When you think about the golden opportunities handed to them to do the right thing, time after time, it’s impossible to look at the work done by the Massachusetts House leadership as anything but a crushing disappointment. On three major issues, the House took a consensus for progress and decency, and either jettisoned it entirely or weakened it beyond recognition.
- The House crippled the Senate’s more ambitious reform of school foundation budgets, which would have provided a degree of equity in education funding. Lower-income districts have fallen far behind in the 25 years since Education Reform passed. The House passed a slow-roll measure, in spite of the clear recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. This has been studied — and they decided to study some more.
- As mentioned, the House dismantled, whittled down, and enfeebled the excellent, comprehensive Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, passed unanimously in the Senate. Unanimously — you can’t tell me that somehow the Senate is subject to a totally different Zeitgeist and political consensus in the districts, than that in the House. You can’t tell me the House didn’t have political cover for an appropriately ambitious bill.
- Most disgracefully in human terms, the House tossed the Safe Communities Act amendment from the budget. DeLeo cited “a lack of consensus” — was a reported 117 members of the House not sufficient consensus?
BOSTON — Despite sympathy among the 117 House Democrats for immigrant families being separated along the southern border, House Speaker Robert DeLeo reemphasized Wednesday that it would still prove “difficult” for him pass legislation through the chamber aimed at curtailing the reach of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Massachusetts.
DeLeo’s claim not to have any power or influence in “reaching consensus” in this matter is singularly unconvincing. 117 out of 140 reps = override of the Governor’s threatened veto. They can do it when they want.
There is at least one member of the House who didn’t mince words; you can welcome Cambridge’s Mike Connolly to the desk-in-the-hall caucus:
I am disgusted and disappointed that the FY19 budget agreed to by @SpeakerDeLeo and @jeffrey_sanchez leaves out the basic immigrant protections approved by the state Senate in May. History will judge the House for being complicit in Trump’s racist deportation machine. #mapoli pic.twitter.com/76vnQpXLcL
— Mike Connolly (@MikeConnollyMA) July 18, 2018
Will other House progressives get his back? What good is it to be in the chamber, when your stated priorities are evicted out to the hall? It reminds one of Emerson’s visit to Thoreau in jail: “Henry, why are you here?” “Waldo, why are you not here?”
MA House progressives: If you’re worth anything, get out in the hall.