Archive of Articles in the "Congress" Category

Menendez Needs To Go

[ Posted Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 – 15:35 UTC ]

This has been a notable week for Labor. President Joe Biden today visited an autoworkers' Union picket line in Detroit, in what is being described as "the first time ever" for a sitting president (nobody seems to have any definitive word on whether Biden truly is the first or not, but then again nobody has yet come up with another example from American history either). The week started out with the news that the Hollywood writers appear to have come to a deal with the studios to end their strike. And I have to say that while I applauded seeing Biden visit a Union picket line, I really cheered the news from Hollywood, as I have been seriously missing late-night television comics in my life. I look at politics all day, every day, and it is almost necessary (for my sanity) for me to decompress with some good political humor at the end of the day (or, for Saturday Night Live, at the end of the week). But that hasn't been an option for months now. The good news is that late-night will be the first part of the industry to recover, so we could start seeing new shows within days of the agreement being finalized.

What will the comics talk about? Well, they've certainly got plenty of material to work with. A lot of Trump's legal developments happened after the strike began, just for starters. Just within the world of politics, there have been plenty of juicy stories just ripe for ridicule over the summer. But at some point they'll also pick up on the most current events; the most current easy low-hanging targets for political ridicule. Which, in a very roundabout way, leads me to the subject of this article: Senator Robert Menendez needs to resign his seat -- and for his own sake, he should do it before Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers and all the rest of them get back to work. He might spare himself a boatload of ridicule by doing so. Admittedly, that's a rather strange angle to see it all from, but it's what popped into my mind when the scandal broke almost simultaneously with the writers striking a deal.

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[From The Archives:] Friday Talking Points [363] -- New Job Vacancy: Chief GOP Cat-Herder

[ Posted Friday, September 22nd, 2023 – 14:47 UTC ]

Program Note: As I mentioned last week, I am playing hooky today. So I went looking for a column to re-run and came across this one, from almost exactly eight years ago. It's stunning in the sense of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, since it wouldn't take much more than changing a few names to be almost perfectly relevant today. It was written the week that John Boehner announced he was stepping down from being speaker and retiring from politics. At the time (as you'll see), Kevin McCarthy's name was being bandied about as a replacement, but ultimately Paul Ryan was chosen as a sort of sacrificial lamb instead.

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Will Democrats Save McCarthy?

[ Posted Thursday, September 21st, 2023 – 15:50 UTC ]

I should begin by clarifying terms. Perhaps the headline should read: " McCarthy's speakership," because I am not talking about whether Democrats will either step in to avert a government shutdown or eventually offer House Speaker Kevin McCarthy a path to ending such a shutdown, because at this point one of those is almost inevitable. There will eventually be a short-term deal, it will pass the House, and it will pass with mostly Democratic votes. The Senate will then pass it as well and President Joe Biden will sign it. I'm not talking about saving McCarthy from the shutdown nonsense (which may happen or not), instead I'm talking about what might happen afterwards... or even "during."

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Poor Kevin

[ Posted Wednesday, September 20th, 2023 – 15:55 UTC ]

It wasn't supposed to be like this. We were told that, a while back, when Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives. Things were going to be different! Republicans were going to show us all how Congress is supposed to work. The 12 appropriations bills that make up the federal budget were going to go through "regular order" and be voted on one by one instead of all being swept into a giant "omnibus" bill or just largely ignored by the use of a "continuing resolution" (C.R.). That was all going to be a thing of the past, as Congress returned to regular order and appropriated funding the correct and proper way. Washington would bask in the sunshine of regular order and the citizenry would reward the staunch Republicans who had shown Congress the way out of the darkness. That was the way it was supposed to be!

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Friday Talking Points -- Impeach Hunter Biden!

[ Posted Friday, September 15th, 2023 – 17:51 UTC ]

No, wait... that can't be right...?

Sorry for opening with some snark, but we felt that was the appropriate tone for addressing this week's legal developments. Republicans have been swearing up and down for years now that President Joe Biden's son Hunter somehow bribed his father to use his position as vice president to do... well, something nefarious... and that all they really needed to do was dig into it all and the evidence would then appear.

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Budget Trainwreck Approaching Fast

[ Posted Thursday, September 14th, 2023 – 15:59 UTC ]

Once again, it appears Congress is not going to do its constitutional job on time. October will dawn without a federal budget in place for the next fiscal year, unless (by some miracle) everything gets done in the next two weeks. This miracle is not likely to happen -- it's on the order of wishing for both Donald Trump and Joe Biden to announce tomorrow that they're not running for president next year. It's just not going to happen, in other words.

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Mitt Rides Off Into The Sunset

[ Posted Wednesday, September 13th, 2023 – 15:40 UTC ]

Mitt Romney is hanging up his spurs, it seems. Well, that is perhaps not the best metaphor to use since even though he represents a Mountain West state with plenty of horses to ride, it's hard to picture him atop one of them while wearing spurs. OK, sure, riding one, maybe... but perhaps politely riding dressage, since the only famous link between equestrian sports and Romney was the "dancing horse" his wife entered in the 2012 Olympics. But we're galloping a bit too far down the wrong trail, here, pardner.

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McCarthy Moves To Impeach (To Save His Own Skin)

[ Posted Tuesday, September 12th, 2023 – 15:15 UTC ]

When I was born, there had only been one U.S. president impeached in all of American history. When I was a child, impeachment proceedings were launched against a second, but he resigned before the House of Representatives could impeach him. But since that time, a president has been impeached three times: Bill Clinton for lying about having sex with a White House intern; and Donald Trump both for trying to strongarm the leader of another country in order to create some dirt on his political opponent, and then for instigating an insurrection attempt rather than facing the reality that he lost his re-election effort. Now we stand at the brink of a possible fourth presidential impeachment in my lifetime.

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Friday Talking Points -- Hit 'Em With The Truth!

[ Posted Friday, September 8th, 2023 – 17:59 UTC ]

We hate to do this (as we suspect we'll be doing it recurringly for the next year or so), but once again the biggest political news of the week came from the legal system. Almost all the news was from the Republican side of the aisle, because of course it was. (And we promise that our subhead this week will be explained in due time, too... but not until the very end of the column.)

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Two Notable GOP Trials

[ Posted Thursday, September 7th, 2023 – 16:06 UTC ]

Two Republicans went on trial this week. One of these trials just concluded while the other will stretch on for a while. The two aren't connected in any way, it was just a coincidence of the legal calendar that they both got underway this week. But both are important milestones, in different ways, so it bears taking a look at what is going on.

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