Beyond the Beltway: Elijah Cummings fights back, MD lawmakers take on travel ban

‘Beyond the Beltway’ is a weekly newsletter focused on the impact that Maryland politicians are having on the national political conversation. In this week’s edition, we discuss how Rep. Elijah Cummings continues to make headlines for his opposition of President Donald Trump, and how Maryland’s state legislature is taking a stand against Trump’s travel ban.

It was another busy week for Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), who continues to be one of the loudest anti-Trump voices in the House of Representatives.

Cummings, who represents Maryland’s 7th congressional district and is the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, started the week by calling for am “immediate briefing” about the events that led to Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser.

“We were shocked and dismayed to learn this evening of reports that three weeks ago, U.S. law enforcement officials warned the White House Counsel that General Flynn had provided false information to the public about his communications with the Russian government, but that the Trump Administration apparently did nothing about it – neither to clarify the truth to the American public or to stop General Flynn from being an ongoing national security concern,” Cummings said in a joint statement with Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).

The Maryland congressman made more headlines later in the week when Trump said he had tried to set up a meeting with Cummings but that Cummings refused to meet for political reasons. Trump’s statement came during a press conference on Wednesday when asked if he hoped to work with the Congressional Black Caucus to address urban and inner city problems.

“He wanted it, but we called, called, called and can’t make a meeting with him,” Trump said. “Every day I walk and say I would like to meet with him because I do want to solve the problem. But he probably was told by Schumer or somebody like that, some other lightweight. He was probably told — he was probably told ‘don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.'”

Cummings fired back, saying in a statement that he has “no idea why President Trump would make up a story” about the planned meeting, which was supposed to be about prescription drug prices.

“I was actually looking forward to meeting with the President about the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs,” Cummings said in the statement. “What I have been doing for the past several weeks is working closely with my partner on these efforts, Senator Bernie Sanders. My goal was to finalize our proposal to allow HHS to negotiate lower drug prices so I could present it to the President. The President has said many times that he supports this proposal, so I wanted to have our bill ready to get his support.”

Cummings also called for a 9/11 Commission-type investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Hear what Cummings had to say in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday:

Cummings wasn’t the only Maryland politician to take on Trump this week.

The state’s General Assembly voted Wednesday to authorize Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal government over a slew of issues, including immigration and health care.

The joint resolution — which does not need approval from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) — was met with fierce opposition from the legislature’s Republican minority. Republican senators had hoped to delay the vote, and many stormed out of the Senate when they were denied.

That’s all for this week’s Beyond the Beltway. Check back next week to see how your politicians are affecting the national political conversation in Congress and beyond.


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