(Daily Kos) – On Wednesday, after weeks of Republican Party uselessness with next to no ideas on how to provide relief for families, children, businesses, and Americans living during the time of COVID-19, the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan. It passed along party lines 220-211. Before the vote was taken, representatives from both sides of the aisle were allowed to make their remarks about why we needed to pass this bill and why we shouldn’t pass this bill. The Republican Party, which has offered nothing during this process, mostly tried on new sound bites that they hope will form a campaign line in 2022.
One of the Republicans allowed to speak during this time was Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin. Grothman got up to give his random set of talking points, which he delivered with his signature stilted common man patois and amounted to, “We’re giving too much money to people and it will cause inflation.” Also, Grothman had a super racist thing to say about the Black Lives Matter movement. Speaking to the “increase in the earned income tax credit for single people,” Grothman claimed the American Rescue Plan “has a marriage penalty in it.” We will get back to this misrepresentation of reality in a moment, but what brought on the ire of anyone listening to Grothman’s grandstanding was how he attempted to connect the concern for Black lives and the Black Lives Movement with some attack on family values. “I bring it up because I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family.”
Wow. What a strange, racist thing to say that’s not even remotely based in a fake kernel of a fake fact. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands could be heard responding to this true debasement of rhetoric as Grothman yielded his time, and she came up to address it. Clearly throwing away her prepared notes, Plaskett made sure Grothman knew exactly what she thought of him and his racism.
Plaskett was righteously livid over the absolute dreck flying across the aisle.
STACEY PLASKETT: Mr. Speaker: I hope my colleague from Wisconsin will not leave at this time as he’s talked about Black Lives Matter. How dare you! How dare you say that the Black Lives Matter—Black people do not understand “old-fashioned families”? Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward—that I’ve heard out of your mouth, in the oversight committee, in your own district—we have been able to keep our families alive for over 400 years. And the assault on our families to not have Black lives or not even have Black families. How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the Black community. That is outrageous. That should be stricken down. I was going to talk about the American Rescue Plan. We know that this is going to provide relief to not only Black lives, Black Americans, but all Americans, that we are interested in children and in their welfare. And at this time I yield back.
Plaskett’s reference to “Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward—that I’ve heard out of your mouth, in the oversight committee, in your own district,” is telling. The congresswoman is clearly fed up with listening to Grothman’s (likely) never-ending stream of ignorance in any room in Congress he inhabits.
While Plaskett is known around these here parts for doing serious work in our government, Rep. Grothman is well known around these here parts as one of those Republicans that says and does terrible things all of the time. He’s the Wisconsin representative who thought requiring businesses to give their employees at least one day off a week was the opposite of “freedom.” This is a man that once said, not as a joke, “Quite frankly, it’s scandalous that lawyers are leading people to believe that the lead paint in these houses is responsible for the increases in the (lead) levels in their blood.”
Grothman’s weird implication that the American Rescue Plan includes some new attack on married couples is a rich bit of revisionism. When Grothman and his Republican Party rammed through their Tax Cuts and (diminishing) Jobs Act in 2017,wealthier married couples were unpleasantly surprised that along with all of the tax breaks they got, the marriage penalty did not disappear for them. The Republican rich tax giveaway also did not get rid of a penalty working couples potentially face by losing the earned income tax credit. Of course, the Democratic plan for relief includes the Child Tax Credit, something that will hopefully continue to be given to working families with children.
The cynicism shown by Grothman and other Republican operatives can be breathtaking at times. It is clear that Plaskett just could not sit by and let him lie about everything. In the clip you will notice that Grothman is wearing a mask, maybe because of the deserved blowback he received while not wearing a mask at an ill-advised indoor event over the summer that included a clip of him coughing all over the lectern and microphone during his speech.