Congress

Introducing the OMAR Act

Featured image In her young career Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar has made her mark in a variety of ways. To take one, she was the first member of the Minnesota legislature to take office while married to her brother (her first of three legal, sort of, husbands). Moving on to Congress, to take another, she was the first member of the House of Representatives ever to have been married to »

Everything is broken

Featured image More or less without exception each one of the executive orders promulgated by the gentleman from Madame Tussauds on January 20 belies the principles of good government, though each one in its own distinctive way. Taking the rationale of any one of them to its logical conclusion, one can infer the others and the tyrannical dystopia they mean to hang around our necks. We’re on the road to find out. »

The Pence letter

Featured image Minutes before he undertook to preside at the joint session of Congress convened to tabulate the Electoral College results yesterday Vice President Pence released a three-page letter explaining his understanding of his “largely ceremonial” responsibilities. I have embedded a copy of the letter below. Speaking at the “Stop the Steal” rally yesterday, President Trump urged Pence to reject the Electoral College results. “Mike Pence,” he said, “I hope you get »

The Drama in Congress Right Now [Updated]

Featured image As I write, the House of Representatives has started a quorum call to assemble the new Congress for 2021. As has been remarked, there is some unpredictability this year because of COVID and the slim margin of the Democratic House majority. It is not a certainty that Nancy Pelosi will be the next Speaker. Chad Pergram of Fox News has a terrific Twitter thread on the scene up right now, »

What Trump gained by delaying coronavirus relief [UPDATED]

Featured image Yesterday, I suggested that President Trump gained nothing by delaying the implementation of the relief in the stimulus bill passed by Congress. However, I did allow that, as a result of his criticism of the bill, it’s possible that Congress will up the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000. In that case, of course, Trump will have gained something. On reflection (and this should have been obvious to me without »

What did President Trump gain by delaying coronavirus relief? [UPDATED]

Featured image Nothing. The legislation he described as a disgrace has been signed into law in exactly the form Congress passed it. It does not include the $2,000 handouts Trump wanted. It includes all of the wasteful spending he decried. The president tried to save face with a “signing statement.” He declared, “the Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an »

The vaccine scramble is on

Featured image To the surprise of no one, disputes have broken out about who should be given priority for vaccination against the Wuhan coronavirus. There are disputes within hospitals and among various types of health care workers. There is also a dispute about whether various public officials and politicians should jump ahead of health care workers who are at risk because of the work they do. In general, I believe priority should »

Trump balks at pandemic relief bill

Featured image President Trump has denounced the stimulus bill Congress passed this week in response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The bill provides nearly $900 billion of “relief.” Most of the roughly $900 billion provides basic relief in the form of small-business aid ($325 billion), $600 checks for most Americans ($166 billion), and expanded unemployment benefits ($120 billion). Much of the remainder goes to things such as help for schools ($82 billion), »

Relieve this

Featured image Congress passed a 5,600 page monstrosity of a spending bill yesterday doling out $2.3 trillion in total. Included in the $2.3 trillion is $900 billion in COVID-19 relief that gives $600 to most Americans struggling to cope with the epidemic. What’s $600 got to do with it? I don’t know. The relief bill also expands the Paycheck Protection Program for various businesses. I hope the alleged COVID-19 relief is as »

Should Republicans Pick the Next House Speaker?

Featured image Right now it appears that Republicans will have at least 210 seats in the House in the next Congress, and perhaps a many as 214 if the remaining races where the GOP candidate leads all break their way. That would leave Democrats with a slim 7-vote majority, and leave the GOP needing to gain only four seats to take control in the next election. Given that over ten House Democrats »

Don’t Bogart that point

Featured image The Minnesota Second District congressional election has been called off until next year due to the death of Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks. (The delay is dictated by Minnesota law adopted following the death of Paul Wellstone in 2002.) Weeks died this week at the age of 38. Everyone involved in the race expresses his or her condolences. I learn from Jessie Van Berkel’s Star Tribune story that »

Raising the Barr

Featured image We’ve been all over Attorney General Bill Barr’s adventures in congressional “oversight” this week, but as it happens I just received the summer issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, which is the academic journal of the Federalist Society. And the lead article in this issue is Barr’s Barbara Olson Memorial Lecture from last fall’s annual Federalist Society conference, which has the anodyne title, “The Role of the »

Pelosi explains

Featured image The Paycheck Protection Program has quickly depleted the $350 billion allotted to it by Congress. Congressional Democrats are blocking additional funding. Why would they do that? This past Monday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi posted a statement in which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined. It took both leaders to craft a statement that opaque. The Wall Street Journal quotes it in an editorial this morning: In a joint statement Monday, »

Dems gotta Dem, Pelosi style

Featured image Congressional Democrats apparently count on the media to conceal the reason for the failure of the relief package on the floor of the Senate this week. The absurdly irrelevant provisions that Dems seek to incorporate to further the progressive takeover of the United States are meant to remain a deep secret. The current crisis — it’s not meant to go to waste, in the usual reckoning of the thought leaders »

FISA reform, real and imaginary

Featured image Three provisions of the Patriot Act will expire unless they are reauthorized tomorrow. As described by Andy McCarthy, they involve: (a) roving wiretaps, which allow agents to continue monitoring, say, a terrorist who uses burner phones to try to defeat surveillance; (b) “lone wolf” authority, which allows agents to monitor a foreigner who appears to be involved in terrorism without evidence tying him to a known terrorist organization; and (c) »

Approval of Congressional Republicans Rising

Featured image Gallup finds evidence that the Democrats’ failed impeachment drive hurt them and is benefiting Congressional Republicans: More Americans approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing than of congressional Democrats’ performance — 40% vs. 35%. The rating for Republicans in Congress has risen six percentage points since late October, before the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the same period, congressional Democrats’ approval rating »

2019, the year Trump completed his takeover of the GOP

Featured image At FiveThirtyEight, Perry Bacon argues that President Trump completed his takeover of the Republican Party this year. I think that’s right. Trump’s control of congressional Republicans is exemplified by the fact that no GOP member of the House voted for his impeachment. Indeed, as far as I know, no GOP member acknowledged that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine for a time in order to induce the Ukrainian government to »