September 29, 2018

This week we saw powerful testimony from a courageous Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—testimony that she knew would turn her life upside down, but that she felt compelled to give anyway because it was her civic duty to make sure the American people knew the truth. Thank you, Dr. Ford, for your strength and your honesty.

Judge Kavanaugh’s time before the Senate Judiciary Committee stood in sharp contrast. His opening comments—that the credible sexual assault allegations against him are an “orchestrated political hit” fueled by anger at President Trump and an attempt to get revenge for 2016—show his total disregard for Dr. Ford’s anguished testimony. Did Democrats manufacture her awful experience? Did Democrats tell her to share her anguish with her therapist years ago?

Facts matter—we didn’t need to let it come to this. There should have been a full FBI investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the Kavanaugh nomination. But Republicans were ready to cast aside the facts and move forward with the nomination at any cost. Fortunately, the voices of Americans across the country swayed Senator Flake to join with Democrats and call for an FBI investigation into all the credible allegations of abusive conduct made against Judge Kavanaugh. I support the effort to postpone any votes on the Senate floor until the FBI reports on these credible and deeply troubling allegations. Dr. Ford put the American people first by coming forward to tell her painful story when she had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Senate Republicans now need to do their civic duty, put politics aside, and show the same courage. The truth is nonpartisan.

The American public spoke out, and it made a difference. But the fight is not over, and Marylanders must continue to voice their opinions. 

Chris Van Hollen

The Tragedy in Harford County

Gun violence continues to plague Maryland’s communities—from our city streets to mass-shooting incidents like what we experienced in Harford. My heart is with the families and victims of the tragedy in Perryman, and I’m grateful for the first responders who were on the scene in minutes. But words are not enough. We must do more to end the toll of gun violence in our communities. While there is no one answer—and no one thing will prevent all gun violence—there is more that we can do. I will continue working to urge Congress to implement thoughtful, common-sense solutions to gun violence.

Fighting a Public Health Crisis

Earlier this month, the Senate passed the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act, which will help support prevention, treatment, and recovery for individuals struggling with substance abuse and other mental health issues. But we need the resources to go with it—which is why I fought hard for Congress to allocate $3.8 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 to invest in agencies and programs that support this fight.

But it’s easy to get lost in the big numbers and complicated legislation—which is why it’s so important to me to be on the ground talking to the people most impacted by this crisis. Earlier this month, I visited the Maryland House Detox—the first and only freestanding, 24/7 inpatient detox center in our state. I also hosted a Public Safety Forum in Hughesville, Maryland with officials from throughout Southern Maryland—including representatives from local governments, sheriffs’ offices, fire departments, school systems, and faith leaders—to talk about what they’re seeing on the ground and federal efforts to help.

Hearing first-hand the impact of the opioid epidemic on our communities made it more clear than ever that we must do more to address this crisis. We won’t stop until we’ve ended this scourge and addressed the terrible personal and economic toll that the opioid epidemic and substance abuse take on our communities.

Supporting Maryland’s First Responders

Earlier this month, I visited the Frostburg Fire Department—where I had the opportunity to meet with local department personnel and announce more than $3 million in funding to Allegany County from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The funding will bolster emergency preparedness, provide new high-quality equipment and tools, and enhance efforts to provide adequate staffing throughout departments in the county. Every day, the firefighters and other emergency responders in Allegany County and across our state put their lives on the line to protect our communities. It’s our job to ensure they have the tools they need to safely and effectively do just that. Touring the Frostburg Fire Department was a great way to see first-hand the work that our first responders do—and the importance of providing them with adequate funding and equipment. This year alone, we’ve been able to help secure $23,414,893 in funding for Maryland fire departments. I will continue working to provide Maryland’s first responders with the resources they need to keep our communities safe.