|Introduced in||114th United States Congress|
|Description||Allows tax dollars to help low|
income families and help
them rise out of poverty.
|•Rejected by the House: October 2016|
The Families First Bill (also known as the Mommy Meyer Bill and the Meyer Bill) was a bill that would have used tax dollars to help low income families and help them rise out of poverty.
The bill failed to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress. An investigation was launched in October 2016 as to whether or not Meyer used lobbyists to deliberately get the bill to fail, as it's unpopularity could have been a liability in the 2016 presidential election.
Background[edit | edit source]
President Selina Meyer, within weeks of the resignation of Stuart Hughes, was planning a Families First Bill, but could only accomplish it with money saved from Hughes' plans. At Meyer's joint session address, Meyer mistakenly allowed Hughes' plans to continue.
Legislative history[edit | edit source]
In contrast to many pieces of policy Meyer showed indifference to, Meyer genuinely believed in the Families First Bill and believed it would make a positive impact in people's lives. However, the legislation was toxic in the eye of the public, with Tom James saying that people want to pay for their own families, not others. Meyer's opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Bill O'Brien, said "If Families First is passed, the whole concept of family will come to an end."
In October 2016, the bill was put to a vote in the House of Representatives. The Meyer team, realizing how toxic the bill is, deliberately tried to botch the vote so they could win the election. Gary Walsh, Meyer's personal aide, hired lobbyists and former Meyer staffers Amy Brookheimer and Dan Egan to convince congresspeople to vote against the bill. Concurrently, White House Chief of Staff Ben Cafferty had been using Jonah Ryan and Richard Splett to lobby congresspeople in favor of the bill, knowing their incompetence will result in a 'no' vote. However, Congressman Moyes discovered that Brookheimer and Egan presented the same data that Ryan and Splett did, believing that Meyer wants her own bill to fail. Meyer brought in Congressman Owen Pierce and offered him an ambassadorship in exchange for him voting no. The bill failed in the house that night.
Congressional hearings[edit | edit source]
After the Families First bill failed to pass the house, Representative Moyes announced he wanted hearings into the events leading up to the Families First vote. Meyer herself publicly declared that there wasn't an ounce of truth that she used lobbyists to get the bill to fail. Cafferty insisted that the Meyer administration worked hard to get the bill passed. Sue Wilson was questioned as to why there was no record of Pierce's meeting with Meyer.
During the hearings, Leigh Patterson, who had been scapegoated in March in relation to the Medileaks scandal, revealed damaging information: that the campaign used child mortality data for an "I Care" campaign mailer from the data breach that named Jennifer Graham as an HIV victim.
Members of the Meyer staff one-by-one named Communications Director Bill Ericsson as the one responsible for both the data breach and the use of lobbyists for the Families First Bill. Ericsson was arrested on November 10, 2016 and harbored resentment towards Meyer for throwing him under the bus and not considering a pardon.