A New Yorker and a Texan, united by their conservatism, chatted at length on Friday about the best ways to address the current coronavirus pandemic and some of the worst policies they've seen enacted from liberal lawmakers. Below are just a few highlights from the town hall discussion between New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) on Facebook on Friday.
Crenshaw called out top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi for expecting members to only come to Washington to vote on massive, bloated pieces of legislation. You could say it was an extension of Thursday's epic rant when he called Pelosi a coward for delaying their legislative return.
Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer "literally said they're too scared" to return to work after speaking to the House physician, Crenshaw told Malliotakis.
"They'd have you believe we can only go to Washington every three weeks" to vote for huge, crazy bills. He said he'll no longer be supporting such legislation.
When they have been in session, Crenshaw said the priorities have been out of whack. In mid-February, when the president asked for a few billion dollars to replenish HHS and CDC, in preparation for COVID-19, the congressman recalled that the House was voting to ban flavored tobacco.
"Why would we ban flavored tobacco, and also why wouldn't we have taken up the supplemental funding that was needed?" Crenshaw asked.
Then, the next time they tried to vote on coronavirus funding, Pelosi delayed it for her unrelated progressive agenda, Crenshaw added. The Democrats claim they got hospital funding in the bill, but he noted it was unnecessary spending because hospitals had yet to use all the money from their previous congressional care packages.
The Democrats, he said, are "outright" lying.
Malliotakis recalled how her own mayor, Bill de Blasio, took a while to grasp the enormity of the health crisis. At the beginning of March, the mayor had asked the legislature to meet so he could "lobby" them on a measure that would allow for heroin injection centers, she explained. The injection sites were apparently intended to decrease the rate of drug overdoses in the city.
"He wanted to have the Department of Health presentation on the need for heroin injection centers as opposed to talking about the crisis, and it was completely outrageous," Malliotakis said. "He did cancel it at the eleventh hour. But for the first couple weeks of March, that's where his attention and focus was."
The two lawmakers also questioned the stricter social distancing laws being enforced around the country. Crenshaw said it makes sense for New Yorkers to wear masks while on the crowded subway, but it seems "crazy" to ask individuals to wear one on the sidewalk. He said that seniors should be kept home for some time longer, but he wondered why governments were forcing "healthy, young people" to stay home.
Crenshaw took a few minutes during their conversation to tout his new book, "Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage."
Malliotakis is running against Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) in the November elections. Crenshaw said he "looks forward" to having her in Congress next year.