Warning that U.S. democracy is at stake, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed a congressional committee on Thursday to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a historic step setting up a fight over whether to oust him from office.
In a dramatic televised statement, Pelosi accused the Republican president of abusing his power and alluded to Britain’s King George III, the monarch against whom the American colonies rebelled in forming the United States in 1776, saying that in the United States, “the people are the king.”
The nation is in a December meltdown that is causing polarization and pain for both parties and all three branches of government as well as for America and its allies. Distrust and dissension were on full display this week abroad and on Capitol Hill.
Should the House impeach as expected, it appears as of now there will be no GOP votes in favor, fueling the partisan divide and the red and blue voter camps supporting the two sides. An acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate – which also appears likely at this stage – would mean the entire episode would result in no immediate changes in the political players who have been battling since Trump took office.
SNAP is designed to expand during economic downturns, and in doing so, it offers nutrition assistance to low-income families and also provides economicstimulus to communities and the economy as a whole. Accordingly, the USDA’s final rule has greatly weakened a crucial part of the safety net for vulnerable populations and one of the most effective recession-fighting tools in the fiscal policy toolkit.
Work requirements are imposed on those who are otherwise eligible for SNAP but who are between the ages of 18 and 49, not disabled, and do not have dependents (“able-bodied without dependents” [ABAWD]). ABAWD work requirements inhibit SNAP from expanding rapidly during economic downturns as it becomes more difficult to find a job and satisfy the work requirement. This constraint makes SNAP a less-effective automatic stabilizer.
Unlike many other issues in the capital, politics was not the major obstacle. Infrastructure is famously nonpartisan in Washington, where both sides of the aisle regularly exchange ideas on transportation, water, and broadband policy. At different times over the past three years, House and Senate leadership expressed support for putting infrastructure debates on the legislative calendar.
We would suggest a different culprit. Washington could not deliver reform because Congress and the administration failed to commit to a process to rethink and redesign current law. Key parties agreed to do something, but they never actually debated what that something should be. Three years later, there is still no clarity on what “reform” even means.
To enact genuine reform—legislation that completely reshapes the government’s approach to infrastructure programming, funding, and regulation—federal leaders must be willing to revisit the fundamental goals the country’s infrastructure systems intend to achieve and honestly assess whether current policies share those objectives.
Not only is the Judiciary Committee larger than the Intelligence Committee, but its membership also tends to be more ideologically extreme. Using a standard political science measure of congressional ideology—where negative values correspond to more liberal members and positive values to more conservative ones—we see that the average Judiciary Committee Democrat (-0.45) is more liberal than his or her typical colleague of the same party on the Intelligence Committee (-0.34) and in the chamber as a whole (-0.37); the same holds true for Republicans (0.62, 0.48, and 0.51, respectively).
The Reagan Administration had one obvious legal problem with its potential new strategy: Congress had never authorized any centralized federal office to oversee the mass of federal regulation. Congress hands rulemaking assignments to individual agencies, not to OMB. Hence, it would be the job of career lawyers like myself, along with our supervisors, to meld the new system as much as possible with laws that Congress had already passed.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has overlaid the Reagan-Clinton system with two additional sets of requirements that are unlawful and unwise, and which operate in even greater obscurity. They appear in an early Trump executive order, now being challenged in court.
That order imposed two new mandates. One is called regulatory budgeting. An agency’s regulatory budget is actually an arbitrary ceiling that Trump’s OIRA places on the total economic cost that the agency is allowed to impose in a single year through all of its new regulations.
The premise of the program is that compliance costs are a burden on the economy and, therefore, aggregate cost ceilings will improve the economy.
For the current fiscal year, OIRA is using the cost ceiling mandate to require agencies to actually produce negative regulatory cost. That is, the costs of new regulations must be more than offset by savings from regulations canceled.
In the weeks since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Sept. 24 decision to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump for using the power of his presidency to press a foreign country–Ukraine–to investigate a political rival, the Trump campaign hasn’t run from Pelosi’s impeachment push or settled into a defensive crouch.
Campaign officials instead are leaning into the impeachment threat, using it to mobilize supporters and try to extract a political price–and millions of dollars in fundraising–from the Democrats’ move.
One of the single most powerful weapons in the Trump campaign’s arsenal has been Facebook, which–unlike many TV stations and newspapers–does not monitor candidates’ political ads for veracity.
It seems the founders had a preternatural sense that at some point in our nation’s history, one party would become so overtaken by the cult of personality of a corrupt leader that they would surrender all judgment and backbone in the service of that leader, and that it would take the guts and valor of the other party, without regard to what it may mean politically, to hold that leader to account, as is their constitutional duty.
That’s exactly what Democrats are doing.
Just how stupid does Trump and the Republicans think the public is?
The committee is home to members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Louie Gohmert of Texas, leaders of key conservative groups like Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mike Johnson of Louisiana, and firebrands who have a flair for the dramatic like Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
All of them are fierce defenders of President Donald Trump, and all are promising to hold nothing back as the impeachment proceedings shift from the House Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary panel.