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Politics

U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume: ‘We’re not prepared to roll over and play dead’ if Republicans assume U.S. House majority

With Republicans hoping to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Kweisi Mfume said Thursday that “we’re not prepared to roll over and play dead” if Democrats lose their majority.

Mfume, a Baltimore Democrat who was handily reelected in Tuesday’s midterm election, hosted a forum of area faith leaders at Cylburn Arboretum, near the Coldspring neighborhood.

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Among the first questions posed to Mfume was about the impact on Baltimore communities and congregations if the GOP gains a majority in the House.

With votes still being counted, the GOP had an easier path than Democrats toward gaining the necessary 218 seats that would give them control of the House agenda and its committees. Senate control remained too close to call.

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“If those houses change and the ideologies change, can you give us some idea of what to anticipate?” asked Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, pastor of the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore.

“It’s a tough but necessary question,” Mfume replied. “If it’s just the House that becomes Republican, then there is still a firewall called the Senate. If the House and the Senate are lost, it means that the president will have to in many instances use the power of his veto pen.”

U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Maryland, greets Dr. Alvin Gwynn Sr. (center) and Dr. Harold Carter during a program called "Reflection and Reaction to Election with Local Faith Leaders," led by the congressman at Cylburn Arboretum Thursday.

Mfume, a member of the Oversight and Reform Committee that handles congressional investigations, has served two stints in the House dating back to 1986. He has served both in the majority and minority parties.

“Our role is to be a loyal opposition,” he said. “We need to fight back hard for those of us who find ourselves in the minority. We’re not prepared to roll over and play dead.”

Maryland had seven Democrats and one Republican — Andy Harris in the 1st District — in its congressional delegation entering the election.

Harris and six of the Democrats won their races. The election for the 6th District seat between Democratic Rep. David Trone and Republican Neil Parrott remained too close to call Thursday.

Commissioned pastor Cleoda Walker gazes at a map of political boundaries behind Aisha Khan while U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Maryland, leads a discussion on politics and policy with faith leaders Thursday at Cylburn Arboretum.

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