Before heading into the U.S. House of Representatives’ long summer recess, Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter spent a busy June reflecting on issues that he and the Republican Party consider issues vital to the nation. 

Among them: voting in favor of a measure to bar the Department of Energy’s alleged attempts to ban gas stoves and another to censure California Democrat Adam Schiff, former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, for allegedly misleading the American public during congressional investigations into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia.

Included in the summer legislative push was another issue: maternal mortality rates.

Earlier this month, Carter announced his co-sponsorship of the “Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act of 2023,” along with fellow Republican legislators. At the time, his office touted the Pooler congressman as a trailblazer in addressing the problem.

“Improving health outcomes for all patients, especially mothers, has been my mission since day one in Congress. The nation’s maternal mortality crisis, which severely impacts Georgians, is alarming and preventable,” the news release quotes Carter as saying.

Ten days later, Carter followed up with a tweet: “Maternal mortality is preventable. I’m leading the charge in Congress to improve our nation’s health outcomes.”

Statistically speaking, there’s little doubt that Georgia — and in particular, Chatham County — face a crisis in maternal health care. The crisis is longstanding: In 2021, the Peach State was ranked as having the worst maternal mortality rate in the country, especially for Black women.

Claims don’t square with record

And while Carter’s efforts are laudable, a behind-the-scenes look at his legislative effort raises questions about his assertion that he’s considered the issue “my-mission-since-day-one.”

In 2018, during President Donald Trump’s tenure, Carter didn’t join 141 Democrats and 51 Republicans — including four Georgia representatives — in sponsoring the “Preventing Maternal Deaths Act.” 

In 2021, Carter didn’t enlist with 188 Democratic House members — including six Georgia representatives — in sponsoring the “Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act,” which called for “multi-agency efforts to improve maternal health, particularly among racial and ethnic minority groups, veterans, and other vulnerable populations” was introduced on the floor of the House.

In April, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), introduced a resolution “recognizing the designation of the week of April 11 through April 17, 2023, as the sixth annual ‘Black Maternal Health Week’ to bring national attention to the maternal health crisis in the United States and the importance of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women.”

The resolution had 76 co-sponsors, all Democrats. Carter didn’t come aboard.

Carter also hasn’t matched efforts undertaken by Savannah’s hometown senator, Rev. Raphael Warnock, on the topic. 

In 2021, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock introduced the “Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act” in the Senate. The same year, Warnock and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the “Improving Coordination for Healthy Moms Act” to “strengthen the federal government’s efforts to improve maternal health outcomes across the nation.”

There’s no record, however, of Carter introducing accompanying legislation in the House for either measure.

Meanwhile, House Bill 3838, the draft legislation that Carter has championed, has no publicly available text of how the Georgian aims to tackle the public health crisis, or pay for it. Check here for updates.

‘Unelected bureaucrats’

Alongside his noteworthy push on maternal health care, Carter spent June following his customary path of favoring measures that both Republican leadership and the Freedom Caucus have championed.

Carter also sought to burnish his credentials among Coastal Georgians on an issue that cuts across party lines: the environment. He introduced a “sense of the House” resolution supporting the listing of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where certain businesses and industries clash with environmental goals, however, he sided with the former, introducing a bill that would block the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from issuing a rule that would require vessels 65 feet and over to travel at 10 knots or less along the U.S. east coast at certain times of the year to reduce the threat of vessel collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The NOAA rule would be, as it were, bureaucratic overkill, Carter told Fox News, which quoted the congressman as saying “port traffic would grind to halt” if the rule were implemented.

Besides, Carter said, “even if you use NOAA’s calculations, the chances of a whale strike are less than one-in-a-million.”

“We care about the right whales, but we can’t destroy our economy because of some rules and regulations that have been implemented by unelected bureaucrats.”

Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...