It’s Time to Challenge Rep. Tom Rice On His Voting Record

It’s Time to Challenge Rep. Tom Rice On His Voting Record

By. V. Susan Hutchinson

Representative Tom Rice (SC-7) is inviting constituents to come out for Coffee with Congressman Tom Rice on Tuesday, March 23 from 3pm to 4pm at Chapin Library in Myrtle Beach.

Tom Rice is giving Horry County residents a chance to challenge him on his voting record these past few months, although it probably isn’t his intent to get chastised for voting against the best interests of South Carolinians.

Although we are still well into the COVID pandemic, if local residents have been vaccinated, can wear a mask and social distance, HCDP encourages you to attend the event.

Tom Rice is up for re-election in 2022 and, based on comments for the event on his Facebook page, Republican voters are none too pleased with him. Local Republican voters feel betrayed by Rice since he voted to impeach Donald Trump in January. Rice said he believed Trump incited insurrection; however, he voted against removing Representative Marjorie Taylor Green from House committees for her blatant support of violence.

Maybe someone can ask him to explain how insurrection is bad, but there should be no consequences for posting photos of potential violence against elected Democratic Congresswomen.

Topics for Discussion

Below is a “short” list of key bills that passed in the House, but Rice voted against if you are stuck for something to discuss with him. Topics are listed in alphabetical order.

Based on this list Rice appears to oppose helping American workers through the pandemic, supports providing easier access to firearms, prioritizes Second Amendment rights over protecting women from violence, is anti-union, supports keeping Dreamers in limbo indefinitely, and supports expanding gerrymandering.

Although he has made no statement on the bills intended to suppress voting in South Carolina and other states, it’s a good guess that he supports suppression as he does not support federally controlling election security.

Maybe he needs to be asked his position on voter suppression on Tuesday so it can be on the record.

Remember, the following are the bills Tom Rice voted NO on, but which passed due to the Democratic majority in the House.

COVID Relief

H.R.1319 – American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

This bill is commonly called the “stimulus package” and is much needed relief for working Americans and small businesses due to the year long COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing payments to individuals and families, it:

  • Extends unemployment benefits through September 6
  • Extends a 15 percent increase in food stamp benefits
  • Expands the child tax credit
  • Expands the child and dependent care credit
  • Provides grants to small businesses
  • Provides help to state, local and tribal governments
  • Provides funds to safely re-open schools
  • Provides federal housing assistance

Most importantly, it provides funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution through community vaccination centers and mobile vaccine units. We must get Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible to reach herd immunity and get back to some semblance of normal life.

Equality and Women’s Rights

H.R. 5 – Equality Act

This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system.

It allows the Department of Justice (DOJ) to intervene to protect equality in federal court cases. It also prohibits an individual from being denied access to a restroom, locker room or a dressing room that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.

H.R.1620 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed into law in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. It was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with bipartisan support in Congress; however, in 2012 it was opposed by the GOP as it extended protection for same-sex couples and allowed provisions for undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas. It passed in 2013.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, the VAWA never came up for reauthorization due to delays and squabbling in Congress. The House passed the VAWA on March 17, 2021. It strengthens protection for transgender women to access women’s shelters and serve in prisons that match their gender identity, expands the criminal threshold to bar an individual from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking and closes the “boyfriend” loophole.

Gun Control

H.R.1446 – Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021

This bill revises the amount of time to complete a background check for firearm transfers from a federally approved gun seller to an unlicensed person from 3 to 10 business days. After 10 days, the buyer may submit a petition for a final eligibility determination. After an additional 10 days with no final determination, the seller may transfer the firearm to the buyer.

Immigration

H.R.6 – American Dream and Promise Act of 2021

This bill is long overdue and allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the DOJ to provide a conditional 10-year permanent resident status to any qualifying alien who entered the United States as a minor. The requirements include being continually present in the U.S. since January 1, 2021, passing background checks and being enrolled in or having completed certain educational programs.

In addition, DHS will remove the conditions placed on permanent resident status if the alien applies and meets certain requirements, such as completing certain programs at an education institution, serving in the military or being employed.

Labor

H.R.842 – Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021

We need to remember how much unions have done for American workers. Without them there would be no paid vacations, sick leave, social security, overtime pay, eight-hour workdays, 40- hour work weeks, pensions, maternity leave or, most importantly, a standard minimum wage.

H.R.842 expands labor protections related to an employee’s rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace. It makes it unfair to require or coerce employees to attend employer meetings designed to discourage union membership and it prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against an employee if the employee has participated in protected activities related to the enforcement of prohibiting unfair labor practices (e.g. whistleblower protections).

Voting Rights

H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2021

This bill would require states to use independent redistricting commissions to do congressional redistricting. Basically, it would eliminate gerrymandering in all states. It would also drastically improve election security in all states by creating the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions under the legislative branch. The goal is to protect democratic institutions.

H.R.1 would also address, among other things, campaign finance by expanding the prohibition of campaign spending by foreign nationals.

Ask Tom Rice to Explain How His Voting Record is Good for South Carolina

We have an opportunity, and an obligation, to demand explanations from Tom Rice, our Representative in Congress.

Rice will be at Chapin Library in Myrtle Beach on Tuesday, March 23 from 3pm to 4pm. We need to give him an opportunity to defend his actions on all of the issues listed above.

Then we need to vote him out in 2022 because we all know he will continue his assault on the rights of Horry County constituents if he wins re-election.

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