U.S. House of Representatives agrees on something: lawmakers condemn ‘horrors of socialism’
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives held a strong bipartisan vote Thursday condemning socialism and former socialist leaders, though Democrats chided most Republicans for wasting time on a “political stunt” and refusing to allow debate on an amendment that would clarify Social Security and Medicare. service. not socialist programs.
Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer said he regrets “the failure to pass a resolution today that would reflect the overwhelming consensus in this House that capitalism, not socialism, has proven to be the best economic system.”
“Such a resolution would unite us. This would give our fellow citizens the confidence that we are united in supporting our democratic capitalist system,” Hoyer added. “However, the resolution presented to us today does not do that. On the contrary, it is an intellectually untenable screed of political demagogy.”
Florida Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar’s resolution, approved by a vote of 328 to 86 out of a vote of 14 members, noted that “socialist ideology requires a concentration of power that collapses again and again towards communist regimes, totalitarian rule and brutal dictatorship.”
“Congress condemns socialism in all its forms and opposes the pursuit of socialist policies in the United States of America,” the document says.
The resolution mentions Cambodia, China, Cuba, North Korea, and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as examples of socialist governments, although they could more accurately be defined as communist.
It also lists several dictators, including Fidel Castro, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Kim Jong Un and Mao Zedong.
The resolution does not mention Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who led the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or the millions of Jews and others who were killed during the Holocaust and World War II.
Current Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are also not cited as examples of the dangers of socialism or dictators.
Medicare, Social Security
North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry dismissed Democrats’ criticism of the resolution during the debate, saying “there’s nothing in this resolution about welfare programs, banning social services, or anything like that.”
Republican plans to cut public spending in their upcoming budget decision have raised questions from Democrats about whether the Republican Party plans to make changes to Medicare and Social Security, which largely operate on autopilot outside of the annual appropriation process.
“It describes the pain and deprivation experienced by millions of people around the world affected by the socialist regime,” McHenry said, adding that the resolution “is not just a messaging or a waste of time.”
“He speaks to people who have known the atrocities of socialism all too well and expresses their pain,” he said.
But McHenry said later during the debate that because it was so early, the resolution didn’t get through his committee or through the staking process.
“What I would prefer in this resolution is a complete defense of capitalism and a contrast to that optimistic sense of freedom that is born from our property rights, our rights to freedom of speech, our personal rights in this country, which deeply binds us to the economic sense of freedom – and comparing it with the poverty of socialism,” he said.
McHenry also noted that Putin is not on the resolution because “he does not currently call himself a socialist.”
The Washington Post reported last year that Putin said in 2016: “I really liked and still like communist and socialist ideas” and “claimed to have kept his old party card.”
Wisconsin Democratic Representative Mark Pokan argued that the resolution “has little to do with intellectual discourse and everything that needs to be done to lay the groundwork for cuts in welfare and health care.”
“I have owned a small business for 35 years now, which has given me significantly more experience as a capitalist than the vast majority of members on the other side of the aisle,” Pokan said. “Therefore, as a capitalist, let me tell you that this resolution is simply ridiculous.”
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