Tea Party Patriots Action Weekly Report from Washington 05/04/20
The Senate will return Monday, May 4. The House may return the week of May 11.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared several weeks ago that the Senate would return to work on Monday, May 4, and he even scheduled a roll call vote for 5:30 PM to make sure everyone knew he was serious.
On Monday of last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that, after consulting with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, she had decided that the House of Representatives, too, would return to work in Washington on Monday, May 4.
She then got on a conference call with her House Democrat colleagues and was roundly criticized by virtually all of them. They all said it was way too early to come back. There was nothing to vote on yet – no so-called “Phase Four” or “CARES 2” bill had yet been introduced, let alone negotiated – so there was no urgent need to return. And if there was no urgent need to return, they argued, then the House should NOT return.
So on Tuesday, Pelosi reversed herself and said the House would NOT return on Monday, May 4. And then, two days later, on April 30, she said that the House might return to work the week of May 11 to consider new coronavirus relief legislation.
Well, it’s been more than three years, but it sure looks like there’s now evidence in the public record that indicates that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn – President Trump’s first National Security Advisor, and the holder of the world record for shortest tenure in that position, as he was fired less than a month into the job – was set up by bad actors at the top levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On Wednesday, federal District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan unsealed documents provided to Flynn’s defense attorneys last week. The documents reveal the internal brainstorming that took place at the senior-most level of the FBI in January 2017 about how to move further on the investigation into Flynn that should have been shut down weeks earlier, when the FBI concluded Flynn was no agent of the Russian government.
Since Flynn agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, he has fired his old lawyers and retained new counsel. He is now seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, on the grounds that his former counsel gave him bad legal advice. Justice Department lawyers have told Judge Sullivan they are considering that request.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have turned over to Flynn’s lawyers 11 more pages of documents. On Twitter, Flynn’s lawyer described the new documents as “even more appalling” than the documents she received last week.
Gideon John Tucker, born in New York in 1826, was 40 years old when, writing in a decision of a will case as the Surrogate of New York County, he declared that “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” He was right, of course – when a legislature is in session, there’s absolutely no telling what the assembled politicians might decide to do. And though he did not say it explicitly, the inverse of Tucker’s axiom – that while the legislature is OUT of session, every man’s life, liberty and property ARE safe – seems a reasonable inference.
Consequently, those of us who jealously guard our lives, liberty, and property feel far more comfortable when the legislature is not in session.
So count it as another scar on the body politic caused by the coronavirus crisis that we may no longer feel safe when the legislature is not in session – because the coronavirus crisis has given rise to a new form of threat: legislative action without a legislature in session.
If you go back to the first coronavirus response bill – H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, which passed the House under Suspension of the Rules on March 4 – and then count forward, through the next three coronavirus response bills, what you see is four bills that will spend $8 billion, $100 billion, $2.2 trillion, and then $500 billion in succession, for a total spend of more than $2.8 trillion.
Not a single one of those bills was subject to a committee hearing in either chamber. Not a single one of those bills was subject to a committee markup session, where committee members could offer amendments or argue over various provisions. Instead, all those bills were negotiated by the leaders of the two parties in the two chambers and with the Secretary of the Treasury – all while the legislature was out of session. And while the House came back on two occasions to at least have half the body indicate its assent, the Senate acted by unanimous consent, negating the need for even half the body to travel back to Washington.
So, thanks to the coronavirus crisis, we are now making law – laws that threaten our lives, our liberties, and our properties – without benefit of a legislature, which means, for all intents and purposes, without any elected officials we can really hold accountable.
Food for thought.
Meanwhile, Leader McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced last week that the price for their consideration of the next coronavirus response bill will be to include in it liability protections for businesses, health care workers, and others, so as to avoid a potential calamity when thousands of trial lawyers get their greedy mitts on coronavirus victims and victims’ families. Of course, given that the trial bar is one of the three legs on which the modern Democratic Party sits (the other being Big Labor and the Abortion Lobby), this might be difficult.
McConnell also told his Senate Republican colleagues that he will oppose any Trump Administration attempt to include funding for a massive infrastructure bill in any further coronavirus response legislation, and he encouraged them to join him in his opposition. So that’s apparently off the table, too.
On the down side, Speaker Pelosi – who only reluctantly backed off her demand for additional funding for state and local governments in the last coronavirus response bill, and promised that she would come back for more in the next response bill – declared that she would be seeking not a quarter trillion dollars, not a half a trillion dollars, but an even trillion dollars for state and local governments in the next funding bill.
Remember, the Democrats are trying to use the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to bail out big blue states that were fiscally reckless over the last few decades. Leader McConnell isn’t about to let this happen, and it appears he may have swayed the president to his side.
So at this point, we still do not have a firm idea of what exactly is going to be in the next coronavirus response bill. But I think I’m not going too far out on the limb to say whatever is in it, it’s going to be big, and it’s going to be done with money stolen from our children and our children’s children.
Call last week “Tara Reade Week” and you wouldn’t be far off.
After more than a month of refusing to respond directly to the allegation that he sexually assaulted a former Senate staffer of his, former Vice President Joe Biden spent Friday morning of last week appearing live on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to take direct questions. The first 20 minutes or so of the interview were conducted by Mika Brzezinski, daughter of Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor and wife of show host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough.
Biden flat out denied his former staffer’s allegation: “No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened … Believing women means taking the woman’s claim seriously,” he said, before adding, “But in the end, in every case, the truth is what matters. And in this case, the truth is, the claims are false.”
Biden called on the National Archives to release a complaint related to Reade’s allegation if such a complaint could be found in the Archives. He insisted that his personal papers – which he donated to the University of Delaware – would not have any such complaint, because his personal papers did not contain personnel records.
But Friday afternoon his campaign backtracked, sending a letter to the secretary of the Senate, saying that such personnel records “would have remained under the control of the Senate,” before requesting “a search for the alleged complaint” and other documents related to the allegation that might be held in the records of the secretary of the Senate.
Stay tuned. There will be more to come.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:
CORONAVIRUS SECOND THOUGHTS:
CORONAVIRUS STATE BAILOUTS: