Congressman Steve Knight strode across the stage at his Simi Valley town hall meeting on April 18, and introduced the issue he thought would be at the top of everyone’s list —North Korea — the audience shouted “Russia!”. Knight then veered off onto increases in military spending as part of the stop-gap funding package that must be approved by April 28 to avoid another government shutdown. When that failed to ignite the audience, the Congressman reluctantly moved on to questions from the crowd.
Over the next seventy-plus minutes, Congressman Knight demonstrated his limited knowledge on critical issues as he vacillated between carefully rehearsed Republican talking points and feeble evasions, mixed with tone-deaf responses.
Questioned by a woman from Porter Ranch if he would support increasing the annual contribution and benefit base level for those earning above the current cap in order to keep Social Security solvent, Knight suggested that he favored raising contribution amounts and the age limit and having people work longer. “We’re already doing those things” she said. He was similarly unaware of Republican efforts to convert Medicare to a voucher program.
On his vote to reverse Internet privacy rules, Knight offered a half-baked explanation about leveling access so that all, not just some, companies can sell private information. Later the Congressman invoked the Republican desire for a level playing field on the Internet in response to a young woman who tearfully pleaded for a federal policy against bullying and sexual harassment, both of which she has endured for years both in person and online.
When a Santa Clarita resident asked why he voted to defund Planned Parenthood, Congressman Knight reverted back to the claim he made at Antelope Valley town hall meeting that the presence of fourteen clinics in the district negates the need to support funding for the organization.
Asked to promise that he would vote against any healthcare plan that did not include subsidies for health coverage, Knight tried several different evasive maneuvers from “avoiding hypothetical” possibilities, to not knowing what subsidies the man was referencing, to needing to look at the funding before he could support subsidies. Having exhausted his options, Knight threw in the towel saying, “Okay, I won’t vote against funding.”
Following that unconvincing pledge, the Congressman stated that the next healthcare bill would have to cost less while offering subsidies so that people could buy insurance in the open market. He falsely claimed that the ACA had been rushed through without identified funding and he rejected the idea of pressuring non-participating states into adopting an improved version, saying that would “just make things worse.”
Even a constituent who voted for Steve Knight questioned why Knight voted against a call for Trump to release his taxes. Knight’s reason? It was raised as a matter of personal privilege, not introduced as a bill that had gone through committee. He will only vote for bills that go through committee.
A call to discuss Betsy DeVos proposal for a voucher system and the detrimental effects of cutting the school lunch program were met with a word salad of statements about keeping money here to fund local school districts.
Congressman Knight acknowledged that humans are playing a role in climate change and that we can do something about it — as long as it doesn’t “put us at a disadvantage.” He claimed that he would not vote to eliminate the EPA.
Knight stated that he doesn’t like Trump going down to Mar-A-Lago and that he finds acceptance of gifts from foreign governments improper. “As we go forward, there will be an investigation or someone looking into it.” Though he believes that Congress should be involved in decisions regarding foreign military intervention, the Congressman simply identified the need for an update to the Authorized Use of Military Force.
Finally, Steve Knight defended HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill he co-sponsored that allows individuals from states with more lax laws to carry weapons in states with more stringent laws. Many major law enforcement agencies opposed the bill, said the woman who challenged Knight’s support for the bill, adding that she didn’t want untrained, ‘unvetted' people carrying guns in California. When efforts to deflect from the concern failed, Knight simply said, “I think we’re just going to have to disagree on that.”
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