The Truth Report: Chaos in Congress
Welcome to The Truth Report, I’m Barry Nussbaum.
It would seem that the protest that began with the women’s march on Donald Trump’s first full day in office has now spread to the halls of Congress. We all remember the “never Trump” movement that we thought would end with the election in November. Well, guess what? It’s here as strong as ever, and now has spread to the halls of Congress! This past week we have seen behavior by the Democrats in Congress that is unprecedented in recent political history.
While in the past, cabinet nominations and the subsequent hearings in the Senate have proceeded fairly smoothly without much political infighting, the events of the past few weeks are rewriting that history. Today’s Truth Report is going to tell you the story of what is going on in both Houses of Congress and together we will try to make some sense out of this mess.
First, history was made during the confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education nominee Betsy Davos. After a very aggressive examination by the Senate, 100% of the Democratic members of the Senate lined up against her, along with the addition of one Republican. So, half the Senators voted against the nomination, resulting in a tie vote. For the first time in American history the Vice President was called to the Senate to place a vote to break the tie. After Vice President Pence’s affirmative vote, Betsy Davos was confirmed as Education Secretary. In the entire history of the United States there had never been an occasion where a cabinet nominee needed to be confirmed with the vote of the Vice President of the United States because the Senate could not muster 51% approval
So why the battle over this nomination? Simply put, Davos came to national prominence as a proponent of both school vouchers and charter schools. Both of these alternatives to traditional public education are strongly opposed by the very powerful national teacher’s unions and their lobbies. Keep in mind that the U.S. educational system is profoundly lagging when ranked on the world stage. In 2006 American students ranked dead last, 25th out of 25, in math and 21st out of 30 in science. Overall the United States ranks 14th out of the 40 ranked countries. The top ten countries are:
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom
With our past achievements so horribly non-effective, it would seem logical that somebody from outside the system with some different approaches would be welcome, you would think! My gosh could anybody do a worse job? According to the Democrats in the Senate, Betsy Davos would have been worse! Thanks to the vote of the Vice President securing her confirmation, now we’re going to get to find out.
Second, the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general created a similar firestorm in the Senate. In spite of his lengthy and reputable career in the Senate and previously as a U.S. attorney and attorney general of Alabama. Sessions was branded as racist by Dems in the Senate. Numerous African American former staff members of Senator Sessions testified that having worked with him for years on a daily basis, and watching him in office prosecuting racist groups such as the clan in Alabama he never exhibited a racist comment or behavior. Those testimonies didn’t sway the Democrats in the Senate. One Democrat in particular made history during the Sessions hearings. Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts, was silenced by the Senate and not allowed to continue speaking for the duration of the confirmation procedure due to her breaking Senate protocol in the way she insulted Senator Sessions. As Warren was reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about Sessions, Senator McConnell of Kentucky, while presiding over the Senate, cited rule 19, which states that “no Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” Warren ignored the rule, and was then cut off for her bad behavior. In the 100 or so years of the rule, it has not been previously used like this before.
Senator Marco Rubio gave an overview of the problem in the Senate with these words: “I want people to think about our politics here in America, because I’m telling you guys that I don’t know of a single nation in this history of the world that’s been able to solve its problems when half the people in the country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country. This is the most important country in the word, and people in this body cannot function if people are offending one another and that’s why those rules are in place.”
- The crazy behavior is not confined to the Senate. Check out this speech by Maxine Waters, the Democratic Congresswoman from Los Angeles. In this speech, she is justifying her previous statement that Trump should be impeached for being friendly to Russian President Putin.
Yes, you heard the Congresswoman correctly. She just said that because President Trump is talking to President Putin, and President Putin has invaded Korea, therefore President Trump should be impeached. My goodness. Just to clarify President Trump has gotten rather tough on Putin over the past week, and second, Russia under Putin has not invaded Korea! Maybe the Congresswoman should get a geography lesson from one of her staff members and learn the difference between Crimea and Korea. With comments such as this, is it any wonder Congress is held in such low esteem by the public?
The nutty behavior by the anti-Trump Congress has other extraordinary examples. Check out this week’s speech by former Speaker of the House and now minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
Yep, you just heard the ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives tell America that she can’t get along with President Bush. Is it amazing that no one corrects her during the speech in spite of the fact that President Bush has been out of office for 8+ years?
- The cabinet is the President of the United States’ staff. Traditionally the nominations to the staff positions by the President are routinely confirmed by the Senate. The business of the President is severely restricted without those staff members in place. At 20 days into his administration, President Obama had 13 of 15 cabinet members chosen and confirmed by the Senate. At a similar time in the Trump administration just six of the President’s 15 staff members have been approved for their cabinet positions! Why? Because the Democrats in the Senate have vowed publicly to slow down the confirmation hearings as long as possible to stop the President from moving forward on his agenda! Not only do they not make a secret about this, they are bragging about it in press conferences and all over social media.
Ironically in 2013 Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (now the minority leader) made a speech basically saying that when someone is elected President they should be able to choose their own cabinet and, that cabinet should be confirmed expeditiously. He made this speech in support of then President Obama’s picks for his cabinet as an encouragement to the Republicans in the Senate to not delay the approval of Obama’s choices. The Republicans listened and Obama’s choices were fairly quickly confirmed. Four years later, Schumer now brags that they will do everything possible to block every single nomination as long as possible even though with a Republican-controlled Senate actually stopping any nomination is extremely unlikely.
So, there you have it America, kindergarten tactics have come to the U.S. Congress. The good news is you can do something about it. The bad news is, you will have to wait until November 2018 to do it when you next vote. In the meantime, let Congress know that playing these games is not advancing the people’s business.
Stay in touch, we will be following up on this story! You can handle the truth, we intend to bring it to you! I’m Barry Nussbaum.