Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Postmaster General Doesn’t Know What It Costs To Mail A Postcard

August 25, 2020

Postmaster General Doesn't Know What It Costs To Mail A Postcard

At a House Oversight Committee meeting on Monday, Rep. Katie Porter (D, CA-45) asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy what it costs to mail a postcard:

“‘I don’t know,’ he said.

When a surprised Porter shot back, ‘you don’t know the cost to mail a postcard,’ DeJoy laughed and confirmed, ‘I don’t.’ As Porter continued to ask some pricing questions, DeJoy admitted, ‘I know very little about postage stamps.’ He also said he doesn’t know the starting rate for USPS priority mail, and he couldn’t estimate how many people voted by mail in the last presidential election.”

— “Postmaster general admits he doesn’t know what it costs to mail a postcard,” Brendan Morrow, The Week

Someone please tell Mr. DeJoy that postcards mail for 35 cents.

More:

“Katie Porter Reveals Just How Little Louis DeJoy Knows About the Mail,” Abigail Weinberg, Mother Jones

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DC Statehood

June 30, 2020

DC Statehood

On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 232-180, approved legislation granting statehood to Washington, D.C. The District’s 700,000 citizens, who pay federal income taxes, do not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress. This bill, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the chief executive, would rectify that. In our current polarized political climate, those next two steps are unlikely to occur, but an election is looming.

The 51st state would still be known as Washington DC, but DC would stand for “Douglass Commonwealth,” in honor of long time resident Frederick Douglass, crusading abolitionist, orator, and publisher, who himself escaped from bondage. “District of Columbia” would refer to the area of monuments and federal buildings.

Washington DC has more residents than Wyoming and Vermont, and about the same population as North Dakota; each of those has a vote in the U.S. House and two in the Senate, and DC would get the same. The populations of Wyoming and North Dakota are about 90% White and Vermont is even whiter; DC is 46% African American. Perhaps that explains the Senate and White House reluctance to grant DC statehood. Every other excuse is just noise.

More:

“D.C. statehood approved by U.S. House for first time in history,” Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post

“In Historic Vote, House Approves Statehood for the District of Columbia,” Emily Cochrane, New York Times.

“In Historic First, The House Of Representatives Passes D.C. Statehood Bill,” Nathan Diller, DCist

“DC is closer to becoming a state now than it has ever been,” Ian Millhiser, Vox

“Six Colossally Stupid Arguments Against DC Statehood,” Jane Recker, Washingtonian

“Trump Is Exploiting D.C.’s Lack of Statehood,” Quinta Jurecic, The Atlantic

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The Military Could Tip the Census Scales

June 8, 2020

How members of the active-duty military are counted in the 2020 Census could change the apportioned representation of states in congress, explains CQ Roll Call reporter Michael Macagnone.

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House Votes to Condemn Trump’s Racist Tweets

July 17, 2019

House Votes to Condemn Trump's Racist Tweets

On Tuesday the U.S. House of Representatives voted to condemn recent racist comments by President Donald J. Trump. Congressional rules prevented members from calling Mr. Trump a racist, but that shouldn’t stop you.

From H. RES. 489
Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.
July 15, 2019

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.

Read the whole resolution here.

Related:

“Trump’s Tweets So Clearly Racist It’s Spelled Out In Discrimination Law,” Matt Shuham, TalkingPointsMemo

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Trump’s Nightmare: Mueller to Testify Publicly on July 17th

June 27, 2019

Trump's Nightmare: Mueller to Testify on July 17th

Responding to a a subpoena, former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will testify in open hearings of the House Judiciary and House Intelligence committees on July 17th. A notorious straight-arrow, he is not expected to divulge anything about his investivation of Russian involvment in the 2016 election and White House obstruction of justice that was not in his 448-page final report. That has not stopped President Trump from trash-talking him. Perhaps it is the thought of square-jawed Robert Muellerdecorated war hero, former Assistant Attorney General and FBI Director, testifying on television, in a Brooks Brothers suit, with all America watching, that is rattling our Reality TV President.

More:

“Robert Mueller to Testify to Congress, Setting Up a Political Spectacle,” Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

“Chad Pergram: Media coverage of Mueller testimony will be ‘off the Richter scale,'” Victor Garcia, Fox News

“Why do Democrats want to talk to Mueller if they know he won’t talk much?” Amber Phillips, Washington Post

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Image (“Trump’s Worst Nightmare”) by Mike Licht. Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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Police: No Scooters at the Capitol

June 26, 2019

Police: No Scooters at the Capitol

Bird, Lyft, Skip, Spin and Jump. No that’s not a new Olympic field event, those are the companies inflicting dockless electric scooters on pedestrians in the District of Columbia. But not at the Capitol, says US Capitol Police spokesperson Eva Malecki:

“The proliferation of electric scooters and other motorized devices for rent has become a safety and security concern for the Department. They should not be parked and/or left unattended on Capitol Grounds.”

“We have been working to better educate users of the restrictions for using and/or parking scooters on Capitol Grounds as well as the various companies that make them available to the public.”

“Scooter commuters of Capitol Hill, take note,” Katherine Tully-McManus, Roll Call

Updates:

“Eleanor Holmes Norton says let them scoot!” Clyde McGrady, The Hill

“Transportation lawmakers race scooters in House office building,” Rachel Frazin, The Hill

Related:

“Overnight e-scooter ban and complaint line proposed in DC,” Zeke Hartner, WTOP

Paris clamps down on electric scooters as law of the jungle rules,” Forrest Crellin, Reuters

“River patrol pulls e-scooters from bottom of Willamette River,” KATU

“US cities are joining forces to figure out what the hell to do with all these scooters,” Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

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House Ways and Means Wants To See Trump’s Taxes

April 4, 2019

Congress Wants To See Trump's Taxes

Congressman Richard E. Neal (D, MA-1), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has asked the IRS for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns, under authority of legislation passed in 1924 to deal with the Teapot Dome Scandal. The president said he was “not inclined” to comply. That’s not surprising; the Teapot Dome Scandal sent the Interior Secretary to jail.

For four decades, presidential candidates have been in the habit of making their tax returns public in pursuit of transparency. Candidate Trump promised to do so, over and over, then failed to deliver on this campaign promise after the election. The President claims his taxes are being audited, but that’s not a valid reason to refuse compliance.

What is Donald Trump hiding? Perhaps:

— He hasn’t paid any taxes, as his previous state tax releases indicate

— He’s not as rich as he claims

— He hasn’t given as much to charity as he claims

— His business activities are somehow irregular and illegal

— He has had previously undisclosed foreign business dealings, perhaps with Russia

Those last two points would certainly be of interest to Congress.

Timothy O’Brien, author of TrumpNation, got to peek at Trump’s taxes after Mr. Trump sued him for libel for writing that Trumpdid some shady dealing and isn’t as rich as he claims. Mr. O’Brien can’t talk about what he learned from the Trump papers for legal reasons. Suffice it to say that Donald Trump lost that lawsuit.

More:

“I’ve Seen Trump’s Tax Returns and You Still Haven’t,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

Updates:

“Trump on House getting his tax returns: ‘They’ll speak to my lawyers,’” Rebecca Morin and Anita Kumar, Politico

“White House maneuvers to block release of Trump’s tax returns,”  Erica Werner, Damian Paletta and Jeff Stein, Washington Post

“Trump lawyer calls on Treasury to reject Democrats’ demand for tax returns until Justice Department weighs in,” Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

“Mulvaney says Democrats will ‘never’ see Trump’s tax returns,” Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

Related:

“Trump’s handpicked IRS chief and IRS legal counsel both have ties to Trump businesses,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Trump Asked That Confirmation of I.R.S. Counsel Be a Priority,” Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

“Democrats seeking Trump’s financial documents from his bank,” Rachael Bade, Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

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Mitch McConnell Says He’s Coming For Your Health Care

October 22, 2018

Mitch McConnell Says He's Coming For Your Health Care

“Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday, calling a failed 2017 push to repeal the healthcare law a ‘disappointment.’

In a forecast of 2019 policy goals tempered by uncertainty about who would win the congressional elections, McConnell blamed social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, for the fast-rising national debt.”

— “McConnell says Senate Republicans might revisit Obamacare repeal,” David Morgan, Reuters

More:

“Mitch McConnell blames the soaring deficit on Medicare and Social Security, not the GOP tax cuts,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Republican Doublespeak on Health Care Starts at the Top,” Max Nisen, Bloomberg

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Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

October 19, 2018

Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

“Donald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a Guardian reporter, saying that someone who performs a body slam is ‘my guy.’

Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy in the course of a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters on Thursday night when he said: ‘Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.’

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: ‘Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.’

Trump’s comments mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil.”

— “Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter: ‘He’s my guy,'” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

In related news, PEN America is suing Mr.Trump in New York district court, claiming he “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution,” a document which doesn’t consider the press to be the Enemy of the People.

More:

“Trump’s Attacks on the Press Are Illegal. We’re Suing.” Suzanne Nossel, Politico

“Suing Trump for endangering the First Amendment,” Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Yale Law clinic helps writers group file First Amendment suit against Trump,” Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

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Paul Ryan Caves, House Chaplain Reinstated

May 7, 2018

Paul Ryan Caves, House Chaplain Reinstated
If you missed it, last week Jesus trumped Ayn Rand at the U.S. House of Representatives. House Chaplain Fr. Patrick Conroy was forced to resign for his prayer suggesting that Congress remember the least among us when crafting a tax bill. Not only didn’t Congress take his advice, but House Speaker Paul Ryan was personally affronted and forced Father Conroy, a former lawyer turned Jesuit priest, to resign or be fired. While Mr.Ryan is an ostensibly-devout Catholic, his devotion to Ayn Rand overwhelmed Christian compassion in his screw-the-poor Tax Bill, now law.  The tax law is the only real accomplishment of Mr. Ryan’s tenure as Speaker, other than the huge federal deficit resulting from it.

Paul Ryan’s only problem: Congress really likes Father Pat, even most of the extreme-right Freedom Caucus members, except for the casually anti-Catholic ones. There’s also a question as to whether a House Chaplain, approved by a vote of the full chamber, can be peremptorily fired by the Speaker. Buoyed by overwhelming support, Father Conroy rescinded his forced resignation letter.

What’s a good Irish-American boy to do? Paul Ryan is leaving Congress anyway, so why should he care? He’s letting Father Pat continue serving as House Chaplain.

More:

“Paul Ryan vs. the House Chaplain Is Really Ayn Rand vs. Pope Francis,” Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast

“In a reversal, Speaker Ryan says the House chaplain will remain in his post,” Paul Kane, Washington Post

“Read: House Chaplain’s letter rescinding resignation,” The Hill

“Firing Fr. Conroy fits Paul Ryan’s pattern when it comes to the poor,” Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

“3 Ways In Which the House Chaplain Controversy May Continue,” Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

Updates:

“Ryan swears chaplain back in after controversy over resignation,” Juliegrace Brufke, The Hill

“Paul Ryan Had A ‘Good Cup Of Coffee’ With Reinstated House Chaplain,” Kate Riga, TPM Livewire

Related:

“7 Ways Paul Ryan Revealed His Love for Ayn Rand,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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