Tag Archives: Chuck Schumer

Stop the high-fiving and get to work . . . right now!

The nation’s two leading Democratic politicians — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer — have been high-fiving each other and doing their touchdown dance ever since Donald Trump surrendered on his fight to build The Wall.

The partial government shutdown has been lifted. The 800,000 affected federal employees are going back to work and/or getting paid for their public service.

Fine. I’m happy with the result. The three-week budget deal doesn’t include money for The Wall. It now gives lawmakers and the president time to negotiate a long-term budget agreement that includes comprehensive border security, which the president says he wants.

However, I am struck by the declaration of victory that Pelosi and Schumer have proclaimed since the president’s capitulation.

They haven’t won a damn thing! They got a reprieve on behalf of the federal employees who were furloughed or forced to work without getting paid.

The border security fight still must be waged. Trump said he is willing to negotiate. I am going to presume that Pelosi and Schumer are willing, too, to search for a compromise.

I shouldn’t have to do this, but I’ll remind them anyway: Three weeks is going to evaporate quickly. We’re going to find ourselves in this mess in the proverbial blink of the eye.

Trump says he might declare a “national emergency,” even though it is highly debatable whether one actually exists along our southern border. Such a declaration would empower the president to deploy military personnel to build The Wall; he also would be empowered — he says — to divert funds from Pentagon operations to pay for the work. I do not want Donald Trump to make any such declaration, as it will prompt immediate legal action against the president.

It gets down to this final notion, which is that the very idea that the federal government cannot function fully and efficiently for longer than just weeks at a time is utterly beyond ridiculous.

My advice to “Nancy” and “Chuck” and “The Donald”?

Get busy. Right now!

Trump ignores shutdown; Democrats demand it end

My quick takeaway from Donald J. Trump’s brief speech tonight is this: The president didn’t mention the government shutdown that has been the result of this fight over whether to finance construction of The Wall.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic leader were all too willing and able to mention the shutdown in their rebuttal to the president’s speech.

I believe I heard a totally reasonable request from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: Mr. President, sign the GOP-sponsored funding bill approved by Congress and then call off the shutdown and let us negotiate a valid approach to shoring up our border security.

Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi don’t want the wall. Neither do their fellow congressional Democrats; nor do an increasing number of Republicans. Indeed, the ranks of GOP lawmakers who want to end the shutdown also is growing.

We didn’t hear a word from Trump about the shutdown.

Instead, he told us yet again about the horror stories involving crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Trump is conflating those tragedies with the 12 million people who have entered this country illegally. The president is stoking fear.

Where I come from, they call that “demagoguery.”

Mitch McConnell is MIA

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s absence at Donald Trump’s Rose Garden press conference was so very conspicuous it has become a serious back story in the government shutdown drama that goes on and on and on.

The Senate majority leader once all but guaranteed that there wouldn’t be a partial shutting down of the government. Indeed, he and the president reportedly agreed on a deal approved by the Senate unanimously to fund the government until early February.

Except the measure didn’t have money for The Wall that Trump wants to build along our southern border. Trump got a gut full from right wing talkers, so he changed his mind.

Yep. He stabbed the majority leader in the back.

Which makes me wonder if McConnell and Trump are at each other’s throats yet again.

He wasn’t standing with the president as Trump talked about the meeting he had with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. He hasn’t spoken publicly for several days about the status of the shutdown, other than to say the Senate would not take up the House bill that Pelosi promised to send to the Senate.

Aren’t he and Trump big-time pals these days? Don’t they stand together in favor of The Wall and opposed to any measure that doesn’t include money to build it?

He should have been in the Rose Garden. Mitch McConnell is missing in action. Given that no one seems able to talk sense to the president, then maybe McConnell is planning a mutiny.

‘It would make me look foolish’

A statement attributed to Donald Trump screams loudly to us at a couple of levels.

The president said that accepting a deal to reopen the entire federal government from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer would “make me look foolish.”

I’ll set aside the snickering that developed at the idea that the president long ago began looking “foolish” by uttering the things he says and doing the things he does.

The idea of negotiating a deal with House and Senate Democrats is not a “foolish” gesture. Brokering such a deal would be the result of compromise, which is an essential element of good, smart and effective governance.

As I heard Speaker Pelosi today when she took the gavel from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, I thought I heard her say she planned to return a Republican-sponsored and endorsed measure to the Senate; she intends to force senators to vote on a measure they already have approved and which the president pledged initially to sign into law.

You know what happened. When the president made that pledge, which included agreeing to sign a bill that didn’t provide money for The Wall, right-wing talkers went nuts. They accused him of betraying the GOP base. Hearing that, Trump back-pedaled. He reversed himself. He stuck a shiv in the back of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom said the president would support the spending bill that passed the Senate by a virtually unanimous vote.

Foolish? Does that make Donald Trump look foolish? Yeah. It does.

The bigger issue is whether he’s willing to wheel and deal with Democrats.

Pelosi said she wants senators to re-endorse the measure they already have backed. The pressure now is on them and on the president.

Negotiation is part of legislating. It’s part of governing. It is the essence of how you move the country forward. Refusing to consider a compromise is the prescription for looking “foolish.”

Pence’s stony silence most disturbing image

Look at the picture. The person to Donald Trump’s right is none other than the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence.

Of all the chatter we’ve heard about that meeting, the one image that continues to stick in my craw is of Pence sitting there, silent, not saying a single word. Meanwhile, the president argues with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer about the federal budget and financing construction of The Wall on our southern border.

The image of Pence sitting there mute reminds me of what President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden said of their relationship during their eight years in power.

Obama has made it abundantly clear, and Biden has affirmed it, that Biden was the last person to leave any room where the two men were present. Biden would argue with Obama, telling him — sometimes with great emphasis — where he believed the president was wrong. The president would fire back. The two men would go at it tooth and nail.

But through it all, as the former president has recounted their service together, they forged a lasting friendship and partnership.

Do you think the current vice president and the current president have anything approaching that kind of relationship, let alone any semblance of a friendship? Of course not!

Trump comes from a world where he was The Boss. He made decisions. Those who worked for him did what they were told to do. If they didn’t, they were out. Indeed, we’ve seen evidence of that background even as he has morphed into what passes for the chief executive of the federal government.

Thus, when Trump, Pelosi and Schumer were haranguing each other in the Oval Office, one couldn’t possibly expect VP Pence to chime in with his own view. I mean, after all, he’s only the No. 2 man in the executive branch of government. He was elected right along with Donald Trump to lead the nation. Isn’t that right?

Doesn’t that by itself give him any “cred” to say what he believes, to tell the president anything at all that might contradict whatever passes for the president’s world view?

One would think. Except that we are talking about Donald Trump, who is unfit for the office he holds. He wanted an obsequious lap dog to serve as VP and, by golly, he got one.

You go, Mme. Speaker . . . to-be

Nancy Pelosi has delivered a message to Donald Trump.

It is that the president of the United States is going to face a formidable adversary when the next Congress convenes in January 2019. The presumptive speaker of the House delivered that message in a face-to-face smackdown with the president in an Oval Office meeting the two of them had with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Oh, Vice President Mike Pence was in the room, too, but he had a “non-speaking” role in this idiotic and awkward exchange.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, informed Trump he doesn’t have the votes in the House to finance the “big beautiful wall” along our southern border. Trump sought to tell her that he does; she responded — immediately — no, Mr. President . . . you do not!

Pelosi is an expert at vote-counting, which was one of the hallmarks of her first stint as speaker from 2009 to 2011.

Trump, meanwhile, doesn’t know how the legislative process works. He has no background in congressional relationships. He doesn’t understand the importance of seeking to cooperate with the legislative branch of government.

The president’s modus operandi is to dictate his desires and then expect everyone to follow him over the cliff.

The new speaker isn’t wired that way. She’s tough and she is asserting herself as she should.

Let us remember something else: The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the speaker of the House is No. 3 in succession to the presidency. It’s good to remember that as we enter the new year — and a new era — in Washington, D.C.

France shooting = U.S. border security?

I need help connecting these dots.

A fellow who was born in Strasbourg, France, opens fire and kills a fellow French citizen. A French citizens commits mayhem against his countrymen. Is that right?

OK, then the president of the United States seems to use that incident as an argument for his desire to build that “beautiful wall” along our southern border to keep the bad guys from pouring into the country.

Then he rakes Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi over the coals because Democrats don’t want to spend the amount of money the president wants to build that wall.

Trump put this message out on Twitter just this morning:

Another very bad terror attack in France. We are going to strengthen our borders even more. Chuck and Nancy must give us the votes to get additional Border Security!

I need help understanding how the president can connect the these incidents together.

This individual, the president, is out of control.

Schumer lures Trump into a shutdown trap

Donald Trump sought to negotiate a deal today with Congress two top Democrats: House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

What the president managed to do, though, is box himself into a corner. He did so all by himself. With just a little prompting from Schumer.

To which I say: Wow, man!

Schumer kept resisting any notion that the Senate would vote to give Trump approval for $5 billion to build a wall along our southern border. That prompted Trump to do an amazing thing.

He took ownership of a potential government shutdown if he doesn’t get his way on wall financing. Yep. That’s right. The president of the United States has seized the issue all for himself. He would be glad to shut down the government if Congress refuses to spend the money he wants to build the wall.

Oh, is Mexico going to pay for it? For any portion of the wall. Hah!

Congress and the president have a few days to work out something to keep the government functioning in its entirety.

The meeting at the White House didn’t go well. Trump stormed out, tossing papers. Pelosi and Schumer, meanwhile, have sent a signal that the president is going have to deal with an entirely different Congress — specifically the House — than the government branch that served as his lapdog for the first two years of Trump’s term.

Do you get the feeling that we’re heading for some wild water? We had all better hold on with both hands.

Socialist? Why, I never …

I’ve been called out by a critic of High Plains Blogger.

Some fellow who I don’t know, but who reads my blog regularly, has called me a “socialist.” He likens me to U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer as a socialist in their ilk.

Hmm. I need to respond to this guy.

I’ll start with this: He doesn’t know what a socialist is. A socialist is someone who believes in, um, socialism. And what is that, precisely?

Socialism is an economic philosophy that emphasizes collective ownership of business and industry. Let’s see. Have I ever advocated taking over business and industry by the government? Have I ever said that private ownership is bad for the country? No. I haven’t.

To that end, I am as much of a capitalist as this fellow who purports to know — beyond a shadow of a doubt — that I am a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool socialist.

I tend to avoid getting involved in these tit-for-tat responses on social media. For starters, many of High Plains Blogger’s critics tend to suffer from last word-itis. They have to get the last word on any exchange. So, I concede the last word to them. I’ll make whatever point I want to make, let ’em respond and then I move on.

As for the socialist rap, this individual hung that label on me after a blog post that didn’t discuss economic policy at all!

I believe, therefore, many of those who hang the “socialist” tag on folks such as yours truly are using the word as  cudgel to beat others up whenever they disagree with them on any policy at all.

To call someone a “socialist” is akin to saying “your mother wears combat boots.”

When in doubt, I rely on my tattered American Heritage dictionary, which describes socialism this way: “A social system in which the means of producing and distributing goods are owned collectively and political power is exercised by the whole community.”

Is that me? Umm. No. It isn’t. So there.

Capitol Hill gripped by fear of harassment

It’s come down to this.

Members of Congress — senators and House members — are being harassed and hassled themselves by bogus complaints alleging sexual harassment.

What has become of this scandal? Has it grown to something no one recognizes?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had to fend off a fake complaint, as has Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Yes, this issue is real. It has reached scandalous proportions as scores of women have levied credible, legitimate complaints against powerful men in government. Three of them have been forced to resign; others are declaring their intention to bow out after the 2018 midterm election.

Some of these accusations involve some truly hideous conduct.

But there now appears to be some evidence of bogus allegations surfacing.

Let’s be careful — shall we? — as we continue to grapple with this matter.

We have complaints being lodged against none other than the president of the United States. Many of those complaints seem quite credible, in my humble view. The president has called them liars and said their accusations are part of a “fake news” effort to undermine him.

Then we have comments from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying that all complaints “need to be heard.” I agree with her.

Be careful of fear

Then again, let us be take care that we don’t push the sexual harassment panic button at every single complaint. Human beings are quite capable of tricking the rest of us.

As Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “You want to have a welcome environment to report abuse — you don’t want to deter victims. But you’ve got to have enough due process and scrutiny to make sure it’s accurate.”

“I think this environment is pretty crazy right now,” Graham added, and “what happened to Sen. Schumer is a concern to a lot of us.”