It was a truly amazing week to be an American.
Y’all, WE DID IT!!! All the postcards we sent. All the money we donated. All the calls we made. All the doors we knocked on. Every moment we spent pushing towards November 2018 finally paid off.
Democrats control the House
Nancy Pelosi is our leader.
The most diverse house ever. Women. People of color. All of us.
A check on this lunatic president.
And WE did this. WE worked hard and made it happen. People said there was no way in this gerrymandered country that we could win the House and WE WON.
Democrats have two years to show America what we are made of, do all we can to make this country stronger, and do everything we can to expose the rampant corruption Trump has ushered in.
And we aren’t wasting any time!
So lets start off with:
15 Ways Democrats Are Already Using Their Power For the Good of the Country
Democrats will take up voting rights, campaign finance reform, and a lobbying crackdown — all in their first bill of the year.
In their first hours in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats filed a motion to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit that threatens to bring down the Affordable Care Act.The petition is signed by new House counsel Douglas Letter who wrote, “The House seeks to offer a defense addressing the same questions of law that the present parties are litigating.”Notably, Donald Verrilli, who defended the law as former President Barack Obama’s solicitor general and is now in private practice, is also on the brief representing the House.
The new Democratic majority in the House will hold the first hearings on Medicare-for-All legislation, a longtime goal of the party’s left, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi lent her support for the process.
“It’s a huge step forward to have the speaker’s support,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who will be the House sponsor of the legislation, usually denoted as HR 676. “We have to push on the inside while continuing to build support for this on the outside.”
Some version of universal health care has been a Democratic goal for decades. The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, first introduced in 2003 by then-Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, has become the vehicle for Democrats who want to bring single-payer, Canada-style health care to the United States.
House Democrats are set to pursue legislation that squarely targets President Trump by requiring presidential candidates to disclose 10 years of tax returns, mandating more transparency for presidential inaugural and transition committees and tightening White House ethics standards.
Those provisions are only a small part of a broad reform bill — to be titled the “For the People Act” — that encompasses campaign finance, election integrity and security, congressional ethics and more. But they are clear signals that Democrats intend to take an aggressive approach to Trump and his administration.
5. House Democrats to push for more diversity in top corporate ranks
Maxine Waters is planning to use her new power to push for more women and minorities in the top ranks of corporate America. Some firms are panicking at the prospect of new public scrutiny. Lawmakers say they're hoping to make them uncomfortable. https://t.co/AMZ3s3rCBj
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 2, 2019
Democrats are proposing a return to regular order in their new rules package, making it easier for bipartisan bills to make it to the floor.
With public trust in Congress at historic lows, Democrats are taking a number of steps to strengthen ethics rules and bring back regular order to the legislative process — giving bills with broad bipartisan support a chance to go through committee even if they don’t have leadership’s blessing.
In her first day in office (this time around), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did what she had vowed to do: Fund the government and pass a bill to reopen the departments closed in President Trump’s shutdown.
Trump cannot win this. His fellow Republicans now must find a way for him to lose without completely humiliating himself. Maybe Fox News could agree not to cover his collapse.
ouse Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Democrats are not going to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller to conclude his investigation to move forward with their investigations into President Donald Trump.Nadler told CNN that once the House Judiciary Committee receives Mueller’s final report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that “we will make sure it is public.”However, “we are not going to wait for the Mueller report. There is plenty for the Judiciary Committee to look into right now,” the New York congressman said in an interview Friday with CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
9. Democrats took the first steps to overturn Citizens United.
Inbox: On the first day of the 116th Congress, Reps. Deutch, McGovern, Raskin, and Katko introduced a bipartisan constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 4, 2019
House Democrats will introduce a bill next week that would require universal background checks for gun purchases.
The proposal will be introduced Tuesday, according to lawmakers, on the eighth anniversary of former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) shooting.
The bill calls for federal background checks to be required on all gun sales, including private transactions, with an exception for transfers between family members and temporary use of a gun for hunting purposes.
Reps. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) will lead a congressional delegation to the border Monday to investigate a migrant child’s death in the custody of U.S. agents.
Castro and Torres Small will lead at least four House members and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to Alamogordo, N.M., where an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died of illness on Christmas Eve. Castro has been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump’s border wall, accusing the administration of seeking money from Congress while neglecting humanitarian provisions for migrants.
House Democrats are planning to vote as soon as next week on long-awaited aid for states devastated by storms and wildfires.
Amid a government shutdown, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her deputies have crafted a $12.1 billion package to help rebuild California, which suffered its deadliest wildfire season ever in 2018, as well as states like Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where hurricanes wreaked billions of dollars in damage last fall, according to a Democratic House aide.
Congress is reviewing the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions on companies owned by Oleg V. Deripaska, an influential Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin, Democrats said on Friday.
The reviews could fuel a congressional effort to block the administration’s decision, which came after an aggressive lobbying and legal campaignagainst the sanctions by Mr. Deripaska’s corporate empire.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, laid the groundwork to block the lifting of the sanctions on Friday, filing a congressional resolution disapproving of the move by the Treasury Department.
The innumerable stories of voter suppression that dominated the 2018 midterms caught the eye of House Democrats. And although their plan to deal with it isn’t likely to come to fruition anytime soon, House Democrats laid down an important marker on Friday to show their commitment to fixing our barely working democracy.
H.R. 1 takes on this era of big-donor dominance by cracking down on coordination between super PACs and campaigns, forcing super PACs and dark-money groups who run political ads to reveal donors who give more than $10,000, and calling for an end to the practice of laundering big donations between different non-profit groups to shield the true source of the funds.
And that was just SOME of what they did in just two days! Boom!
Already Thinking About More Blue in 2020!
There’s a lot about 2020 that any liberal/leftist/Democrat/Social Democrat should feel good about, or at least very interested in.
Warren’s exploratory committee announcement video presages a candidacy that will promote concrete and aggressive plans to control corporate misbehavior and promote fair economic competition
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (who’s been widely presumed to have been planning a run for president since, like, he was born) has proposed a system of universal, federally funded savings accounts that my colleague Jordan Weissmann has described as the closest any presidential contender has come to endorsing a reparations-style plan for closing the racial wealth gap.
A number of potential candidates have already signed on to the concept of a “Green New Deal,”
Sanders and Warren are pushing for a human rights–oriented reconsideration of Democratic foreign policy that could potentially upset the decadeslong D.C. consensus
Will there be assholes online getting in circular arguments and making inappropriate personal attacks on the integrity and intelligence of anyone who supports the wrong candidate(s)? Of course! There always will be assholes. Always, always, always. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that there are always going to be some big assholes in the mix. But we don’t have to let online wankers define the discourse around what is shaping up as the most ideologically significant Democratic primary in at least a generation. All we need to do is pay attention to what the candidates themselves are talking about and remember that social media apps come with a mute button.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is expected to announce Friday he will be retiring at the end of his term in 2020, giving Democrats a long-shot opportunity to pick up another seat in their bid to win back the Senate majority.
In 2018, there is was a blue wave in Kansas — an otherwise conservative state
To be sure, Kansas is still a conservative state. Since 1940, the state has only once voted for a Democratic president (it was in the 1964 election between Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater). The last time the state voted for a Democrat in a Senate race was in 1932.
But as Vox’s Ella Nilsen explained, the state has more progressive roots than it gets credit for.
2020 is a better Senate map for Democrats.
Trump Is In Huge Legal Trouble
"These facts make clear that President Trump, the Trump Organization, and at least one current executive (likely one of Mr. Trump's sons, who together manage his company today) are subjects and possibly targets of the Southern District’s investigation." https://t.co/6M9nfMx03U
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 1, 2019
The Trump Foundation and the Trump Organization shared much more than President Donald Trump’s last name.
And that’s why, experts said, the New York state investigations into the charity could envelop the president’s namesake business.
“Nothing but overlap here. It all was held so tightly by he and his family members,” NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, told NBC News.
“I don’t think there will be any investigative daylight between what the New York state authorities and investigators are looking into with respect to the foundation vs. the organization vs. anything else involving business dealings that have the name ‘Trump’ attached to them,” he said, predicting that the foundation investigation will “crash through (the Trump Organization) like a Mack Truck.”
One ex-federal prosecutor said he is beginning to believe conspiracy with Russian election meddling is not the most serious crime Mueller is investigating.
a central question remains unanswered, and it’s one that could hold the key to what happens over the next few months: What did FBI officials know in the summer of 2016 that dissuaded them from telling Trump they were investigating his top aides?
“We have yet to see the smoking gun, but we have a lot of smoke,” said Frank Figliuzzi, who once hunted for Russian spies as head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and is now an NBC News analyst. “Would I expect Mueller to have shown his hand yet in all of this? Absolutely not.”
Trump’s Twitter campaign to discredit Mueller has harmed the prosecutor’s image among a subset of Americans, polls show. But among the public at large, it does not appear to be working.
Fifty-four percent of Americans believe Mueller has conducted a “fair investigation,” according to an NPR/PBS News Hour/Maris poll this month, while 33 percent call it a “witch hunt.
A witness threatened with indictment over allegations of lying to investigators in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe failed on Thursday in his attempt to select the judge to hear a recently filed lawsuit accusing Mueller of illegal tactics.
The witness, Jerome Corsi, an author and conspiracy theorist, appeared in federal court in Washington alongside conservative attorney Larry Klayman to argue that the suit should remain with U.S. District Court Richard Leon, who handed Klayman an attention-grabbing win five years ago in a suit over warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s federal grand jury has been extended for up to six months.The grand jury, based in Washington, DC, was seated for an 18-month term that began in July 2017 and was set to expire in the coming days.Under federal rules, the court is able to extend a grand jury’s term for another six months if it is “in the public interest.”
Trump is a moron
On Wednesday, all of Trumpworld united under the banner of a single cause: stuffing incoming Senator Mitt Romney into a locker.
It was a remarkable shepherding of resources by the party against one of its own. And it said as much about the mindset of the current president as it did about his target.
Not everyone in the Republican Party thinks the hyper-aggression is strategically wise. Dave Carney, a longtime GOP operative, said that the president and his team risked giving its GOP detractors the spotlight they craved by engaging them in the fights.
trump on Friday threatened to keep about 25 percent of the federal government closed for years until he gets his desired funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.He made the remark during a closed-door meeting at the White House with congressional leaders on the 14th day of a partial government shutdown.Trump confirmed after the meeting that he “absolutely” said the shutdown could last more than a year, as first noted by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) who was at the meeting.
Donald Trump and his border wall are both unpopular. The GOP knows it.
it seems likely that the pressure will increase soon. Furloughed government workers, others who are being forced to work without pay, and idle contractors will all start being hit harder. Although federal agencies can usually handle a few days of lapsed funding, the longer it goes on, the less that’s true. The Smithsonian museums managed to stay open until Jan. 2, for example, but have now closed their doors. The more that voters are affected, directly and indirectly, by this stuff, the more they’re going to let their representatives know about it.
So far, Trump appears to have lost a little ground in his ratings, dropping about one percentage point in approval and two in disapproval. Given that the border wall isn’t popular; that most people blame Trump for the shutdown (which is no surprise, since he’s bragged about it); and that Trump himself isn’t popular, it’s likely that over time he’ll continue to bleed support. For that matter, it’s likely that everyone’s ratings will slide as the shutdown drags on. Perhaps Trump won’t believe the polls. But other Republicans will, and after the midterms they can no longer dismiss how toxic Trump can be for their party.
Shortly after Donald Trump entered the White House, his eldest sons announced ambitious plans to open a line of hotels called Scion that would target young, hip customers mostly in places where their father had proved popular with voters.A year and a half later, progress has been slow. The first Scion, in Cleveland, Miss., remains nearly a year from completion. The first two American Idea hotels, in the same area, will not open until later this year.And no projects outside of Mississippi have publicly materialized, giving Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump little to celebrate following a two-year stretch overseeing their father’s business. During that time, the company became the target of federal court cases and lost deals in some markets after partners complained about the brand.
More Cracks Appear In Republican Wall
from the Wall Street Journal full editorial board!!: Trump’s Cracked Afghan History: His falsehoods about allies and the Soviets reach a new low.
President Trump’s remarks on Afghanistan at his Cabinet meeting Wednesday were a notable event. They will be criticized heavily, and deservedly so. The full text is available on the White House website.
JUST IN: Federal Reserve Chairman Powell says he would not resign from his post if President Trump asked him to – @CNBC
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 4, 2019
Republicans, however, are starting to crack. “Despite the broad GOP opposition, two Senate Republicans who are up for reelection in 2020 broke with Trump and party leaders, saying it was time to end the impasse even if Democrats won’t approve border funding,” The Post reported. “The comments from Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — the only Senate Republicans running for reelection in states Trump lost — pointed to cracks within the GOP that could grow as the shutdown nears the two-week mark.”
Equally worrisome for Trump, five House Republicans voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security without the wall; seven voted to fund the remaining parts of the government that are shut down.
Gosh, if Collins, Gardner and just two other Republican senators (Lamar Alexander of Tennessee? Lisa Murkowski of Alaska?) would refuse to confirm any more judges or executive branch appointments until McConnell puts a bill on the floor, they might force the Republican Senate majority leader to do his job.
Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans believe many of his most-common false statements, according to a Fact Checker poll conducted this month. Only among a pool of strong Trump approvers — about 1 in 6 adults in the survey — did large majorities accept several, though not all, of his falsehoods as true.
Similarly, a November Quinnipiac poll found 58 percent of voters saying Trump wasn’t honest, compared with just 36 percent who said he was honest. The same poll found 50 percent saying he is “less honest” than most previous presidents, tying his own record for the highest share of registered voters saying so in Quinnipiac polling.
Blue States Continue to Be Amazing
Millions of U.S. workers will see increased pay in 2019 due to minimum-wage hikes in 20 states and 21 cities.
With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009, many states and cities have taken it upon themselves to raise the rate for the lowest-paid workers.
Eight states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Washington state — are phasing in increases that will eventually put their minimum wages at $12 to $15 an hour, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit that advocates for higher minimum wages.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo took aim at President Trump’s immigration policies on Monday, issuing pardons to 22 immigrants who were at risk of deportation or blocked from citizenship because of criminal convictions.
The governor also commuted the sentences of seven people currently incarcerated.
“While President Trump shuts down the federal government over his obsession with keeping immigrants out, New York stands strong in our support for immigrant communities,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement. “These actions will help keep immigrant families together and take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.”
Before the end of her first day in office on Thursday, Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order directing the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to “swiftly and efficiently” begin implementing voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
A group of Democratic attorneys general are appealing a recent federal court decision overturning Obamacare because the Trump administration has refused to defend the federal health care law
typically, the federal government would be defending a federal law. But the Trump administration has declined to do so, instead filing court briefings that support the Affordable Care Act’s repeal.
This has led a coalition of 17 pro-Obamacare attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, to intervene on the health care law’s behalf, notifying the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday that they would appeal. Documents outlining the attorneys general’s legal arguments in the case will be submitted in the coming weeks and months.
Hope from around the world
Serbians protested against President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party in downtown Belgrade on Saturday.
Thousands of people chanted “Vucic thief” as they marched peacefully through the city center in the fourth such protest in as many weeks. They demanded media freedoms, an end to attacks on journalists and opposition politicians.
Backers of the Alliance for Serbia, an opposition grouping of 30 parties and organizations, say Vucic is an autocrat and his party is corrupt, something its leaders vehemently deny.
Two women in the southern Indian state of Kerala made history Wednesday, defying religious conservatives to enter the Sabarimala Temple, one of Hinduism’s holiest sites.On Tuesday, female protesters, reported to be in the millions, came out in support of women being allowed to enter the temple.Dubbed the “women’s wall,” the protesters formed a human chain, extending an estimated 385 miles across Kerala. Local government organizers said more than five million people took part in the 15-minute peaceful protest.“There were so many women and there wasn’t even space for women to extend arms. If they had extended their arms, the length of the wall would have increased so much that women would be falling in the Arabian Sea,” said Subhashini Ali, a member of the Indian Communist Party that governs Kerala and a participant in the protest.
Happy weekend everyone!