Before you go out to hear your favorite Latin band this weekend, we have a little encore to the week’s political news - just to keep you in the loop. Can we get an “Otra! Otra?"
CRACK THAT WHIP - The Castro twin in the federal government’s legislative branch, Rep. Joaquín Castro D-Texas - not to be confused with the executive branch twin, Housing Secretary Julián Castro - has been promoted in the House Democrats’ leadership hierarchy from assistant whip to chief deputy whip. That gives Castro a more important sidekick position to Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who officially announced the promotion Thursday. Castro joins a team of eight other chief deputy whips who answer to senior deputy whip, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Their jobs are to help Hoyer count votes and when there aren’t enough votes to accomplish what Democratic leadership wants, to persuade, even cajole, their House colleagues _ what is referred to in congressional parlance as “whipping” the vote. “It’s important that Democrats stay united in our support for policies that benefit hardworking Americans," Castro said. Castro is not what you’d call a threatening sort, so we find it quite interesting that he’ll be one of the members who will help to crack the whip in the House.
NOT THE IMMIGRATION ONLY CAUCUS - Rep. Linda Sánchez, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is trying out monthly pen and pad roundtables with the press. Sánchez, D-Calif., began the inaugural meeting this past week emphasizing that Latinos in Congress can talk about more than immigration, but rarely get asked about more than that by media. In response, she and Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., got a question about cuts to Social Security, although two Spanish language reporters attended with the intent to get the members’ comments on the deadly attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunisia. Sánchez said one of her goals is “to elevate how every issue that we work on here in Washington, D.C., impacts the Latino community.”
BUT IMMIGRATION IS STILL IN THE NEWS – A Texas judge took up the issue of whether 100,000 young immigrants here illegally should have gotten three-year reprieves from deportation. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee’s Republicans used flabbergasted faces of women and actresses in GIFs to blast the president’s executive action and make the case for using local law officers to enforce immigration law. But the string of mostly white women in the GIFs doesn’t seem to help the party make its case that its immigration opposition is not about race or ethnicity. The committee has to rely on a red-headed animated Mermaid for diversity in the release. Separately, Sarah Saldaña, Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, had to correct her testimony when she agreed with a GOP lawmaker that local law officers should be required to detain immigrants for ICE. She posted what she really meant on the ICE's website the next day.
#FAIL – This week was Sunshine Week, meant to highlight the cause of open government and the public’s right to know. The FOIA Project ran a contest asking the public to pick from six examples the agency that did the worst at opening up information to the public. The CIA won the group’s FOIA Failure Award. It waited until 2011 to release information requested in 2005 on the botched Bay of Pigs, Cuba invasion. That was after the FOIA Project filed a lawsuit. But then the CIA only released four of five volumes and the D.C. Court sided with the CIA keeping the fifth volume secret.
ABORTION POLITICS – The show Jane the Virgin stars Gina Rodriguez as a young woman who must deal with an unplanned pregnancy because she was artificially inseminated; she decides to keep her baby. This show was given an award by the organization that is the No. 1 target of anti-abortion groups, Planned Parenthood. The group lauds the show because “Jane is able to discuss her options - including abortion - openly with family and to make the decision that is best for her."