Glenn likes to talk about how accessible he is, but unfortunately his monthly “Team GT Tele-Town Hall” often comes and goes without any promotion, and certainly without any recording posted for those hard-working Americans who aren’t able to listen in live. Since Glenn has blocked me on Twitter, this is one of the few ways for me to find out about what my congressman is doing. I’m not sure why he doesn’t post the recordings of these public phone calls for you, so I thought I would do it for him. Here’s the recording from Tuesday, February 6. The next call will be on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30p; you can join by dialing 877-229-8532.
Here are my notes and impressions of the call. Unfortunately, overall it is filled with lies and disinformation. Glenn filibusters by reading from a script for a while at the beginning, and then takes a series of softball questions.
The most important topic is the GOP tax scam, and this is where Glenn’s lies are most damaging. To be fair, this may be because he doesn’t fully understand the issues; as you’ll recall, there was no meaningful debate surrounding the law’s rushed, secretive passage. Glenn is proud to talk about bonuses that workers are getting, but obscures the fact that these pale in comparison to the multi-billion dollar, permanent tax cuts which corporations and the donor class enjoy. He says that tax returns will be simpler and fit on an oversized postcard, while in fact we know that, if anything, the tax law has become more complicated. He also has the gall to take credit for saving tuition benefit waivers, after he voted to take them away. I am proud to have helped shine a light on this issue by speaking with graduate workers and staff right here on campus.
Here is a short summary of each question from voters:
Q1: Tom in McKean County: when is the “nuclear option” used in the Senate? Glenn blames the filibuster, but doesn’t show that Republicans often don’t have even a majority of votes for the unpopular positions that Ryan and McConnell support.
Q2, also from Tom: question about pass-through entity taxation. Glenn boots the question to campaign staff (I think he didn’t understand the question).
Q3: Helen in Jefferson County: Will Social Security and Medicare be cut? Glenn says no. But he says there will be some “Social Security legislation in the future to save it,” but doesn’t say what that is.
Q4: Ed from Venango County: Why can’t you get a federal budget passed? Glenn says that the House has been passing budgets on a regular basis. He then blames the Senate’s 60-vote requirement.
Q5: Luanne from Forest County: Will people on Social Security get a raise? Why are food stamps being cut? Glenn blames Democrats paying for the stimulus for the Affordable Care Act; he’s not sure, but he says this is an area he “leads” on. He seems to be mostly concerned about fraud and abuse, and giving people job training. [Of course, this ignores the fact that nearly 32 percent of SNAP households are home to at least one wage-earner. The problem is that people’s wages are too low. Glenn doesn’t get it.]
Q6, also from Luanne: I’d like to work from home. Glenn says to check out PA CareerLink.
Q7: Richard, from Centre County: What will happen with gerrymandering? Glenn says that the court didn’t provide any directions, but of course that’s wildly inaccurate, and then mocked the prospect of “a math professor from California” using expertise to draw constitutional lines. Glenn then misstated the facts by saying that the 2011 lines were drawn without looking at partisan advantage.
Q8, also from Richard: Have you heard anything about bringing the draft back? Glenn thinks it’s unlikely to change.
Q9: Bruno from Cameron County. Glenn said that Bruno is one of his favorite public servants, and then Bruno said that he didn’t have any questions, and just wanted to thank Glenn for various things. This wasn’t terribly hard-hitting or informative.
Q10: Cecil, from Jefferson County: why am I getting penalized in the 2017 tax return for not having health insurance, when the individual mandate is being repealed? Glenn says that there are lots of better uses for money than health insurance, and that people are getting “slammed” and that it is “egregious” that people have to pay for health insurance. [Of course, there are many exceptions to the individual mandate requirement.]
Q11: Edward, from Erie: Do you think Nunes was right in releasing the memo and going after the FBI? Glenn says that Nunes was right, and says that it is “striking” that people named in the memo were fired or resigned. Glenn also said that the FBI reviewed the memo and found that there was nothing in it that would have compromised our national security. Glenn says that it is “pretty suspect” that a “piece of political opposition” was used as the basis for a FISA warrant, but he has the timing on this exactly backwards. He also says that the Steele Dossier has been discredited more often than not, but this too is exactly incorrect. Glenn says that he hopes “some people will be held accountable,” but doesn’t explain any further.
Q12: Dr. Thomas from Huntingdon County: Why is the funding for federally qualified health centers in danger? Glenn somehow blames the Senate again, without really addressing the issue.