earlier this year, the Portsmouth Community Health Center was presented a check for $807,137 in federal community project funds. It will be used to purchase a dental van to ramp up traveling dental services to the community.
Also, Scott handed $3 million in community project funds to the City of Norfolk to convert all of the city’s 30,000 streetlights to LED Technology.
And most recently, he delivered to Mayor Donnie Tuck in Hampton a three-year, $4.6 million federal anti-violence grant that will launch neighborhood satellite offices in five local areas that are experiencing disproportionate levels of gun violence.
These and other funds were passed when Scott was Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor in December of 2022, during the last days of his party’s control of the House when it passed the Omnibus Funding Bill.
On January 3, the GOP took control of the House and Democrats have been powerless.
One hundred days later (April 17), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered a speech on Wall Street proclaiming Republicans have passed 60 pieces of legislation, 88 percent of them with bipartisan majorities.
According to Scott, with the exception of hearings by a special committee studying the weaponization of federal power, threats not to raise the debt ceiling, and shutting down the federal government, there has not been any significant legislation.
Scott assured that if any GOP legislation is passed threatening gains secured when his party controlled the two branches of government, a Senate rebuff and Biden Veto stand ready to kill them.
“They are not giving any indication of passing any serious legislation addressing the needs of the people,” said Scott. “They won the House talking about inflation … but have done nothing. They talked about the weak economy … but did nothing. They have done nothing on education and civil rights.”
Scott and his fellow Democrats have been reminding voters of the success of the Biden-Harris Administration’s past two years in funding education, creating more jobs in the nation’s history, and reducing unemployment – notably for African-Americans to a record low.
Scott said, despite efforts by Republican states to deny access to health care, there is a record-low number of uninsured Americans.
Despite the federal government’s willingness to cover a large portion of the state’s cost for Medicare and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps, many GOP-led states are kicking people off the rolls.
Iowa, for example, is spending more money adding requirements and denying SNAP and Medicaid benefits than helping people secure the benefits.
“Republicans have done nothing but attack transgender teens and the teaching of Black history,” Scott said. “But the Biden administration has reduced the deficit by $1.7 billion.”
“Every Democratic President, including Clinton and Obama, left office with a balanced budget,” Scott continued. “But every Republican, with the exception of Nixon, has raised the deficit and left with a high deficit, including Trump.”
The Treasury Department has been working to fund the government before the critical deadline later this year.
Scott said McCarthy has not given a straight answer on whether he would pursue proposed GOP cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, which make up the largest part of the federal budget.
Most of the funding for Medicaid is used to care for the elderly at nursing homes.
“So, what are they going to do – cut Medicaid and tell these people to go home?” he said.
“But if they repealed the Bush and Trump tax cuts, the deficit would be cut and there would be no need for talking about cuts.”
Scott said his 3rd Congressional District will see funding for various projects from funding from the Biden Infrastructure bills and the remainder of billions in dollars the American Rescue Plan Act (ACCRA) passed to stabilize the economy during the height of the COVID Pandemic.
He said there will be money for training workers in the various construction projects taking place in the region, including the expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the widening of the highway from Newport News to Richmond.
Cities like Norfolk will be receiving millions in funding to address flooding from global warming.
Scott said funding for Black neighborhoods such as Norfolk’s St. Paul’s and Richmond’s Jackson Ward are two of 45 areas targeted by a first-of-its-kind program that aims to reconnect these isolated communities where highways and freeways were built through them.
Other funding coming to the area includes:
• $1.5 million for An Achievable Dream, Newport News, supplemental recovery supports;
• $11.2 million for the removal of toxic sediments at Money Point, Chesapeake;
• $1 million for mental health programming at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters;
• $3 million for the Dr. Clarence V. Cuffee Community Center Aquatic Facility, Chesapeake;
• $2.5 million for the City of Franklin to reconstruct an armory to serve as a community center.
Scott said the GOP House has yet to revise the Voting Rights Act (VRA) weakened by the U.S. Supreme Court removal of the pre-clearance provision.
It forced former states of the confederacy, including Virginia, to submit changes to redistricting and voting laws to the Department of Justice to assure they did not deny Blacks access to the ballot.
Scott said North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin have used the absence of the pre-clearance provision to gerrymander congressional and state voting districts to give Republicans the majority in legislatures even when though Democrats have more voters on the rolls, such as in Wisconsin.
He said the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights has been disbanded by the GOP.
“The Republicans don’t have a civil rights agenda,” Scott said. “So, they think why have any committees on civil rights?”
Scott said that despite the weekly reports of mass shootings involving high powered assault rifles, do not expect the Republicans to support any meaningful gun safety or reduction legislation. He said Republicans who do are threatened with defeat at the polls.
Scott said Virginia’s upcoming legislative election will be the most critical in several decades.
He said if Virginians do not want to see the reversals of voter protections and civil rights taking place in North Carolina, Texas, and other states, “It is best to vote and defeat Republicans.”
Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has vowed to help fund and campaign in support of the GOP quest to take control of the State Senate and retain the House.
Scott said if Virginians do not want to see the reduction of women’s right to choose, civil and voting rights, they had the best vote and deny the GOP’s goal.