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GOP Firebrand Cong. Troy Nehls

GOP Congressmember Troy Nehls—“We May Have the Gavel, But We’re Not Acting Like We’re in the Majority “  February 11, 2024

        Hey GOPers, do any of you know how to count?  I guess not in this anti-math/ “We hate education party.” On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the House GOP majority went into a complete meltdown making the rest of the present chaotic 118th Congress look rather tame.  The GOP House failed in its ridiculous attempt to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for its absurd belief that he was responsible for all our immigration problems on the U.S.-- Mexico border. And right after this attempted GOP impeachment lunacy, that same House “Team Red” majority failed to pass a bill to give aid to Israel while it is at war with barbarous Hamas (cnn.com, Zanona, Grayer, & Raju, 2/07/24). A two nothing legislative shutout in one day! And GOP House members were not alone in their ineptitude and disarray.  On the following day, Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the Senate GOP tanked a bipartisan border security deal that was drafted by several fellow Republican lawmakers in that chamber. Bitterness about this major failure divided the GOP conference. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), aptly stated, “I have a difficult time understanding again how anyone else in the future is going to want to be on that negotiating team-on anything- if we are going to be against it (cnn.com, Zanona et al).” Murkowski was just one of four Republicans who voted to advance this failed border security deal. Murkowski added, “I’ve gone through the multiple stages of grief. Today, I’m just pissed off (cnn.com, Zanona et al, 2/07/24).”

      In the House, hard-right GOPers even praised former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for their vote counting skills. In the words of extremist Freedom Caucus member Ralph Norman (R-SC), “As bad as Pelosi was, she knew her votes before they took place (cnn.com, Zanona et al).” Cong. Troy Nehls (R-TX) said, “I had many people reach out to me via text message and say, ‘What the hell are you guys doing up there?’ I think our base is a little frustrated. We may have the gavel, but we’re not acting like we’re the majority (Zanona et al cnn.com, 2/07/24).” The new inexperienced House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has been blamed for this political fiasco. And of course, Demagogue Donald must also get “credit” for putting the GOP in this mess. Trump, remember, lobbied his House and Senate GOPers, most of them part of his cult, to “pull the plug” on any immigration deals because if that issue was settled, he wouldn’t have a key matter with which to attack Biden when he runs against him in the 2024 campaign. Translation: For Trump and his captive GOP, it’s all about always winning, not about passing legislation to help the country.  One of Donald’s followers, Rep. Troy Nehls, shares this view. He told CNN in 1/2024 that, “I’m not willing to do too damn much right now to help a Democrat and to help Joe Biden’s approval rating where any immigration deal is involved… I’m not going to do that. Why should I ( See edition.cnn.com, 1/03/24, Raju, Zanona, & Fox)?” Who is this Troy Nehls?

 

         Second-term Congressmember Troy Nehls (55) currently represents the Texas 22nd Congressional District (CD). The present TX 22nd is a white Anglo Texan GOPer’s dream.  People of color were responsible for 95% of the Lone Star State’s population growth over the past 10 years. However, when the GOP state legislative chambers met to redraw the state and federal districts, they created more white majority districts. And nowhere is this blatant gerrymandering more evident than in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston (houstonpublicmedia.org, Schneider, A., 11/09/21). Fort Bend County sits in the heart of TX’s 22nd CD. Fort Bend County is home to TX’s biggest Asian- American population, including large number of immigrants. People active in the TX redistricting process, especially in the Fort Bend area, believed that once the lines were redrawn under the most recent constitutionally required redistricting process, Asian- Americans would have clout if they were kept together as a group.  Instead, the white GOP TX lawmakers did what is called “cracking” to thwart the proper re-drawing of the 22nd TX CD. It split the Asian-American communities among three congressional districts, the Democratic 7th and 9th CDs, both tied to Houston and Harris County and the GOP 22nd. The part of Fort Bend in the 22nd CD is now tied to rural and traditionally conservative Wharton and Matagorda Counties to the south and west.  Affected Asian-Americans have stated that it “whitens the district, and increases the amount of Anglo representation in the 22nd CD (houstonpublicmedia.org, Schneider, A., 11/09/21).” The current TX 22nd has a solid R+11 Cook PVI (Partisan Voting Index).

 

         The Lone Star 22nd now includes a largely suburban and southwestern portion of the greater Houston metropolitan area. The 22nd takes in most of Fort Bend County, including most of the cities of Sugar Land, Rosenberg, Needville, and the county seat of Richmond. The 22nd , additionally, has Fort Bend County’s share of the largest unincorporated Greater Katy area west of Houston. Portions of northern Brazoria County, including most of Pearland and Alvin lie in the 22nd. All of Wharton and Matagorda Counties and a small portion of western Harris County also rest in the 22nd CD. GOP activist and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay represented this area from 1985-2006. The22nd’s median income is nearly $94,000, the highest in TX (Cohen & Cook 2022 Political Almanac). 

 

             Beaver Dam, Wisconsin native Troy Nehls was the son of Edwin Nels, who served as sheriff of WI’s Dodge County (Houston Chronicle, Sudhalter, M., 6/15/12). Troy Nehls graduated from Virginia’s Liberty University and received his Master’s in criminal justice from the University of Houston. He enlisted in the Army Reserves and served for 21 years in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He earned two Bronze Stars and retired as a major. In 1994, he moved to Fort Bend County, TX. Nehls joined the police department of Richmond, TX. In 1998, that department fired him after he had committed 19 violations in one year, including destruction of evidence (Cohen & Cook 2022 Almanac, Schneider, A., Houston publicmedia .org, 12/08/17). He later served with the police department in Fort Bend County. From 2005-2012, Nehls served as a local Fort Bend County constable, a law enforcement position. From 2013-2021, Nehls was elected Fort Bend County Sheriff (Cohen & Cook 2022). When the incumbent GOP Congressmember Pete Olson decided not to run again in 2020, Nehls took first place in a primary with 15 GOP contestants. Fort Bend County, which cast about two-thirds of the votes, gave Nehls a big boost. In the run-off, one that featured strong anti-Asian overtones, Nehls won with an overwhelming 70% of the vote (houstonpublicmedia.org, Schneider, 11/09/21). In the general election, Nehls with the backing of strong Trump headwinds, beat Indian-American Democrat Sri Kulkarni by 5 percentage points, despite Kulkarni’s attacking Nehl’s prior record of being fired by the police  (Cohen & Cook 2022). Running for re-election in 2022, Nehls clobbered another Democratic opponent by a 26.8% margin, 62.3%-35.5% (TX 22nd CD 2022 results).

 

          From 2021-2022, Cong. Nehls voted just 8.8 % with President Biden. During that same period, Nehls voted with right wing fellow TX Rep. Kevin Brady 88% of the time (projects.fivethirtyeight.com, projects.propublica.org). Nehls is, therefore, a hard- right GOPer. Nehls is a member of both the conservative Republican Study Committee and the extremist Freedom Caucus (rsc, webarchive.org). No person who studies U.S. politics would ever call Nehls even a moderate.

 

            And there is more to Cong. Nehls’ “stellar” (NOT) record. True, on January 6, 2021, Nehls was seen along with other Congressmembers assisting the U.S. Capitol Police barricading the door to the House floor from protestors during the Trump-incited Capitol attack. Nehls cautioned the rioters about trying to enter the House chamber (nbcnews.com, 1/06/24, Reilly, R.). However, on 1/07/2021, when the political “rubber hit the road,” and just after seeing the rioters in action, Nehls joined 121 of his fellow GOPers in objecting to counting the 11/2020 electoral votes for Biden (Sprunt, B., 1/07/21, npr.org). On January 13, 2021, one week after the attempted Capitol coup, Cong. Nehls voted against Trump’s second impeachment (wiki).

 

             Yes, after Pres. Biden’s 4/22/2021 joint speech to Congress, Nehls gained attention by telling Biden he wanted to work on criminal justice reform. A Biden aide got in touch with him the next day and Nehls did work on this issue with FL Democratic Cong. Val Demings (webarchive.org, 5/26/21, Cohen & Cook 2022).  On 12/27/22, President Biden signed Nehl’s bill that requires the Veterans’ Administration (VA) and National Academies of Science and Medicine to review VA examinations that are provided for mental and physical conditions linked to military sexual trauma (H.R.6064, congress.gov).  Nehl’s work on criminal justice reform and this veterans’ legislation has, nevertheless, been buried by the rest of his reactionary record.

 

               On 1/03/2022, Nehls entered a full transcript of an interview on the right-wing “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast with Dr. Robert Malone into the Congressional Record. Malone is known for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines to combat it on conservative programs (newyorktimes.com, 4/03/22, Alba, D.). Cong. Nehls stated that he took this action to circumvent what he called “censorship by the social media (web.archive.org, sports.yahoo.com, Fenton, T., 1/04/22).”  After the FBI searched Donald’s Mar-a-Lago home for presidential records, Cong. Nehls announced his support for Trump in 2024 and called the FBI and Justice Department “corrupt (chron.com/politics, 8/13/22).” In 2022, Cong. Nehls published a book going into conspiracy land—“The Big Fraud: What Democrats Don’t Want You to Know about January 6, the 2020 Election, and a Whole Lot Else (Amazon.com, Nehls, Bombardier  Books, 8/13/22).”

 

             In January, 2024, before any immigration deal had even been negotiated in the Senate and with the Biden administration, Cong. Nehls indicated that he would not support an immigration bill involving the Mexico-U.S. border. As previously noted, Nehls declared he would not support such legislation to “help Biden’s approval rating (Manu, Zanona, & Fox, edition.cnn.com, 1/03/24).”  Another “fine” MAGA Republican. It’s party over country. Nothing else counts. Nehls further stated, “Congress doesn’t have to do anything to secure our southern border and fix it (McCann Ramirez, Nikki, “Rolling Stone,” 1/31/24).” Cong. Nehls, is there or is there not a border problem with Mexico? Make up your mind.

 

          Even hard-right people like Cong. Nehls sometimes utter the truth. Democrats and Cong. Troy Nehls can still agree on one of his comments—“The GOP has the gavel, but is not acting like it is in the majority.” The solution? In November, 2024 vote in droves to throw these rascals out, re-elect Biden, take back the House, and add to our Senate majority.  Our democracy depends upon it.                 

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