Tag Archives: US House

Oh, yeah, there’s also the Clinton matter

I feel the need to launch a bit of a preemptive strike at those who are inclined to take issue with an earlier item I posted on High Plains Blogger.

It wonders whether Donald John Trump should consider resigning the presidency in the wake of resignations of three key members of Congress: Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Democratic Rep. John Conyers and Republican Rep. Trent Franks — all of whom quit over allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

As long as we’re insisting on resignation …

Critics of this blog might be inclined to remind me that President Bill Clinton should have quit, too, when allegations surfaced about women with whom he had sexual relations. One woman accused him of rape; another accused him of sexual harassment; yet another was revealed to have engaged in some dalliance with the president while she was working as a White House intern.

I’ll answer any such response this way: President Clinton went through a serious round of “due process.”

The House of Representatives impeached him for lying to a grand jury about his relationship with the White House intern. Republicans who ran the House at the time were looking for a reason to impeach Clinton; the president gave them one by lying under oath.

Then came the trial in the Senate, presided over by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Senators heard the evidence, heard the rebuttal to the evidence and then acquitted the president on all the charges brought by the House.

Due process, man. That is what transpired in 1998.  We haven’t been through anything of the sort as it regards the current president.

So, please spare me the “Clinton should have quit, too” mantra. He went through hell by being impeached. He paid a price. Whether it was a sufficient price for what he did depends on whether you agree or disagree with the Senate verdict.

I happen to agree with it.

RINOs take over congressional GOP

Republican Party “purists,” whoever they may be, must be furious with what the GOP majority in Congress has done.

Republicans who control both congressional chambers have just rammed through two versions of a tax cut that by many economists’ view is going to explode the federal budget deficit.

Therefore, congressional Republicans — virtually to a person — comprise Republicans In Name Only. They are the dreaded RINOs that purists keep condemning as closet big-spenders masquerading as members of the party of fiscal responsibility.

One Republican — lame-duck U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee — managed to vote “no” on the Senate version of the tax cut. But he was the only one.

Now this monstrosity goes back to the House of Representatives, which will seek to reconcile its differences with the Senate version. Then they get to vote again on it.

After that? It goes to the Oval Office, where the president of the United States will sign it. He’ll boast about the “victory” he won. Donald Trump will take credit for enacting a bill about which he likely doesn’t know a thing.

Do you remember the time when Republicans used to blister Democrats for running up those huge deficits? As recently as the 2016 election, Republicans were pounding freely at Democratic President Barack Obama for overseeing a sharp growth in the national debt. But here’s the deal: Under the Obama presidency, the size of the annual deficit was decreasing almost every year; by the time President Obama left office, the annual budget deficit had been cut by about two-thirds from the amount he inherited when he took office in January 2009.

I guess those days are gone, along with any chance that Republicans and Democrats are going to find common ground on matters that affect all Americans.

As for the country’s budgetary future, it’s now in the hands of RINOs. When are the party purists going to start squawking?

Hello? Is there anyone out there?

They call it ‘tax reform,’ but is it … really?

Here comes the legislative bum’s rush once again.

Just as congressional Republicans sought to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act all by themselves, they’re trying the same thing with what they’re calling “tax reform.”

Except that it doesn’t “reform” anything. It cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans and, according to at least one prominent study, will increase taxes for middle-income Americans.

The House of Representatives zoomed this tax cut through that chamber with a narrow vote. Now it goes to the Senate. And you know what? It’s running into trouble.

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin opposes it because it does too little for small business. GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine opposes it as well because it cuts out the individual mandate required by the ACA. That’s two “no” votes. The tax plan is officially on the bubble.

I believe I’ll now mention what it does to the deficit. It explodes the deficit and for those of us deficit hawks, it piles on more money to the national debt, which Republicans are fond of saying increased during President Barack Obama’s two terms in office.

Senate puts up roadblocks

I keep circling back to this notion that no single party can do anything constructive without the other party. Republicans haven’t yet learned that lesson now that they control the White House in addition to both congressional chambers.

This star-chamber style of legislating — with major bills being discussed in private by members of one party — is harmful to legislative process and to the principle of effective governance.

As GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona has implored his colleagues, “Let’s return to ‘regular order.'” That means, among other things, bringing the other party into the discussion.

Impeachment? Not so fast, folks

Social media are chattering and clattering like a newspaper newsroom full of typewriters on deadline. Those of you who are old enough to remember actual typewriters will understand the analogy.

But the social media are abuzz with viral statements, requests and demands that Donald John Trump Sr. gets impeached.

Let’s hold that thought. At least for a while, OK?

The president of the United States is demonstrating plenty of disturbing behavior. He holds those rallies in which he ad-libs his way into nonsensical rants. Then he reads reasonably crafted speeches, looking for all the world as if he’s been asked to eat every bite of the squishy spinach on his plate. The next day he tears into the media, members of Congress and virtually every political foe who’s lined up against him.

Serious-minded folks like former head spook James Clapper say they doubt Trump’s “fitness” for his job. He’s acting like a maniac. Sounding like a blithering, blathering fruitcake.

Does any of this behavior rise to the level of an impeachable offense? No. Not as I understand what’s written into the U.S. Constitution.

Article II, Section 4 spells out the specifics of a presidential impeachment. It calls for such an action in the event of “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives must bring formal charges against the president. Then the Senate conducts a trial; to convict a president and toss him out of office requires a two-thirds vote by senators.

Has the 45th president committed any sort of “high crime and misdemeanor”? No. Indeed, there is an open debate on just when we’ll know of any potential charges being brought. Many of us have our opinion on whether there should be charges brought. To date, we have none. We don’t even have any compelling evidence to suggest that there will be charges brought.

What about the president’s behavior? My reading of the Constitution suggests that loopy conduct does not, by itself, constitute an impeachable offense. But let’s not kid ourselves here. Donald Trump’s behavior on speech podiums is weird in the extreme.

I’ve never heard a more inarticulate president than the one we’ve got now. Never have I seen someone trash tradition in the manner that he does. Given an opportunity to heal a nation divided by myriad issues of many stripes, Donald Trump does precisely the opposite. He lashes out. He hurls insults at his foes. He cannot even bring himself to offer a word of good wishes to one of his critics — Sen. John McCain — who is in the midst of a life-and-death struggle against cancer.

Trump disgraces his office almost daily. I’d say he disgraces himself, but he seems to lack the capacity to look inward.

Is any of this impeachable? No.

None of it will stop the social media chatter. I just think it’s important to put some of this hysteria into some perspective.

Meantime, let’s wait for the special counsel looking at “The Russia Thing” to do his job.

Do as Jolly says, not as he does

jolly

David Jolly says he wants members of Congress to stop spending so much time soliciting money from donors.

So, what does the Florida Republican lawmaker do? He attends a fundraiser to, um, raise money for his own campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Marco Rubio.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/david-jolly-fundraiser-60-minutes-222669

I was somewhat enthralled by Rep. Jolly when he appeared this past Sunday on “60 Minutes.” He has authored something called the STOP Act. Its aim is to prohibit incumbent House members from spending so much time “dialing for dollars.” Jolly told CBS News’ Nora O’Donnell that House members spend more time manning the phones making “cold calls” on donors than they spending doing the job to which they’ve been elected.

He talked about things such as, oh, “constituent service.” You know, dealing with constituents’ questions about Social Security payments, veterans benefits … things like that.

I told some family members just yesterday that if Jolly were running for president today I’d consider voting for him over any of the others seeking the nation’s highest job.

According to Politico: “The piece sparked an intra-party feud between Jolly and the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC said Jolly vastly overstated how much time lawmakers spend raising money.”

He’s gotten only a handful of co-sponsors. The act isn’t likely to get much traction in the House, where members say they “hate” having to raise so much money.

Still, I guess they just can’t help themselves.

As for the fundraiser Jolly attended, his flack justified it by saying Jolly didn’t actually telephone anyone to invite them to the event.

There. Do you feel better about it?

 

Apology accepted, congressman; now promise: never again

Congressman Randy Weber has done the right thing by apologizing for a hideous reference to Adolf Hitler while criticizing President Obama’s absence from the unity rally in Paris.

The Republican who represents Southeast Texas in the House of Representatives had sent out a tweet that noted Hitler had gone to Paris in 1940 “for the wrong reasons” but Obama couldn’t go this past week “for the right reasons.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/congressman-randy-weber-apologizes-tweet-comparing-president-obama/story?id=28200320

It was a ghastly reference that has no bearing on anything other than to morph the president of the United States into some kind of comparison with the 20th century’s most despicable despot.

Oh, but Weber said that wasn’t his intention. He intended only to use the Hitler reference to illustrate the evil that lurks in today’s world.

OK, whatever.

I’m glad Weber apologized to “all those offended by my tweet.” Yep. That would be me, among many others.

His explanation of what he intended, though, seems a bit dubious.

It’s my hope that he and others who are inclined to toss Adolf Hitler’s name around to make some political points will cease doing so … forever.

Two sides 'laying down arms'

The current Congress hasn’t distinguished itself in many positive aspects.

It has a chance in its waning days, though, to recover at least a smidgen of the esteem it has squandered with the American public. It can avoid a government shutdown.

http://thehill.com/news/225805-reid-backs-boehner-on-deal-to-avoid-shutdown

It appears that the Senate Democratic leader and the House Republican leader have struck an agreement to prevent the government from closing its doors.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner are on the same page. Neither of them wants the government to close in retaliation for President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

They are working to craft a budget agreement that keeps the government funded past the Dec. 11 deadline. It’s all tied up in some spending resolutions linked together in that crazy tangle of continuing resolutions.

Both leaders are fighting insurgents within their respective bodies. TEA party Republicans at both ends of the Capitol Building are willing to punish the president by taking it out on all the rest of us who depend on government for various services.

Perhaps cooler — and wiser — heads will win the day as Congress gets ready to button up and spend the holiday back home with friends and family.

If only the coolness and wisdom returns to Washington after the first of the new year when Republicans are in charge of all of Capitol Hill. Let there be hope.