The anti-Pelosi faction received a potential lift Thursday when a veteran member of the Congressional Black Caucus said she would consider challenging Pelosi, helping rebut one of the central criticisms of this rump caucus of agitators: that they had no plan other than toppling Pelosi.
The CBC, which represents about 20 percent of the Democratic caucus, would likely be divided if Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio) follows through with the challenge.
.. Outside advisers to Pelosi believe that the anti-Pelosi wing needs more than just the bare minimum of votes to prevent her from securing 218 votes, with the far greater threat coming from the freshman class that is dominated by female political stars. If many of them announced opposition to Pelosi, it could be a politically mortal wound.
.. in this era of decentralized political forces, more rank-and-file feel free to oppose their party’s leader. These Democratic dissidents are following the footsteps of Republicans who chased one Republican speaker, John A. Boehner, out of office and made life difficult for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
.. Pelosi has deputized the incoming chairman of the Rules Committee, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), to try to produce a new rules package designed to open up the House so that more junior lawmakers can have input through their committees, an olive branch to the incoming freshmen and dozens of ambitious younger Democrats who have felt underutilized in recent years.
Gohmert stated in a House Judiciary Hearing on May 15, 2013, that he believed the FBI did not act with due diligence concerning alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His contention was that the FBI was more interested in Christian groups such as those led by Billy and Franklin Graham than in groups that might be considered less politically correct to target. Attorney General Eric Holder responded to his claims: “The only observation I was going to make is that you state as a matter of fact what the FBI did and did not do. Unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don’t have access to the FBI files … I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know. That’s all”. Gohmert objected to this on the grounds that Holder had “challenge[d]” his character and made several unsuccessful attempts to inject his viewpoint as a point of personal privilege.
.. On January 4, 2015, Gohmert announced he would formally challenge Speaker John Boehner for the Speaker of the House position in the 2015 election. He announced the move on Fox & Friends Weekend. He lost to Boehner two days later, on January 6.
.. Gohmert does not believe in manmade climate change, and has asserted that data supporting the theory is fraudulent.
.. On August 12, 2010, Gohmert appeared on Anderson Cooper 360° to defend comments he had recently made on the floor of the House regarding “terror babies”. In a speech about national security made on the House floor in June 2010, Gohmert stated that a retired FBI agent had told him that one of the things the FBI had been looking at were terrorist cells overseas sending young women to become pregnant so they would deliver the baby in the United States, and then take the baby with them back to be raised as a terrorist. When adult, this operative—a U.S. citizen by birth—could be easily infiltrated in the U.S. to carry out terrorist actions.
.. In the interview, Gohmert asserted that pregnant women from the Middle East are traveling to the US on tourist visas, planning to deliver the child there.
.. Representative Gohmert was one of three Republicans who called for the resignation of Robert Mueller, the prosecutor investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, on the grounds that he can not conduct his investigation fairly because of his conduct as a prosecutor and as acting director of the FBI.
It would be difficult to overestimate the meaning of Paul Ryan’s decision to retire from Congress even as he occupies the office of Speaker of the House. So let’s estimate.
Twice in the past three years, the sitting Speaker has walked away from the office. Ryan only became Speaker because John Boehner, his predecessor, quit rather than suffer through a challenge from the bomb throwers in the Republican House conference. There’s no precedent for this in American history. The Speakership has been one of the most powerful offices in the world. Now it’s apparently more agony than ecstasy for a Republican.
.. A Republican likely won’t be elected speaker after the 2018 midterms. Ryan’s decision suggests he and others have seen enough internal data to know their capacity to hold their 23-seat majority is slipping away.
.. That makes 42 GOP retirements among the 237 Republican members of the 115th Congress—a number vastly higher than any recent Congress’s.
.. the Ryan retirement isn’t just a sign. It’s like a fireball from the sky. And it will occasion more retreats and embolden more Democrats.
.. the GOP is Trump’s party now, not Ryan’s.
.. His mercurial nature and habit of punching down have combined with general GOP support for Trump personally to prevent any such rump from emerging in the Congress. He’s already claimed the scalps of two Republican senators—Bob Corker and Jeff Flake—who attempted to do just that. How did their standing athwart Trump help them or anyone?
.. some of the GOP’s wonkier agenda items are being implemented by the Trump administration–notably, in the sphere of deregulation. So, yes, it’s Trump’s party, but there’s an extent to which it’s also Ryan’s party, the conservative policy wonk’s party. Except, of course, for two big things.
The first big thing is entitlement reform, which is the issue nearest to Ryan’s heart.
.. No matter what happens, no matter the growth of the economy or the glories of #MAGA, the remorseless logic of the actuarial charts showing the government going bankrupt from the cost of Medicare and Medicaid sometime around 2030 is unyielding
.. The second big thing is the massive federal deficit, which is projected to stay above the $1 trillion mark for God knows how long. The bitter irony here is that the Tea Party–whose ab nihilo existence began the Republican resurgence in the House and Senate, and whose anti-Establishment ethos was the precursor to Trump–was obsessed with the idea that Barack Obama was breaking the bank, and rightly so. Now, the Tea Party forms the hard schist of the Republican base, and it’s clearly decided not to hold Trump accountable
Congress would be more bipartisan if the minority party had a say in the selection.
Longtime observers of congressional races believe that when the dust settles in November, the victorious party will have only a slim majority, probably fewer than 10 seats. If so, members determined to create space for bipartisan legislation would be able to use their leverage by withholding their votes for the majority’s candidate for speaker until the candidate agrees to support reforms in the way the House does business.
- .. demand an end to “closed” rules that prevent members from offering floor amendments to contested bills; they could
- ban the consideration of legislative language that members have not had a chance to read and ponder; they could
- insist that both parties be represented in conference committees.
.. After the midterm election of 1922, the Republicans were left with a narrow majority of 225 seats. A small band of Republican progressives refused for eight ballots to support Frederick Gillett, their party’s anointed candidate for speaker, until he agreed to a package of procedural reforms prior to the ninth.
.. As things now stand, successful candidates need only a simple majority of members present and voting for a candidate. Suppose that the threshold were raised to 60%.
.. The odds of achieving bipartisan solutions to pressing problems would increase significantly.