Where do they stand?

Rep. Ben Cline (R)   

From Ben's official website:  "For a list of the committees and caucuses on which Representative Cline is serving, please contact our office."  Cline recently sat on a House Judiciary Committee hearing, chatting up Matthew Whitaker while refusing to exercise his oversight responsibilities.  So we can deduce that Rep. Cline does sit on the Judiciary Committee. 

Pick ANY issue, and Ben Cline will be on the wrong side of it.  Cline repeatedly voted to continue the 2019 Federal Shutdown.  He also continued to take his $174,000 salary, unlike most of his fellow Virginia reps.  He voted against supporting NATO. He voted against universal background checks on gun purchases.

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline (VA 6th District) Votes – February 2019

 HJ Res 31 - Further continuing appropriations for Homeland Security - 2/14/19 voted NAY

HJ Res 37 - Directing the removal of US armed forces from hostilities in Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress - 2/13/19 - voted NAY.  This NAY vote shows Cline’s support for the murderous Saudi regime.

HR 8  - Universal background checks on gun purchases  - voted NAY in committee AND in the full house (roll call 99).  He also voted against an amendment that passed with 310 votes (bipartisan) that clarifies that “great bodily harm” includes domestic violence, dating partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic abuse.” (roll call 97, amendment 46 on HR8).   See Cline’s comments in NRA propaganda

Media notes:


·      Abortion: Cline publicly supported the U.S. Senate’s right wing “Born Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act,” which failed to reach the 60 vote threshold and was defeated. Referring to abortion as “infanticide,” Cline vows to support the passage of similar legislation in the House. (https://www.facebook.com/RepBenCline/photos/a.2234516610124110/2266995643542873/?type=3&theater)  [As Sen. Warner points out, infanticide is already illegal; as Sen. Kaine points out, the bill and the inflammatory use of “infanticide” is an incitement to violence against Democrats.]


·      Cline held a town hall meeting on February 21 in Lynchburg, where Cline’s margin of victory was a mere 400 votes. Per the News & Advance:


o   Cline called for Gov. Northam’s resignation, arguing he had lost his ability to lead the state following his blackface admission early in the month, and specifically positing that the scandal had cost VA the opportunity to double the size of the Amazon Crystal City HQ when Amazon pulled out of NY.

o   Cline did not call for the resignation of Lt. Gov Fairfax

o   Cline said that the ACA should be repealed, reaffirmed his support for a balanced budget amendment, and pledged to support legislation to make higher education more affordable.

o   Asked by a mother and activist about his vote against HR8 (bolstering background checks), he said he felt that the burdens on law-abiding citizens purchasing firearms were too high.


·      Background checks/guns: Cline appears in a video for NRA on February 13, opposing HR8, a bill that bolsters background checks for firearm purchases. Cline says, “We’re here in the swamp fighting against efforts to restrict your constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”


·      Minimum wage increase: In his weekly newsletter, Cline advocates that increases to the minimum wage be determined by states and not the federal government. As a state delegate, Cline voted against a bill to increase VA’s minimum wage to $10 over a two year period. [Shouldn’t this be a campaign issue? Isn’t there a critical mass of ShenCo workers who need a higher minimum wage?]   


            On border safety:


     ClineWatch details an interview in which Cline speaks in heavily partisan tones about Trump’s border wall (suggesting Dems are “pushing for open borders” as part of a nefarious plot to “replenish their voting base,” and suggesting that freshman Dems are hyper-partisan and afraid to contradict Nancy Pelosi). He also took positions against organized labor, which may be out of step with his constituency.  


             On the Federal shutdown:

         Cline’s website editorial (dated 1/26/19) recasts the shutdown talks, positing that Pelosi refused to speak with Trump (despite that Trump had walked out on talks with Pelosi and Schumer).  He ends the discussion by saying that he hopes “Pelosi will listen to the growing chorus in her own party who believe in enhanced border security and want an end to the partisan politics that put us on this path.”   


Cline's partial voting record can be found here:


State Senator Mark Obenshain (R)

         Committee Assignments:

  • Voted AGAINST the Equal Rights Amendment ratification. He refused to publicly take a stand the day before the vote.
  • Voted AGAINST raising the minimum wage.
  • Voted FOR the continuation of "conversation therapy," for minors, a pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.
  • Voted AGAINST a bill (SB1025) that would require adequate shelter and space for animals (exempting farm animals) during a heat advisory or severe weather warning. 
  • He is one of the sponsors (patrons in VA) of a measure to overhaul I-81. Among the proposals are building a 3rd truck only lane. To pay for this tolls would be instituted on I-81. There is discussion that residents along the I-81 corridor pay a flat $30 yearly fee. This is still under discussion. It should be noted this measure has wide bi-partisan (not a word used too often this days) support.
  • Obenshain has opened an office (and moved portion of his law practice) to Main Street in Woodstock. He has not indicated why.
  • Obenshain's legislative contributions are generally uninspired.  See the bills he has patroned or co-patroned here:           

Delegate Todd Gilbert

       Committee Assignments:

Gilbert is the House Majority Leader, a position of great power that could be used to better the lives of us in HD 15 and better the lives of all Virginians.  Sadly, Todd Gilbert has other ideas.

Gilbert was given more than 1,000 constituent postcards in January 2019 in support of the ERA. He has been visited in Richmond by HD15 ERA advocates.  He would not push for a floor vote.  Gilbert revealed his opposition to a floor vote that would allow all HoD embers a voice by introducing a rules change on 2/14/19, bill HR 279.  In his floor speech after killing the ratification, Gilbert maligned and insulted those constituents and activists who fought for the ERA and against his obstruction and power play.

Gilbert set up Del. Kathy Tran to create a widely circulated video and sound bite around the painful issue of the VERY rare possibilitiy of a necessary late term abortion. Gilbert and the GOP have rallied around a lie that Democrats support infanticide.  

In a move worthy of a Dickens novel, Gilbert killed SB 1013, a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Stanley that would separate civil fines from drivers license suspensions. The bill sailed through the Senate, with even Mark Obsenshain voting yes.  Stanley is quoted in the Virginia Mercury, “The idea was, you drive, can get to work, pay the fines, and break the cycle. It was a real Republican-y idea.”  Link:  https://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/shad-plank-blog/dp-nws-drivers-license-suspension-20190211-story.html?fbclid=IwAR05-MuFkuuvGW16tTGTs9CtqGAStNz6Dg4XFgofeV-d7pmni4SGtRmppco

Gilbert killed SB 1107, a bill that sailed through the Senate.  SB 1107 would have eliminated a vague misdemeanor charge that has been used to criminalize student behaviors that are better addressed through school discipline policies.  The use of the misdemeanor charges is highly subjective, and is applied inconsistently and disproportionately on children of color. 

Take a look at his 2018 record.

·       Voted NO to provide health care services to more than 400,000 needy Virginians, including 4,000 people in his own District!

·       Voted NO to bring back to Virginia and Shenandoah County millions of dollars in money we have already paid in Federal taxes.  This is money to expand medical services, and money we are simply leaving on the table.

·       Voted NO to provide additional funding to attack the horrible Opioid Drug crisis affecting Shenandoah County.

·       Voted NO to economically strengthen Shenandoah County Memorial Hospital.

·       Voted NO to help hold down the cost of health care insurance for those who can afford it.

·       Voted NO to provide a pay increase for teachers and school staff, something that would have helped Shenandoah County Schools and provided additional funds to help balance the County Budget.

·       Voted NO to provide pay increase for state supported local employees, something that would have helped those who work for Shenandoah County.  Again, this would also have helped balance the County Budget.

·       Voted NO to increase cash reserve to maintain Virginia’s high bond rating, and keep Virginia a strong and appealing place to locate business.

·       Voted NO on legislation to help economically strapped counties in Southwestern Virginia, and apparently did nothing to make this aid available to Page and Shenandoah Counties.

Gilbert's legislation is oriented towards law and order and conservative social issues.  He is a 2019 co-patron of HB2570, which would change public schools' Family Life courses from opt-out to opt-in.  This would create an onerous and unnecessary burden on our public schools.  This bill passed the House on 2/4/19 along party lines.