The 115th’s First Week

The issues playing out during the first week of the 115th Congress.

The mommy and daddy legislators packed lunches in leather backpacks and carted the rugrats to the Capitol. There was crying and separation anxiety and some had to change their pants after wetting themselves. Ah, they grow up so fast.

The Ethics Reform Ironies

Although they quickly backtracked, the House tried to gut ethics reform. The debacle highlighted how hypocritical and tone-deaf the legislators truly are. They had the gall to complain about their treatment at the hands of independent oversight, while they continue to ignore the plight of indigent defendants in criminal courts and civil courts throughout the country. Moreover, the Republican members gladly hounded the executive-branch with oversight attacks without a second thought to issues like due process or press overreach.

Meanwhile, folks called about it, then Trump tweeted against it, and then it went away. But for all the folks dealing with a case against them that can’t afford proper representation, Trump is silent and the House is making no first-day efforts to ease their burdens.

Does Trump deserve credit for being outraged with everybody else? Sure. Good job. But he also said the office was unfair, suggesting it needs reform. Again, fine. But what about criminal justice reform, specifically ensuring all defendants have access to equal justice and due process? Even the media hasn’t connected those dots, much less Trump. I’ll be waiting for Trump’s tweet about that.

Go ahead, reform the guard dogs at the Capitol. But you damn well better fix the other guard dogs while you’re at it.

Repeal and Retire to Be a Lobbyist?

The efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are underway, with the Senate clearing their hurdles and committees gearing up to write reconciliation language that will gut the health insurance law. A replacement will likely be left for future members of congress, as it seems reasonable that the current crop will run to the refuge of lobbying jobs as soon as possible upon recognition that replacing the law (or even finishing a repeal) is a task they are not suited for.

Trump Uproots Ambassadors’ Families, but Not His Own

As has been widely covered, Trump’s wife and his youngest male heir will remain where they currently reside while Trump moves to the capital, but now we know he doesn’t offer the same courtesy to the families of ambassadors who may not be replaced for months. Hip-hip-hypocrisy! (Though the common misspelling, hypocracy, might actually fit in this case.)

Cutting Peoples’ Healthcare to Pay for the Wall

Republicans and the Trump administration are planning to re-fund a dusty plan from the Bush years to build hundreds of miles of barriers along the southern border. The money they are cutting from health care is basically going to be redirected to build the wall. They are robbing Peter of healthcare to pay for a wall to keep Pablo out.


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