By Gary Walker
Nearly 300 people attended an April 6 town hall meeting in Palms hosted by Rep. Karen Bass, whose congressional district also includes Mar Vista, Del Rey, Culver City and much of South Los Angeles.
A member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, Bass held a press briefing and listened to comments and questions from the audience on topics that included the Mueller investigation, health care and immigration.
Key takeaways from the event included:
1. Democrats Won’t Accept a Heavily Redacted Mueller Report
Bass said the Judiciary Committee (of which Westside-area Rep. Ted Lieu is also a member) will issue a subpoena for the Mueller Report if Attorney General William Barr fails to deliver the repot this month, or delivers a very limited version.
Said Bass: “You have numerous attorneys that worked on the Mueller report who are saying, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not what we meant.’ So right now there’s just a little ripple of that, but I imagine that’s going to increase over time if he does not release the report or he releases a report that is so redacted that you can’t tell what’s in it.”
2. The Affordable Care Act Isn’t Just for Poor People
Speaking of efforts by the Trump Administration to de-fund and dismantle President Obama’s signature health care legislation, Bass emphasized that the Affordable Care Act also forces market-rate insurers to provide stronger coverage.
“I think what a lot of people don’t understand is that everybody is impacted by the Affordable Care Act. … [which] prohibits insurance companies from saying we will not provide coverage to you if you have a preexisting condition,” said Bass. “Just about everyone has a condition like arthritis, diabetes or hypertension after a certain age and those conditions would allow an insurance company to not cover you. This really needs to be clarified, because some people think that [The Affordable Care Act] only helps poor people. … It helps all of us who have insurance.”
3. Liberals Shouldn’t Heckle Trump Supporters (Even If They Heckle Liberals)
A handful of town hall attendees periodically interrupted Bass, shouting “Liar” or “Trump 2020” when the congresswoman mentioned President Donald Trump. “There are many people in our district who, like me, are happy with what the president is doing at the economy and with our border,” said an unidentified woman who supports Trump, as the audience rained boos upon her. Bass admonished the audience: “Let her speak. She has the right to say what she wants.”
4. Feds Could Face Liability for Separating Families at the Border
Bass said that she will introduce legislation that would make the federal government liable for damages caused by separating immigrant children from their families at the border.
“Right now the government is not responsible for reuniting children, so my bill will make it responsible to pay damages to every family where they’ve taken a child,” Bass said. “I don’t know any other definition of kidnapping children than a human rights abuse. … I find this to be on the order of the internment of the Japanese or what was done to Native American and African Americans.”
5. Nipsey Hussle is Noted in the Congressional Record
Nipsey Hussle attended Hamilton High School in Palms and was shot to death on the corner of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, at the north and south ends of Bass’ district. She promised to enter the slain South L.A. musician and community activist’s story into the congressional record, and did so on April 10.
“People need to know of his contributions,” Bass said. “Often you hear of a rap artist and maybe they had a background where they were gang involved, and they’re kind of written off. But what Nipsey provided was a sort of leadership in the South Los Angeles community by opening up businesses. He didn’t take all of his money and run off to another part of town. He stayed in South L.A. and contributed to the community positively, and I think that needs to be celebrated.”