Opinion - In Defense of Congressman Bera Part 2: Mistruths and Half-truths

By Dan Schmitt | February 24, 2016 |

As stated in my last commentary, “In defense of Congressman Bera Part 1,” there are folks who believe Dr. Bera (Elk Grove) isn’t “sufficiently progressive,” and he votes more like a Republican than a Democrat. These people are determined to discredit his voting record, and the group taking the lead on this anti-Bera campaign is one calling itself “Sacramento Democrats for Truth (SDFT).”

So, what evidence do the SDFT have to support their contention, you may ask. Well, you can take a gander at the document (see attachment) the group distributed. It lists nine House bills and/or resolutions that supposedly highlight Congressman Bera’s lack of progressive fealty. But, with a little examination and research on the document’s content, one can easily come to the conclusion that it is full of mistruths and half-truths.

Take H.R. 2642 for example. The SDFT would have us believe that the bill’s title is “Reduce Food Stamps for the Poor,” when the actual bill title is “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2014.” The bill is hundreds of pages long and has over 400 sections. Thirty-three sections (Title IV Nutrition) deal with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.

Often, what is not said is more important than what is said, and the SDFT document provides a paucity of important information on H.R. 2642. It is true that the bill cut SNAP funding by $8.6 billion over ten years, but the cuts were one-fifth of the $40 billion sought by Republicans in the House. Democratic Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio, chairwoman of the black caucus, said after the bill passed the House, “It was the right decision to vote for legislation that prevents devastating cuts.” Even members of the organization RESULTS, dedicated to ending poverty, breathed a sigh of relief when the bill passed, fearing deeper cuts from the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

Some of the money cut from SNAP will be offset through better management of the program and increased crackdown on fraud. The House passed the bill by a 251-166 vote, the Senate passed it by a 68-32 vote, and President Obama signed it into law in February 2014 saying, “The farm bill isn’t perfect. But on the whole, it will make a positive difference not only for rural economies that grow America’s food but for our nation.”

Yes, Congressman Bera did vote for H.R. 2642 as marked on the SDFT document. Ironically, or not, the document also shows Congresswoman Matsui voting yes. Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, and Congresswoman Pelosi also voted for the bill but were not listed on the SDFT document. So, it seems to me, if the Sacramento Democrats for Truth wish to take Congressman Bera to the progressive woodshed for voting more like a Republican than a Democrat, as they claim can be demonstrated by his “yes” vote on H.R. 2642, they’ll have to make room in that shed for the two Senators and the two Congresswomen, renowned Progressives in their own right! Oh, and the President will be standing in line for a paddling also!

A cursory look at the Sacramento Democrats for Truth document might engender doubts about Congressman Bera’s voting record. However, when the information is subject to scrutiny, one can easily conclude that it is no more than a concoction of snake oil designed to dose the public on the false premise that the good doctor is a “Republican in Democrat clothing!” It just isn’t so.

Coming soon: In defense of Congressman Bera Part 3: More mistruths and half-truths!

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