Tag Archives: House of Representatives

Will majority be worth it?

Let’s presume that the conventional wisdom holds up in the wake of the 2022 midterm election, which is that Republicans are going to win a majority of the House seats and will be in charge when the next Congress convenes in January.

What I am going to wonder aloud is whether the House GOP leadership team can govern. Will it be able to control its own members, let alone dictate the flow of legislation that comes from the lower legislative chamber?

I doubt it. Seriously!

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was thought to be a shoo-in for speaker if Republicans took command. Even that’s in doubt today.

McCarthy has pissed off the right-wing Freedom Caucus wing of his House members. He also has angered the establishment wing of those who call themselves Republicans. The MAGA lovers wanted a much larger majority; they won’t get it. The establishment wing of the GOP wants to work with Democrats on legislation; that likely won’t happen, either, given Democrats’ anger at McCarthy over his back-tracking on Donald Trump’s role in the 1/6 insurrection.

I keep seeing models suggesting Republicans will win 219 House seats; Democrats are slated to occupy 216 of them. The majority party needs 218 to take command. A one-seat cushion isn’t very, um, secure … you know?

This all makes the GOP majority practically worthless.

The current speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, is holding out hope that her party can squeak through by retaining a majority. That’s brave talk from a battle-tested political warrior.

Even though I am sitting in the peanut gallery, the cheap-seat view tells me that Republicans are going to eke out their cherished majority. However, I am going to wonder whether it’s worth having.

As the saying goes, elections do have consequences. We’re going to get a good look at how those consequences play out once the new Congress takes over.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gen Z’er stands out!

Maxwell Frost has emerged — whether he believes it or not — as a standard bearer for a generation thought by many of us older folks to be, um, lost and without a purpose.

I’m not one of those nasty old people who believes it, by the way, but I do want to say a few good words about the trail that young Maxwell Frost may be about to blaze.

He well could become the first person from what is called Generation Z to be elected to Congress. He is running for the10th Congressional District in Florida; the seat he is seeking is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Val Demings, the Democratic Party nominee for the Senate, where she will run this fall against Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

But … back to Frost.

He said something quite stunning today, which is that his generation of young Americans has now gone through more “active shooter drills in schools than fire drills.”

If elected to Congress, Frost would be 25 years of age, which is the constitutionally set minimum age for House members.

I had to look it up, but I found out that Gen Z Americans are those born between 1997 and 2012, which puts Frost at the front end of that generation.

Frost achieved his political awareness after the Sandy Hook school massacre of December 2012. He became acquainted with a sibling of one of the children slain that day in Newtown, Conn. Frost, who was a teenager at the time, said he committed then to doing something to improve the lives of young people.

So, here he is. A decade later this serious fellow seeks to take his seat with the curmudgeons of Congress, seeking to put his stamp on laws that we all must obey.

Frost won the Democratic primary this week and will run for a seat that has leaned heavily Democrat for some time. “Today’s election is proof that Central Florida’s working families want representation that has the courage to ask for more,” Frost said in a statement. “I share this victory with the nurses, forklift drivers, teachers, caregivers, social workers, farmers, union organizers, cashiers, and other members of this vibrant community who supported this campaign,” he added.

Frost’s platform is straightforward. He is running on a platform of more gun laws, better health care and an improved focus on environmental justice. Are we clear on that? Good. I get it.

This is the kind of constructive payback we can see emerge from the depths of our national sorrow.

The Greek philosopher Plato once lamented how the young people of his era, 500 years before Jesus Christ’s birth, were shiftless and disrespectful of their elders. Maybe they were, but he was wrong to predict the demise of civilization as he knew it then.

Maxwell Frost is demonstrating to us that we all well might be in good hands indeed.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Not evolving? Sure thing, lady

Check out this Twitter message from one of the QAnon queens of the U.S. House of Representatives, Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican and conspiracy theorist who needs to be committed to the nut house.

I am going to argue that the U.S. Constitution has “evolved” no fewer than 27 times since the Founders created the framework that governs the United States of America. That’s the number of amendments we have tacked onto the Constitution since 1789.

Had it not evolved, Rep. Boebert wouldn’t be allowed to vote for the nut jobs she endorses for public office. That’s just one example of how the Constitution has changed over the years.

You see, this is where the so-called “strict constructionist” philosophy of constitutional interpretation breaks down, at least in my eyes. Simpletons such as Lauren Boebert seem to believe the Founders created a perfect governing document. They didn’t, even though in real time they might have presumed that the Constitution would stand the test of time as it was written. I wasn’t there to know for certain; for that matter, neither was Lauren Boebert.

I hasten to note that the preamble to the document does stipulate that the men who wrote it said the nation should strive to create a “more perfect Union,” which — once again — suggests to me that the Constitution begged for an evolution.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What happened to Congress’s better angels?

There once was a time when we expected our elected leaders to represent the very best in us, yes?

What, then, has become of that standard in the halls of our Congress?

A Republican member of the House, Paul Gosar of Arizona, could be censured by his Democratic colleagues for posting an animation depicting him killing Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden. Has there been any recrimination coming from the Republican side of the great divide? Has any of the GOP leadership scolded Gosar publicly for posting such a hideous depiction? No. Nothin’, man.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has said nothing. Nor has any of the leadership team surrounding him.

Gosar could be censured. That means he will have to stand in the well of the House and listen to  his colleagues excoriate him. The critics are likely to be Democrats only. But his conduct casts shame on the entire House of Representatives, which contains a significant number of Republicans as well.

The better angels of our elected House have gone silent.

What a horrible shame on them!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let the probe begin

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s not how many of us wanted this process to move forward, but I’ll accept it as a step toward rooting out the cause of the infamous insurrection of Jan. 6.

The U.S. House of Representatives, with just two Republican members joining their Democratic colleagues, today voted to form a select committee that will take a deep dive into the insurrection.

GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — both of whom voted to impeach the disgraced 45th POTUS for his role in inciting the riot on Capitol Hill — voted “yes” on the committee creation. They both also signaled a willingness to serve on that panel.

My version of political perfection would have produced a bipartisan commission approved by the Senate. The GOP caucus slammed that door shut, leaving any look into the event up to the House. The lower chamber’s approval does not require Senate endorsement, so the House will proceed on its own, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “It’s clear that Jan. 6 was not simply an attack on the Capitol building, it was an attack on our democracy,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a speech before the vote Wednesday. “Every member here knows that Jan. 6 was an attempt to subvert our democracy,” she said. “But many across the aisle refuse to admit the truth.”

House Approves Creation of Select Committee to Probe Jan. 6 Attack (msn.com)

Indeed, the Republican resistance to examining the horrific event simply boggles my mind. The mob that stormed Capitol Hill that day launched a full assault on the entire government. It targeted Republicans as well as Democrats. It injured several law enforcement officers; two of them died in the melee. So, members of the political caucus that professes to be strong on “law and order” has resisted efforts to get to the truth of the attack.

Moreover, they have dug in to fight efforts to prevent future attacks.

So now it falls on the Democratically controlled House to select the committee. Pelosi is indicating she might appoint at least one Republican to sit on the panel.

This isn’t the perfect path toward finding some key answers to this horrifying assault on our democratic form of government. Given the stubborn refusal by Republicans to seek the truth behind it, this select committee will have to do.

Sen. Ernst says Dems have ‘lowered impeachment bar’?

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst is an Iowa Republican who on Wednesday will vote to acquit Donald John Trump of the crimes for which the House of Representatives impeached him.

Her statements, though, about whether a President Biden would be impeached requires a rebuttal.

She said that House Democrats have “lowered the (impeachment) bar so far” that it would be too easy for future presidents to be impeached by future members of Congress.

I cannot believe she said that. On second thought, yes I can believe it, as she is a member of the GOP cabal that is putting political party over the Constitution.

The House did not lower the impeachment bar. House members impeached Trump because he solicited a foreign government for a political favor; he also threatened to withhold military aid that had been sent to that government which is in the middle of a civil war with rebels backed by Russia. Abuse of power … anyone?

The House also impeached Trump for conducting an unprecedented obstruction of Congress by refusing to turn over any documents to congressional investigators and by barring any White House aides from answering subpoenas to tell Congress what they know about transpired. I believe that is a clear-cut case of obstruction of Congress.

To my way of thinking, that ain’t setting the bar low. The House acted just as it should have acted.

The current president of the United States has gotten a pass from his political allies in the Senate — such as Sen. Ernst — who have refused to act on what they should know to be a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

McConnell accuses House of rushing … so he wants to do the same?

Where do we stand with this Senate trial of Donald Trump, the third president in U.S. history to be impeached?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the House of Representatives of rushing through an impeachment process to achieve the outcome it received. Then, well, what do you know? Now he wants to do the same thing with a hurry-up Senate trial with no witnesses called, no evidence introduced.

The House impeached the current president on two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Congress then split from Washington for a two-week Christmas break.

What is most maddening, though, is the notion that McConnell doesn’t intend to be an “impartial” juror, which is part of an oath he will take when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts takes the gavel and presides over the Senate trial. McConnell’s mind is made up. Let’s get this deal done, he said, acquit the president and then get on with legislating and, oh yes, that election.

At one level, I want this trial to be over sooner rather than much later. However, I do believe it is only correct for there to be witnesses from whom the Senate will hear testimony. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer wants to hear from White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. What is so damn wrong with that? McConnell is having none of it.

I realize we aren’t talking about a trial that follows all the rules of a strict judicial proceeding. However, the judge in this case — Chief Justice Roberts — will issue an oath for the jurors to take; that oath will include a pledge to be impartial. How can McConnell take that oath with a straight face when he promises to work with the White House and to take his cue from the president’s legal team?

I am shaking my head.

By all means, let’s get this trial done. Let us get it done the right way and in a way that mandates a fair trial that allows witnesses to testify in public and for the Senate to examine all the evidence that House members assembled in reaching their decision to impeach Donald Trump.

Impeachment journey set to take another historic turn

(Photo by Jeff Malet)

It is becoming distressingly clear to me that the impeachment of Donald Trump is going to produce the Mother of All Partisan Battles on Capitol Hill.

Congressional Democrats have sought to make the case that the president has committed impeachable offenses. I happen to believe the evidence that I have seen — and I’ve seen only the portion of it that has gone public!

I need no more convincing that Trump needs to be impeached, convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Senate and then shown the door out of the Oval Office. Sayonara, Mr. President.

It won’t end that way.

Congressional Republicans have fortified their defense of the president with diversions, accusations and vilification of the accusers’ motives. They have ignored publicly the evidence that shows how the president solicited a foreign government for dirt on a domestic political foe, encouraged that government to interfere in the 2020 election, endangered our national security by buttressing the fortunes of a hostile power and violated the oath he took when he took office.

The Senate won’t budge, either.

Where does this leave us? We are left with the upcoming election, which curiously is where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said initially this battle should conclude. I do not believe the speaker overplayed her hand by launching the impeachment inquiry. Nor do I believe she erred in instructing relevant House committees to draft articles of impeachment.

Believing that the outcome will retain Trump in the White House at least through January 2021, I look forward to watching the trial unfold. I want the Senate trial to commence and conclude in short order. The Senate Democrats who seek to become president need to spend time on the campaign trail and any effort to prolong the trial plays into Trump’s hands.

It won’t end the way I want it to end. However, my own partisan bias persuades me that the 2020 presidential campaign will be just as relevant and spirited as we all knew it would be.

It is also going to be filthy, but millions of us knew that would be the case as well.

Pelosi: It’s time to impeach Donald Trump

Well, there you have it. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared that the time has come to impeach the president of the United States.

She said this morning that she makes that assertion with sadness in her heart. Pelosi said Donald Trump has brought this moment onto himself.

Pelosi resisted the idea of impeaching the president for a good bit of time. Then came that infamous phone call and the request he made of a foreign government for personal political help. That did it.

The speaker has directed the Judiciary Committee to begin drafting articles of impeachment. So, the committee will proceed I presume with all deliberate speed.

I am going to take her at her word that she doesn’t “hate” Donald Trump. She fielded a reporter’s question today about whether she and here fellow Democrats hate the president and that their visceral feelings toward him are driving their push for impeachment. Pelosi fired back, telling the reporter to “don’t mess with me” by accusing her hating anyone. She said her Catholic upbringing taught her to “pray” for the president, which she said she does every day.

The impeachment process is now moving ahead. There will be no more delay. That suits me just fine.

The Intelligence and Judiciary committees have compiled enough evidence to lay out those articles of impeachment.

I am one patriotic American taxpayer who is ready to see this drama play out toward its conclusion.

Still waiting to hear from my congressman

Gosh, it’s been about a month since I wrote my congressman a letter. I asked him directly for a response to a question that had been nagging at me. He hasn’t delivered his answer.

Van Taylor is a Plano Republican representing the Third Congressional District of Texas. He’s been in office only since this past January. Maybe he’s been too busy trying to find his way around the massive U.S. Capitol Building.

I asked him why he voted “no” on sending the impeachment inquiry into the public domain. He and other Republican lawmakers had yapped about so-called “secrecy” regarding the closed-door testimony the House Intelligence Committee was receiving from witnesses.

Taylor said “no” to taking it to the public. How come? I want to know.

OK, I’ve been a little busy the past couple of weeks. I still intend to phone his office. I have a couple of business cards from key staffers. I plan to call his Plano district office, the one closest to his constituents. I happen to one of them.

Van Taylor, who I have described as — and still believe him to be — an earnest young man. He’s a Marine Corps veteran who saw duty during the Iraq War. I certainly salute his veteran status.

I do not salute his recalcitrance over this issue of taking the Trump impeachment inquiry into the public. I need to know why he voted against bringing it into the open.

I’m his boss. He answers to me, not to Donald Trump.