Thursday, December 30, 2010

SC governor's low wage policy: keep unions out of the State

South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley says her new Cabinet pick to run the state's labor agency will lead efforts to fight unions, particularly at Boeing's new North Charleston plant.

Does a low wage anti-union policy bring prosperity? So far South Carolina's aggressive anti-labor stance has left it far behind states where organized labor is stronger. It won't work in Jim Demint and Nikki Haley's South Carolina and it won't work anywhere else in the country.

Associated Press

South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley says her new Cabinet pick to run the state's labor agency will lead efforts to fight unions, particularly at Boeing's new North Charleston plant.

Haley said Wednesday the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will play a big role in keeping unions out of the Boeing Co. plant that assembles the company's new 787 Dreamliner. Haley notes director nominee Catherine Templeton, a lawyer who has specialized in union fights, has fought United Auto Worker organizing attempts.

Read the rest of the AP article from the Seattle Times

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Columbia, SC: state capitol sees increase in violent crime

This video documents a police "clean up" of violent street crime in South Carolina's capitol. Yet violence continues to plague the city despite the crackdown. Could it be that chronic poverty and poor education that plague the State spawn new generations of criminals and leave the police and FBI picking up the mess without any long term solution to the problem?

Jim Demint's South Carolina leads the nation in violent crime according to FBI statistics and the State Capitol, Columbia sets the example for the rest of the State.

Read the report from Columbia's Free Times

Also read our report:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Allendale Co., SC 10th poorest county in the nation: US census

Hear Allendale, SC Mayor Ronnie Jackson discuss the need for stimulus money to help alleviate depression era unemployment levels in his county. Will South Carolina Senators Demint and Graham listen to his plea?

Allendale County, South Carolina is the 10th poorest county in the United States according to the latest census report.

The median income for a household in the county was $20,898, and the median income for a family was $27,348. 34.5 percent of Allendale Co. lived below the poverty line, including 48.1 percent of those under age 18 and 26.00 percent of those residents age 65 or over.

Even by the standards of South Carolina, the fifth poorest state in the U.S.A. where the median income is only $41,548, Allendale stands out in its almost complete absence of economic activity. In fact, there are no functioning businesses to be found on the road into the City of Allendale itself. (income data: US Census)

Perhaps because it has been consistently neglected by the conservative elites that have been running South Carolina for centuries, Allendale County, SC has consistently voted for the Democratic candidate since 1976.

As shocking as these facts are, Jim Demint's Republican senate colleague, Mitch McConnell's Kentucky is home to four of the five poorest counties in the United States. Does the vision of these two conservative Senate leaders for the rest of the country include more Allendale Counties?


Monday, December 20, 2010

Jim Demint scoffs at climate change while erosion eats away at South Carolina's beaches and tourism industry

In response to last winters record snowfalls in Washington, DC Senator Jim Demint tweeted:
It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle"
In June 2010 Jim Demint wrote on his blog:
Remember what Obama said the night he secured the Democratic presidential nomination: “This [is] the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Only a liberal would believe that tinkering with the levers of government could ever accomplish such planetary change.
Senator Demint refuses to acknowledge that climate change caused by human activity is a direct threat to the environment even when unusually rapid patterns of erosion damage South Carolina's precious beaches. Scientists believe the threat to the beaches is due to hurricanes which have increased in severity in recent years due to global warming and to rising ocean tides.

Unusually vicious hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina that destroyed New Orleans are more likely to occur due to man made climate change. Yet it seems that Sen. Jim Demint would rather see South Carolina vulnerable to this kind of destruction than do anything about it.

Senator Demint scoffs at scientific evidence even when it damages his home state. The State of South Carolina and the federal government will now have to invest millions to build up (renourish) South Carolina shorelines, an essential component of the tourism industry which has been recognized as one of the only bright spots on the State's economy. And the question that looms large: will the funds be there? The loss of critical federal stimulus money has meant South Carolina has had to cut back on boosting tourism in the State. Read about it in the Daily Me.

Because chronic poverty and unemployment plague the State, the importance of tourism to South Carolina can't be overemphasized.Currently tourism (2006 figures) contributes $10.9 billion a year to Gross State Product and employs approximately 216,000 people." Source:

Learn more about how erosion threatens the South Carolina shore from

Read about a recent study that proves sea surface temperatures are a direct cause of increased hurricane activity and severity in the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, December 13, 2010

South Carolina plans to cut medicaid plan, adult dental, and hospice care

South Carolina continues to place the burden of low taxes on the backs of the elderly and disabled. Is this what their Senator, Jim Demint has in mind for the rest of the country? Read about it below.

SC Medicaid plan: End adult dental, hospice care - CNBC

South Carolinians speak out about how medicaid saves lives, removes the awful choice between food and medicines and boosts the State's health and economy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jim Demint's SC cutting welfare payments to state's poorest

As Senator Jim Demint rallys the right to cut social spending, South Carolina prepares to make matters worse in a State that has one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the country. South Carolina is also the nation's number one state for violent crime.

Compounding the misery in Senator Demint's South Carolina

72,000 South Carolinians are scheduled to lose their unemployment benefits this month. Inevitably those people will end up on reduced public assistance. In addition to compounding their misery this move will undoubtedly help to prolong a recession that is the longest and deepest since the Great Depression.

Read about it below:

SC cutting welfare payments to state's poorest - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jim Demint thinks unemployment insurance is just paying people to stay home

While extending tax cuts to millionaires and big corporations without paying for them is a given for Jim Demint, extending unemployment insurance is just "paying people to stay home".

Clyburn, DeMint clash over South Carolina schools money

South Carolina Rep Jim Clyburn sticks up for South Carolina schools while Senator Demint turns his back

Demint turned his back on South Carolina's unemployed. Now he turns his back on the State's students and teachers. If South Carolina doesn't step up and do something about education, the State risks poverty for generations to come. Thankfully Jim Clyburn is there to fight back.  Read the article below for the details.

Clyburn, DeMint clash over South Carolina schools money | McClatchy

Then come back and read this:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Demint to filibuster bill to extend unemployment benefits to 72,000 South Carolinians

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) signaled on Tuesday his intention to vote against a likely cloture motion in the Senate on a tax cut deal struck by the White House and Republicans (brokered by Sen. Mitch McConnell) this week.

Defining his stance on the issue on conservative Hugh Hewitt's radio program, the Republican senator and Tea Party favorite also said he would oppose the proposal should it garner enough support to overcome a filibuster.

Click here to read the rest of the story from the Huffington Post.

And when you've read it, take a look at Senator Al Franken's impassioned opposition to trading tax cuts for the rich for extending unemployment compensation.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Merry Christmas from Jim Demint: 72,000 + South Carolinians lose unemployment benefits while Demint fights for tax cuts for the rich

Senator Jim Demint, an ardent opponent of extending benefits to the unemployed is busy fighting for tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans while over 72,000 South Carolina residents will lose their unemployment benefits beginning this December.

With over a quarter of a million South Carolina residents unemployed, nearly 12% of the States workforce this feels like a mighty big betrayal.

Here's the report from from Anderson, South Carolina

Watch Senator Jim Demint hide behind procedure to help block extending unemployment benefits.

South Carolina schools' badly needed federal millions at risk according to Myrtle Beach press

Our comments are in BOLD and did not appear in the original Sun News article

From Sun News, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

- McClatchy Newspapers
Friday, Dec. 03, 2010

South Carolina's congressional delegation is running out of time to change a federal law excluding the state from $143 million in additional education money before the body adjourns and new leadership takes over the U.S. House.

S.C. education officials estimate the additional round of stimulus money, approved in August, would preserve 2,600 education jobs. S.C. schools have eliminated 4,000 jobs since state revenues began to decline in 2008, outgoing state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said.

South Carolina failed to qualify for the aid because of $110 million in higher education cuts over the past three years, according to the S.C. Education Department. States must maintain a certain level of education funding to qualify for stimulus money.

If South Carolina's political elite funded education to federal standards in the first place there would be no need for the change to federal law. Their stubborn defense of a backward educational system only lowers the standards for the rest of the US.

In August, state education officials hoped for a congressional fix. It hasn't happened yet, and U.S. Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the third most powerful member of the House, said the House has agreed to change the requirements, but that the Senate does not support the change.

"Consequently, we are at a stalemate unless the Senate lifts its objection," Clyburn said in a statement.

But neither body has approved the change, and Congress will adjourn by the end of the month. Republicans, who have widely opposed stimulus spending, will assume control of the House from Democrats in January.

Rex said he has asked U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint to change the requirements. DeMint aides said the fix that would procure the money was stalled in the Senate by broader disputes among appropriators over how to fund the rest of the 2011 fiscal year with legislation that can pass Congress in its lame-duck session.

Perhaps Demint should spend the lame duck session getting help for South Carolina schools rather than holding up legislation to preserve tax cuts for the rich.

DeMint tried to reach Rex on Thursday to discuss the problems and planned to speak with him today, the senator's aides said. Efforts to reach Graham were unsuccessful.

"I think most people in South Carolina don't really care about all the details," Rex said. "They just want the congressional delegation to figure out way to get that $143 million.

"All members of our congressional delegation talk about the importance of jobs and job retention. By South Carolina standards, this would be the equivalent of a significant employer coming or leaving. ... It's very important to our economy and our attempts to recover in this state."

Actions speak louder than words.

State leaders said the federal delegation has not contacted them about efforts to secure South Carolina's share of the additional stimulus money.

Gov. Mark Sanford was willing to forgo $350 million in federal stimulus in 2009, taking lawmakers to court for including the money in the state budget. The S.C. Supreme Court ruled Sanford had to accept the funds.

Sanford's office said they have not spoken with federal officials and opposed the initial stimulus because the federal government could dictate state spending - a requirement to qualify for the most recent federal money. Whether S.C. eventually qualifies for the money or not, state taxpayers are on the hook for repaying stimulus aid.

S.C. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, and the new chairman of the House education budget subcommittee, said the money has given school districts and state agencies two years to prepare for a projected $800 million in cuts for the budget year beginning July 1. Bingham said it was unclear how much lawmakers might have to cut K-12 education, the largest portion of $5.1 billion general fund budget.

And while some disagreed with Sanford's opposition in 2009, House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper, R-Anderson, said this year's election results show many will lose no sleep if the federal money heads elsewhere.

Are these guys for real? More cuts to education means South Carolinians will be less eligible for future jobs and will mean less investment by companies requiring an educated work force.Read this:
"That's kind of the message I've heard on the campaign trail," Cooper said. "I haven't planned on using" the additional stimulus money.

Read more:

And another article also from The State:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Investor's journal agrees: Demint's South Carolina is 6th worst run state in the USA

24/7 Wall St. says tourism is one of the bright spots in South Carolina's economic development strategy, yet erosion threatens the State's coastal areas the focus of much of that development. Nonetheless, Senator Demint continues to scorn scientific evidence that climate change is responsible for much of the damage.

While the State of South Carolina promotes tourism (and the low wage service jobs that industry requires) the online journal for equity investors, 24/7 Wall St. has completed "one of the most comprehensive studies of state financial management ever performed by the mainstream media."

Their study ranked South Carolina 44 out of the 50 states, (tied with Mississippi). 24/7 Wall St. claims their study is "based on evaluation principles used in the award-winning Best Run States In America ratings published by the Financial World Magazine during the 1990s."

Here's what they say about the economic disaster that is Jim Demint's South Carolina.

Tied for 44th (best run states). South Carolina
Debt per Capita: $8,013 (34th)
Unemployment Rate: 11% (45th)
Home Price Change (’06 – ’09): 12.3% (10th)
Median Household Income: $42,442 (42nd)

South Carolina has done an admirable job at marketing itself as a tourist destination, and has the 10th best improvement in property values from 2006 to 2009. In terms of the economy, however, the Palmetto State is in the bottom ten in median household income, high school completion, and poverty rates. The state has the worst violent crime rate in the country- 731 per 100,000.

Basic business assumptions behind South Carolina's poor evaluation

The study assumes: "Well-run states have a great deal in common with well-run corporations. Books are kept balanced. Investment is prudent. Debt is sustainable. Innovation is prized. Workers are well-chosen and well-trained. Executives are picked based on merit and not “politics.”

Austerity policies = bad management: prosperity for the few, poverty for many in South Carolina

South Carolina's experiment in right-to-work, low wages, high debt, low taxes, poor education and a lousy social safety net mean prosperity for the very few at the expense of the many. Is this bleak third world reality the future we want for America?

Want to see which State 24/7 Wall St. rated last: It's Mitch McConnell's Kentucky. See for yourself:

For more information, please read the full article at:

Demint's hostility to unions linked to low wages in South Carolina

Demint opposed union rights of TSA employees so vigorously that he delayed the appointment of a new TSA chief for months.

Why would fighting unions be more important to Demint than airport security? Perhaps its because Demint's South Carolina has the third lowest rate of union representation in the country according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Low union representation means substantially lower wages for workers according to the BLS:

The anti-union climate in the the State has meant Demint's constituents have also suffered with the ninth lowest median household income according to the US Census.

An anti-union climate, low wages, high unemployment, widespread poverty and all the ills that result. Do we really want Demint's South Carolina to be a model for the Nation? Or should we support South Carolinians to improve their standard of living along with the rest of us?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jim Demint distorts the truth about the stimulus and religious freedom

Republicans like Demint will pretty much say anything to win even if its false. Even if its challenged, they hope that some shrapnel hits the target.

That's why back in February he argued against stimulus spending when he said:

"There is a provision in the economic stimulus plan that means that "students cannot meet together in their dorms, if that dorm has been repaired with this federal money, and have a prayer group or a Bible study."

Despite the fact that the courts have always held that religious groups had equal rights to the use of public facilities, Demint apparently hopes to rally the religious right against spending even when it means jobs and the improvement of desperately needed public facilities like universities and schools. 

Without Federal aid to education new green projects like this recently built University of South Carolina $48 million dorm would be less likely to see the light of day. You just have to look at the crisis in education in South Carolina to see that Demint has once again turned his back on his own constituents.

Check my source:



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jim De Mint's South Carolina: 4th highest unemployment rate of all 50 States

As of September 2010, Jim DeMint's South Carolina has the 4th highest unemployment of all 50 States. Makes you wonder why DeMint voted against extending unemployment benefits.

Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranking here:

DeMint wants the rest of the US to adopt so-called right to work legislation that has contributed to the poverty in South Carolina. Hear him lie about non-existant federal laws that he claims force workers to join unions.

Conservatives like Jim DeMint want to get rid of unions and destroy the right of workers to organize. Their intent is to keep wages down. Low wages mean a wider gap between rich and poor, less purchasing power in the hands of the majority of middle class people and while short term profits rise, the long term economic forecasts seem bleaker with each government report because businesses neither hire nor invest unless there is demand for the goods and services they provide.

Furthermore, conservative resistance to spurring efficiency by replacing and repairing existing infrastructure like the Charleston, SC port and building new transit and communication systems will mean a continual downward spiral in both profits and purchasing power which will be exacerbated by even more calls for cut backs and austerity by Conservative elites like Jim DeMint.

Governor Haley's solution to South Carolina's jobless crisis: drug testing for the unemployed

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Demint turns his back on jobs in South Carolina to lead anti-earmark movement

Jim DeMint's ambition to lead a National movement to further impoverish the middle class has him turning his back once again on his own struggling State of South Carolina. His demagogic anti-earmark campaign which everyone acknowledges will make only a microscopic dent in government spending threatens the development of the Charleston Ports: one of the only job producing bright spots in the State that ranks 4th in unemployment. According to the South Carolina State Ports Authority, container volume increased 17.5% for the year 2010.

DeMint wins earmark freeze
Elimination of funds could hurt Charleston port improvement

By JAMES ROSEN and DAVID LIGHTMAN - McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint won one of the biggest legislative victories of his career Monday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to the South Carolina Republican’s demand for a freeze on spending earmarks.

But DeMint’s stance could hurt the State Ports Authority’s ability to fund a study on improving the Charleston port.

McConnell made his concession a day before DeMint, overwhelmingly elected to his second term two weeks ago, had vowed to force incoming Senate Republicans to hold an internal vote on the earmark moratorium.

The two senators have clashed repeatedly over spending bills and other GOP priorities, but DeMint commended the Kentuckian’s move Monday.

“Senator McConnell’s support for the earmark moratorium demonstrates the kind of bold leadership our party needs,” DeMint said. “His statement today and tomorrow’s vote to enact the moratorium will send a clear signal to voters that Republicans heard the message of the last election.”

An earmark ban could imperil funding for dozens of key projects in South Carolina, among them the U.S. Corps of Engineers funding of a study on deepening the Charleston port.

State and local port officials say South Carolina stands to lose millions of dollars to other East Coast states with harbors deep enough to accommodate a new generation of larger cargo ships.

Halimah Abdullah contributed to this account

Read more:

Help keep the US from going the way of Jim DeMint's South Carolina, please SHARE this blog with your friends. Post it on your Facebook page, email it, TWEET it and come back for more information, videos and articles. And if you have anything to add or comments you wish to make, let me know at

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Despite "pro-biz" climate, DeMint's South Carolina remains poor because it lacks education.

According to the US Census Bureau, Jim DeMint's South Carolina ranks 41st out of the 50 states in household income.

Is it possible that some of the explanation for low wages in the State are accounted for by poor education? It sure looks that way. In this fiscal year, South Carolina will spend only $11,372 per student. By comparison Vermont, a small rural state spends $15,475 per student. The payoff in household income is clear: Vermont ranks 21st in the Nation.

The impact of poor funding for education also explains why only 61% of South Carolina freshman graduate from high school, compared to the national average of 73% and the regional average of 72% according to the Southern Regional Education Board. It also explains why South Carolina ranks 48th in the nation for SAT scores.

Without an educated work force, South Carolina loses any hope of attracting competitive businesses. Despite its right-to-work laws and its low corporate income tax, key ingredients, DeMint and the conservatives insist are needed to support a pro-business environment, the State remains one of the poorest in the Nation.

Perhaps Jim Demint should be fighting for funding levels for education that are more in line with more successful states. However his Senate website says: "Instead of funneling more money to states through federally run education programs, DeMint believes that it is time to empower students and parents with more flexibility in how they use education dollars.

Click here for a touching photo essay on how education makes a difference for poor kids in South Carolina.

South Carolina is not alone in proving the connection between poor education and poverty. Senator Mitch McConnell's Kentucky suffers from the same affliction. See for yourself:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jim DeMint's low tax-high debt solution: no help for South Carolina's unemployed and poor population

Jim DeMint and other conservatives like to claim low taxes are the answer to unemployment and poverty. DeMints South Carolina claims both high poverty levels and some of the highest unemployment in the nation even though its corporate tax rates rank among the lowest at 5%

And just as George W. Bush jacked up the US debt, South Carolina's low taxes are paid for with high debt and a less than AAA credit rating. The States per capita debt is $8,013, 16th highest in the Nation.

It's also clear that South Carolina's anti-union environment does not help to relieve the State of its wide spread unemployment, poverty and violent crime.

Republican fiscal irresponsibility is not confined to South Carolina. Senator Mitch McConnell's home state of Kentucky suffers from an even worse credit rating. See for yourself:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jim DeMint's South Carolina 46th in health rankings

With 16.1% of South Carolina's population lacking any kind of health insurance,  (37th in the US) it makes you wonder why Jim DeMint would oppose the recent health care reform legislation, that his constituents desperately need. In fact it is shocking that South Carolinians are some of the least healthy people in the US with low life expectancy, high infant mortality and unusually high incidences of obesity and some sexually transmitted diseases. According to a number of health rankings South Carolina lands nearly at the bottom of all 50 states.

Many South Carolinians are going without health insurance
With 16.1% of the population lacking any kind of health insurance, South Carolina ranks 37th out of the 50 states for number of people insured. 

South Carolina Health Rankings

No 1 for violent crime

No 42 for life expectancy

No. 6 for infant mortality

No. 3 for chlamydia and gonorrhea

No 9 for obesity

Here's where South Carolina ranks for health among the 50 states:

Help keep the US from going the way of Jim DeMint's South Carolina, please SHARE this blog with your friends. Post it on your Facebook page, email it, TWEET it and come back for more information, videos and articles. And if you have anything to add or comments you wish to make, let me know at

Of course it can always be worse. Just take a look at Mitch McConnell's Kentucky.

South Carolina education ranked last in US by conservative group

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council has given Jim DeMint's South Carolina the lowest report card ranking in the US for education. See for yourself:

On his Senate website DeMint acknowledges: "In South Carolina, the drop out rates are dismal. More than 25 percent of our students do not make it to graduation"

And yet in an interview with David Brody on CBN he calls for the next President to dismantle the US Department of Education:

"The next President is going to have to tell Americans the hard truth that the federal government has got to do less rather than more. That President has got to figure out how to dismantle the Department of Education and move the power back to the states..."

Why? So the rest of the states can follow South Carolina's failed example in education?

Help keep the US from going the way of Jim DeMint's South Carolina, please SHARE this blog with your friends. Post it on your Facebook page, email it, TWEET it and come back for more information, videos and articles. And if you have anything to add or comments you wish to make, let me know at 

DeMint's South Carolina ranks high for poverty according to official statistics

With 15% of its population below the poverty level, Jim DeMint's South Carolina ranks 12th poorest out of the 50 US States. The federal poverty level for a family of four in the lower 48 US States is $22,050 for a family of 4.

See the US Census bureau table:

In 2009 this meant that 24% of children in South Carolina were living in poverty according to:

Read about Allendale County, SC, the 10th poorest county in the United States.

Help keep the US from going the way of Jim DeMint's South Carolina, please SHARE this blog with your friends. Post it on your Facebook page, email it, TWEET it and come back for more information, videos and articles. And if you have anything to add or comments you wish to make, let me know at

Jim DeMint's political postions from Wikipedia

Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina is a leading conservative and tea party leader whose own state suffers some of the worst social conditions in the US. Long a stronghold of conservative politics, South Carolina has been victimized by poverty, poor health and education and increasing violent crime.  Below is Wikipedia's summary of his political positions although there's lots more to read about on the rest of the blog so first some highlights:

Blog Highlights: Is South Carolina Jim DeMint's vision for the rest of America

Violent Crime in Jim Demint's South Carolina:

Poverty and unemployment in Jim Demint's South Carolina:

Jim Demint and conservative group admit to South Carolina's failure in education:

Poor health and low health insurance rates for Jim Demint's South Carolina:

Jim Demint making his name on earmarks turns his back on Port of Charleston, SC:

Wikipedia on Jim Demint

DeMint is ranked by The National Journal as one of the most conservative members of the Senate.[4]
DeMint opposes spending increases of the federal government. He opposed federal bailouts for banks and other corporations.[5][6]
Senator DeMint has been a consistent supporter of school prayer and has introduced legislation that would allow schools to display banners such as one stating "God Bless America".[7]
DeMint opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. He approves of abortion only when the mother's life is in danger.[7][8]
DeMint favors requiring all illegal immigrants in the United States to return to their home countries and apply for legal residency.[citation needed] He is in favor of establishing English as the country's official language.[7]

Jim DeMint speaking at rally for United States Senate candidate Rand Paul in October 2010
DeMint visited Honduras in 2009 and met with de facto president Roberto Micheletti, a meeting that was opposed by US President Barack Obama's administration. The United States officially viewed ousted president Manuel Zelaya as the legitimately elected president.[9]
Following an attempted terrorist attack on December 25, 2009, DeMint criticized President Barack Obama for lacking focus on terrorism since taking office and for failing to appoint a head of the Transportation Security Administration.[10]
DeMint is a member of the C Street Family, a Christian prayer group which includes mainly Republican members of Congress, but some Democrats, too.[11]