A bill introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in the House of Representatives this week would clear the way for states and localities to take full legislative authority over regulating the towing industry.
Tow trucks were classified federally as “interstate carriers,” in 1994, putting its regulation under federal oversight, preempting state and local towing laws.
A year later, according to Moran’s office, Congress legislated away the regulatory body that oversaw the industry, leaving it vulnerable to predatory towing without consequences.
Moran’s bill, if passed, would remove the federal preemption and bring towing regulation fully under state and local control.
“Our state and local governments are the most logical places to regulate towing and many already have an established body of law in place to do so,” Moran said in a statement. “This bill would bring those laws back into effect by removing federal preemption and allow state and local governments the ability to establish common-sense, pro-consumer towing protections for their residents.”
Moran’s announcement of the bill — called H.R. 4131, the “State and Local Predatory Enforcement Act” — comes less than two weeks after Arlington passed a new set of towing regulations aimed at protecting car owners, while raising the trespass towing fee car owners must pay to $135.
Moran co-sponsored an amendment in 2005 that gave states and localities some towing oversight, but some governments were still open to liability with their towing laws. If Moran’s bill passes, that would no longer be the case.
“Representative Moran has long been a champion on this and many other issues important to state and local governments,” Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said in the press release. “Dating back to 1994, he has worked to make certain we have the ability to enact common-sense, pro-consumer trespass towing protections for our residents and visitors. Arlington County’s towing ordinance is in place and successful today because of his efforts, and we thank him for the introduction of this legislation to remove the last vestiges of federal preemption.”
The full text of Moran’s press release is after the jump. (more…)
Liberal talk show host Mark Levine will join this year’s crowded Democratic primary race for retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s 8th Congressional District seat.
Levine, 47, hosts “The Inside Scoop,” a syndicated talk-radio program, and has previously worked as a legislative counsel to former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). He also has worked as a corporate trial attorney, teacher and “Nazi hunter” for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Levine’s entrance into the race makes the field for the June Democratic primary an 11-horse race, along with Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Charniele Herring and Mark Sickles, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman, Bruce Shuttleworth and Derek Hyra. Republican Micah Edmond is also vying for the seat.
“All the people I’m running against are good Democrats, but they’re going to walk in there, cast a vote along party lines, we’ll lose [234-201] and it’ll be business as usual, back to dysfunction,” Levine told ARLnow.com. “Politics could use a lot more forceful advocacy. What I’ve done on the radio is I’ve shown how we can use discussion, rhetoric and talk to change the entire debate and not just lock our heads and vote.”
Levine filed for the race today, he said, hoping to use the seat to promote his platform of universal healthcare, expanding Social Security and Medicare, and protecting women’s rights and voting rights, among others.
“I don’t believe there’s a single federal issue of any importance that I haven’t dealt with,” he said. He’s gone on TV hundreds of times — including frequently on Fox News shows like “The O’Reilly Factor” — to defend his positions, carrying a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket.
Levine said his time as a “Nazi hunter” came during the summer of 1990 when he was in law school, working for the Office of Special Investigations tracking down Nazi war criminals who had lied on official documents to gain entry into the country and earn citizenship. He said he personally built cases that allowed the DOJ to deport two Nazis.
Levine lives in Alexandria, where he moved in 2001 after he was hired by the Congressional Black Caucus to build the congressional challenge to the 2000 presidential election.
“I’m a true believer,” he said. “I believe in America, I believe in the constitution. I really firmly believe in this stuff. If that’s what people want, they can elect me.”
Photo courtesy Mark Levine
Rep. Jim Moran’s (D-Va.) district, which covers Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, is eligible to compete in the first House Student App Challenge. The contest was created to allow high school students to engage in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and innovation by creating a software application for any platform.
The competition is open to the districts whose Representatives decide to participate, and Moran says the 8th District of Virginia is suited to excel.
“Northern Virginia parents, teachers, and administrators have made enormous investments in challenging and reinforcing the STEM abilities of our students,” said the congressman. “Because of this tremendous exposure, our children are uniquely qualified for this competition.”
Students 13 and older must register and submit a YouTube or Vimeo video demonstration of their app by April 30. The winner will have the video displayed on House.gov and will receive a certificate of excellence.
Apps will be judged on the quality of the idea, programming skill and implementation. Individuals or teams of up to four students can compete. Moran’s website has a list of developer tools and resources for students and teachers interested in competing.
“The U.S. is facing a shortage of 1 million STEM graduates in the next 10 years, a decade that is estimated to create 8.5 million STEM job opportunities,” Moran’s office wrote in a press release. “The House Student App Challenge seeks to address this challenge by encouraging students to create their own app and pursue an education in STEM fields.”
Arlington Population Still Growing — A University of Virginia estimate suggests Arlington’s population was 227,146 as of July 1, 2013. That’s a 9.4 percent increase over the county’s 207,627 population figure from the 2010 census. [Washington Post]
Moran to Speak at Health Care Forum — Rep. Jim Moran (D) will speak at a forum on the Affordable Care Act on Saturday morning at the Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church in Nauck. The event is open to the public. [Sun Gazette]
Spy Books and Movies at the Library — Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of books and movies about spies, the CIA and the Cold War. “Come in from the Cold with a good book!” the library quipped on its blog. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Shuttleworth, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in the 2012 Democratic primary, announced tonight that he’s running in this year’s sure-to-be crowded Democratic primary. The announcement follows the news Wednesday morning that the 12-term Congressman is not running for reelection.
Shuttleworth, a 48-year-old Navy veteran, has declared himself a “diversity candidate” and said in a statement that he is “a fighter pilot and a feminist.”
“I don’t think that women have been treated equally throughout history,” he told ARLnow.com. “I think we’d be in much better position if we did treat women more equally and if more women were in positions of power.”
“I’m completely for equal rights in all things, no one is more pro-choice than I am,” he said, adding that he would fight for equal pay for women if elected to Congress.
On issues like sexual assault in the military, Shuttleworth said ”it’s going to be the men who have to take a decisive, bold leadership role in making sure people know it’s not okay to mistreat any minority, most especially women.”
“I will be the loudest voice in the land for equal rights for all minorities to include our transgender brothers and sisters,” he said in the statement. ”I cannot be more committed to being anti-bullying.”
Shuttleworth said he himself was bullied while a student leader at the Naval Academy. The bullying stemmed from a time at when he reported classmates having a drinking party in a room next door, a serious offense at the school. After that, Shuttleworth said, he was “threatened with bodily harm,” broken light bulbs were placed in his bed and his car was vandalized. The bullying followed him “for years,” even while in naval service, but Shuttleworth said he would do it all over again because it was the right thing to do.
“[I] take ethics and integrity incredibly seriously, and that’s the same kind of integrity i’m going to bring to the United States Congress,” he said, later calling Congress “an institution that has failed America.”
The full statement from Shuttleworth, after the jump.
In a statement (after the jump), Moran lamented the sorry state of the budget process in Washington, but said he was hopeful that with the recent bipartisan budget deal, things are getting back on track.
“I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate, grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation,” he said.
The announcement puts Moran’s long-held Congressional seat — representing Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County — up for grabs. Already, electoral prognosticators are weighing in on what will likely be a political free-for-all among local Democrats.
Ben Tribbett, of the Not Larry Sabato blog, opined that the theoretical front runners in this year’s race to replace Moran include Del. Patrick Hope, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley, Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Sickles and Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay. Other names circulating around Twitter include Alexandria mayor Bill Euille, Del. Rob Krupicka and former Lieutenant Governor candidate Aneesh Chopra.
Moran, now in his 12th term in the House of Representatives, has been an outspoken advocate and an effective budget appropriator for his constituents and the causes he supported, including federal employees, transportation infrastructure, immigration reform, gay marriage, gun control, and animal rights. Moran’s Congressional tenure has also been marred by occasional controversies.
In 1995 he engaged in a “physical confrontation” with Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.). In 2000 he was accused of attacking an 8-year-old boy in an Alexandria parking lot. In 2006 he said he would “earmark the shit out of” his House appropriations subcommittee post to steer federal money to Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. In 2010 he said his Republican challenger, a retired Army officer, hadn’t “served or performed in any kind of public service.” In 2011 he was accused in a book of “insider trading” (but never prosecuted). In 2012 his son, Patrick, resigned from Moran’s campaign after being caught on hidden camera seemingly going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.
Despite the controversies, Moran’s Capitol Hill staffers say he is a man truly dedicated to public service, who speaks his mind and does what he thinks is right.
“He is exactly what you want in your local representative — he loves the people of the 8th District and is in politics for the right reasons,” said Anne Hughes, a former press secretary. “Moran is a fierce advocate for Northern Virginia and I know will be remembered not only for his contributions to the region, but also for being on the right side of history — from Iraq War to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — and speaking out loudly for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
“I have enormous respect for Moran, he leaves giant shoes to fill,” Hughes added. “And I will especially miss watching his raucous floor speeches.”
State Sen. Ebbin said in a statement that Moran “has represented the progressive values of the people of Northern Virginia.”
“He has been an advocate for our environment, a fighter for equality, and a strong champion of universal health care and the Affordable Care Act,” Ebbin said. “Northern Virginia is a better place to live and work because of Jim Moran’s leadership. I am proud to have been represented by him in Congress, and to have represented him in Richmond. After his decades of service to our community, I wish him a long and happy retirement.”
The full statement from Moran’s office about the Congressman’s retirement, and a statement from President Obama, after the jump.
President Barack Obama was at Washington-Lee High School this afternoon (Sunday) campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe two days before election day.
Obama, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and actress Kerry Washington, star of the TV show “Scandal,” were among the speakers. Thousands of spectators crowded the Washington-Lee gymnasium to watch the event, and the line to get in curved around N. Stafford Street onto Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street.
Obama spoke passionately for about 20 minutes, lambasting Congressional Republicans for the government shutdown and praising McAuliffe’s stances on transportation and education, but not before he came out to a roar of cheers and started his speech by exclaiming, “Hello, Washington-Lee!”
“An extreme faction of the Republican Party have shown again and again and again that they’re going to hijack the party, and the country, and the economy, and bring Congress to an absolute halt unless they get 100 percent of what they want,” Obama said. “This isn’t just speculation, this happened just last month for the first government shutdown in 17 years.”
There was no mention of the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which was the subject of most of the signs Republican demonstrators were sporting outside the high school while attendees waited in line.
Obama spoke minimally of McAulffe’s opponent, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, not mentioning him by name, simply referring to him as “the other guy,” but McAuliffe highlighted a recent interview Cuccinelli gave on Fox News, when he said he “perfectly happy” that voters in Virginia have “short memories” when it comes to the government shutdown.
“He’s saying that he wants Virginians to forget the shutdown because he wants us to forget all the things he did during the government shutdown,” McAuliffe said, “because as you know it was Ken Cuccinelli that brought Ted Cruz to Richmond. We’re not going to forget that.”
McAuliffe highlighted his policy toward reinvesting in community colleges, and attacked Cuccinelli’s position on the Silver Line.
Warner introduced McAuliffe — whom he has known for more than three decades since the two worked in the Jimmy Carter administration — and highlighted the importance of the election.
“Elections have consequences. Look where I work,” he said, before criticizing the shutdown. “Terry will fight to make sure every child in Virginia has a fair shake and a fair shot.”
Washington, a surprise appearance on the program for many in attendance, drew huge applause when she went up to speak less than 24 hours after hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing as Michelle Obama in a sketch.
“We are so blessed to live in a country where we have a voice in our government,” she said. “On Tuesday, get out there and vote. We did it last year … let’s just do it again on Tuesday.”
Moran was one of the first to speak in the program, right after Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents most of Fairfax County. He, like nearly every other speaker, implored those in the audience to volunteer for the campaign in the final days before the election. He also took the chance to skewer the Republicans for their policies.
“If you want to move forward, you shift into D for Democrat,” he said. “If you want to back up, go in reverse, you put in R for Republican. So what we’re going to do on Tuesday is to move forward, with Terry McAuliffe at the wheel and with Ralph Northam and Mark Herring sitting alongside him”
Federal workers affected by the 16-day government shutdown began heading back to work today, thanks to an agreement Congress passed on Wednesday night. The agreement funds federal agencies through mid-January and raises the debt limit.
Congressman Jim Moran (D) blasted the shutdown, calling it “purposeless” in a statement released last night. Earlier this month, he introduced a bill — which the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed — to grant back pay to all 800,000 furloughed federal employees.
Moran’s full statement follows:
“This bill brings an end to one of the most embarrassing episodes in congressional history. House Republicans, spurred on by Tea Party-aligned members and outside groups who have exploited the Citizens United Supreme Court decision to subvert democracy, held the government hostage in an effort to destroy Obamacare. These Tea Party actions have caused a financially damaging, demoralizing government shutdown that shook consumer confidence, and resulted in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees and employment cutbacks at nearly 85 percent of all federal contracting companies.
“Three weeks later, $24 billion in lost economic growth and the anxiety of people wondering if and when they would receive a paycheck, we have a deal to reopen government, lift the debt ceiling…and Obamacare remains virtually untouched. Clearly, the new health law is going to need tweaking going forward. But efforts to destroy it, rather than improve it, led by charlatans like Senator Ted Cruz, willfully ignored the fact that 1) Congress signed it into law, 2) it was upheld by a conservative Supreme Court and, 3) it was a major issue in the most recent presidential election which resulted in a five million vote victory for President Obama.
“This two week period of panic and pain has been purposeless. We are back to square one having achieved nothing but to have exposed the radical destructiveness of the so called Ted Cruz Tea Party faction within the Republican Party.”
Introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would ensure that approximately 800,000 furloughed federal workers receive pay for the duration of the government shutdown, regardless of furlough status.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced the legislation to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill, Moran said last week.
“[Saturday's] legislation guarantees that retroactive pay for our Federal employees will not become a political bargaining chip,” Moran said in a statement. “This is an issue of fairness. 800,000 federal employees are already weathering the effects of pay freezes, benefit cuts, and furloughs; and now, because of a dysfunctional Congress, they’ve had to worry about even receiving a paycheck.”
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the bill passed 407-0. Moran, however, used the occasion for another jab at congressional Republicans.
“I’m glad my friends across the aisle were able to put aside their ideological crusade to dismantle Obamacare and get behind this legislation,” he said, via press release. “Their approach has already wrought too much hardship and today’s vote ensures it won’t hit the family budgets of our civil servants.”
Also on Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 300,000 Pentagon civilian employees who had been furloughed would return to work.
With some 800,000 federal workers being furloughed as a result of the government shutdown, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and other local members of Congress are calling for retroactive pay for civil servants.
Moran and nearly a dozen cosponsors have introduced the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act,” which would provide retroactive pay for furloughed employees after Congress gets its act together and passes a government funding bill. Following the last government shutdown, in 1995 and 1996, the Republican-controlled Congress passed similar legislation.
While 85 percent of federal workers live outside the D.C. region, an extended shutdown could have wide-ranging impacts locally, from financial difficulties for families to possible pain for the regional economy.
Moran and his cosponsors released the following press release about the Retroactive Pay Fairness Act early this morning.
Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, introduced the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act” to ensure all federal employees receive retroactive pay for the duration of a federal government shutdown, regardless of individual furlough status. Congressman Frank Wolf will be the lead Republican cosponsor. They are joined by Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-[MD]), Rob Wittman (R-VA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), and John Delaney (D-MD).
“Nearly a million federal workers could lose their pay because Congress failed to do its job and keep the government up and running,” said Rep. Moran. “Leaving the question of retroactive pay for furloughed employees, already shouldering much of the burden of sequestration, up to this highly divisive Congress is deeply concerning. Today’s bipartisan proposal shields family pocketbooks from partisan politics and reaffirms our commitment to our federal employees.”
Federal employee pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown. Retroactive payment for “non-essential” and “essential” employees must be approved through the legislative process by Congress.
“Employees at the FBI, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service shouldn’t be punished because the Congress couldn’t get its job done,” Rep. Wolf said. “They should be properly compensated for the hard work they do to make our nation a safer and better place. Let’s also not forget that several federal workers paid the ultimate price just last week in the Navy Yard tragedy.”
“It is unacceptable that Congress’s failure to reach a responsible agreement to fund the government will force federal workers to stay home without pay rather than serve the American people ,” said Rep. Hoyer. “Our hardworking federal workforce – middle-class Americans who support our war fighters, defend our borders, keep our air clean and food safe, care for our veterans, and fulfill many other critical services – should not have to face furloughs. Like so many other Americans, they have mortgages to meet, college tuitions to pay, and families to support. That’s why I have joined my colleagues in sponsoring this bipartisan proposal to meet our basic moral obligation to our public servants and ensure all federal employees receive retroactive pay.”
“After months of furloughs and multiple pay freezes, the worst thing we could do to federal employees is to impose a needless government shutdown furlough on them,” said Rep. Holmes Norton. “In the past, Congress has not permanently placed its own failure to keep the government running on innocent federal employees. We should follow past precedent and retroactively pay our beleaguered federal employees who face furlough if the federal government shuts down on October 1.”
[ ... ]
“In the mid-1990’s, the Republican-led Congress provided furloughed Federal employees with retroactive pay in recognition that our civil servants do not deserve to be victims of congressional dysfunction,” said Rep. Connolly. “Our bipartisan bill will ensure that this Congress, just like the Republican-led Congresses before, honors its commitment to the dedicated men and women of our civil service who serve our constituents.”
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was frustrated with House Republicans Monday afternoon, just hours before a midnight deadline to reach a deal to keep the federal government from shutting down.
“It’s terribly unfair, it’s wrong and it’s irresponsible on the part of the majority of Congress,” Moran told ARLnow.com. “The idea that you would deprive 35 million of affordable health insurance for a minimum of a year in exchange for keeping the government open for another 45 days; that’s not a real negotiation. We can’t accept that.”
Moran said the chances of a shutdown were “pretty high,” and expressed dismay that his constituents would be among the hardest hit of any district in the country.
“I think [my constituents] know that I’m doing everything I can to keep the government funded,” he said. “I feel terrible that this kind of anxiety has been put on their shoulders through no fault of their own.”
Monday afternoon, President Obama said in a press conference that he was “not resigned” to the government shutdown, even after the U.S. Senate voted 54-46 to reject the House’s measure to delay a shutdown 45 days in exchange for delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for a year.
Moran said he has prepared a bill with bipartisan sponsors that, if the government were to shut down, “would drop at 12:01 a.m.” to ensure federal employees furloughed by the shutdown would receive retroactive pay. While Moran expects the bill to pass the Senate, he said he’s less sure about its chances in the GOP-controlled House.
“There are a lot of Republicans who want federal employees to be punished just because they work for the government,” he said. “These are the ones who are more often than not elected on the platform that government doesn’t work. They get elected, then they go about trying to prove it.”
The last time the government shut down was for 21 days in 1995 and 1996, during which time Moran was also in Congress. He said legislators who were there “swore they were never going to let it happen again.”
“I think the American people are going to appreciate the federal government more when they find they don’t have it,” Moran said.
Moran’s New Beard Called ‘Santa Chic’ — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been sporting a white beard since August. While the 68 year old’s new look has its supporters and detractors, the congressman’s own staff has taken to calling it “Santa chic.” [The Hill]
Letter: Arlington Dems Use African-Americans as ‘Window Dressing’ — In a letter to the editor, Bobbie Fisher, an African-American resident of Arlington, says that Arlington Democrats are taking African-American voters for granted and not paying sufficient attention to their concerns. “Walk into any [Arlington County Democratic Committee] meeting, you will never find more than a few African-Americans present,” she writes. “We are viewed as window-dressing or bobble-heads, to sit quietly while others raise questions of interest to their community.” [Sun Gazette]
GGW to Host Arlington Happy Hour — The blog Greater Greater Washington will be hosting a happy hour at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse next Tuesday. The happy hour is an opportunity for the blog’s contributors, editors and readers to get together “for some drinks and lively conversation.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Central Library Renovations in ‘Home Stretch’ — The second floor reference desk and the old first floor circulation desk at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) are gone, among other ongoing renovations. The library’s renovation project as now entered the “home stretch,” officials write. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Reconfigured W. Glebe Road Intersection Considered — Arlington and Alexandria are considering moving the intersection of W. Glebe Road and S. Glebe Road in order to lessen congestion on Glebe near I-395. The proposal is now part of Alexandria’s long-range planning process. [Patch]
New Picnic Shelter for Lacey Woods Park — The Arlington County Board is scheduled to vote this weekend on an enhancement to Lacey Woods Park (1200 N. George Mason Drive). The Board will consider awarding a $341,000 contract to reconstruct the park’s 100-person picnic shelter. [Sun Gazette]
Moran Decries Proposed Cuts to Food Stamps — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says a Republican plan to cut nearly $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will hurt low-income families and children and unemployed adults. Yesterday the House of Representatives passed the plan by a vote of 217-210. In his weekly newspaper column, Moran wrote: “it is disheartening to find House Republicans wasting valuable time on efforts to reduce food availability for the hungry instead of addressing urgent issues facing our nation.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Girl Raises Awareness of Rare Disease — A 5-year-old Arlington girl, who just started kindergarten at Abingdon Elementary, is battling a genetic, degenerative mitochondrial disease for which there is no known cure. Ellie McGinn and her parents have launched a campaign to raise medical awareness of the extremely rare disease. [Washington Post]
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday was “only the latest in a long line” of horrific events.
The shooting spree claimed the lives of 12 people and gunman Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist. Moran, an outspoken supporter of gun control legislation, spoke on the House floor today and said that Congress must act to pass stronger laws to minimize gun violence.
“While it’s too early to know what might have prevented this week’s mass shooting, we do know what will ensure it happens again: doing nothing,” he said. Moran’s office supplied the following transcript of the speech.
On Monday, just over one mile from where I stand, once again our nation experienced a horrific incidence of mass gun violence. Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families who lost loved ones at Washington Navy Yard.
As this chart shows, this mass shooting is only the latest in a line that includes Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown. But even these horrendous mass killings do not fully reflect our nation’s problem with gun violence.
Each year, approximately 100,000 people in America are shot by a gun, 30,000 die from a gun-related injury, and 10,000 are murdered by a firearm. By 2015, gun-related deaths will surpass auto-related deaths for the first time in decades. And while it’s too early to know what might have prevented this week’s mass shooting, we do know what will ensure it happens again: doing nothing.”
Our nation’s gun violence epidemic will continue so long as we resign ourselves to the belief that indiscriminant violence is the price of freedom. The Chief Medical Officer at MedStar Hospital expressed the sentiments of many when she pleaded, “There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate.” If we don’t do all we can to minimize gun violence through stronger laws and improved services, all we’ll ever have to offer our constituents are more condolences.
The congressman, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the military surge in Afghanistan, strongly supports a “surgical strike” against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. The Syrian government, which is battling rebel forces, is accused of killing nearly 1,500 civilians in a chemical attack outside Damascus.
President Obama has called on Congress to authorize a military strike, but public support is still thin and congressional authorization is in doubt. Moran blamed former President Bush and the Iraq war for the lack of American public support and the recent vote by the British Parliament against military intervention in Syria.
“I was adamantly opposed to the invasion of Iraq because I knew that the information being presented was specious… we were cherry picking information to reach a conclusion that the administration had already come to,” Moran told ARLnow.com Tuesday afternoon. “What’s happening today, the vote by the British Parliament and the reluctance of the American people to respond to what [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad is doing in Syria is a direct legacy of the Iraq war… the fact that the world was deliberately misled by the Bush administration to go into a war of choice.”
On Syria, however, Moran is convinced.
“The evidence is irrefutable, that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against innocent people,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind about the verifiability of that information.”
While supportive of the president and his call for military action, Moran said he would have preferred the president use his authority as Commander-in-Chief to strike Syria without congressional approval.
“I feel strongly that President Obama was right to draw a red line against weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “I’d like to see the president to follow through on his original instincts to execute a surgical strike against the capability of Assad’s military to ever use chemical weapons again.”
“Of course he should have” authorized airstrikes, Moran continued. “It’s what Reagan did and what Clinton did. I think that if the vote were held today, it would lose. That’s why the president was wrong to leave the credibility of the United States and the viability of his presidency in the hands of the most dysfunctional Congress in modern history.”