Tag Archives: US Congress

Immigration reform might be on the horizon

There you go, Mr. President.

Sit down with Democrats and Republicans, talk out loud in front of the media about ways to reform the nation’s immigration policy.

Before you know it, you can get leaders from both parties speaking encouragingly about the prospects.

Donald Trump led a lengthy meeting today in the White House with congressional Democratic and Republican leaders. He talked openly with them about allowing so-called “Dreamers” to stay in the nation while beefing up border security and perhaps giving greater consideration to families when considering granting legal status to immigrants.

The president and lawmakers say they have reached a sort of tentative agreement on an immigration reform package. A key component could be a way to preserve a portion of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals provision, which then-President Obama established as a way to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought here as children.

Trump said he would ask lawmakers to hammer out the details and promised to sign whatever bill they bring to his desk.

See? This bipartisan approach to legislating actually holds key opportunities for leaders of both parties.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy noted that this approach means “both sides” have to surrender something and that he would be “the first” to offer some compromise.

Those of us who want comprehensive immigration reform can feel a bit heartened by what transpired today. According to The Hill : Trump expressed sympathy to immigrants who came to the country illegally at a young age and now face deportation, urging negotiators to pass “a bill of love.”

Now, will all this go down in flames if Democrats say something that ticks off the president? That’s happened before. The president does have this habit of reacting badly when he hears a negative thought.

There’s little likelihood the bill will be completed in time to avoid a government shutdown on Jan. 19. Here’s an idea: Approve yet another temporary funding measure and get to work without delay on repairing the immigration system.

Residency becomes an election issue

Jon Ossoff ought to know better than to be caught in the residency whipsaw affecting his candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

The young man, though, is facing an issue that under normal circumstances wouldn’t matter to anyone outside the district he wants to represent. These aren’t normal.

Ossoff is a Democrat running to succeed former Rep. Tom Price, who quit to become secretary of health and human services. Democrats think they have a shot at capturing a seat held for decades by Republicans. Democrats also believe they have momentum on their side as both parties prepare for the 2018 mid-term congressional elections.

So who’s the leading candidate in the special election set for today? A young man who doesn’t live in the Sixth Congressional District.

Good grief, dude!

Yep, it’s an issue

The 30-year-old Ossoff says it isn’t an issue. Why? Because he said he “grew up in the district” and plans to move back after his girlfriend — with whom he is living outside of the Sixth District — completes her medical school education.

C’mon! Either you live there or you don’t.

The law requires candidates for Congress to live within the corporate boundaries of the congressional district. It’s true at the state level as well.

Residency issues have entangled candidates of all stripes for as long as we can remember. Many of us in Amarillo recall when a local businessman sought the Republican nomination for a seat some years ago in the Texas Legislature. He established a residence in Potter County, even though he had lived for many years in neighboring Randall County; Potter County is part of the legislative district, Randall County is not. Questions arose about whether the gentleman actually was living in his Potter County house or whether he was going “home” at night to his digs in Randall County.

These residency issues would seem to be simple to resolve.

You live where you intend to run — or you don’t.

As for the special election that’s occurring today, it well might be decided if Ossoff wins an outright majority against the crowded field of Democrats and Republicans. If he doesn’t and faces a runoff against the No. 2 candidate, look for the GOP to make a serious issue of his residency.

Trump, Pence: clash of egos


Mike Pence wouldn’t like being associated with this politician, but I’m going to offer it anyway.

The late George McGovern — a liberal icon and one of my favorite pols — once stated that a politician’s most necessary trait is to possess a huge ego.

You’ve got to think highly of yourself in order to achieve success in the political world, McGovern declared.

Thus, it is that memory of a former presidential candidate’s observation, that brings me to the present day.

Gov. Pence himself is a successful politician: service in the U.S. Congress and as Indiana governor.

His rollout Saturday as Donald J. Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, though, makes me wonder: Is Pence’s ego going to suffer grievous injury because of the behavior and spotlight-hogging style of the Republican Party’s presidential nominee?

Those of you who watched Trump prattle on for nearly 30 minutes Saturday about himself, his business success, his defeat of 16 other GOP candidates, and his record-setting vote totals in the GOP primaries had to have wondered what Pence might have been thinking as he waited — patiently, I presume — in the wings.


Then came the introduction. Trump and Pence shook hands, Trump patted his running mate on the arm, then walked off the stage. Political tradition dictates that the candidate at the top of the ticket introduces the running mate and then stands dutifully behind the No. 2 guy and leads the applause when he delivers the appropriate punch lines.

Tradition, however, is the last thing that Trump wants to follow.

And that brings me to this final point.

Mike Pence is as traditional a politician as one can find. He’s a doctrinaire conservative Republican. He believes in free trade (which Trump opposes), he is anti-abortion (which Trump has supported), he is loyal to his party (which Trump has characterized as being part of a “rigged system”).

He also possesses — if Sen. McGovern’s wisdom is correct — the kind of ego that all politicians need to be successful.

There can be zero denying Trump’s h-u-u-u-u-g-e ego.

Those of us who are interested in these things are going wait with some anticipation to see whether these two men can settle their apparent — and in some cases obvious — differences in style … and public policy.

Wipe out national debt in eight years? Wow!


The list of Donald J. Trump’s idiotic statements has gotten so long it’s becoming almost impossible to give all of them the attention they deserve.

This one has flown largely past many in the media and the so-called Chattering Class. I’ll admit to being a bit slow on the fiscal uptake on this one.

The Republican presidential frontrunner recently vowed to eliminate the national debt in eight years.

He would wipe … it … out. Pfft! It would vanish. No more debt. We’re free of debt! In just eight years. Yes, Trump said “I will do it.”

The debt is now about $20 trillion.

How does this reality TV celebrity and real estate mogul-turned-politician propose to do this?

He also intends to cut everyone’s taxes. He vows to rebuild a military complex he says “always loses” and has been “decimated” by the current president. He’s going to round up 11 or 12 million illegal immigrants and send them back to wherever they came from. He also says he won’t do anything to reform Social Security or Medicare.

Yet he says he — yes, he alone — will eliminate the national debt in eight years.

The way I figure it, Trump would have to veto every single spending bill that Congress approves. Then he would have to be sure Congress upheld every one of them.

The annual federal budget totals about $4 trillion. So, if the government doesn’t spend another nickel for the next eight years, it could save $32 trillion.

Are we on board with that?

Ladies and gentlemen of the military, in the longest-shot possibility that Donald Trump gets elected president this fall, you should start preparing to fight for your country for free.

This man’s idiocy is utterly boundless.


Boehner will keep speaker's gavel, however …

John Boehner is going to be re-elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Ohio Republican, though, is going to pay a price. Or, more to the point, rank-and-file Americans are going to pay the price.

It will be because the challenge to Boehner’s speakership is coming from the far right wing of the speaker’s Republican Party caucus in the House. And those clowns are going to pressure Boehner to keep tacking to the rightist fringe of the GOP.


Bank on it.

The question for some of us — including me — is whether Boehner will rediscover the backbone he has shown in resisting TEA party pressure to do foolish and destructive things, such as shut down the government over disputes with President Obama.

Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida have decided to run for speaker. The vote will occur Tuesday. Gohmert is a goofball. I can’t speak to Yoho, other than I know he’s a TEA party guy, just like Gohmert.

Boehner has said categorically that impeachment of the president is off the table as long as he’s speaker. Gohmert says quite the opposite. Is Yoho on board with the Gohmert view? Yeah, probably.

This dynamic reminds me of what might happen here in Texas, with a new governor about to take office. He’ll have a lieutenant governor who’ll push him to the right with the threat of a challenge from within the GOP when the governor’s office is up for election in 2018. I hope Gov. Greg Abbott can fend off the pressure that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is going to apply.

I wish the same for Boehner once he is re-elected speaker in a House that will be even more Republican than the previous one.

And as the GOP takes command of the Senate, we’ll all get to see if the new brand of Republican lawmakers can actually govern, as in can they present legislation to the president that he actually can sign into law.

I am not feeling good about the prospects.


'Majority rule' is a major misnomer

Majorities determine how government should be run.

That’s how it’s supposed to go. A study just released, though, suggests that the United States of America has a “majority of a minority” rule when it comes to electing people to high office, at least during these mid-term election cycles.

Turnout for the 2014 mid-terms reached a near-historic low, according to political analyst Michael McDonald, a University of Florida expert on voter turnout.


The turnout was 36.4 percent of eligible voters.

What did most of the nation’s eligible voters miss? They missed the chance to determine who should represent them in Congress, in governor’s offices and in state legislatures. These folks determine a lot of serious public policy issues that affect us all.

Most of us sat this one out.

Too bad for those who didn’t take the time to vote.

According to MSNBC.com: “Most observers attribute the low turnout to frustration among voters at the gridlock that has enveloped Washington, after Republicans made stymieing President Obama their top priority. That has left many voters—especially Democrats—feeling skeptical about the system’s ability to deliver change. Eighteen percent of voters said they feel they can never trust the government in Washington to do the right thing, according to the NBC News national exit poll.”

That’s so very interesting and so self-defeating. If frustration in government has gotten voters down, then it becomes voters’ responsibility to step up to change whatever ails the system, which cannot change itself.

We hold the key. You and me. Citizens who have the right afforded to us by the very government we supposedly detest to actually change it.