On way out door, one final act of indecency for lame ducks

Sometimes, when a politician has no more reason to pull the wool over your eyes, you get to see who he really is.

Take Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who, on the way out the door of Congress, has blocked a bill to improve the federal government’s response to violence against Native American women.

Say again: violence against Native American women.

Who wouldn’t be in favor of doing something about the scourge? Someone whose feelings got hurt by a tweet, in this case, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s of North Dakota, who’s been turned out of office.

Eighty-four percent of Native American women experience violence in their lifetime. They are killed at 10 times the rate of other women in the U.S.

Goodlatte wants a provision out of the bill that gives law enforcement agencies in areas with significant Native American populations priority in receiving grants from the Justice Department.

He is chair of the Judiciary Committee. It’s up to him and him alone whether to bring the bill to a vote. He decided not to, leading to pressure from Heitkamp, her tweet, and his reaction to it. He dug in.

The bill is called Savannah’s Bill, named after Savanna Greywind, 22, of Fargo, who was killed — and her baby cut out of her womb — by a woman who needed a baby to cover up her lie to her boyfriend that she was pregnant.

“Passing good legislation in Washington too often becomes entangled in petty power games,” the Fargo Forum said in an editorial. “Even noncontroversial proposals with bipartisan support can die in the legislative crib if someone decides, for whatever small reason, to demonstrate his clout.”

With a new Congress, the bill’s journey would have to start all over again in 2019. The incoming senator replacing Heitkamp says he’s not sure it’s needed, the Forum said.

Related: More than just words: Red Lake wants to integrate Ojibwe language, culture into everyday curriculum (Bemidji Pioneer)

  • Mike Worcester
  • Gary F

    “The problem is that the way that law was written, it took existing funds available to law enforcement organizations and used it as a reward for people who complied with provisions of the reporting requirements of Savanna’s Act,” Goodlatte told the newspaper.

    The bill had no funding. Taking from Peter to pay Paul. Your post doesn’t explain why he voted against it.


    • Perhaps he has a principled stand. In the democratic process, you could try to convince your fellow lawmakers of it. Bring it to your Republican-dominated committee and give it the vote. It fails, your stand was wrong as judged by the process.

      Easy, peasey.

    • lusophone

      You say, “Taking from Peter to pay Paul.” I say, using existing funds on a community that has been ignored and forgotten. Do Native American women
      have no rights?

    • Gary F

      Didn’t say it was right or wrong, but the post didn’t explain why he voted against it.

      • From the post:

        Goodlatte wants a provision out of the bill that gives law enforcement agencies in areas with significant Native American populations priority in receiving grants from the Justice Department.

      • wjc

        Just to be clear, Goodlatte did not vote against the bill. He blocked it from even being voted on. Two very different things.

      • The Resistance

        He didn’t vote on it and prevented the entire house from doing so.
        It only got a vote in the senate where it passed unanimously.

  • John O.

    Here’s an idea: history be damned and end all of the Byzantine traditions (dressed up as “rules”) in the United States House and Senate once and for all. Let’s do REAL votes and stop the Bolshevik where one senator or representative can hold up a vote because, well, just because.

    And before anyone invokes a partisan counterattack, I’m all in on the fact that BOTH parties have thoroughly abused these arcane “rules” throughout history. It’s all I can do to not want to hurl a brick through my television watching this current cabal of elected officials. I’m sick of these people–ALL OF THEM–flipping ALL voters a high-falootin’ middle finger. Daily.


  • TBH

    Slight pivot from the topic at hand, but I watched the 2017 film Wind River on Netflix last night. It was a very interesting flick and I could not believe the tag line at the end of the movie: “Missing-persons statistics are kept for every demographic group except for Native American women, whose numbers remain unknown.” I don’t know if this is true, I went to sleep after the show and planned on looking it up today to confirm or deny, but I have no reason to believe it was misleading in any way.

    P.S. if you are thinking of watching it, look at why it received an R rating. Some may find it too uncomfortable.

    • Thanks for the call out on Wind River. I’ll add it to my watchlist.

      • TBH

        Definitely do. While it says “based on a true story,” the writer was interviewed saying that the true story is the multiple unreported missing Native American women and not necessarily one particular story – it is a drama/thriller. Very well put together.

  • Momhat

    I’d like to speculate on what this creep’s little tiny “reason” for holding up the bill must be. Could it be something shriveled beyond recognition?

  • AmiSchwab

    goodlatte will not be missed. heidi should be missed

    • Mike Worcester

      I’d say she will be missed.

      • ec99

        Depends on your perspective. An 11 point loss is not insignificant, especially for an incumbent. She won in the university towns of Fargo and Grand Forks, and on the reservations, but to say she did poorly in the west is an understatement. Many NoDakers seemed to believe she didn’t represent them as much as she did Schumer.