In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Congressman Jim Moran is proposing a bill called the “NRA Members’ Gun Safety Act.”
The bill will “implement five commonsense gun safety reforms that polling shows are supported by at least 63 percent of NRA members,” according to a press release (below, after the jump).
The National Rifle Association is holding a “major news conference” tomorrow (Friday). In its first public statement since the Sandy Hook massacre, the organization has said that it’s prepared to offer “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” Details about the NRA’s proposals have yet to be released.
Moran’s bill would require background checks for every gun purchase and for gun shop employees, prohibit individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns, require gun owners to report to police when their guns are lost or stolen, and establish a set of minimum standards for concealed carry permits.
On Wednesday, President Obama called on Congress to act on gun control legislation. He appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead an effort to draft policies intended to reduce gun violence.
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) In the wake of a horrific elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Arlington Public Schools officials are assuring parents that teachers, staff and students are well-prepared for emergencies.
Individual schools have been sending emails to parents throughout the day, says Assistant Superintendent for School and Community Relations Linda Erdos. Schools drill regularly for a range of emergencies, Erdos said, adding that several Arlington schools conducted a pre-planned lockdown drill this morning.
“All of our plans and preparations are developed in coordination with Arlington public safety officials,” she said. ”Our schools all throughout the county regularly schedule lockdown drills. We do those all the time, just like tornado drills and fire drills. We do a lot of drills with our students so they know what steps are to be taken in an emergency.”
“We all take it very seriously,” Erdos continued. “We will continue to be vigilant and follow normal procedures.”
In an email to parents, the principal of one Arlington elementary school called the events of this morning a “terrible tragedy.”
“Like many of you, all of us… have been shocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy that took place at an elementary school in Connecticut this morning,” wrote the principal. “Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the Newtown community and all of the families that have been touched by this event.”
“We also want to remind you that we need your emergency contact information updated any time it changes. We need accurate phone numbers and addresses,” the principal wrote, adding: “Please make sure that you come through our front doors and sign in the office so that we know exactly who is in our building at all times.”
Congressman Jim Moran, meanwhile, released a statement about the shooting this afternoon.
As our country struggles to comprehend what occurred today in Newtown, CT, my deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those killed in this mindless tragedy. As a nation, we are again confronted with an act of terrifying mass gun violence. While the coming days should be reserved for grieving, as a legislative body, and as a people, we must consider what can be done to improve our laws to prevent the continuation of this horrific trend.
Bishop Paul S. Loverde, of the Diocese of Arlington, also issued a statement about the shooting Friday afternoon:
Today’s horrific news from Newtown, Connecticut, breaks our hearts. In the face of such evil and violence, there are no words adequate to describe the loss. Let us each, today and throughout the coming days, commit to praying for the souls of the departed victims and the families of all those involved.
The Washington City Paper reports that the incident happened early on the morning of Dec. 1, outside The Getaway at 3400 14th Street NW. Moran was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence. The incident happened a little more than a month following the release of a video showing Moran discussing how to commit voter fraud.
According to the City Paper, a D.C. police report indicates Patrick Moran and his girlfriend were fighting outside the bar when Moran allegedly slammed the woman’s head against the bar’s metal trash can cage. A police report cited by the paper said the woman was “bleeding heavily from her nose” and her “nose and right eye were extremely swollen.”
Moran was charged with felony domestic violence assault, but today he pleaded guilty to the downgraded charge of simple assault, which is a misdemeanor. He has been sentenced to probation.
“Patrick and Kelly are both good kids and I hope their privacy will be respected,” Rep. Moran said in a brief statement. “They look forward to putting this embarrassing situation behind them.”
At 2:30 p.m., Rep. Moran’s office issued a second statement, condemning domestic violence but calling the Dec. 1 incident an “accident.”
The Congressman strongly condemns domestic violence. As was stated in court by both his son Patrick and his girlfriend Kelly, the situation was an accident. They were the only two people involved in the scene. In that sense, their statements are the only ones that matter. They are both very embarrassed by the situation, which involved drinking, and they are looking to move past it, and ask for their privacy to be respected.
Kelly Hofmann, who identifies herself as the victim of the incident, released a statement late this afternoon.
This was an accident that has been blown out of proportion. The statements in the police report are inaccurate. Pat and I were arguing, one of my high heels gave out, and I fell into the side of a trashcan. On impact, I fractured my nose. False conclusions were made as a result. I hope our privacy will be respected.
A source close to Rep. Moran tells ARLnow.com said that Hofmann did not press charges and testified in Patrick’s defense today, adding that she suffered from no broken bones and is back at work.
Hofmann’s account is contrary to the police report, which states that a Metropolitan Police officer and a D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration agent observed Moran “grab [Hofmann] by the back of her head with his hand and slam her head into the metal trash can cage in front of the nightclub.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D) says lines to vote in last month’s election were “prohibitively long,” and is proposing legislation designed to reduce wait times at the polls.
Moran introduced a bill called the Voting Line Reduction and Online Registration Act yesterday (Tuesday). The bill comes a month after Arlington set a new voter turnout record, while residents reported waiting in 3+ hour lines to vote.
“Voters in many states, including Virginia, faced waits of up to four hours to vote, due in large part to insufficient or faulty voting equipment,” the congressman’s office said in a press release. “Moran’s bill addresses these problems by directing the Election Assistance Commission to set a minimum number of voting systems, poll workers, and other election resources at each voting site for all Federal elections.”
The 51-page bill also “establishes a system where individuals can both register and update their voting information” online, and mandates at least a week of early voting. Virginia currently allows in-person absentee voting, but voters must have a valid reason to be voting early.
Federal government employees have made a substantial contribution to federal debt reduction efforts already, say local lawmakers who are trying to ensure that federal workers don’t take a big hit in any upcoming debt reduction package.
The lawmakers are cautioning President Barack Obama and leaders in the House of Representatives to “carefully consider the implications that any proposed agreement would have on these Americans so that it reflects the substantial budget savings that the Federal workforce has contributed thus far.”
The lawmakers — Democratic Reps. Jim Moran (Va.), Steny Hoyer (Md.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Donna Edwards (Md.) and John Sarbanes (Md.), plus Republican Reps. Frank Wolf (Va.) and Robert Wittman (Va.) — sent a letter to Obama this week highlighting $103 billion in cuts taken by federal employees in the form of pay freezes, delayed raises and increased benefit contributions.
“The letter comes as Congress and the White House work toward a solution to avoid sequestration cuts mandated to go into effect on January 2, 2013,” Moran’s office noted in a press release.
The text of the letter, which was also sent to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, after the jump.
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
Voting Begins — Voting has begun in Arlington County and long lines are being reported at polling stations. This Election Day, Arlington voters will cast ballots for President of the United States, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, County Board, School Board, proposed amendments to the Virginia constitution and four proposed county bond issues. The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. A list of polling places can be found online or by calling 703-228-3456.
Perfect Season for Yorktown Football — The Yorktown High School football team ended the 2012 regular season with a perfect 10-0 record. The Patriots will face a first-round playoff game against Jefferson on Friday night. In other high school football action, Bishop O’Connell and Washington-Lee both finished the season 5-5. Wakefield finished the season winless at 0-10. [Sun Gazette]
On Election Eve, Moran Goes on TV With Son — On the eve of the election, Rep. Jim Moran (D) appeared on Fox 5′s 10 p.m. local newscast with his son, Patrick Moran, who’s currently the subject of a criminal investigation over a video that allegedly shows him giving advice to someone planning to commit voter fraud. The elder Moran called his son an “idealistic kid” who said something “stupid.” Said Rep. Moran: “I still love him and I’m proud of him.” Patrick Moran, meanwhile, explained that didn’t fully comprehend the scheme that the undercover video producer was explaining to him. [MyFoxDC, Associated Press]
Back to Drawing Board for Reeves Farm — Arlington County’s efforts to find a partner to help restore the historic Reeves farmhouse have been fruitless. County officials say they were unable to find a suitable partner, and will now likely “go in another direction.” A group that wants to transform the farmhouse and surrounding property into a “learning center” says it will continue to try to persuade the county to work with them. [Sun Gazette]
Last month we asked the four candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Eighth District of Virginia, to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).
Here is the unedited response from Rep. Jim Moran (D):
Our country and our region are facing some of the biggest challenges in our lifetime. Gridlock in Congress, driven by Tea Party fueled obstructionism, threatens our economic future. While we currently continue to enjoy a strong economy in Northern Virginia, with unemployment rates at half the national average, a failure by Congress to prevent draconian cuts through the sequestration process could be devastating. Bloomberg News recently reported that sequestration would result in a loss of $10.8 billion just in federal information technology contracts in Virginia’s 8th District. Our congressional district would be harder hit than any other in the country.
I voted against the legislation which created sequestration. I also opposed the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts, which were unpaid for and led to the painful budget situation we are currently in. To avoid this looming threat, I’ve been working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach a bipartisan resolution. The No Labels organization (www.nolabels.org), a movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the politics of problem-solving, recently commended me, giving me their seal of approval for my efforts. Make no mistake, I am a progressive Democrat. But I understand that in order to overcome the crisis we face, it’s going to be necessary to work with Republicans to achieve compromise.
Facts are facts. We currently spend more than we can afford (roughly 25 percent of GDP) and bring in less revenue (roughly 14 percent of GDP) than at any time in modern history. Congress and the President have to find a way to meet in the middle on these figures, doing it in a way that won’t harm our economic recovery. I am committed to reaching that compromise, which will require both parties to put the public interest above partisan politics.
As your Congressman, I spend every waking hour thinking about how to keep our region one of the best places to live and work in the country. I’ve secured billions in federal funding to strengthen our research and technology industries, modernize our infrastructure, and provide many of our local non-profits with the resources needed to care for the most vulnerable in our community. I’ve worked hard to make the Rosslyn to Ballston Metro corridor the apex of information technology and graduate school research in the country. By co-locating the graduate schools of Virginia Tech, George Mason and Marymount with our defense, science and technology activities at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), we have a foundation that will continue to attract the best and brightest members of the “creative class” from around the world. I have also helped fund countless other projects to make housing more affordable, bus and rail transit more accessible, and regional bike trails more enjoyable.
Northern Virginians expect their representatives to reflect their values. I’ve consistently received the highest scores from the League of Conservation Voters, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the U.S. Humane Society, Planned Parenthood, as well as many other environmental, arts, housing, and human service organizations.
As a senior Member of the exclusive Appropriations Committee, I’ve led the fight to defeat conservative attempts to undermine the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Endangered Species Act and other landmark environmental laws. The Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee is ground zero for this battle. As the subcommittee’s top Democrat, I, along with Congressmen Ed Markey and Henry Waxman, serve as our party’s principal legislators on environmental issues.
Northern Virginia is home to the highest concentration of federal workers in the country. Despite constant attacks on their work and their mission, federal employees play an essential role in America’s economy and society. I recently authored several major reforms to our civil service, including providing employees monetary compensation for unused sick leave, fixing outdated rules for CSRS employees interested in performing part time work, and allowing FERS employees to combine their past service with new service for annuity credit calculations.
I feel strongly about the need to protect animals from abusive and inhumane treatment. Given the major problems facing our nation, some consider this a low priority. I disagree. As Chairman of the Animal Protection Caucus, I advocate for all legislation consistent with making this a more caring and compassionate world for all living things. Whether enacting laws to prevent the sale of dog and cat fur, banning the barbaric practice of horse slaughter, or pressing for more humane treatment of circus elephants, lions and tigers, we have sensitized Congress to issues that would otherwise be ignored. It speaks to our humanity, as a nation which believes in fairness and compassion, that all our laws are consistent with our values.
On Tuesday, November 6th, I ask for your vote. I’ve dedicated my adult life to Northern Virginia. And I remain dedicated to protecting our community from the kind of unwise and unnecessary funding reductions that would come from sequestration, and most importantly to use all the resources within my power to promote peace, justice and environmental sustainability.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to continuing to represent you over the next two years.
(Updated at 7:25 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into a video of Patrick Moran, son of Rep. Jim Moran (D) and former field director of his reelection campaign.
The video, released yesterday by conservative activist James O’Keefe, allegedly shows Moran offering advice on how to cast fraudulent ballots. The advice was given to an undercover reporter who approached Moran with a scheme to fraudulently vote on behalf of 100 people.
Moran has since resigned from the campaign.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Arlington County Police Department have been made aware of a video released yesterday allegedly depicting Patrick Moran, former Director of Field Operations for the Jim Moran for Congress campaign organization, assisting another to vote illegally.
The Arlington County Police Department has initiated a criminal investigation of this matter.
Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck promised a “thorough investigation” into the “election offense allegations.”
“All parties will be involved in the investigation,” he said, adding that “it would be irresponsible” to not investigate the video. Police will turn over the results of the investigation to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, which will then decide whether or not to prosecute.
Patrick Moran, in a statement issued following his resignation from the campaign, denied any wrongdoing.
“At no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior, he said. “At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him. In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not.”
Arlington GOP Chairman Charles Hokanson, meanwhile, called for Rep. Moran to resign over the video during an interview that was scheduled to air this afternoon NPR, according to an Arlington County Republican Committee press release.
Update at 10:10 p.m. — Rep. Jim Moran issued the following statement tonight.
I don’t condone the actions of the right wing organization in question, but I recognize that this incident is teaching Patrick a tough lesson early in life. I know that my son’s intention was to deflect the line of questioning by this trained political operative bent on goading him into a specific response.
But the fact remains that the conversation drifted into discussions that reflected a serious error in judgment that Patrick wishes he could take back.
In life, if we learn from our mistakes, we move forward stronger, wiser, and committed to ensuring they are not repeated. I know Patrick will come out of this tough situation a better man for it.
The Moran campaign also issued a statement.
Our campaign welcomes a thorough investigation and we will fully cooperate. The incident involving Patrick was an unfortunate situation. While clearly lacking good judgment, Patrick’s unsolicited interaction with a right wing political operative seeking to trap him in a damaging conversation did not constitute an unlawful action. We are confident this unwelcome chapter in the campaign will be quickly and favorably closed.
Photo via YouTube/Project Veritas
Update on 10/25/12 — Police have opened a criminal investigation into the video.
Patrick Moran, the son of 11-term incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D), has resigned from his father’s campaign following the release of a video (above) that purports to show him going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.
In the video, Moran, who worked as the campaign’s field director, is approached in a Courthouse eatery by an undercover videographer who discusses an idea for trying to fraudulently vote on behalf of 100 people on the voter rolls. The video then shows Moran seemingly suggesting that the man behind the camera forge utility bills to get around Virginia’s voter ID laws.
In a brief statement, the Moran campaign said Patrick Moran had resigned from the campaign.
“Patrick is well liked and was a well-respected member of the campaign team,” the campaign said. “This incident, however, was clearly an error in judgment. The campaign has accepted Patrick’s resignation, effective immediately.”
The video was released by Project Veritas, a nonprofit investigative group founded by conservative activist James O’Keefe, of ACORN video fame. Project Veritas’ stated mission is to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.”
The campaign of Patrick Murray, Moran’s Republican challenger in the Nov. 6 general election, issued a statement expressing “concern” about the Moran campaign’s activities.
After seeing this video on several news sites, I am very concerned about the campaign activities of my opponent. While it is not clear whether or not there was any wrongdoing, I hope that local, state and federal election officials will look into this matter immediately.
The integrity of our nation is at stake, and it appears that my opponent’s campaign seems prepared to undermine free and fair elections right here in Virginia.
Sadly, anyone who is familiar with Jim Moran will not be surprised by this. The truth is that Moran has a long track record of hyper partisan behavior, racially charged comments and an infamous anger management problem. So this is more of the same embarrassing behavior that we’ve come to expect from Jim Moran and his campaign.
In a statement issued to the Democratic blog Blue Virginia, the Arlington County Democratic Committee said it has asked Patrick Moran to not return to the party’s office in Courthouse. Part of the undercover video was filmed in the office.
Arlington Democrats condemn any form of voter fraud. Any allegations that such conduct has been condoned – especially in Arlington – is something we take very seriously. We are concerned by the apparent remarks of Pat Moran in the hidden-camera video arranged by Mr. O’Keefe. While we do yet not know Pat Moran’s response to the video and Mr. O’Keefe’s allegations, we understand that Pat Moran has resigned from the Moran campaign, and we have asked him not to return to our offices. The Arlington Democrats are committed to making sure that all voters have a full and fair ability to cast their votes in accordance with applicable laws, and that commitment will not change.
The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans, meanwhile, denounced what it termed “attempted Democrat campaign voter fraud.”
“This is an outrageous blow to the integrity of our electoral process,” said Matthew Burrow, Chairman of the organization. “Patrick Moran should have immediately denounced and reported any attempt to subvert the election process. Instead, he encouraged and even advised this individual on how to illegally cast ballots for other people. This level of corruption cannot stand.”
The release of the video comes on the heels of Moran — along with two other Virginia Democratic congressmen — publicly calling for an investigation into allegations of Republican voter fraud in Harrisonburg, Va. Moran repeated his call for investigations into voter fraud in a column published by the Falls Church News-Press this evening.
Update at 11:15 p.m. — Patrick Moran has issued a statement:
In reference to the “O’Keefe” video, at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior. At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.
In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not.
In regards to my position on the campaign, I have stepped down because I do not want to be a distraction during this year’s critical election.
Meanwhile, Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under former president George W. Bush, is weighing in on the controversy. Fleischer said the Moran video might strengthen the case for laws requiring photo identification to vote.
“From now on, any law requiring photo ID to vote should be know as the Moran Act,” he said via Twitter.
Update at 11:55 p.m. — Independent candidate for Congress Jason Howell has also released a statement.
From the very beginning, our campaign has been about giving my neighbors the opportunity to vote for someone rather than merely against Jim Moran. I was saddened watching video of the apparent sting operation on Patrick. The Moran campaign may now have many distracting, legal and ethical questions to answer. Our campaign is about my generation taking responsibility for the systemic political and economic challenges we face as a country. We must do better. If you elect me on November 6th, a business owner, community volunteer, former accountant and jobs recruiter, we will do better.
Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray is responding to a letter incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) sent to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on the topic of sequestration.
Moran asked McDonnell use his position in the Republican party to pressure GOP congressional leaders to support a “balanced approach to deficit reduction” that could avoid sequestration. Murray has responded with a statement criticizing Moran’s leadership on the issue.
For months and months, Jim Moran has done exactly nothing while this debacle unfolded. Moran offered no legislation and he refused to sign on to existing legislation. He didn’t even bother to have a town hall meeting to inform his constituents about how heavily we are about to be impacted.
Moran’s only recommendation is to raise taxes on the middle class at the end of the year, a tax increase of almost $3 trillion that would impact 83% of American households.
We expect our elected representatives to put people over partisanship and to find solutions to problems, not to complain and point fingers. Instead of Moran’s angry hyper-partisanship, we need a congressman who will work across the aisle and put the people of the 8th District first. Instead of political posturing, I’ll stand up for the workers of the 8th District and not let petty politics stand in the way of meaningful legislation.
Three Democratic members of Congress from northern Virginia, including Rep. Jim Moran, have sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in support of avoiding the “economic disaster” of sequestration through a “balanced approach to deficit reduction.”
The letter asks McDonnell to “prod” Republicans in Congress to support a deficit reduction package that closes tax loopholes, eliminates “unneeded subsidies,” and avoids deep cuts to social safety net programs.
Sequestration could cost Virginia 207,000 jobs and $20.9 billion in lost economic activity, according to one economist.
From a press release:
Congressmen Jim Moran (VA-08), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), and Bobby Scott (VA-03) wrote to Governor Bob McDonnell today detailing the impact sequestration cuts would have on Virginia families and urging Gov. McDonnell to use his leadership position in the national Republican Party to prod House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor “to begin discussions on a balanced deficit reduction package that can garner bipartisan support” and avoid an economic disaster for the Commonwealth.
The Virginia lawmakers were responding to McDonnell’s October 9 letter urging President Obama and the Virginia Congressional delegation to support a House Republican “cuts-only” plan that would shift all defense cuts to safety-net domestic programs. “We were puzzled by your recent letter to the President and congressional delegation urging support for the cuts-only approach,” the three Democratic lawmakers wrote. “Your concerns about the impact on Virginia of a sequester to defense spending, which we share, applies almost equally to nondefense discretionary spending, to which your letter is silent.”
The lawmakers questioned Governor McDonnell’s support of the “Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act” (H.R. 5652) passed by the House on May 10 on a party line vote. The legislation would prevent the sequestration cuts to defense programs by cutting an additional $300 billion over the next 10 years from safety net programs like Medicare, SNAP (food stamps), and non-profit health clinics providing preventive services. The bill also requires all current and future federal workers to pay an additional 5 percent of their salary toward their federal pensions. “Contrary to its title, this bill does not avert sequestration, instead shifting cuts to safety-net domestic programs in the early years and leaving the door open to across-the-board cuts in later years.”
Along with the defense cuts and their impact on Virginia’s federal contracting sector, sequestration could trigger massive layoffs in the federal workforce, and would result in fewer air traffic controllers, border guards, food inspectors, and cuts to public safety and nearly every other government function. The House Republican bill advanced by McDonnell would only make those cuts more severe since it contains no balance of new revenue.
Ironically, in 2011, Governor McDonnell wrote the Virginia delegation calling for a bipartisan solution with all options, including revenue, on the table. The cuts-only approach advocated by Governor McDonnell in his October letter departs from his previous bipartisan approach. “Last year…we applauded your initiative. We hope you will join us in calling on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to begin discussions on a balanced deficit reduction package that can garner bipartisan support. We stand ready to work with you to achieve a balanced solution that delivers on the tradition of our Commonwealth,” Connolly, Moran, and Scott wrote.
Sequestration, which mandates $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, came about after House Republicans, for the first time in history, refused to support the President’s request for a clean debt limit bill and instead demanded massive cuts. A commission formed in the aftermath failed to reach agreement on the savings when Republicans refused to consider closing tax loopholes, ending unneeded subsidies or any other revenue measures, and walked away from the table.
Unless Congress is able to find these savings, on January 2nd, defense spending immediately will be cut by about 10 percent, while non-defense discretionary spending will be cut by roughly 8 percent, and payments to Medicare providers will be cut by two percent – a total reduction in spending of $110 billion for fiscal year 2013.
Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University predicted sequestration cuts could cost Virginia 207,000 jobs and put a $20.9 billion hole in Virginia’s economy.
Connolly, Moran, Scott, and other Democrats in Congress have repeatedly urged the House Republican leadership to cancel the 5-week August recess and the current 7-week recess to bring Congress back to Washington to deal with sequestration and other pressing fiscal matters that expire at the end of the calendar year.
October 18 Connolly, Moran, Scott Letter to Gov. McDonnell – http://connolly.house.gov/uploads/McDonnell%20sequester%20response%20Connolly%20-%20Moran%20-%20Scott%2010-18-12.pdf
October 10 Letter from McDonnell to President Obama and Virginia delegation – http://connolly.house.gov/uploads/McDonnell%20sequester%20letter%20to%20POTUS%2010-10-12.pdf
McDonnell Letter of July 2011 from McDonnell to President Obama and Virginia delegation – http://connolly.house.gov/uploads/McDonnell%20to%20President%20on%20debt%20ceiling%2007-20-11.pdf
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) In a bout of bizarro bipartisanship, a former top advisor to President George W. Bush has offered praise for Rep. Jim Moran (D), and a former Democratic congressman is headlining a fundraiser for Moran’s Republican challenger, Patrick Murray.
Today the group No Labels, a “grassroots movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the politics of problem solving,” announced that Moran has earned its “official Problem-Solvers Seal of Approval.” No Labels co-founder and former Bush advisor Mark McKinnon said Moran “emphasize[s] working together and solving problems, not scoring political points.”
“Throughout his career in Congress, Moran has shown a continued willingness to work across the aisle and find common ground with members of the opposite party on important issues,” McKinnon said in a press release (below, after the jump). “His attitude is what Congress needs more of.”
Meanwhile, Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman and a national co-chair of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, is headlining a private fundraiser for Murray in Alexandria on Oct. 15. Davis, who lost his bid to become Alabama’s first black governor in the state’s 2010 Democratic primary, recently switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and spoke at this summer’s Republican convention.
Murray’s campaign said it’s “proud to have the support of Congressman Davis” and “common sense voters of all partisan backgrounds.” It also commented on the No Labels award and this week’s endorsement of Moran by the Washington Post.
In a one-paragraph endorsement that called Moran “conscientious and constituent-oriented,” the Post also noted that the 11-term congressman “has embarrassed himself, and his constituents, with ill-considered comments in the past.”
“If voters want a common sense Congressman who will find solutions and won’t embarrass his constituents, their choice is Colonel Patrick Murray,” said Murray campaign spokesman Reece Collins.
Independent Jason Howell has previously described himself as the true non-partisan candidate in the congressional race, which also features Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy.
“The ability to go in there and create relationships without parties’ strings is what I bring to the table,” Howell told ARLnow.com in June.
Foreign intelligence agencies often recruit spies and double agents within the American government by targeting federal employees in financial distress. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives today will prevent those intelligence agencies from finding financially-troubled feds with only a few clicks of the mouse.
Moran applauded the passage of bill S. 3625, which will delay certain provisions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act from taking effect. The provisions would have required automatic online posting of the financial disclosure forms of 28,000 senior federal employees (GS-15 and SES level). The forms could reveal information about employees’ stock portfolio, real estate investments, and retirement funds.
In an Op-Ed in the Federal Times, Moran wrote:
Under the proposed online system our enemies around the world might be able to search thousands of records with a single keystroke — anonymously exploiting an easily accessible database to search for subtle differences in financial disclosures.
If analyzed closely, these differences might betray the identity of members of the intelligence community, while simultaneously providing information to our enemies as to which employees might be struggling financially — a known criteria used by foreign intelligence services to target individuals for espionage.
The bill, which will now head to the president’s desk following today’s voice vote in the House, will delay the online reporting provisions for senior federal employees from taking effect until Dec. 8. It also requires a study of “issues raised by website publication of financial disclosure forms” by the National Academy of Public Administration.
Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the STOCK Act until Oct. 31, after the American Civil Liberties Union argued that posting employees’ financial information is a violation of their privacy.
The full press release from Rep. Moran’s office, after the jump.
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
“We are not in a recession,” Moran campaign spokesman Austin Durrer was quoted as saying, according to the Murray campaign. The remark was made at the 2012 Northern Virginia Asian Pacific American Candidates Forum in Fairfax.
In response, the Murray campaign issued a blistering press release.
Jim Moran’s spokesman, Austin Durrer, had the audacity to tell the audience that our economy is fine and we have nothing to worry about.
“We are not in a recession,” said the Moran spokesman.
One might think that it was just a slip of the tongue or a slight miscommunication, until you realize that this is the conventional thought at Team Moran.
On June 29 of this year, Jim Moran went on the Martin Bashir show to say, “people are not going bankrupt…This is a wealthy country, we’re not broke.”
In response, 8th District congressional candidate Patrick Murray said, “How can Moran’s campaign say that to the 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans? With the real unemployment rate over 14%, months upon months of job losses, escalating national debt, and sequestration on the horizon, the Moran campaign thinks that the economy is fine and we’re not ‘broke’. I’m not sure if this is some horrible case of groupthink at the Moran headquarters, or if he’s just that disconnected from the average American.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research — which is generally regarded as the authority on recessions in the U.S. — the most recent recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Since then, the United States has experienced 12 quarters of positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. One rule of thumb for determining a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.
The Moran campaign responded to the Murray camp’s press release with a statement of its own.
Ask any reputable economist when the Great Recession ended and they’ll tell you June of 2009, over three years ago. But clearly, far too many people are still out of work and the economy needs to grow faster.
It’s troubling that our opponent continues to talk down the economy for partisan political purposes. That kind of mentality won’t create a single job and in fact encourages businesses to continue hoarding cash rather than investing in the future. We’re fortunate that Northern Virginia has been an outlier from the rest of the country over the past four years of economic struggles.
While there’s still much work to be done, we have an unemployment rate that’s half the national average and major companies like Hilton and Northrop Grumman continue to relocate here. It’s in large part due to our region’s interconnectedness with the federal government, our largest employer, and synergies that relationship creates with the private sector.
Congressman Moran has played no small part in this success, whether by protecting federal employees from draconian conservative efforts to dismantle our civil service, which would be a disaster for our region’s economy, or through his senior position on the powerful Appropriations Committee. That’s one of the many reasons he deserves to be reelected and continues to have overwhelming public support from his district.
Murray campaign spokesman Reece Collins countered:
“Some economists would argue that we’ve entered another recession. Regardless, Moran’s campaign cannot say with a straight face that the economy is fine. With sequestration around the corner, and over 100,000 Virginians who will lose their jobs, the Moran campaign hunkers down and tells everyone that we are fine, there is no recession, we aren’t broke.”
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray says he has a better chance this time around, his second shot at unseating longtime 8th District Rep. Jim Moran (D).
He is more well known, redistricting has cut out Reston from the map and added more conservative areas near Mount Vernon, and he expects the presidential election to help get-out-the-vote efforts.
But from a practical perspective, Murray knows Moran’s more than 20 years of representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County is not likely to end after Nov. 6.
“I can’t help that. Just because the district is difficult, the cause is the same,” said Murray, the first Republican challenger to take on Moran for a second time since Demaris Miller in 2000. “So many people were just happy to see that somebody was running against this guy for the second time, that I had stuck around. These guys come out of the woodwork, they run once against Moran and then they vanish.”
“He scares them off,” Murray added.
That seems to be a point of pride for Murray, the retired Army colonel who three years ago passed up a chance to attend the prestigious Army War College — which trains future generals — to run for office.
(Murray lived in Alexandria for eight years earlier in his military career, but moved back there in 2009.)
In the 2010 election, he briefly vaulted into the national spotlight when Moran characterized him as a “stealth” candidate without “public service” experience. Murray said it was a criticism of his military career, which he felt was a type of public service. Moran said he was simply pointing out Murray’s lack of local service to Virginia communities.
Once that happened, campaign contributions from 26 states started coming in.
“It was mostly veterans. They’re not rich,” Murray said. “But it was $25, $50 bucks saying ‘Go kick this guy’s ass because now I see how he feels about us.’”