Rep. Barbara Comstock Puts District Before Party in Meeting with President

In a meeting with the President on Tuesday, Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock made a courageous stand for the 10th Congressional District while at the White House.

The President was holding a meeting on MS-13 gang violence and immigration. It was attended by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman, along with other members of Congress and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

In the meeting Congresswoman Comstock was trying to advocate for her bills that she submitted on gang violence. At the end of her remarks, she added thoughts on a government shutdown.

Here’s the transcript from the White House:

REPRESENTATIVE COMSTOCK: “Well, I have a law that we have already passed in the House. Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for the opportunity to work on this. I know this is included in some of the other legislation, but we did already pass in the House the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, thanks to a lot of people here around the table, and thanks to the support from Homeland Security and Justice.

“And we had bipartisan support for that bill (inaudible), and we had over a dozen — I think a dozen or so Democrats on board, and I think we already have some Democrat senators who indicated they would support that. And that would make being a gang member a deportable offense.

“So I would certainly encourage our senators to get that on — quickly. And then we’ve also — the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force that I have in my area, we have seen great success when they were funded to where they need to be funded, because they could assist — they work with ICE. I was able to go out in a ride-along last summer with ICE and with our local law enforcement. We picked up four gang members in Loudoun County and Fairfax County, just on a Friday night. A 22-year-old gang member that we just picked up at a shopping center as people were going by with strollers and kids. And he had been deported twice. He had been in jail for killing a teenager in El Salvador, and had come back here.

“Some of the technology they have, and if we fully fund the gang task forces, we could just take his thumb, put it on, like, an iPad that they had, and we immediately could see his criminal record.  So that night when we picked him — ICE picked him up — (laughter) — we were (inaudible) watching — they immediately put him in their car. They asked him to lift up his shirt. Covered with gang tattoos. He put his thumb on that iPad, and we saw his whole record.

“And so I asked our ICE agents who were there, and local, “How many of these do you have?” They said, “We only have two of these.” These aren’t expensive items. If we can get this $50 million that have actually already gone through the Judiciary Committee, bipartisan support — everybody, all the Democrats and Republicans supported it — then we can get that in place.

“Those two pieces of legislation will be a big help in addition to other things my colleagues are working on.  And I would implore, since I am just over the river and live right by the CIA, and Sheriff Chapman is sheriff of my largest county, we don’t need a government shutdown on this. We really do — I think both sides have learned that a government shutdown was bad. It wasn’t good for them. And we do have bipartisan support on these things. And I think we need to talk about these cases that are going on.

“We’ve had over eight or so — I mean, The Washington Post has done some actual great reporting. These are all stories about gang killers recorded a teen’s final moments.  People here live in fear just seven miles from the White House.  They’ve been covering this.  And people know, on a bipartisan basis, this problem.  And we can –”

THE PRESIDENT:  “But, Barbara, we are not getting support from the Democrats. I mean, you can say what you want. We’re not getting support from the Democrats. This legislation –”

REPRESENTATIVE COMSTOCK: “I think if you put this bill up in the Senate, you will see a lot of –”

THE PRESIDENT:  “Well, we’ll see. That’s one bill. But we have to get that. They are not supporting us.”

REPRESENTATIVE COMSTOCK: “And that would allow the Secretary to be able to stop them at the border, and if they’re here, get them out quickly, and have that alone be the deportable offense.”

The video clip from the meeting is shown here.

The Congresswoman makes two great points, the first of which is that she already has a plan in place to combat gang violence in the United States. Congresswoman Comstock has two bills, one that has passed the Judicary Committee, HR 3249. The other bill has already passed the full U.S. House of Representatives, HR 3697.

HR 3249 is a bill that provides grant funding to state and local law enforcement to fight gang violence. HR 3697 addresses citizenship and immigration of gang members, and the swift revocation of rights for those who break the law.

These bills have teeth to them, these bills can easily pass the House, and these bills can be signed by the President.

Which leads us to the second point. Congresswoman Comstock, as she always has, is putting the needs of the federal workers in her district ahead of the President and the Republican Party. Her constant support of her district, even when it is politically difficult to do so, is a profile in courage and a sign that the art of governing is not dead. Congresswoman Comstock represents the fact that even in these difficult political times, governing can still be accomplished.

Lastly, it’s disappointing that the President was so quick to dismiss the Congresswoman and speak over her. He could learn to be just a little more respectful. At the same time, it’s disappointing to see a President whose idea of governing is going from crisis to crisis without working out ways to fix problems.

As always, Congresswoman Comstock represents a profile in courage and should be commended for representing Northern Virginia with such courage and dignity.

Background….

-Washington Post: Comstock to Trump: ‘We don’t need a shutdown over this
-Washington Post: House passes Comstock bill targeting immigrant members of MS-13 gang
-Wall Street Journal: GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock Challenges Trump Over Shutdown Comment