Henry Waxman will support Chained CPI in trade for “things we want”

I’ve said before that everyone can be an activist because everyone has reach. Some have more and some have less, but even if you think your reach is small, using it can have a large effect. This is a story about an AMERICAblog reader who used her reach to question Dem. House member Henry Waxman (CA-33) at a town hall meeting about his support for Chained CPI. She asked him if he would sign the strong Grayson-Takano No Cuts letter (promising a No vote on any benefit cuts).

It turns out Waxman won’t sign the letter and does support Chained CPI if the price is right — who knew? Thanks to Kim Kaufman, we do.

This story is important for several reasons:

▪ It shows that a person acting alone can have an effect (you don’t need permission to do things).

▪ It makes the point again about one way to blackmail progressives — just put a hostage in the bill. (Our discussion of using hostages to line up progressive support for bad ideas is here.)

▪ And finally, it shows that in Rep. Waxman’s case, it wouldn’t be blackmail, since he seems ready to deal if the price is right. As Waxman told his town hall audience:

“I can see possibilities that some things that we don’t like may be in a final budget and that will get us a lot of things we do want.”

Let’s let activist Kim Kaufman speak for herself. Kaufman is not just an AMERICAblog reader, she’s also a member of PCCC, one of the more left-leaning organizations. Here’s Kaufman telling her story:

Democratic “progressive” Henry Waxman has signed the weaker benefit-cuts letter (now being called the CPC or Schakowsky letter). But as you see, he won’t promise a No vote. Henry Waxman, open for business — just make him an offer.

What do we know about Henry Waxman?

We know that Henry Waxman represents a nice chunk of real estate in Los Angeles. His CA District 33 includes Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach. You know, places where poor people live (it’s true that some poor people do live there, but not many).


Henry Waxman

We know that Waxman got a lot of attaboy progressive cred by acting tough during the Bush II years. Deserved? Perhaps, but it was easy for Dems to look tough when Republicans held the White House. How has he done with Obama holding the reins?

We know that Waxman voted Yes (with Obama) on Obama’s bad compromise on the Bush-Obama 2012 tax cuts — even after those tax cuts had fully expired on January 1, 2013. A very weak, party-first vote, since we know that if Obama had wanted to, he could have declared himself the winner at midnight on January 1 and had any tax cut deal he wanted. Again, they had all expired. He chose to give away half the store to the wealthy anyway — and Waxman voted with him.

We know that Waxman signed the CPC-Shakowsky no-cuts letter, expressing no “support” for benefit cuts; and thanks to Kaufman, we know that his signature there means nothing. Waxman will support benefit cuts if he’s offered the right bait.

We know that the Cook PVI of his district is D+12, so we know that Waxman probably thinks he can do whatever he wants and never worry about a primary or a Republican.

We know that Waxman sometimes does the bidding of the wealthy in his district against broader interests like public transportation (my emphasis and paragraphing).

In 1985, Waxman sponsored a bill supported by affluent homeowners groups in his district to ban federal funding for the Red Line subway after a methane gas explosion in the Fairfax District.

In 2005, a robust real estate market, multi-dwelling construction boom, and lack of public mass transit planning on the westside caused by Waxman’s bill resulted in gridlock throughout Waxman’s district.[14] At the request of Los Angeles Mayor and LACMTA Board PresidentAntonio Villaraigosa, Waxman agreed to lift the ban if a panel of five engineers found tunneling under the Miracle Mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard to be safe. In October 2005, the panel decided that tunneling was possible, and on December 16, Waxman responded by announcing he would introduce a bill to the U.S. House that would lift the ban on federal money for subway tunneling in the district. This bill passed the House via unanimous vote on September 20, 2006.[15]

Waxman maintains that the 1985 bill was sponsored in the interest of public safety and not, as some allege, to hinder access of the working classes inSouth and East Los Angeles to his affluent district.

We know that Henry Waxman has offices. These are his numbers:

DC: 202-225-3976
LA: 310-652-3095 / 323-651-1040

We know that operators are waiting, especially if you live in his district.

One last point — if you call, report back

A final point. Kim Kaufman not only acted, she reported back in a comment to this post. In her comment, she wrote in part:

So, at the end of the day, Henry Waxman will throw seniors, disabled, etc., under the bus — to get something he really wants. Wonder how wonderful that something might be. And this was after speaking at length in the beginning about understanding how hard it is to live on the present Social Security rates.

That report-back got her to the attention of the PCCC (coincidentally, she was already a member). And that got the following campaign launched:


Care to join the PCCC campaign? Click here. Care to call Waxman directly? Phone numbers are listed above. And if you do call, report back; feel free to add your story to the comments to this post. The antidote for political depression is action, and everyone has reach. Please use yours.

And if you do, thanks!


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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