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Archive of Articles in the "Congress" Category

Justice Delayed

[ Posted Thursday, February 29th, 2024 – 16:44 UTC ]

Will Donald Trump ever face justice for the events surrounding the January 6th attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol? Or will justice be delayed so long that justice will eventually be denied? These are now open questions, after the Supreme Court has injected more months of delay into the process.

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Republican Kabuki Returns

[ Posted Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 – 16:50 UTC ]

When he was elected to his leadership role, my initial reaction to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson's ascension was that the odds of him still being speaker beyond Valentine's Day were only about 50-50. Here we are at the end of February, and he's still speaker... but those odds might catch up to him soon. Congress has been punting the budget bill repeatedly since the start of last October, and they're lining up in punt formation once again. This time, however, it will be a very short punt and might actually end up with a budget (or at least part of one) being passed and signed into law by President Joe Biden as early as next week. Hey, stranger things have happened, right?

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It's Not Just About Abortion

[ Posted Monday, February 26th, 2024 – 15:45 UTC ]

Democrats are beginning to widen their political message in a way that could prove to be a big winner for them not just in November but for years to come. So far, the fallout from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade has been overwhelmingly positive for Democrats, since the majority of Americans actually favor abortion rights for all women. And now Democrats have the clear opportunity to link a number of other things to the proven political winner abortion rights has turned out to be. In fact, they should adopt a new slogan: "It's not just about abortion."

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Friday Talking Points -- A Slow Sort Of Week

[ Posted Friday, February 23rd, 2024 – 18:08 UTC ]

Because this week had a federal holiday at the start of it, Congress is off on vacation for two entire weeks. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

It's not as if they don't have anything to do, either. When they return, the Senate will hold the first impeachment trial for a sitting cabinet member ever (although "trial" may be overstating it, since it may be over before it even begins, with a simple vote to dismiss the nonsensical articles of impeachment the House finally was able to pass), the House will be under pressure to pass some sort of military aid for Ukraine before their soldiers are reduced to fighting with pointy sticks, and Congress will be staring at yet another government-shutdown deadline at the end of the week. Those are just the big things on the congressional plate, mind you. But after all their hard work (at not getting anything done on time), they all needed two weeks of relaxation, obviously.

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Biden Impeachment Investigation About To End Not With A Bang But A Whimper

[ Posted Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 – 16:43 UTC ]

T. S. Eliot wrote a poem that seems entirely appropriate to quote from today, since it aptly sums up the Republican effort in the House of Representatives to find something -- anything! -- to use to impeach President Joe Biden. After more than a year of digging, they have found less than nothing. Their one crown jewel of an accusation was brought by a man who is now being charged with lying about the entire thing to the F.B.I. Which is why the final lines of "The Hollow Men" seemed appropriate to quote (emphasis in original):

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper.

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Biden Should Address The Nation

[ Posted Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 – 16:52 UTC ]

It is a rare event, but every so often I have to fully agree with a Republican. I was going to write this today anyway, begging for the same thing (for broader reasons), so this definitely caught my eye. Here is Representative Chris Smith from New Jersey, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (which just introduced a foreign aid and border security deal as an alternative to the Senate-passed "foreign-aid-only" bill), advising President Biden to publicly go on offense over Ukraine military aid right now:

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Friday Talking Points -- Grinding Exceedingly Fine

[ Posted Friday, February 16th, 2024 – 18:04 UTC ]

That headline comes from the end of an aphorism that goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks: "The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine." Today, the wheels of justice just ground out a penalty of $355 million for Donald Trump, for committing serial fraud in his New York businesses -- which we certainly found to be an "exceedingly fine" result of the case (an "exceedingly fine fine," maybe?). The $355 million can now be added to the $88 million Trump is already on the hook for, after losing two other civil cases (the defamation cases brought by E. Jean Carroll). Plus, in today's ruling, two of Trump's children were fined $4 million each, as well as a $1 million fine for another member of the Trump Organization (making it a $364 million penalty, in all). This was the capstone to a week watching the slow grind of multiple court cases Trump is currently ensnared in, so we thought it was an appropriate place to start our column this week.

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Republicans' Refusal To Do Anything About The Border Costs Them A House Seat

[ Posted Wednesday, February 14th, 2024 – 16:59 UTC ]

The House seat once held by George Santos is back in Democratic hands once again, after an impressive 8-point victory in a special election last night. Once Tom Suozzi is sworn in, this will leave Republicans with a smaller majority, meaning Speaker Mike Johnson will only be able to lose two votes from his own party when passing purely partisan bills. This may not have that big an effect, since Johnson already struggles to pass partisan bills with the majority he's currently got (a bill on spying powers had to be pulled today, for instance, since Republicans can't agree among themselves over what to put in it). If Johnson had been wildly successful up to this point and his new smaller margin put that at risk then that'd be one thing, but the reality is the only bills he's been able to move with any chance of becoming law are ones with wide bipartisan support. Not much about that dynamic is actually going to change, even with one more Democrat in the chamber.

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Counting Noses In The House

[ Posted Tuesday, February 13th, 2024 – 16:28 UTC ]

As I write this, there may or may not be a second impeachment vote happening later today in the House of Representatives. Republicans tried to impeach the secretary of the Department of Homeland Defense last week and suffered a rather embarrassing loss, so one would assume that this time around the speaker will do a better job of counting noses before the vote takes place -- and also that this time the vote won't happen if Republicans don't have enough. As we saw last week, the difference of one vote can indeed be critical in such a closely-divided House.

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Friday Talking Points -- A Disservice To Actual Working Clowns

[ Posted Friday, February 9th, 2024 – 19:29 UTC ]

This was a very bad week for Republicans in Congress, pretty much all around. The Speaker of the House proved incapable of counting votes and thus saw two big defeats on the floor, and over in the Senate the Republicans cut off their noses (elephant trunks?) to spite their faces in a spectacular turnaround from their own basic bargaining position. GOP incompetence was on display on both sides of the Capitol, to put it bluntly.

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