News Digest – August 22, 2017

This past week the news was dominated by more fallout from Trump’s response to Charlottesville, Charlottesville solidarity rallies throughout the country, and the removal of Confederate statues in Baltimore.


    • President Trump again blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence in Charlottesville last weekend, claimed the press had treated many participants in the Unite the RIght rally unfairly,  and said it was foolish to remove statutes honoring the Confederacy.  His comments drew condemnation from both Republicans and Democrats, including Maryland’s congressional delegation.  
    • Senator Cardin tweeted, “Rather than use this moment to bring the country together, @POTUS equated white supremacists w/ those defending America against them.”
    • Senator Van Hollen tweeted, “President Trump, this moment demands moral clarity, not appeasement of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The alt-right is all wrong.”
    • Rep. Sarbanes released a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, then added “As I said on Monday, the racism and anti-Semitism on display in Charlottesville last weekend were repulsive to everything that America stands for. It is shameful that President Donald J. Trump continues to equate white nationalist violence with counter protesters who stood up for equality, love and justice. President Trump’s failure to condemn the hatred and bigotry perpetuated by white nationalists leaves a dark stain on the office of the Presidency and is an insult to the values of our country and its people.”
    • Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, who sits on the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget, is currently exploring drafting legislative language to ensure some groups devoted to fighting white supremacy receive grant funding in the future, though his office cautioned that the effort is still in the early stages.


  • Rep. Ruppersberger on Charlottesville: “Saddened by the events in Charlottesville and confused by the President’s response. He needs to clearly and directly condemn white supremacism, the KKK, neo-Nazis. It shouldn’t be that hard.”


  • Rep. Cummings on Charlottesville: “We must recognize that what happened in Charlottesville is not new. It is the latest manifestation of a long history of hatred that continues to fester in this country, enabled now more than it has been for generations.”

Baltimore confederate statutes come down

State Department vacancies

Senator Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a blistering letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, complaining that, more than six months into the administration, 86 of 131 positions requiring Senate confirmation are not only unfilled but without a nominee.  

2018 Senate races

Senator Van Hollen and other Democrats are hopeful the party can pick up a seat in the Senate by defeating Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in 2018.   Bloomberg had this take on the 2018 Senate landscape.

Prescription Drug Prices

  • After Reps. Cummings and Welch (D-VT) met with Trump in March to discuss their bill to lower prescription drug prices, Trump has done nothing.  Welch: “He is not holding up the bargain. This is unacceptable and we need to hold his feet to the fire.”
  • Reps. Cummings and Welch sent letters to seven drug makers seeking answers about price hikes for MS drugs. The lawmakers, who have been investigating high drug prices, say the prices for MS drugs are rising to meet, or shadow, the prices of newer entrants in the market.


Local news

  • In July 2017, Japan’s United Foods International Co., a private food label manufacturer, opened its first East Coast location in Ruppersberger’s district. United Foods will produce Asian sauces, seasonings, and soups in Maryland, providing up to 125 new jobs at the plant. Rep. Ruppersberger: “I am thrilled that Japan’s latest investment will yield up to 125 new jobs in the Second District and support the hundreds of thousands of jobs at the Port of Baltimore. Japan has long been one of our strongest economic, cultural and security partners and this project is a reflection of that.”

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