August 29, 2018 Press Release

Six-Figure Ad Buy Launched Pressuring House Leadership to Take Action on Family Separation Crisis  

Ads will air in Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ (WA-5) and Rep. Walden’s (OR-2) districts calling on them to hold the Trump Administration accountable for ongoing crisis

08.29.18 – Today, Equity Forward Action announced a pair of six-figure television ad buys in the Districts of Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Greg Walden (OR-02) demanding that they use their leadership positions in Congress to hold the administration accountable for the family separation crisis.

Watch the ads HERE and HERE.  

The ads hit the airwaves as Republicans in Congress sidesteps their duties to the American people to conduct oversight of the administration’s failure to reunite hundreds of children who remain separated from their families.  Greg Walden as Chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and Cathy McMorris Rodgers as the fourth highest ranking member of the House have the ability to change course and conduct oversight. To date they have failed to take any meaningful actions to address the ongoing crisis that could lead to hundreds of children being orphaned.

In fact, all we have seen from McMorris Rodgers are blanket claims that she’s opposed to the administration’s actions, but she’s failed to use her leadership position to leverage any real results, such as conducting oversight into the crisis or holding field hearings.  Walden has done the bare minimum – having done nothing more than sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting information on separated children.

“As two of the most powerful members of Congress, both Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Greg Walden have failed as leaders with their responses to the child separation crisis,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward Action.  

“Neither McMorris Rodgers nor Walden have produced real results and both refuse to use their power to hold the administration accountable for cruelly separating these families.  Hundreds of children could be orphaned and it is up to leaders like McMorris Rodgers and Walden to get to the bottom of what happened. Their constituents and these families demand and deserve answers.”

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the fourth highest ranking members of the House of Representatives; she also sits on the Energy

& Commerce Committee Health subcommittee, which has direct oversight responsibilities of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the entities responsible for caring for and housing the children separated from their families.  Greg Walden chairs the Energy & Commerce Committee.

Additional Background:

Equity Forward sent a letter to the Energy & Commerce Committee last week calling on its members to use their authority to conduct oversight hearings and specifically require HHS Secretary Alex Azar and ORR Director Scott Lloyd to answer for their roles in the crisis.  Despite requests from their Democratic colleagues, the committee has not held one hearing and conducted minimal oversight of HHS and ORR during the crisis.  

Equity Forward Action launched today’s ad buys after conducting polling of both McMorris Rodgers’ and Walden’s constituents’ views on the Trump Administration’s child separation crisis and Congress’ role in holding the administration accountable for the policy. Half of McMorris Rodgers’ constituents (50%) and half of Walden’s constituents (49%) said neither had done enough on the family separation crisis and nearly two-thirds of voters in both McMorris Rodgers’ (68%) and Walden’s (66%) districts say they want Congress to act by increasing the accountability and transparency of the agencies and officials overseeing the separated children.

Today’s ads are part of more than a million-dollar campaign by Equity Forward and Equity Forward Action to hold HHS and the administration accountable for the child separation crisis. The campaign has included numerous polls and ads in key members’ Districts, including Representatives Pete Sessions (TX-32), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Leonard Lance (NJ-07).