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The 116th Congress

Democrats Congress Speaker Taxes Voting

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#1 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:37 AM

Well, we've been wondering and now we're going to see what Democrats can do with the House of Representatives. And it looks like the name of the game is hardball.

Democratic leadership just announced HR1, and every single thing in it is enormously popular and designed to induce anaphylaxis in Republicans. Popcorn futures are going up again, and if anyone wants to do more I suspect there's plenty of work to go around.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#2 LFC

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 10:44 AM

It looks like the Democrats are trying to drain the swamp with real proposals. In voting rights it also positions them to be the defenders of democracy. All the Republicans can do is whine about states' rights, something they clearly only bother dusting off when it is convenient for whatever they want at the time.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#3 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 03:29 PM

Update: they're beginning to put some details out, and it's pretty clear that they're going for HR.1 to be about popular anti-corruption and voting rights themes:

Campaign Finance:
  • Matching small campaign donations at 6:1
  • Ripping the veil away from the anonymous PACs and other funding groups (SCOTUS actually suggested this in Citizens United.)
  • Online services that accept ads (Are you listening, Zuckerberg?) will have to disclose their funding.
Ethics:
  • President must disclose tax returns (IMHO should be broader: a full audit)
  • Congresscritters can't get the public to pay for settling suits or first-class travel
  • Office of Government Ethics gets more authority
  • An actual ethical code for SCOTUS (currently only lower courts are subject)
(My favorite) Voting Rights:
  • New national voter registration for Federal elections, with opt-out.
  • Restoring the Voting Rights Act to address Shelby County, including independent redistricting and barring voter roll purges
  • Tightening election security
Best I can tell, all of these have very strong popular support and don't stand a snowball's chance in McConnell's Senate. Trump? Nobody knows, including him.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#4 LFC

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:08 AM

Political reality does not seem to be a strength of the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party. The reality is that they can scream for what they think is right all they want but Mitch McConnell and the Republicans still control the Senate and Trump is president. The question before them, whether they admit it or not, is "do you want to approve more money for the problems at the border that might not all be spent the way you wish or do you want to leave thousands of people in the horrible conditions we've seen reported on over and over?" What they ultimately want doesn't really matter because they aren't going to get it. They fought but didn't win. Now it's time to either do something via compromise or stand against it on your principles but accept responsibility for the real outcome. (I actually agree with their position but there's no way it's going to get past McConnell and Trump.)

Here's a report on their wailing and gnashing of teeth. I don't see their reactions as necessarily helpful.

Quote

House Democrats’ first major legislative defeat in their new majority unfolded sloppily on Thursday over legislation to address the humanitarian crisis on the southern border leaving the ascendant progressive faction of the party enraged and claiming they got thrown under the bus.

They just couldn’t agree on who pushed them.

House progressives had spent a week successfully fighting to put strings on $4.5 billion in special funding for a border package, in hopes of denying the Trump administration more resources to carry out elements of the immigration policy that Democrats loathe.

The Senate had other ideas, and on Wednesday passed with an overwhelming, bipartisan majority a funding package without the progressives’ much-desired conditions. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared to make a counter-offer, a faction of centrist Democrats revolted and forced a quick House vote on the Senate’s measure, which ultimately passed by a safe margin, leaving lawmakers free to jet home for the July 4 recess.

The defeat left progressives stunned, fuming, and pondering how, going forward, they could effectively leverage Democrats’ House majority with an increasingly fractious caucus and a GOP all too eager to exploit their internal divides.

The easiest target, in the eyes of some Democrats, was the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus. Some of the roughly two-dozen Democratic members of this bipartisan group of centrists threatened to kill the progressive-driven effort to amend the House’s bill to send back to the Senate, cutting short the fight many liberal lawmakers wanted on border provisions. With a long recess looming, and facing pressure from the White House and the Senate, the moderates wanted to scuttle a protracted negotiation and bring home to their constituents a badly-needed marker of progress on the border crisis.

Frustration at this centrist faction had already been simmering for months on Capitol Hill, and their move on Thursday burst that enmity out into the open. “The quote-unquote Problem Solvers Caucus, I think, threw us under the bus and undermined our position to actually be able to negotiate,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

Adding lighter fuel to the fire was a tweet from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, declaring that the Problem Solvers Caucus might as well be called the “Child Abuse Caucus” — a claim that raised eyebrows even among staunchly progressive lawmakers.


Talking to reporters, Pocan defended his inflammatory language. “If you faciliate taking out the language that takes away the ability to pull a contract from a bad firm that’s doing child abuse,” he said, “I think that’s a pretty fair characterization.”

Progressives had pushed for language in the bill that would have spelled out protections for migrant children. That provision, among others in the House, was rejected by Senate Republicans and the White House, effectively dooming its progress.

The other co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), wouldn’t say if Pocan had gone too far in calling his colleagues child abusers. She had a different target: Senate Democrats.

“Once the Senate Democrats voted with such a big vote, that took away a lot of our leverage,” said Jayapal. “And they’re wrong.”

On Wednesday, only six Senate Democrats voted against the so-called “clean” border supplemental funding bill. Notably, that bill contained increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement — an agency that House progressives don’t want to send another dime.

“I think Senate Democrats need to wake up and stop voting with Mitch McConnell,” said Jayapal, “and allow us to have some leverage so that we can actually use our majority in the House.”

The chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), Saikat Chakrabarti, took it a step further in a tweet that he deleted shortly after.

“Instead of ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ let’s call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the ‘New Southern Democrats,’” he wrote. “They certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”


That last statement is beyond the pale (pun intended). AOC should answer for it by firing her chief of staff, publicly reprimanding him, and/or forcing him to make a very public apology. I'm pretty socially liberal and I'm getting sick and disgusted with this kind of talk. Are the Democrats really OK with pushing me and those like me over into the "F*** all of them" camp where there's no reason to bother voting?
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 Traveler

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:32 AM

I must say the Dems have done a great job at defining themselves since the midterms.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire





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