Hageman touts GOP achievements

Nathan Oster

With her own party holding just a one-vote majority in the House and the Democrats controlling the Senate and White House, Rep. Harriet Hageman admitted that it’s been an uphill battle getting Republican legislative priorities across the finish line but cited progress on a number of other fronts.  
“We are in a divided government in a way that I don’t think any of us have experienced in our lifetimes,” Hageman said during a Wednesday night town hall appearance in Greybull attended by approximately 60 supporters.
She cited as examples her chamber’s passage of:
• House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1), the Lower Energy Costs Act. She touted it as “the best energy security and energy independence bill ever passed,” saying it would protect oil and gas industries and mining industries and “make sure we aren’t funding our own demise.”
• H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which she described as “the best border security bill ever passed by Congress.”
• H.R. 5, also known as the Parents Bill of Rights Act.  
“We have actually accomplished quite a bit as a House, but because we don’t have the Senate, everything we do goes to the Senate and dies,” she said. “This election this coming November, it’s critical that we take back the White House and the Senate.  
“If and when we do, I’m working closely with people who will be ready to step into place and implement our agenda as quickly as we possibly can.  We don’t have eight years this time, we have four years. There’s an awful lot of stuff that has to be undone. We’re ready to do it if we can win this November.”  
Given the gridlocks, Hageman said she and her colleagues in the House are focusing on things that don’t require legislation such as exposing the blatant overreach of federal agencies such as the FBI and the IRS.
“I wasn’t aware the FBI was engaging in the kind of mass surveillance they were, that they were targeting conservative Catholics as violent extremists, until we started getting whistleblowers,” she said.
Hageman charged the IRS with using artificial intelligence to spy on the bank accounts of every U.S. citizen. “Jim Jordan and I have launched an investigation ... demanding documents and information related to what they’re doing,” she said, adding that one person involved said he “enjoys going after the smaller people because they can’t defend themselves and we can win those.”
Hageman said she sponsored the Censorship Accountability Act, which would empower Americans to sue federal officials who violate their First Amendment rights.  While acknowledging that it’s “not going anywhere this year,” she believes the legislation will eventually receive bipartisan support and pass.
The House has worked to expose the corruption in the Biden administration.   On the subject of Hunter Biden, she said, “I was asked, ‘Why isn’t he in jail yet?’ I agree.  He should be.  But I am not the DOJ and I have no authority to jail him.
“We do have him on record admitting that when he was on the board of (the Ukrainian energy company) Burisma and doing deals with the Chinese Communist party and the oligarchs in Russia, he was high out of his mind,” addicted to crack cocaine and alcohol.
“The Bidens are corrupt, they’ve been corrupt for decades and Hunter Biden is the conduit by which they’ve been making money for the past 20 years. I don’t care who the president is. We should never have to worry about having a first son, a first daughter, a first brother, who is committing treason.”
Hageman’s opening statement also included an account of a victory that wouldn’t have been possible without citizen engagement. The proposal, put forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission and NYSE, would have created “natural asset companies” as a way of monetizing federal and private lands covered by conservation easements.
The NACs  would “manage, maintain, restore and grow the value of natural assets and their production of ecosystem services.” Among other things, the services included clean air, water, productive soil, climate stability and wildlife habitat that, according to the SEC, are being degraded at alarming rates.
“Bill Gates or Bloomberg could come in and buy all the natural assets of the Shoshone National Forest, the Chinese Communist party could buy all the natural assets of the Rock Springs district of the BLM ... Venezuela could own the natural assets of private farmland covered by conservation easements,” she said.  If that were to happen, these natural asset companies could have forbidden grazing and oil and gas development, which she described it as an attempt “to lock up the interior West.”
A rally that included more than 3,000 letters of opposition to the formation of these natural asset companies eventually led to the withdrawal of the proposal.  “We were able to stop it,” said Hageman, drawing cheers from supporters.
Hageman’s stop in Greybull was part of a swing through the Big Horn Basin that also included appearances in Worland, Cody and Powell.  Since taking office, she has made it a priority to hold town hall meetings in every county of the state.
As was the case last year, her appearance included a lengthy Q&A.
One of the first questions dealt with recent negotiations over a $1.2 trillion dollar spending package that was eventually approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Biden. Talks went right down to the wire, threatening a government shutdown.
Hageman voted against it and explained why. “It wasn’t because I don’t believe in funding government,” she said. “Our debt is getting dangerously higher.  At $34 trillion, we are the largest debtor nation in the history of the world.”
She maintains that the $1.2 trillion bill “funds the federal government at a level it should not be funded,” taking particular issue with a $200 million earmark for a new headquarters for the FBI at a time when it’s persecuting and spying on American citizens.
Hageman added that many of her Republican colleagues were afraid of a shutdown, suspecting that Democrats would not vote for a bill to reopen it unless they got everything they wanted in return.  The “pound of flesh” would likely have included full funding for Ukraine and legalization of all illegal aliens already in the country.
Another question was posed by the social studies teacher at Greybull High School. He said he hears from students frustrated over the near government shutdown, the nation’s inability to secure its border, high gas prices and difficult job market.  “What would you say to the youth of Big Horn County?” he asked.
Hageman responded that she grew up in Lingle, received a great education and had phenomenal teachers, graduating in 1981.  Until that time, the state was in control of its curriculum.  But that began to change in 1980 with the creation of the federal Department of Education and has only worsened over time.
“We have the ability to educate, but Washington, D.C. wants to indoctrinate,” she said. Addressing the teacher’s question directly, she said, “It’s important to make sure kids don’t leave school hating their country. Right now, a lot of schools are graduating kids who hate our country because they’ve been told lies about who we are. Do we have a pristine past?  No, we don’t.  But we were the first country to go to war to abolish slavery. Yet 150 years later, we’re still accused of being white supremacists.”
Another attendee raised the question of election security, referring to the 2020 election as well as ahead to this November’s vote.  Hageman said the recent changes at the RNC have been positive and she believes it is taking election security more seriously than it has in the past. “The RNC has assured me that it will have over 130,000 poll watchers in place for the election in 2024,” she said.
Others raised questions about the future of Social Security and Medicare, railroad safety and the violent crime due to the nation’s inability to secure its border with Mexico.  In response to the border question, Hageman said she supports a bill that would make the non-governmental organizations that are funding the alien invasion liable for crimes that illegal aliens commit.