Attorney General William Barr is supposed to testify before Congress twice this week, however, one of those appearances is apparently in jeopardy. Based on current negotiations over his appearance, Barr will likely be a “no-show” at a long-awaited hearing on Thursday before the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee, a source on the committee told Fox News on Sunday.
The emerging spat comes after Barr has endured withering attacks from congressional Democrats, who have outright accused him of sacrificing his integrity to appease President Trump. It was Barr who spearheaded the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report in recent weeks, and he has largely become a punching bag for progressives frustrated that Mueller’s probe found no evidence to back up claims that the Trump team colluded with Russians.
Fox News has learned that Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., wants to have Judiciary Committee staff — rather than members of Congress — question Barr on his handling of Mueller’s report. But DOJ officials say members should conduct the inquiry.
“The attorney general agreed to appear before Congress; therefore Congress does the questioning,” a DOJ official told Fox News.
Not a Done Deal
Discussions about Thursday’s hearing are ongoing, so it is not yet definitive that Barr will not appear as scheduled. Barr is also scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. There have been no objections for Barr to appear before the GOP-led Senate committee, where Barr is expected to face “normal” rounds of member questioning – and not the partisan attacks he would be subject to in Thursday’s testimony before the House Committee.
Justice officials also told the committee that they are opposed to the panel’s plan to go into a closed session if members want to discuss redacted portions of Mueller’s report, a Democratic senior committee aide told The Associated Press.
“Attorney General Barr wasn’t asked to testify before the committee—he offered,” a spokesperson for House Judiciary Committee Republicans told Fox News. “He provided the Mueller report voluntarily. He invited Democrat leaders to view the less redacted report in person. Yet the only thing, apparently, that will satisfy Democrats, who refuse to read the less redacted report, is to have staff pinch hit when a cabinet-level official appears before us.”
The Republican spokesperson added, “What actual precedent is there for our committee making such demands of a sitting attorney general as part of our oversight duties? The attorney general isn’t a fact witness, and this committee’s investigations—as Democrat leadership reminds us daily—don’t constitute impeachment, so Democrats have yet to prove their demands anything but abusive and illogical in light of the transparency and good faith the attorney general has shown our committee.”
It is unusual for committee counsels to question a witness. But committees can generally make their own rules, and other panels have made similar exceptions. In a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year, for example, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee hired an outside prosecutor to question a witness who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
Barr Vs the Democrats
This conflict between Barr and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chair of the House Judiciary Committee, comes as tensions have escalated sharply between House Democrats and the Trump administration over full access to Mueller’s report and government witnesses who have defied congressional subpoenas to testify. Democrats have been eagerly anticipating the hearing with Barr as they try to build on Mueller’s findings with their own investigations into the president.
According to Fox News, House Democrats have subpoenaed the Justice Department for the unredacted version of the Mueller report and underlying material gathered from the investigation. In response, the Justice Department has said they will make the full report, minus grand jury material (which legally must be withheld), available to a limited group of members — an offer that Democrats have so far refused. The dispute could eventually end up in court.
Nadler has also invited Mueller to testify, and subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn. McGahn was a vital witness for Mueller in the report, which recounted the president’s outrage over the Mueller investigation and his efforts to curtail it. The White House has asserted it will fight the McGahn subpoena.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden has now officially entered the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for the presidency, but without a key endorsement.
After weeks of speculation and anticipation, Biden announced his run for president in an online video. But one thing conspicuously absent from his announcement was an endorsement from the man at the top of his former ticket.
After his announcement, Biden was asked why President Obama, isn’t publicly backing him.
“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” Biden told Fox News on Thursday outside an Amtrak station in Delaware, adding that “whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”
But Obama’s people did, however, release a statement praising Biden, but it did fall short of an explicit endorsement of the former VP by his ex-boss of eight years.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said in a statement Thursday morning. “He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”
President Obama Remaining on the Sidelines
According to Obama’s team, the 44th President intends to remain on the sidelines of the quest for the Democratic nomination – at least for the time being.
Sources close to the Obamas have told Fox News that the former president has made clear that he doesn’t plan on endorsing early in the primary process—if at all.
“President Obama is excited by the extraordinary and diverse talent exhibited in the growing lineup of Democratic primary candidates,” a source close to Obama told Fox News. “He believes that a robust primary in 2007 and 2008 not only made him a better general election candidate but a better president, too. And because of that, it’s unlikely that he will throw his support behind a specific candidate this early in the primary process – preferring instead to let the candidates make their cases directly to the voters.”
However, many, such as this reporter, see the non-endorsement as a rejection of Biden by the former president. RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that “Obama has “chosen *not* to endorse his right-hand man.”
However, former communications director for the Democratic National Committee and former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign Mo Elleithee said he doesn’t view the decision as a snub, saying it is appropriate for Obama to remain on the sidelines.
“I think it’s pretty clear that President Obama wants to play a neutral role in the primary process, and there are a number of candidates in this field that he has a relationship with,” Elleithee, a Fox News contributor and executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, told Fox News. “I think he wants to focus more on helping set the table for a successful election for the party, rather than necessarily helping to pick the candidate.”
Elleithee said that Obama has praised a number of candidates in the race, but said “he hasn’t put out a statement like he did for Biden today for anyone else.”
Despite a lack of an Obama endorsement, Biden was met with support quickly after his official announcement. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Penn. and Chris Coons, D-Del., were among the first to officially get behind his campaign.
As for President Trump, he reacted to Biden’s announcement with a classic Trump tweet, “Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign,” Trump tweeted, repeating a nickname he’s tagged Biden with and questioning his intelligence and political aptitude.
In his tweet, Trump also tossed an insult at the rest of the 19 Democrats in the primary contest to be the party’s nominee, saying Biden would be dealing with “people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas.”
A number of members of the White House press corps have called for Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to be removed. Last year, I penned a commentary suggesting that it was then time to replace her. It is now well past the time.
To be perfectly clear, my opinion has nothing to do with the highly politicized reasons given by some of the most disreputable members of the White House scribblers. For them, Sanders is just another person surrounding Trump who should be demonized by the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement within the Fourth Estate.
When it comes to anyone not buying into their pernicious and persistent anti-Trump narrative, the media weapon of choice is character assassination. That is why their contempt and hatred goes beyond Trump and members of his administration to the more than 100 million Americans who they derogatorily refer to as “Trump’s base.”
While they see evil in the work of Sanders, I do not. I think she is a very good person doing a very difficult job – made more difficult by many members of a press corps with all the characteristics of a pack of political jackals.
My reason for replacing Sanders is much more compassionate of the person – but unimpressed with the job she has been doing for quite a long time. I do believe she is doing the best she can, but she is not suited for that role.
It has long been my impression that she is on the defensive too often – and not good even at that. She does not take command of the podium, but rather pushes back occasionally by engaging in what can only be described as bickering. She has a so’s-your-old-man level of engagement that does not put her above the fray. In the defensive mode, she is not persuasive – looking more like a fighter on the ropes.
She may respond, but often does not sell her points effectively – and too often walks into traps set by the more antagonistic members of the White House press corps. She also lacks a sense of humor – even mocking humor. She has no flair for the put-down that is essential in verbal combat. It is the old issue of not what you say, but how you phrase it.
She would do well to learn from President Reagan, who could use both humor and anger with devastating effect. Reagan at the podium was a joy to watch and hear. Sanders elicits more of a wincing pain.
Oddly, the person who seems to have the best attributes for the role of presidential press secretary is Anthony Scaramucci, who survived in the job as White House Communications Director for a mere 10 days because of in-house political intrigue – not his innate communications ability. He still appears regularly on various cable news shows – and remains one of the more articulate and effective defenders and representatives of President Trump and administration policies.
The only reason not to replace Sanders immediately is the fact that it would be interpreted as a chest-pounding victory of the members of the Resistance Movement within the press corps. But it should happen as we get into the headwinds of the 2020 presidential campaign.
So, there ‘tis.
Charges have been dropped against a woman who attacked White House top aide, Kellyanne Conway.
The Maryland woman, Mary Elizabeth Inabinett, 63, was originally charged with assaulting White House counselor Kellyanne Conway during a confrontation last year at a restaurant in a Washington suburb. Inabinett’s trial was scheduled to start Monday morning in Montgomery County, Maryland. Instead, a county prosecutor asked a judge to dismiss the charges.
Police had charged Inabinett last November with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.
Conway declined to comment on the dismissal.
According to Fox News, Conway had told police she was attending a birthday party with her teenage daughter at a Mexican restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, last October when she felt somebody grab her shoulders from behind and shake her. The woman who confronted Conway yelled, “Shame on you” and “other comments believed to be about Conway’s political views,” according to a charging document prepared by Montgomery County police.
According to the court documents, Conway suffered no injuries in the incident.
Montgomery County prosecutor Kathy Knight said Inabinett sent Conway a letter apologizing for the incident. “She has apologized for choosing this time and place to vent her political views,” Knight said. “That was inappropriate.”
Knight noted Inabinett had never been arrested for a crime before.
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said dropping the charges is “the best resolution for this particular set of circumstances.”
Maraya Pratt, an attorney for Inabinett, said Monday that she couldn’t immediately comment. Another attorney for Inabinett, William Alden McDaniel, Jr., said in a statement in February that his client didn’t assault Conway and was merely exercising her right to express her personal opinions about a public figure in a public place.
While Conway did not comment on the dismissal, in an earlier interview with CNN after the incident, she said she was standing next to her middle school-aged daughter and some of her daughter’s friends when the woman began shaking her “to the point where I thought maybe somebody was hugging me.” She said it felt “weird” and “a little aggressive,” so she turned around to face the woman.
“She was just unhinged. She was out of control,” she said. “Her whole face was terror and anger.”
According to the Associated Press, the restaurant’s manager told police the woman who confronted Conway had to be forcibly removed from the premises. Conway told police the woman yelled and gestured at her for 8 to 10 minutes before she was escorted out of the restaurant. Conway’s daughter provided officers with a short video clip and photograph of the encounter.
As the field of Democratic nominees for 2020 continues to grow, enthusiasm for the once wildly popular, Beto O’Rourke may be shrinking.
Once the seemingly heir apparent to Obama’s youth and charismatic charm, O’Rourke saw firsthand what it’s like to be just another presidential candidate during a sleepy town hall event last week as the enthusiasm and star power he sought to generate hit a grounding snag in Iowa.
The former Texas congressman, gave a stump speech to a sparse crowd of fewer than 120 students at the University of Iowa. Even though Beto arrived nearly 30 minutes late, the student union ballroom remained less than half filled as the candidate walked in to give his pitch to families and retirees before taking questions. Given the nature of the questions by the few in attendance, it seemed that many in the audience were far from committed to the presidential hopeful.
Smaller Crowds for Beto Than Expected
A number of attendees remarked to the conservative leaning Washington Examiner that O’Rourke’s crowd was smaller than they anticipated, particularly in a city of 75,000 with a major university. The crowd was less than half the size of audiences drawn by O’Rourke’s rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, at similar events in smaller towns.
Some high school students appeared to have ulterior motives for being there. Julian Wallace, 18, was clad in O’Rourke garb but told the Examiner that he was only wearing it as proof for an extra-credit assignment. His friend Aaron, 17, seemed to be sizing up the competition for his preferred candidate, saying he thought O’Rourke lacked the “big ideas” of former tech executive Andrew Yang.
Others in attendance said they were there just to hear the perspective of other candidates. One woman in the audience asked O’Rourke how he planned to define himself from all the others in the race.
“We’re shopping, we’re open to other candidates. Wanted to see Beto in person,” a woman named Kelly, who was in the crowd with her husband, told the Examiner.
O’Rourke’s campaign didn’t give a final tally, but the crowd appeared to be significantly smaller than those that fellow nomination-seeker Sanders garnered in other towns across eastern Iowa. Several hundred of people crammed into rooms filled to capacity to see the 77-year-old independent senator from Vermont. According to observers at the event, perhaps only as many as 150 at the most listened to O’Rourke speak in Iowa City.
With candidates like South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg now leading O’Rourke in the polls, his youth no longer gives him an easy contrast with frontrunners — former Vice President Joe Biden or Senator Sanders. While O’Rourke stresses how he’s constantly learning on the campaign trail, many voters find Buttigieg’s thoughtful style more attractive.
Despite an early rising star, recent surveys of Iowa voters place O’Rourke towards the bottom of declared Democratic candidates, at 5%, according to the Real Clear Politics average. Buttigieg currently leads O’Rourke in the state at 11%, according to a recent Emerson poll.
Iowa will hold the first vote of the 2020 primaries.
April may bring with it spring flowers in bloom, but there is something else that continues to pop up like weeds – 2020 Democratic Candidates!
Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio just announced that he is throwing his name into the already crowded 2020 field of Democratic candidates that, with Ryan, now boasts over a dozen – and still growing.
Ryan made his announcement on the web just before appearing on ABC’s daytime talk show “The View” to discuss his candidacy. Ryan says he plans to hold an official campaign kickoff rally with local union leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, on the 6th, which his campaign says is “a celebration of his longstanding ties with the working-class community and an indication of the kind of labor-friendly campaign he plans to wage.”
When asked by NBC News what sets him apart from other Democrats running for president, Ryan pointed to his ideas to rehabilitate the economy, adding that thinks he can win the Rust Belt states that President Donald Trump flipped in 2016.
“I believe in the free enterprise system,” Ryan added. “I think we’re not going to solve these national problems without them, but I also believe that we need to reform government and get the government working because I think government can be instrumental.”
In a statement that bemoaned the impact of globalization and technology on the working class, Ryan, a political centrist, said he was committed to uniting the country and invigorating the economy “with a renewed respect for the dignity of work.”
Ryan Says He Is Running to “Restore Dignity”
“I’m running for president because we have a real shot at uniting again — to restore the dignity of work and the feasibility of the American Dream,” he said in a statement to the press. “We have a chance to once again unite this country under our core principles and ideals.”
“We can restore the dignity of a secure retirement and respect for those who shower after work,” his statement continued. “We can lift our children to reach higher, to seek academic and vocational excellence. We can climb out of our vicious cycle of insidious debt and reach higher, competing together in a global market — not against one another here at home.”
Ryan, 45, was first elected to Congress in 2002 and has been a long-term fixture in the House Appropriations Committee. As a lawmaker from Ohio’s automobile manufacturer region, Ryan has free trade and taking on China a central theme of his congressional career.
The Ohio lawmaker was widely seen as one of the instrumental people in delivering House Democrats their congressional majority in 2018, actively campaigning and fundraising for competitive seats throughout the Midwest and beyond that ended in wins for his party. Ryan is probably best known as the member of the House who led the unsuccessful revolt against Nancy Pelosi in 2016.
The White House has not released any reaction to Ryan’s announcement yet, however, many think of all of those in the crowded democratic field, he has the best shot of flipping the “rust belt” back blue, so President Trump ought to keep his eye on Ryan.
Ryan joining the race makes him the 17th major candidate seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher accused of war crimes will be transferred to a “less restrictive” prison until his trial, President Trump said recently. “In honor of his past service to our Country, Navy Seal #EddieGallagher will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement while he awaits his day in court,” Trump tweeted. “Process should move quickly!”
According to reporting by the New York Post, Gallagher has been held in the Navy’s high-security brig in San Diego since September on an array of charges, including stabbing a wounded prisoner of war to death and shooting at civilians unprovoked, while on one of his eight deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Republican lawmakers have been pressing the Navy to free Gallagher ahead of his June trial date.
“He risked his life serving abroad to protect the rights of all of us here at home,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina) said on during a recent guest appearance on Fox and Friends.
GOP Supports Calls for Leniency for Gallagher
According to Fox News, Gallagher is facing premeditated murder and aggravated assault charges stemming from the alleged war crimes. He has spent six months of detention at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California. He is not expected to emerge until the start of his war crimes trial on May 28.
Trump’s tweets regarding more lenient treatment for Gallagher have significant support by the GOP. Trump referenced Norman’s Fox and Friends appearance, where he repeated Norman’s words saying, “they’ve got him in with rapists, they’ve got him in with pedophiles.”
Speaking to the host, Norman also said, “This man spent 20 years of his life, he spent 15 of it as a SEAL, he volunteered to serve this country overseas not once, not twice, but eight times and the least they can do is have him in confinement if they need be and let him have, medical treatment, let him get his proper legal defense team together.”
Norman’s comments come after Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw — who lost sight in his right eye after being hit by an IED explosion in Afghanistan — and 17 other House Republicans sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy this month raising concerns that Gallagher has been receiving limited access to food, medical care and his legal team.
“Chief Gallagher is a decorated warfighter who, like all service members, is entitled to the presumption of innocence while awaiting court-martial,” the Republicans wrote in their letter to Richard Spencer.
President Trump has just revealed that he believes that the Mueller report should be made public. Which indicates that the president is confident that the investigation will wrap up without finding any clear evidence of collusion between his 2016 campaign and the Russian government.
Trump made that statement while speaking to the media as he was headed for Ohio. While he said he felt the results of the Mueller probe should be made public, the president continued to tear into the investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 election by calling it “ridiculous” and that it was being conducted by a “nobody.” However, he said he wants to see its findings nonetheless.
According to Fox News, Trump’s comments come less than a week after the House passed a resolution to encourage Attorney General William Barr to release the report’s findings to both Congress and the country amid fears that information about the investigation would not be made public. The resolution enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support and passed in a floor vote 420-0, with only four Republicans voting present.
Following that resolution, Trump sent out an angry tweet, calling the Mueller investigation “illegal” and that “Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win.”
Mueller Investigation Close to Concluding
Many believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is very close to concluding and that his report is imminent. Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, as well as the White House, are planning for any number of outcomes.
The latest signal that the investigation could be coming to a close is the expected departure of top prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who led the charge on the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. As of this week, Manafort will face 81 months in prison.
Trump’s apparent change of heart on making the results of the investigation public, send a pretty clear signal that the report will indicate what he has been saying all along, that there is no clear evidence of a conspiracy between Russia and his 2016 campaign. According to anonymous White House sources, Trump and his advisers are already considering how to use those possible findings in the president’s favor for the 2020 race.
In any case, and no matter what the report holds, it is still ultimately up to newly appointed attorney general, William Barr to decide what if any part of the findings are made public.
Enough turncoat Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues the other day in voting to block President Trump’s border emergency declaration. While President Trump probably had two choice words for those who voted against him, he replied simply with one – tweeting “VETO” after the vote. This will be the first veto of his presidency.
The White House said Trump likely would issue the veto on March 15.
According to Fox News, the measure passed 59-41 as a dozen Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the resolution, despite White House efforts to keep the GOP united on the issue of border security. Those GOP members who backed the resolution cited concerns about the expansion of presidential powers.
Not surprisingly one of those Republican’s was Mitt Romney. “I’m going to be voting in favor of the resolution of disapproval,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters ahead of the vote. “This is a constitutional question, it’s a question of the balance of power that is core to our constitution.”
“This is not about the president or border security, in fact, I support border security, I support a barrier,” he said.
Other Republicans Who Parted With Trump on Border Security
In the run-up to the vote, the Trump administration was urging the GOP not to vote against the president. Speaking on “Fox and Friends” Vice President Mike Pence said, “A vote against the president’s national emergency declaration is a vote to deny the humanitarian and security crisis that’s happening at our southern border. So we’re urging every member of the Senate set politics aside to recognize that we have a crisis.”
However, given the results of the vote, clearly there were those who did not get the message. You could add these names to the growing list of RINOs who do not support the president, and remember them when it comes time for primary challenges. The other Republicans who voted to oppose the declaration were Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., had said he would oppose the declaration but reversed course on the Senate floor, saying that he was “sympathetic” to Trump’s push to deal with the crisis at the border.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., before the vote, said he “takes his hat off” to Republicans voting with Democrats, while accusing Trump of “going around Congress” with the declaration.
“This is a momentous day,” he said, declaring that the balance of power was shifting back toward Congress.
It is all pointless political theater in any case, as the measure heads next to Trump’s desk, having previously passed the House. However, Trump plans to veto, and it’s unlikely the House and Senate could muster the required two-thirds majority to override his first use of his veto powers.
When you look at the congressional calendar for 2019, it is difficult not to have mixed feelings. It all depends on whether you subscribe the Founders’ concept of a part-time legislature composed of people from all walks of life or the more modern notion of a full-time legislature composed mostly of lawyers as political professionals.
The one thing that can be factually determined is that our national legislature does not like to hang around Washington too often. According to the 2019 Legislative Calendar, the Republican-led Senate will be in session for 158 days of the year.
The Democrat-led House has reduced their time in Washington to 122 days. This seems surprising since the newly empowered Democrats have been bragging about all the legislative work they have to accomplish – not to mention all those investigations of President Trump.
The Senate will be open for business with 25, five-day work weeks throughout the year. The House will have only one five-day work week for the entire year. The House will have a one-week recess every month, except for April and December, when they will have a two-week recess and June when they will actually be in session for four weeks.
Now get this. The House Democrat leadership says they are “offsetting” that four-week work month in June by extending the August recess from July 27 to September 8. They actually say July 29 to September 6 because they do not count the two weekend days at both ends. In fact, they recess on July 26 and return to work on September 9. There are no sessions for the House in August while the Senate puts in two days at the beginning before joining the House in recess for the remainder of the month.
And do not expect the House members to put in any overtime on the days they are in session. According to the Democrat calendar, there will no longer be any “late-night” votes – except for spending bills. That makes sense when you consider how Democrats love to spend taxpayer money. God forbid that they should go past the clock on matters like immigration reform, healthcare, justice reform or any of the myriad of other issues that impact the lives of we the people.
There is another dirty little secret in the schedule. So that legislators do not have to show up on the first day of a session – and can catch early flights on the last day — the first-day session will not begin until 6:30 p.m. and no votes will be scheduled after 3:00 p.m. on the last day of the session. And since they say that there will be no … none … zero … late-night sessions, you can safely consider the first day and the last day as merely another day of recess. That adds another 60-plus days of recess even as the official schedule shows the members in session – doing the work of the people.
According to Maryland Democrat and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the reduced time in Washington is out of deference to all the new members of Congress. Personally, I do not get it. Is Hoyer suggesting that the newbies are too fragile to handle the pressure of actual governing? In announcing the reduced schedule, Hoyer said:
“As we welcome a large class of new members, many with young families, next year’s schedule is focused on balancing time in Washington with time for Members to conduct work in their districts and spend time with their families.”
Work in their districts? Time with their families? Hoyer seems to have forgotten the most important activities when these legislators are back home – campaigning and fundraising. Because of the strict rules on campaign activities and raising money – which is not allowed on government property — it is very difficult to perform those activities from their offices in the Capitol Hill compound.
Of course, the members of Congress will tell you that being in the district or the home state is part of the job – and indeed it is. But we might be better off if they had jobs other than politics – as the Founders envisioned. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a congressman say that when he got back to the district, he had to ploy the back-forty or a congresswoman say she had to run her greeting card shop?
Of course, there is that theory that the less time our representatives are in Washington, the better. We have to keep on mind that essentially they perform only two functions – spend our money and restrict our freedoms. There is a reason that the Founders drafted a Constitution that protects our liberties from … an oppressive federal government.
So, there ‘tis