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Texas’ 17th District had not elected a Republican to serve in the U.S. House since reconstruction, until Bill Flores rode the Tea Party Wave into office in 2010, defeating 10-term incumbent Chet Edwards while winning 62% of the vote, the largest margin of victory for any Republican challenger over a Democratic incumbent that year. Now starting his third term in Congress, Flores made his mark prior to arriving in Washington as the CEO of Phoenix Exploration Company, a gas exploration company (fracking, of course). He also worked as a CEO with another energy company, Marine Drilling, which filed for bankruptcy in 2007, at a loss for the federal government of $7.5 million.


Still, during the 2010 elections, these sorts of details were easily overlooked. Why would anyone ever worry about having a guy who worked as an executive in the oil and natural gas industry serve in Congress determining policy on regulations to that industry? It would not be a conflict of interest, would it?

Like many other House Republicans on Feb. 18th, 2011, Bill Flores voted to defund Planned Parenthood.On the same day, he fought to continue government funding towards NASCAR sponsorships, an amazing double standard of someone who purports themselves to push for “smaller government”.

As you might expect any former CEO with a bankrupt company on his resume to do…Flores voted against House Amendment 849, which would have required corporations to Disclose the Bonuses and “Golden Parachute” Arrangements of failed executives whose businesses went bankrupt.

And as you might expect a former energy company CEO to do if in Congress, Bill Flores was the co-sponsor of HR 3409, the “Stop the War on Coal Act”. It mercifully died in committee.

In September 2012, Rep. Flores joins the ranks of Republicans trying to make hay out of the Solyndra bankruptcy scandal prior to the 2012 elections (even though the company was granted loans by the Bush administration), by voting for the “No More Solyndras Act”.

When relief aid for Hurricane Sandy came to the floor for a vote in the House on January , 2013, Bill Flores voted against it. A little less than three months later, an explosion occurred at a fertilizer factor in West, Texas, due to a lack of oversight and regulations (the kind Flores doesn’t like). And, the factory was in Flores’ district, but he had the audacity to turn around and try and get disaster relief to his district after voting against it for most of New Jersey and New York such a short time earlier. For a fertilizer plant explosion, as opposed to a hurricane that decimated homes throughout several STATES.

In February 2013, Bill Flores votes “NAY” on the version of the Violence Against Women Act that would have provided protections for lesbians and Native Americans from domestic violence.

On June 18th, 2013, Rep. Flores co-sponsors the Pain-Capable Child Protection Act, an attempt by House Republicans to create a ban on abortion nationwide at 20 weeks.

On September 6th, 2013, Flores speaks about impeaching President Obama for “violating the Constitution” at a town hall meeting, saying he thinks the House will do so.

Bill Flores voted for the 2013 Government Shutdown. When the vote came to re-open the government 17 days later, he voted against re-opening it.

On October 24th, 2013, Flores succeeds for the third time in a year to tack an amendment onto other legislation to obstruct implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Each time, the Senate have stripped them back out. You might think, “Wait a minute, Flores is in a landlocked district? What does he care about the shoreline?” Well, because he’s still got pals working at oil companies want to drill offshore, of course. 

 

  • On June 27th, 2014, Rep. Flores teamed up with all-time CSGOPOTD leader Louis Gohmert to produce legislation that would offer a $1 million bounty to any group who could locate or produce any of IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost e-mails from when her hard drive when it crashed. Because you just KNOW she was up to something in that non-scandal. He had to settle for voting to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, and for HR 3685, to properly beat that dead horse.

    On July 10, 2014, Flores votes for House Amendment 1040, meant to prohibit Implementation of certain Climate Change Assessments. Among them, the guidelines advised in the dreaded United Nations Agenda 21 Treaty, always a boogeyman in Republican circles (although in this instance, it’s probably just Flores looking out for the wallets of his old buddies in the oil and gas industry). Thankfully this bill died in the Senate.

     

    Bill Flores has participated in every attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act since arriving in Washington (co-sponsoring several), including the most recent one in February 2015, in spite of all of the studies showing that it’s not only working, but better than experts predicted.

 

There was civil unrest due to the death of Freddie Gray, ruled a homicide, because his spine was broken while he was in police custody. After a series of incidents of police violence, in particular against African Americans over the past two years, this was the latest, and in another part of the country where income inequality is high, and a community’s relationship with the police department is strained, and it boiled over.

But that’s not how Bill Flores tells it. You see, none of that was the reason people were outraged in Baltimore. As he explained to Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (which is still classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) on his WallBuilders show, the real cause of the rioting was a weakening of the family, which has been caused by gay marriage:


Let’s talk about poverty for instance…The single best indicator of whether or not a child is going to be in poverty or not is whether or not they were raised by a two-parent household or a single-parent household. And so the breakdown of the family has contributed to poverty.”

You look at what’s going on in Baltimore today, you know, you see issues that are raised there. And healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in the way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective. There’s just nothing like traditional marriage that does that.”

 

Flores won re-election in 2014 with 65% of the vote. And in his current term in office, he’s continued to be awful:

January 22nd, 2015: An anti-abortion bill, HR 7, was moving through the House, and was halted because even some members of the GOP were put off by the language in the bill regarding its definition of rape. Bill Flores, however, had no problem with that, and voted for it anyway.

 

  • On March 3rd, 2015, Bill Flores votes against funding the Department of Homeland Security as part of a Republican protest of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

    May 13th, 2015, Rep. Flores co-sponsors and votes for HR 36, a ban on abortion at 20 weeks.

    June 26th, 2015: Bill Flores puts out a press release upon hearing the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, declaring it an “unfortunate display of judicial activism.

    September 11th, 2015: Flores votes against the United States’ nuclear treaty with Iran.

    September 18th, 2015: Rep. Flores votes with most House Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood, based on highly edited “sting” videos submitted by a Pro-Life advocacy group that have been repeatedly debunked by investigators.

    November 19th, 2015: Flores co-sponsors and votes for the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, reacting to the terror attacks in Paris by jihadists from France and Belgium by trying to create greater restrictions to keep out Syrian refugees, of whom exactly zero were involved in those attacks. One terrorist had a fake passport of a member of Assad’s army, apparently to create a false trail to help in their escape, or hoping that the attacks would be blamed on Syrian refugees, and the governments of nations like France and the United States would fall for it and not allow refugees to escape ISIS abroad. And… the Congressman fell for it.

    February 2nd, 2016: Bill Flores votes for HR 3762, the 61st attempt by Congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which is still working better than was predicted).

     

    March 16th, 2016: Flores issues a press release where he calls on the Republican-controlled Senate to block the nomination of Supreme Court Justice nominee Merrick Garland for eight more months, until after the election of a new president.

Flores was awarded a fourth term in office after getting 61% of the vote in the 2016 elections against Democrat William Matta. That’s not as impressive as it sounds, especially since Texas’ 17th District has a +13 Republican lean.

Rep. Flores’ hard right streak has continued in the past calendar year:

 

  • May 25th, 2016: Flores votes against of House Amendment 1128, which would have prohibited the use of federal funds for discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s right, he voted in favor of LGBT discrimination, out right.

  • March 16th, 2017: Bill Flores votes for HR 1181, which would allow veterans deemed mentally incompetent to continue to own firearms, and not have them taken away without a judge’s written order. We feel safer already.

  • March 28th, 2017: Rep. Flores votes for SJ Res 34, which allowed internet providers to sell the data information of their customers’ internet usage to businesses.

    Well, so much for privacy.

  • May 4th, 2017: Flores votes for the GOP’s “healthcare reform” plan, that would allow 24,000 more people to die a year, give $50,000 in tax breaks to millionaires, would eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions, and would treat pregnancy, post-partem depression, and sexual assault as “pre-existing conditions”. Oh, and a provision in the bill would make sure that Yoder would be allowed to keep his healthcare plan as it exists under the ACA, which would be repealed for the rest of the country.

On February 22nd, 2017, Flores ditched his own town hall to meet with them, citing “a scheduling conflict, and left the good people of Texas’ 17th to hold the town hall with their representative absent. Any illusion that Flores has the interests of the people who elect him at heart should be dissolved by that fact. Should, being the appropriate word.

If there ever were a time to root for the underdog, this might be it. 

 


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