GOP Congressman Chip Roy’s Playbook to Recapture the House —“Eighteen More Months of Chaos and the Inability to Get Stuff Done” July 12, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly made “no bones” about how he plans to recapture the Senate in 2022. He has proudly stated that he will do everything he can to keep President Biden and his Democratic Senate allies from passing any significant legislation. He will continue to use, as he already has, the filibuster to kill bills. On 7/06/2021 McConnell stated that Republicans “would wage a hell of a fight” over any bipartisan GOP efforts to work with Democrats over needed infrastructure legislation (See thehill.com, Castronuovo, 7/07/21). He will also hinder further attempts to restart our COVID-19- stricken economy, and prevent any voting rights reform. He is counting on many voters not to notice his obstructionist tactics. He believes those voters will say, “Look, the Democrats control the Senate and can’t get anything done. It’s their fault. Let’s throw them out and vote to put the GOP Senators in the majority.” Never mind that a GOP Senate majority will kill Biden’s progressive agenda, help only the top 1%, and hurt all the rest of us (See Klein, E., “Why We’re Polarized,”2020). McConnell is no GOP outlier. House GOPers also want to take back the lower chamber in 2022. They plan to act similarly to McConnell. GOP Congressman Chip Roy even more blatantly bragged about the House GOPers playbook to totally stymie Democratic Congressmembers.
Democratic activist Lauren Windsor circulated a video online. This video came from an event hosted last month by former PA GOP Sen. Rick Santorum’s group, Patriot Voices. In this video, Cong. Roy expressed doubt that the House will be able to achieve bipartisanship on a number of issues, including infrastructure and transportation. Roy relished the controversy over a multitrillion-dollar spending bill that Democrats want to pass alongside an infrastructure measure in order to get progressives to vote for the bipartisan compromise. Roy declared, “I actually say, thank the Lord. Eighteen more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done. That’s what we want.” Roy added, “Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022, and then get in there and lead (cnn.com, Collinson, 7/08/21, “The Hill,” Castronuovo, 7/07/21).” Roy further attacked the group of GOP Senators working with the Democrats on the deal. He called them, “not your conservative warriors in the Senate (“The Hill,” Castronuovo).” When confronted with these controversial comments, Cong. Roy doubled down. Roy declared, “I do not apologize one bit for pushing back against the leftist mob that seeks to destroy America from within. I am proud of this country, not embarrassed by it and I will obstruct the agenda of those that are with everything I’ve got (“The Hill,” 7/07/21).” Who is Cong. “Mr. Chaos” Chip Roy?
Second-term GOP Congressman Charles Eugene “Chip” Roy (48) currently represents Texas’ 21st Congressional District (CD). The TX 21st stretches from San Antonio to Austin. The parts of those two cities in the Lone Star State’s 21st are connected by Interstate 35 (I-35), one of the great commercial routes between the U.S. and Mexico. More than 1/3 of the 21st’s residents live in ritzy eastern San Antonio neighborhoods, including Olmos Park and Alamo Heights, just outside that major city or in the northern suburbs of Bexar (BEAR) County. The 21st takes in Fort Sam Houston including Brooke Army Medical Center. Going north toward Austin, the 21st includes fast growing Buda. In the Austin area, this CD has Zilker Park and the historic 6th Street entertainment district. The 21st includes what is known as the Hill Country, the counties between San Antonio and Austin west of that urban area. The cities of New Braunfels, Bourne, and Fredericksburg are in this region. Gillespie, Blanco, and Kerr Counties lie in the 21st. Gillespie County contains the LBJ ranch where Lyndon Johnson is buried. LBJ grew up in neighboring Blanco County’s Johnson City. Besides tourism and the military, agriculture is an economic mainstay (CQ 14 Almanac, Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac).
The Hill Country was settled by Germans in the mid-19th Century and was anti-slavery and pro-GOP from the start. Old-fashioned German dialect is still spoken in the area and more than 3 million tourists visit New Braunfels every year to have German wine, beer, and sausage (Barone 14 Political Almanac). Politically, the rural counties, especially Gillespie, are GOP strongholds. One-third of the 21st lives in southeastern Travis County in mostly minority neighborhoods of east Austin. Although Travis County, home to Austin, leans Democratic, the TX 21st takes in the GOP areas of Oak Hill and Onion Creek, in Austin’s southwestern and southern neighborhoods. The 4/15/21 Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives the Lone Star 21st an R+5 score. In 2016, Donald won the 21st by a 10-point margin. In 2020, he won by just 3 points (TX Statewide Election Results).
Bethesda, MD native Chip Roy grew up in Lovettsville, VA. His conservative parents shaped his political views (statesman.com, Price, 4/01/16). After getting his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of VA, Roy spent three years as a banking analyst. He received a law degree from the University of Texas (UT). At UT, Roy worked for then Atty. General John Cornyn’s office. Roy joined GOP Cornyn’s successful 2002 Senate campaign. Roy worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee in D.C. and later became a U.S. Attorney in TX. After Democrat Obama won the Presidency, GOPer Roy worked for Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who later became Trump’s Energy Secretary. Roy ghost-wrote Perry’s 2010 right-wing/anti government book “Fed Up!” Perry appointed Roy to direct the office of State-Federal relations, an agency Roy suggested abolishing during his confirmation hearing (expressnews.com, Scherer, J., 5/13/18, statesman.com, Price). After he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, firebrand GOPer Ted Cruz chose Roy as his chief-of-staff (Svitek, P., 12/06/17). While Cruz’s chief-of-staff, Roy saw his boss shut down the U.S. government for 16 days in an unsuccessful attempt to repeal Obamacare (See nytimes.com, Cochrane, 5/24/19).
After GOPer Ken Paxton was elected TX Atty. General in 2014, Roy became first assistant attorney general. In 2016, Roy left that post to head the Trusted Leadership PAC that supported Cruz’s presidential campaign (dallasnews.com, 3/10/16). In the 2018 election, 21st CD GOP incumbent Lamar Smith did not run again. With Smith’s endorsement, Roy won an 18-field primary and the runoff (expressnews.com, Scherer, 5/13/18). Ted Cruz and the hard-right Club for Growth endorsed Roy and Koch Industries gave him $5,000 (projectspropublica.org, sourcewatch.org, Scherer). The ultra-hard right Freedom Caucus financially backed Roy (Scherer). Roy campaigned on delegating Medicare to the states, having Congress pass a balanced budget, and not allowing judges to “legislate from the bench.” Translation: reactionary “strict constructionism.” In 2011, at age 39, Roy was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, requiring grueling radiation and chemo treatments. Roy is now in good health. Even after his harrowing cancer experience, Roy remained a health care reform opponent (expressnews.com Scherer). Despite the GOP lean in this district, Roy eked out a 2% 2018 general election win over Democrat Joseph Kosper (Cohen & Cook 2020). In 2020, when he ran for a second term, Democrats hoped to tie him to Ted Cruz, whose popularity was declining. Roy called Ted Cruz one of the “smartest guys I’ve known.” Roy said he was “proud to be Cruz’s chief-of-staff” but that he was “Chip Roy, his own person (rsc-walker.house.gov/).” This time, he defeated Dem. Wendy Davis, known for her strong pro-choice stance as a TX state Senator, by seven points. Roy won eight of the 10 counties in the TX 21st (nytimes.com, Lee, 3/14/20, “The Hill,” Miller, 11/04/20). Many analysts thought this election would be close, but it wasn’t. Roy ran on promoting law enforcement, being pro-life, increasing border security, and reforming Medicaid, a strong conservative platform (“The Hill,” Miller).
In the House, Cong. Roy is a proud member of the far-right trouble-making House Freedom Caucus (rollcall.com). He voted with Demagogue Donald 89.5% of the time (fivethirtyeight.com). In the 116th Congress, he voted with fellow wacko GOP TX extremist Cong. Louie Gohmert 88% of the time (projects.propublica.org). On 5/24/2019, Cong. Roy held up on procedural grounds for several days the Senate’s $19.1 billion disaster aid package that should have immediately passed the lower chamber. The Senate had passed this bill by an 85-8 vote. This disaster aid would have helped “Red” State areas hit by hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. Even Cong. Roy’s mentor TX Sen. Ted Cruz voted for this disaster bill (nytimes.com, Cochrane, 5/24/19). Roy stated he was concerned about the decision to leave out Trump’s request for about $4.5 billion for the southwestern border. Some of that money was for detention facilities Democrats opposed. Trump had promised to sign this legislation even without the border funds (Cochrane, cnn.com, 5/30/19). Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) called this act “last-minute sabotage,” one of “staggering political cynicism (Cochrane, nytimes.com, 5/24/19, AP, 5/24/19).” Roy ridiculously blamed Speaker Pelosi for holding up this bill over her first impeachment of Trump (See “Austin American Statesman,” 4/24/19).
Although Roy did not vote to reject the Biden electors from PA and AZ, (statesmam.com, Recio, 1/07/21), he still voted against Trump’s impeachment for inciting the 1/06/2021 MAGA riot (wikipedia). He voted against forming a commission to investigate the 1/06/2021 insurrection (texastribune.com, Livingston, 5/19/21). Cong. Roy joined several other GOPers in refusing to undergo security checks with House metal detectors installed after 1/06/2021. Roy felt that Cong. Liz Cheney had “forfeited her ability to lead the GOP as conference chair.” He ran for this position because he believed that the favored candidate Elise Stefanik was not “conservative” enough. Roy lost 134-46 (wiki). Cong. Roy was one of 14 House GOPers voting against making Juneteenth, 6/19 a national holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the 6/19/1865 date that blacks in TX learned that they had been freed by Lincoln two- and one- half years earlier. Roy voted with 19 other GOPers against giving the Capitol Police Congressional Gold Medals for saving our democracy from the 1/06/2021 Trump-incited MAGA insurrectionists (wiki).
There is more. During a congressional hearing conducted in the wake of a mass shooting in Atlanta, GA that killed eight people, including six Asian American women, Roy argued that the committee’s attempts to prevent hate crimes against Asian Americans would hinder free speech. In his opening statement at this hearing, Cong. Roy appeared to be advocating lynching. He stated, “There are old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys (See dailykos.com, Willies, 3/18/21).” Democrats were outraged. Cong. Grace Meng (D-NY) tore into Roy and his blatant racism. Meng stated, “You don’t have to put the bullseye on the backs of Asian-Americans across the country, on our grandparents, on our kids. This hearing was to address the horror and pain of our community to find solutions. We will not let you take away our voice from us (Willies, 3/18/21).” Cong. Roy later replied, “No Apologies.” Of course, Cong. Meng and any other decent person will get no apologies from Cong. Roy. He lacks empathy.
If Cong. Roy survives a primary against right-wing GOPers who believe he is not “Trumpy” enough, voters in the 21st TX CD must vote in droves plus to throw out this reactionary bigot in this R+5 Cook district. A moderate Lone Star Democrat must take on this bigoted extremist and send him home to TX.