Ten Democrats cosponsored H.R.3, even with language redefining rape; four of those ten also apparently don’t care if pregnant women die. Sarah Jaffe takes a closer look at all ten, find all posted to date here.
Meet Daniel Lipinski! He represents the 3rd Congressional district in Illinois, and has since 2005. He was preceded in that seat by…Bill Lipinski. Yes, that’s his dad. Yay, nepotism!
It gets better. David Bernstein in Chicago magazine calls the story of Lipinski the younger’s ascension “a classic Chicago move.”
His father, William Lipinski, had held the Third Congressional District seat since 1983, but after winning the 2004 primary election William withdrew and then urged Democratic Party leaders to slate Daniel—living in Tennessee at the time—virtually assuring his son’s victory against token Republican opposition.
So his dad not only stepped aside to give his son the seat–he literally won the primary FOR him and then gave him the election. Those of you who’ve lived in a one-party machine city know that when Democrats control all the levers of power, the primaries are the real contest, bloody and vicious as any Democrat vs. Republican contest. But incumbents have a huge advantage that perhaps the son of the incumbent, apparently living in Tennessee, might not have had.
Bernstein notes also that Lipinski was an aide to infamous Gov. Rod Blagojevich, when Blago was a congressman, and notes that Lipinski the elder was a key early backer of Blago’s run for the governorship. No word on what they think of Blago’s run for reality TV.
Lipinski is such a gem that he not only cosponsors H.R. 3 but also H.R. 358, the “Let Women Die If Saving Them Might Harm a Theoretical Hair on a Fetus’s Underdeveloped Head” act, and of course H.R. 217, the Pence “Defund Healthcare Providers That Actually Help Prevent Abortions Act” and my favorite Orwellian-named “Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2011” (No, that one’s the REAL name.) He was also the only Illinois Democrat to oppose health care reform, though at least he had the sense not to join the GOP attempt to repeal it.
You can also count Lipinski in with the Congresspeople who live closer to the Canadian border than the Mexican and yet are very concerned with building a border fence on our southern border.
Lipinski’s top donors are in construction and real estate, and unions. Not really the folks who are insisting that abortion policy be a top priority. The Weglarz company is his top supporter, and their website calls them a “local real estate development and investment business,” not a “making sure women don’t have abortions even if it kills them” business. He’s gotten $41,400 from them as well as $40,500 from Scheck Industries.
Recently, Lipinski joined Republicans in voting to roll back mercury emissions limits and other air pollution protections. The Chicagoist notes:
This might not be the most political site in Chicago’s blogosphere, but we like breathing. And given the entrenched problems this region already has, we would hope that Illinois’ Congressional delegation wouldn’t go out of their way to make it worse…sadly, so far this year, it hasn’t worked out that way.
The National Journal calls Lipinski the 200th most conservative member of Congress, more conservative than 55% of Congress on “social” issues (and than 57% on “foreign” issues, which I suppose includes immigration).
On economic issues (other than health care, which Dean Baker repeatedly reminds us is the actual problem for our long-term economic health as a country), Lipinski is actually all right, supporting bills to invest in American manufacturing and opposing “free trade” with zero worker protections. But he apparently doesn’t see the connection between organizations like Planned Parenthood, which provide health care for low-income working people, and overall economic health.
But wait–as the labor movement is seeing a resurgence thanks to teachers protesting outside in a Wisconsin winter against Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to bust their unions and cut their funding, what is an economically-progressive Democrat doing supporting a bill for vouchers for private schools? “School choice” is code, of course, for giving more public funds to private, mostly non-union, schools. And Daniel Lipinski is the only House Democrat who cosponsors Speaker John “It’s a legal product, leave me alone” Boehner’s bill.
Of course, Lipinski is a Catholic–that’s why he’s so fiercely opposed to abortion, and it’s also probably why he supports school vouchers, which also pump public funds into religious schools. One of only three pieces of legislation he’s introduced this Congress is a resolution “supporting the contributions of Catholic schools.”
Lipinski’s opposition to abortion also leads him to oppose stem cell research; Don C. Reed wrote:
Lipinski also authored what I consider a highly deceptive bill, the “Patients First Act”, H.R. 2807. His legislation was developed with the cooperation of the Family Research Council, arguably the most powerful Religious Right lobbying organization in the country, and was also approved by the George Bush White House.
About as “pro-patient” as a cobra in a hospital bed, the Lipinski effort would have permanently stacked the deck against embryonic stem cell research, “prioritizing” National Institutes of Health grants in favor of adult stem cell research.
Reed notes that in addition to blocking efforts to find new cures for diseases, the “Anti-Science Society” are adding to the national debt and opposing new jobs by cutting off research that might cure chronic diseases. Lipinski is the only Democrat he singles out for being a member of the “A.S.S.”
But Lipinski does cosponsor a resolution that “reaffirms `In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States and supports and encourages the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”
Lipinski has a Ph.D. in political science from Duke and worked as a professor at Notre Dame and then the University of Tennessee, where he was working when he started his campaign for Congress in Illinois.
It’s been a long time since someone not named Lipinski has held the 3rd district’s seat, so it can be slightly hard to judge whether being ultra-hardline on abortion is truly necessary in an area in which the Democrats pretty much have a lock on the seat. Anne Elizabeth Moore, who lives in Chicago (though not in Lipinski’s district) notes “If there’s a part of Chicagoland where being antichoice might go totally unnoticed in a politician, that’s probably the part.”
Still, in comparison with someone like Dan Boren, it would appear that Lipinski is one of the least indebted to an antichoice base in his district. But once again–once you get a machine politician into a seat, it’s incredibly hard to get them out unless they want to get out.
So you can ask Daniel Lipinski why it’s so important to take away healthcare from low-income people, stop research and of course, restrict our rights to a safe and legal abortion at his website, or at the address below:
1717 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5701
Fax: (202) 225-1012
And as usual, you can ask the DCCC why it likes antichoice Dems like Daniel Lipinski better than it likes women.
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: (202) 863-1500
While you’re at it, you can ask them why they’re only asking for $100,000 for “the DCCC’s Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund.” Antichoice Dems are worth $3.4 million and women’s health is worth $100,000?
Meet the rest of the HR3 Ten here.