Meet The 88 Democrats Who Just Voted To Enable Racial Discrimination In Car Buying

They were joined by 244 Republicans. America!

Senior Political Economy Reporter, The Huffington Post  Posted: 11/20/2015 06:01 AM EST | Edited: 11/20/2015 03:39 PM EST

So that happened. This week, the House of Representatives voted to help banks and car dealerships discriminate against customers of color. And it wasn’t just Republicans — 88 Democrats, including Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) — voted in favor of the legislation.

Most dealerships are authorized to sell cars and make loans to finance the purchase. They send their customers’ financial information to a bank, which then sends the dealer an appropriate interest rate for a borrower with that particular credit profile. But banks also permit dealers to “mark up” the interest rate on the loan to a higher level, and allow the dealership to pocket some of the additional charge.

That, of course, creates incentives for the dealer to charge people higher interest rates. But lawsuits dating back to the 1990s have shown that people of color are more likely to have their interest rates marked up than white borrowers. Black, Latino and Asian-American borrowers also tend to see higher markups than white borrowers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued regulatory guidance in 2013 instructing companies on how to cope with this phenomenon. Since the markup practice tends to result in overcharging borrowers of color, the CFPB recommended that banks and dealerships ditch the practice. If they didn’t, however, they needed to ensure that borrowers with similar credit profiles weren’t receiving different interest rates due to their race or national origin.

Since issuing the guidance, the CFPB has taken action against Honda and Ally Bank for overcharging borrowers of color, forcing them to return more than $100 million to their customers.

This was apparently too much for banks and auto dealers to handle. They lobbied for a bill that would nullify the CFPB’s regulatory move. The NAACP, the Urban League, the National Council of La Raza, Americans for Financial Reform and other groups opposed the legislation. The Congressional Progressive Caucus urged lawmakers to vote against it, as did Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the top-ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he “strongly opposes” the bill, but stopped short of a formal veto threat.

None of the opposition was enough to counter two interest groups that wield tremendous power on Capitol Hill. No Republicans voted against the bill to curb the CFPB’s enforcement of anti-discrimination law this week, while 88 Democrats voted in favor. The legislation cleared by a vote of 332 to 96.

The lopsided vote makes it a prime target for inclusion in a year-end government spending bill. In December 2014, Republicans secured a measure to subsidize risky Wall Street derivatives trading by including it in a bill to fund the government. Democrats would have had to shut down the government in order to reject the deregulation measure. At the time, then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pointed to the dozens of votes the subsidy had received from Democrats as evidence that the provision should be considered uncontroversial.

The 88 House Democrats who voted to enable racial discrimination in the automobile market:

Pete Aguilar (Calif.)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.)

Brad Ashford (Neb.)

Joyce Beatty (Ohio)

Amerish Babulal “Ami” Bera (Calif.)

Don Beyer (Va.)

Sanford Dixon Bishop Jr. (Ga.)

Brendan Boyle (Pa.)

Robert Brady (Pa.)

Julia Brownley (Calif.)

Cheryl “Cheri” Bustos (Ill.)

Matt Cartwright (Pa.)

James “Jim” Clyburn (S.C.)

Gerald “Gerry” Connolly (Va.)

Jim Cooper (Tenn.)

James “Jim” Costa (Calif.)

Joseph “Joe” Courtney (Conn.)

Joseph Crowley (N.Y.)

Henry Cuellar (Texas)

John K. Delaney (Md.)

Suzan DelBene (Wash.)

Debbie Dingell (Mich.)

Mike Doyle (Pa.)

Tammy Duckworth (Ill.)

Elizabeth Esty (Conn.)

Bill Foster (Ill.)

Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii)

Ruben Gallego (Ariz.)

Gwen Graham (Fla.)

Alan Grayson (Fla.)

Eugene “Gene” Green (Texas)

Janice Hahn (Calif.)

Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.)

Dennis “Denny” Heck (Wash.)

Brian Higgins (N.Y.)

Rubén Hinojosa (Texas)

Jared Huffman (Calif.)

Steve Israel (N.Y.)

Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

William “Bill” Keating (Mass.)

Dan Kildee (Mich.)

Derek Kilmer (Wash.)

Ron Kind (Wis.)

Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.)

Ann Kuster (N.H.)

Rick Larsen (Wash.)

Brenda Lawrence (Mich.)

Ted Lieu (Calif.)

Dan Lipinski (Ill.)

Dave Loebsack (Iowa)

Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.)

Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.)

Jim McDermott (Wash.)

Grace Meng (N.Y.)

Patrick Murphy (Fla.)

Rick Nolan (Minn.)

Donald Norcross (N.J.)

Beto O’Rourke (Texas)

Bill Pascrell (N.J.)

Ed Perlmutter (Colo.)

Scott Peters (Calif.)

Collin Peterson (Minn.)

Mike Quigley (Ill.)

Kathleen Rice (N.Y.)

Raul Ruiz (Calif.)

Tim Ryan (Ohio)

Loretta Sanchez (Calif.)

Adam Schiff (Calif.)

Kurt Schrader (Ore.)

David Scott (Ga.)

Terri Sewell (Ala.)

Brad Sherman (Calif.)

Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)

Albio Sires (N.J.)

Louise Slaughter (N.Y.)

Adam Smith (Wash.)

Jackie Speier (Calif.)

Eric Swalwell (Calif.)

Mike Thompson (Calif.)

Dina Titus (Nev.)

Paul Tonko (N.Y.)

Norma Torres (Calif.)

Nikki Tsongas (Mass.)

Juan Vargas (Calif.)

Marc Veasey (Texas)

Filemon Vela (Texas)

Tim Walz (Minn.)

Peter Welch (Vt.)

This podcast was produced and edited by Adriana Usero and Peter James Callahan, and engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta.

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CORRECTION: This article previously stated that Mike Quigley represents Indiana. He represents Illinois. The article also incorrectly stated that Tim Walz represents Nebraska, when he in fact serves the people of Minnesota.

Anti-abortion initiative closer to 2016 ballot


Salem – An initiative to ban state funding of abortions has passed the first hurdle toward a place on the 2016 ballot.

Chief sponsor Jeff Jimerson of Corvallis was scheduled to announce Friday that his group, Oregon Life United, has gathered the 1,000 signatures needed to obtain a ballot title for the initiative.

The group had garnered about 1,500 signatures as of early Friday.

This marks the third time Jimerson has sought to send the initiative to voters. He failed to secure enough signatures in 2012 and 2014.

“Each time we are getting closer and closer,” said Alicia Marks, Oregon Life United spokeswoman. “We really do think we have a strong enough volunteer base this time to get it on the ballot for 2016.

Oregon Life United must obtain 117,578 valid signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

About 40 percent of the nearly 5,000 abortions performed between January and October were paid for with state funding, according to Oregon Health Authority.

The state paid about $1.8 million for a total of 3,556 abortions in 2013-14, the most recent figures available Friday. Each procedure cost about $500.

Oregon Right to Life supports the initiative but has made no financial commitment to the effort, said spokeswoman Liberty Pike.

The organization has chosen to spend its resources on supporting pro-life candidates in the upcoming election and lobbying lawmakers, Pike said.

“What we have found is the system is set up so that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a measure on the ballot,” she said. “We have decided to use our resources in areas where we think we can get the best return on our investment.”

A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman did not immediately have a comment on how it plans to respond to the initiative effort.
By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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More transgender people reported killed in 2015 than in any other year

Transgender Women Slain

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, NOV. 22, 2015 AND THEREAFTER – In this photo taken on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, a couple attending a Trans Day of Remembrance program, listen during a speech about violence against transgender people, in New York. By the count of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, there have been 22 killings so far this year of transgender or gender-nonconforming people- including 19 black or Latina transgender women. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

11/20/15 02:10 PM—UPDATED 11/20/15 05:45 PM

By Khorri Atkinson

At vigils across the country, members of the LGBT community will gather Friday to pay tribute to transgender people who have been killed because of their gender identity.

Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs annually on Nov. 20, was first celebrated to remember Rita Hester, a transgender African-American woman who was murdered in November 1998. The somber occasion aims to bring attention to the continued hatred and violence endured by the trans community.

At least 21 transgender men and women – 19 of them people of color – have been killed so far this year, making 2015 the most lethal year on record for gender-nonconforming people, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). A new report by the group highlights how the danger of discrimination, harassment and violence “increase exponentially” for trans women of color, who also face racism and sexism.

According to HRC, more transgender people were killed in the first six months of this year than in all of 2014, when at least 13 people were murdered. Nineteen were killed in the previous year. Some died from gunshots, burning, strangulation or beating — while many other killings have gone unsolved.

One common trend in the deaths of transgender women, according to the report, is the frequency with which police and media misgender trans victims.

“Even in many of the known cases, local media reports misgendered the victims and used their birth names. [The media] also further stigmatized some of these women by highlighting arrest records and using mugshots instead of personal photo,” the report reads.

Kylar Broadus, executive director of the Trans People of Color Coalition, said in the report that misgendering the victims makes it “even more difficult for advocates to collect reliable data.”

QUIZ: How well do you know the trans community?

The HRC report also shines a spotlight on the eroding trust between the LGBT community and law enforcement, and the lack of local and federal legislation to protect the civil rights of transgender people.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, there have been 22 homicides between Nov. 20, 2014, and the same date in 2015, compared with 12 during the previous year. Seventeen of the victims since November last year were black trans women or black gender-nonconforming people; four were Latina and three were white.

Still, there has been some progress on transgender issues. The newly established House LGBT Equality Caucus – whose chairman, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), gained widespread recognition for aviral Twitter post in support of his transgender granddaughter – held a forum Tuesday to address violence against transgender people. The caucus plans to propose legislation to improve conditions for transgender people at the federal level.



Newport News Times Letter to the Editor by Monica Kirk, November 20, 2015

Recently, the Central Coast Sportsmen’s Defense took issue with a plan that, by applying the values and ideals held by responsible gun owners, could lead to a 50 percent reduction of gun violence in just five years (“Open Letter to President Obama”, Oct. 14 edition).   Our plan to reduce gun violence can be reduced to three elements:  

Higher standards for gun ownership;  

Enhanced accountability of federally licensed firearm dealers (FFL); and  

Implementation of technology to improve the safety standards for guns and gun ownership.  

Although it is impossible to ignore America’s school shootings that now average one per week (“School Shootings in America” — 2015), I agree that “mass shootings in public places should not be the main focus of the gun debate” because they account for, on average, less than 1 percent of the homicide rate (“Analysis of Mass Shootings” — 2015).  

Successful self-defense by armed citizens is a myth. In 2012, there were 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a fi rearm and 8,342 criminal homicides. Guns were used in 32 criminal homicides for every justifiable homicide (“Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use” — 2015).  

Murder rates have not dropped with an increase in concealed carry permits. According a 2015 Texas A&M study of 500 counties in four states, “concealed carry handgun laws have ‘zero effect’ on crime rates (“Concealed Handgun Licensing and Crime in Four States, Journal of Criminology,” — 2015). The same study suggests that the increase in concealed carry licenses was due to the number of firearm retailers in the country as “generating their own demand through advertising.”  

Instead of seeking common ground to solve gun violence, Sportsmen Defense cautions readers “The left wants so badly to disarm America to ensure a compliant population.”  

I do not believe our government is tyrannical, unruly, or about to take my gun.  

Monica Kirk,  

Steering Committee, Central Coast Ceasefire  

Depoe Bay, Oregon

Christian meetings draw ire of parents

BY DENNIS ANSTINE   For the News-Times November 20, 2015

     NEWPORT — The Lincoln County School District has suspended the on-campus meetings of a national evangelical Christian group and other non-school affiliated organizations on the campus of its two Newport eleme ntary schools.  

In response to a letter from parents of a fifth-grade student at Sam Case School, LCSD Superintendent Steve Boynton said Thursday, Nov. 19, that his action would allow the district to review its policy at the Dec. 8 board of directors meeting.  

Newport parents Tom Hurst and Nancy Steinberg said in a Nov. 14 letter to Boynton that the principals at both schools have allowed the Good News Club “to present religious programming to students on campus during school hours.”   According to the website of the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), which operates the Good News Club nationally, it’s purpose is to “evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.”

Boynton, who was hired in March 2014, said that in order for kids not to miss school time the district has allowed over several years non-instructional activities on campus during the lunch period, including Good News Club and other groups.   “We’ve gotten several letters during the last several days and we have suspended the meeting of all non-school affiliated groups until we conclude our investigation,” he said. “We have a policy, but the board needs to review it because of what we’re dealing with.”  

In their letter to Boynton, Hurst and Steinberg said that allowing this group to convene club meetings on school grounds “during school hours is highly objectionable, illegal and a violation of district policies, as well as state and federal laws ensuring the separation of church and state.”   They also wrote that Libba Sager, principal at Yaquina View Primary School, “has actively supported the group by posting its activity on the school calendar, allowing members to hand out flyers for the organization, offering access during school time and voicing her support as a Christian for the efforts of the group to a concerned parent.”   The letter also said that remediation should possibly include “disciplinary actions for staff members who actively participated in these violations or knowingly allowed them to occur.”

Study: Up to 240,000 Texas Women Tried to Self-Induce Abortions and GOP Lawmakers Are to Blame

Women who found it difficult to obtain reproductive services is one group mostly likely to attempt a self-induced abortion.
 A Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study released on Tuesday asserted that nearly a quarter million women in the state may have induced abortions themselves because of “onerous” restrictions that lawmakers have put on reproductive choice.

The study, which was based at the University of Texas at Austin, found that between 100,000 and 240,000 women had performed self-induced abortions in Texas over the past five years, the Austin Chronicle reported.

According to the study, the “advent of onerous legislation imposing restrictions on legal abortion access” and the availability of abortion drugs — largely from Mexico — have combined to make self-induced abortions in Texas less rare than most U.S. states.

“Other methods reported by those who knew someone who had attempted self-induction included herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the abdomen, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills,” the study said.

“Several restrictive abortion laws have been imposed in Texas in the past decade, and three provisions of HB2, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, went into effect in 2013,” researchers noted.

Latina women living in counties bordering Mexico and women who found it difficult to obtain reproductive services were the two groups mostly likely to attempt a self-induced abortion.

“Over half of facilities providing abortion care in Texas have closed since 2013 due to the omnibus law known as HB2,” researchers wrote. “If the final portion of HB2 goes into effect requiring all facilities providing abortion to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, the number of facilities will be further reduced from 18 to 10.”

“Given that the populations we found to be most familiar with abortion self-induction are among those that have been most directly affected by the closure of abortion clinics in the state, we suspect that abortion self-induction will increase as clinic-based care becomes more difficult to access.”

TxPEP co-investigator Dr. Daniel Grossman said on Tuesday that it was difficult to deny the link between laws designed to restrict abortions and the increase in self-induced abortions.

“This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk,” Grossman observed.

The Austin Chronicle‘s Mary Tuma pointed out that 5.4 million women in Texas will be served by only 10 clinics if the Supreme Court failed to block the final parts of HB2.

Why I Provide Abortions

NOV. 18, 2015

why i provide

IN public health, you go where the crisis is. If there is an outbreak and you have the ability to relieve suffering, you rush to the site of the need. This is why, a year and a half ago, I returned to my hometown, Birmingham, Ala., to provide abortions.

For the previous two years, I had been flying to the South from Chicago to provide care to women whose access to abortion services was limited to a few clinics, despite the fact that abortions are deemed legal by the Supreme Court. These women face harsh life circumstances and incessant hostility, merely for wanting to exercise their rights.

My decision to provide abortions represented a change of heart on my part. I had been working for 12 years as an obstetrician and gynecologist, and had never performed abortions because I felt they were morally wrong. But I grew increasingly uncomfortable turning away women who needed help.

Ultimately, reading a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged me to a deeper spiritual understanding. I was moved by his discussion of the quality of the good Samaritan and of what made the Samaritan “good.” The Samaritan reversed the question of concern, to care more about the well-being of the person needing help than about what might happen to him for stopping to give help. I realized that if I were to show compassion, I would have to act on behalf of those women. My concern about women who lacked access to abortion became more important to me than worrying about what might happen to me for providing the services.

I stopped doing obstetrics in 2009 to provide abortion full time for women who needed help. Invariably I field questions regarding my decision, with the most often asked being: Why? The short answer is: Because I can. And: Because if I don’t, who will?

The South has become one of the centers of the abortion crisis. While women across the country are losing the ability to make private health care decisions because states have passed hundreds of laws chipping away at that right, the South is the most restrictive.

Last year, it took a court ruling to prevent the closure of the last Mississippi abortion clinic; something similar occurred recently in Alabama. Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case out of Texas, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, that would address the many clinic closings in that state because of restrictive laws. The outcome will affect not only Texas but also any state where these restrictive laws have been passed, including Mississippi, where I also provide abortions at that last clinic. If the Supreme Court upholds the Texas law that most notably mandates that abortion providers obtain medically unnecessary hospital admitting privileges, Mississippi could become the first state with no abortion clinic.

A majority of pregnancies in the South are unintended. More than a quarter end in abortion. The rest are more likely than pregnancies that are chosen to lead to low birth weights and other poor outcomes. In some areas of Mississippi, the rate of death for black pregnant women mirrors that of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The deaths are a function of the bad health status of poor minorities.


A survey in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2011 found that 97 percent of obstetrician/gynecologists nationwide had encountered a patient seeking abortion care, but only 14 percent of them provided this service. Proponents of laws that restrict women’s access to abortions often claim that these laws are put in place to protect women’s health, but the truth would suggest otherwise. Legal, properly administered abortion care holds an enviable record in medicine with a 99 percent safety rate and a less than 1 percent complication rate. Laws that restrict access to abortion do nothing to make it safer, only less accessible.

Years ago, I saw a patient in Mississippi whom I still think of often because of her intense grief in the midst of pregnancy. She had had five children, the youngest of whom had died the year before from cancer. She knew that she could not care for another child, financially or emotionally. She had traveled two hours to see me for her first appointment, which is for counseling only. Even though she was resolute, and knew what was best for her family, the procedure could not be done that day because state law requires that it be done in a follow-up visit, after initial counseling.

I want for women what I want for myself: a life of dignity, health, self-determination and the opportunity to excel and contribute. We know that when women have access to abortion, contraception and medically accurate sex education, they thrive.

We who provide abortions do so because our patients need us, and that’s what we are supposed to do: respond to our patients’ needs. It is the deepest level of love that you can have for another person, that you can have compassion for their suffering and you can act to relieve it. That, simply put, is why I provide abortion care.

NOTE:  For more information on Dr. Parker see “The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker”

Willie J. Parker is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who provides abortion care in the South. He is chairman-elect of the board of Physicians for Reproductive Health.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 18, 2015, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: Why I Provide Abortions. Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Photo:  Alice Proujansky for The New York Times