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 »

The Nadler imperative

Featured image District of Columbia United States District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has upheld the subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee to former White House counsel Don McGahn in the nattering Nadler spinoff of the Mueller probe. Although obviously relevant to current issues in the Schiff show, the opinion already feels something like a walk down memory lane. The Dems nevertheless won’t let their dream of impeachment die. Judge Jackson »

Two perspectives on JUUL

Featured image Last week, Congress held two days of hearings on JUUL, the maker of a vaping product that can be, and very often is, used as an alternative to cigarettes. JUUL’s product provides the nicotine that attracts people to cigarettes (and addicts them), but not the tar and other carcinogens that kill them. Two well known House members offered clashing perspectives on vaping. The first came from Rashida Tlaib, the deranged, »

New heights of farce

Featured image Andrew McCarthy explains the meaning of the “constitutional crisis” fomented by House Democrats against Attorney General Barr in the FOX News column “Politics is front and center for Russiagate probe — and the farce has reached new heights.” FOX News has posted it with the companion video below. As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler natters on, Andy’s column leaves one question hanging: Can this episode of Russiagate starring the »

Barr won’t testify before House Committee, given its unreasonable demands

Featured image Attorney General William Barr is sticking to his guns. Earlier this week, as I noted here, Barr rejected the demand of the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee that, when he testifies about the Mueller report, he do so under extraordinary conditions. One of the conditions was that Barr be questioned by non-members of the Committee — namely, staff lawyers. According to the Washington Post, the last time committee lawyers questioned a »

House Dems at odds with Barr over testimony

Featured image Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are demanding that, when Attorney General Barr testifies about the Mueller report, he do so under extraordinary conditions. They want to depart from the norm whereby committee members get five minutes each per questioning session and they want Barr to answer questions posed by committee attorneys (in addition to answering the ones committee attorneys will write for the members). Barr has balked at these »

Elijah Cummings won’t let witness have lawyer

Featured image Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to depose John Gore about his role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a question to the 2020 Census about citizenship. Gore was acting as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights when the decision was made. Gore is prepared to testify and the administration is fine with him doing so. Attorney General Barr insists only that Gore be accompanied by an attorney. »

Cohen can & cant

Featured image The New York Times has posted the prepared testimony of Michael Cohen to the House Oversight Committee this morning. Cohen is of course the former Trump attorney, now disbarred and convicted of sundry crimes including lying to Congress. He is trying to make it up by testifying against Trump. Julian Assange and Wikileaks make a token appearance, as does Trump Tower Moscow. According to Cohen, Trump is a racist, conman »

Political Emergencies, Past, Present, and Future

Featured image It has been interesting to watch liberals and Democrats respond to President Trump invoking the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to build his wall, now that he found out where President Obama hid his famous pen and phone. Instead of reflecting on—and then correcting—an overbroad and improvident congressional grant of power to the president, they are saying, “Just wait till we get back in power! Our gal [bet on a »