VT: Peter Welch (D)
Patrick Leahy (D)[i]
US House of Representatives (Representative, VT-At-large); Vermont State Senate (State Senator, Windsor District / Minority Leader / President Pro Tempore); Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (Fellow); Welch Graham & Manby (Partner)[ii] [iii]
Diploma, Cathedral High School; AB, College of the Holy Cross; JD, University of California, Berkeley School of Law[iv]
Affordable Education; Affordable Housing; Agriculture; Climate & the Environment; Disability Rights; Gun Safety; Health Care; LGBTQ+ Rights; Opioid Crisis; Pandemic Recovery; Racial Justice; Rebuilding the Middle Class; Reproductive Rights; Unions & Frontline Workers; Veterans; Voting Rights[v]
ON THE ISSUES
Welch argues reproductive rights are “under attack across this country,” further asserting that “we can’t count on the most conservative Supreme Court in modern history to do the right thing and protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.” He supports fully funding Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning Services. In the US House, Welch cosponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade into law, as well as the Equal Access to Contraception Act.[vi]
ECONOMY, JOBS & TAXES:
In the US House, Welch cosponsored legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, cosponsored the PRO Act, supported the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap, and supported providing up to 12 weeks of paid leave. To fight rising inflation, Welch support the COMPETES Act, which aims to bolster the supply chain while investing in American manufacturing and tech. He supported Build Back Better in the House.[vii] He strongly opposed Trump’s tax bill.[viii] [ix]
HEALTHCARE & SOCIAL SAFETY NET:
Welch supports universal healthcare and cosponsored the Medicare for All Act of 2021. He cosponsored the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, and introduced legislation to expand the use and availability of telemedicine. Welch has also cosponsored legislation to address social inequalities in healthcare, including bills that would address the Black maternal mortality and morbidity crisis and provide funding to HHS to respond to COVID-19 in medically underserved communities.[x]
IMMIGRATION & BORDER SECURITY:
In the US House, Welch strongly criticized Trump’s immigration policies, including the Muslim ban, child separation practices, and attempts to repeal DACA.[xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv] [xv] In September 2020, he called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate reports of medical neglect and “mass hysterectomies” of ICE detainees.[xvi] More recently, Welch has criticized actions taken by Ron DeSantis to send immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, and called for a “more humane immigration system” following the deaths of 53 undocumented immigrants in a tractor-trailer in Texas.[xvii] [xviii] [xix]
CRIME & PUBLIC SAFETY:
In the US House, Welch cosponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would establish criminal justice reforms at federal, state and local levels. He also cosponsored the First Step Act, which seeks to reduce recidivism rates of formerly incarcerated individuals. He supports the federal decriminalization of marijuana.[xx]
GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS & ELECTION SECURITY:
Because Welch was in the Capitol on January 6, he asserts that “living through that experience and its aftermath has fueled a deeper sense of urgency to protect our democracy.” In the US House of Representatives, Welch cosponsored the For the People Act, which aims to expand voting rights “by protecting against partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts and expanding voter registration options like vote-by-mail and early voting.” He also cosponsored the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, further aiming to restore voting protections.
Welch has called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower and has advocated for student loan forgiveness for graduates employed in public service jobs. He cosponsored the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act to double the Pell Grant award and tie grants to inflation increases. Welch also cosponsored the College for All Act to waive tuition and fees for all community college students.[xxi]
CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT:
Welch has cosponsored the Green New Deal “because he knows that we can confront climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs through energy efficiency and clean energy projects.” He has sponsored legislation calling for 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and supports eliminating fossil fuel and corn ethanol subsidies.[xxii]
BIG TECH & DATA PRIVACY:
Welch argues that “unregulated Big Tech represents a threat to our democracy and to the safety and wellbeing of our kids,” and has introduced legislation to create a new federal agency responsible for regulating the tech industry.[xxiii] [xxiv] Welch called proposals for Elon Musk to purchase Twitter as “anti-democratic” and accused Facebook of perpetuating “disinformation loops” and amplifying extremism.[xxv] [xxvi] In 2018, he signed a letter urging the FTC to hold Facebook accountable following reports that millions of users’ personal information was improperly used by consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.[xxvii]
Welch argues there are gun safety reforms that can be enacted “without undermining Second Amendment rights.” He supports and has cosponsored legislation to pass universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and enact red flag laws. He supports removing the prohibition of gun violence research by the CDC, banning bump stocks, and limiting the size of ammunition clips.[xxviii]
In 2018, Welch criticized Trump’s approach to address the US trade imbalance with China, asserting, “I think China is ripping us off with unfair trade practices, and we should respond to that, but we shouldn’t take a shotgun approach where we tip out allies rather than just our adversary.”[xxix] He supports providing “humanitarian and military aid” to Ukraine, and imposing “swift and long-lasting sanctions against Russia for Putin’s unprovoked invasion” of the country.[xxx]
[i] “Welch easily moves on in contest to replace Leahy,” WCAX, August 9, 2022, available at https://www.wcax.com/2022/08/10/welch-easily-moves-contest-replace-leahy/.
[ii] “Rep. Peter Welch,” LegiStorm, accessed October 26, 2022, available at https://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/51230/Peter_Francis_Welch.html.
[iii] “Peter Welch ‘73 Elected to Congress from Vermont,” Berkeley Law Press Release, November 9, 2006, available at https://www.law.berkeley.edu/article/peter-welch-73-elected-to-congress-from-vermont/.
[iv] “Rep. Peter Welch,” LegiStorm, accessed October 26, 2022, available at https://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/51230/Peter_Francis_Welch.html.
[viii] “Welch Slams Trump-Ryan Tax Proposal During House Debate,” Office of US Representative Peter Welch Press Release, November 15, 2017, available at https://welch.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/welch-slams-trump-ryan-tax-proposal-during-house-debate.
[ix] “On House Floor, Welch Rails Against GOP Tax Bill,” Office of US Representative Peter Welch Press Release, December 19, 2017, available at https://welch.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/house-floor-welch-rails-against-gop-tax-bill.
[xi] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, July 22, 2020, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1286010892732313600.
[xii] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, June 18, 2020, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1273698037286809601.
[xiii] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, October 29, 2020, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1321821131121266688.
[xiv] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, June 15, 2022, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1537117992332541953.
[xv] “‘Shameful,’ Welch says of conditions for immigrant children separated from parents at border,” Burlington Free Press, June 17, 2018, available at https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2018/06/17/immigration-welch-calls-separation-kids-parents-shameful/709111002/.
[xvi] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, September 16, 2020, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1306280350516117506.
[xvii] Peter Welch Twitter, September 16, 2022, available at https://twitter.com/WelchForVT/status/1570833661251178498.
[xviii] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, June 29, 2022, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1542208796801568768.
[xix] Ray Sanchez, Nicole Chavez & Priscilla Alvarez, “On a Texas road called ‘the mouth of the wolf,’ a semitruck packed with migrants was abandoned in the sweltering heat,” CNN, June 29, 2022, available at https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/29/us/san-antonio-migrant-truck-deaths/index.html.
[xxiii] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, December 1, 2021, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1466206806716387338.
[xxiv] “Welch Introduces Bill to Provide Oversight of Big Tech,” Office of US Representative Peter Welch Press Release, May 19, 2022, available at https://welch.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/welch-introduces-bill-provide-oversight-big-tech.
[xxv] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, April 27, 2022, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/1519378676764528641.
[xxvi] Peter Welch Twitter, October 27, 2022, available at https://twitter.com/WelchForVT/status/1453434083720278020.
[xxvii] Rep. Peter Welch Twitter, April 5, 2018, available at https://twitter.com/PeterWelch/status/981936732416471040.
[xxix] John Flowers, “Welch Touts $3.3 Billion to Battle Opioid Addiction, Decries Stalemate over Gun Safety,” Addison County Independent (via Office of US Representative Peter Welch), April 3, 2018, available at https://welch.house.gov/media-center/in-the-news/addison-county-independent-welch-touts-33-billion-battle-opioid-addiction.
[xxx] Peter Welch Twitter, March 1, 2022, available at https://twitter.com/WelchForVT/status/1498844872903692290.