WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) on Feb. 2 released a statement explaining his “no” vote on House Concurrent Resolution 9.
The resolution “denouncing the horrors of socialism,” sponsored by more than 100 Republican representatives, passed by a vote of 326-86, with 14 not voting and 6 absent. All of the Republican members were joined by 109 Democrats.
Among those voting for HCR 9 were Reps. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento), Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara), Young Kim (R-Anaheim), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Michelle Steel (R-Cypress) and Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.).
In addition to Takano, those voting against included Reps. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.) and Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii). Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) voted “present.”
Stating that “many of the greatest crimes in history were committed by socialist ideologues” — including Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro — the resolution declares, “Congress denounces socialism in all its forms, and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.”
Takano responded, “This resolution is not about socialism. It is about political cynicism. It is empty posturing from a flailing majority that peddles outrage because it has no positive agenda to offer the American people.
“No one in this chamber would defend the atrocities committed by Communist ideologues such as Mao Zedong or Fidel Castro – or dismiss the senseless loss of life at the hands of other totalitarian regimes across the centuries, be they far left or far right. But that is not what this resolution is about.
“This resolution is about conflating some of our most cherished social safety net programs with so-called ‘socialism.’ With this resolution, Republicans demonize Social Security, which was created to help elderly Americans avoid starvation during the Great Depression, and on which more than 46 million retirees rely today.
“Republicans demonize Medicare, which has saved the lives of countless Americans since it was born out of [President Lyndon] Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ — itself an effort to showcase the superiority of American freedom to Communist totalitarianism.
“And Republicans have demonized other federal programs as ‘socialist’ in the past — including the benefits offered to our nation’s veterans, such as VA healthcare, home loans, burial benefits, and anti-homelessness programs.
“President Harry Truman was right when he said, ‘Socialism is a scare word [that Republicans] have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.’ A century later, Republicans still use the same scare tactics to impede social progress and entrench the status quo.
“The truth is that Republicans want an America where, to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we have socialism for the rich while expecting rugged individualism from the poor.
“It was Republican socialism for the rich when they joined former President Trump to give profitable corporations and wealthy families $2.3 trillion in unneeded tax cuts.
“It was Republican socialism for the rich when they let businesses across the United States get away with stealing billions of dollars in pandemic relief funds that were meant to support working families.
“It was Republican socialism for the rich when the federal government spent decades providing billions of dollars in subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
“This resolution is an exercise in hypocrisy, and I hope that in the future this House can spend more of its time actually governing and less time merely posturing.”
I agree with Rep. Takano. It is an obvious political ploy to make those that favor social services like Medicare seem like hypocrites when opponents of Medicare and Social Security try to abolish them.