There are only 17 days left for the Lower House to dissolve and in January it will be renewed with a probable majority of the Republican Party
No one expected that a week after the midterm elections control of Congress would be up in the air, but that is the case. The traditional stage of the lame duck is even more uncertain this year, in the face of a Solomonically divided congress in which no party can boast of having the majority support of the people except for the minimum.
That could condemn the United States to ungovernability, particularly if the House is left in the hands of the Republican Party, once the Senate is already in control of the Democrats after the victories this weekend in Nevada and Arizona. The Democratic Party has exactly 17 days left to enjoy the meager majority in both chambers that President Joe Biden has had in the last two years.
The legislators returned to work this Monday after a month and a half of recess in which they have dedicated themselves to campaigning. For some it is not only the end of their legislature, it is also the end of a stage, since not all will occupy seats again in January. On their heads they brought the letter of the Three Wise Men, those things for which they want to be remembered and with which to complete their legacy. Among them, a law to define the role of the vice president in certifying the electoral results, with which to prevent presidents like Donald Trump from trying to convince his second to abort the electoral result.
That’s what happened when some of his advisers convinced Trump that Mike Pence was his last chance to stay in the White House. The improved presidential transition and electoral count reform law will shore up the 1887 original by restricting the vice president’s largely ceremonial role and raising the bar for contesting results. It is a law that strengthens democracy and has the bipartisan support of the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell. Both will keep their posts in the 117th Congress that he will be sworn in in January, but McConnell is already facing some challenges from within his own party.
Another bipartisan initiative destined to last in memory and in history is the one that would convert into law the federal recognition of same-sex marriages that the Supreme Court gave the green light in 2015. In June, the most conservative judge on the bench , Clarence Thomas, expressly anticipated in his sentence to repeal the protection of abortion in June that same-sex marriages can follow the same fate. “We have an obligation to correct the error established with those precedents,” he wrote.
A bipartisan initiative aims to shield marriages between people of the same sex
If the Supreme Court, with members for life, makes good on its threat, more than a million couples who have legally formed a joint household in the last seven years could see their lives and families in limbo. That responsibility would weigh on the legacy of those who have done nothing to protect them and could take its toll on them at the polls.
pragmatism or idealism
The Lower House already approved the law in September, but the Republicans asked the Democratic leader in the Senate for time to materialize the support of about ten conservatives who are willing to put their signature on it. The Senate’s version will have to be reconciled with that of the Lower House, in which there are now more moderate deputies than expected to be found as of January.
Defending democracy and fundamental rights are undoubtedly noble tasks, but President Biden wants the first thing to be to guarantee the solvency of the federal government. The financing of the same was resolved in September with a temporary patch that expires on December 16. Democrats want more funding to fight the pandemic and to continue investigations into the January 6 insurrection. It is also time to approve a new Defense Law that, among other things, guarantees more military aid to Ukraine. One of the few issues where there was unity has become controversial as war-weariness and inflation pain grow at home.
It is a question, and in this they all agree, of being more pragmatic than idealistic. With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in between, it’s a race against time of want and can’t before they lose power.
Trump prepares his campaign
“Who do you think should be my vice president?” Donald Trump’s question yesterday, in one of the mass emails with which he bombards his supporters these days to raise funds, was also a reminder of the former president’s maxim: never a step back, never an apology.
Criticism within the Republican Party, which these days blames its deniers for last week’s poor election results, does not appear to have had any impact on his decision to announce his upcoming presidential campaign tonight. It will happen in the early hours of Wednesday in Spain, ‘prime time’ on the US television grid, how the tycoon who broke audience records with the reality show ‘The Apprentice’ likes it. The setting will be his residence in Florida Mar-a-Lago, with some incendiary and apocalyptic speech that allows him to present himself as the savior of the country.
In reality what he seeks is to save himself. Trump senses that a criminal indictment is looming for his attempt to corrupt the electoral results that defeated him in 2020 and believes that the best way to protect himself is to clothe himself with political immunity. With this he will warm up his bases and will be able to accuse the Department of Justice of becoming President Biden’s political weapon to stop him.
It is exactly what he did from power. As General John Kelly told the ‘New York Times’, while he was White House chief of staff, the president tried to open revenge tax investigations against whom he perceived as his political enemies. At least two of them, former FBI director James Comey, and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, saw the Treasury’s claws fall on them.
Kelly maintains that she managed to dissuade him every time he called for a vendetta, which coincided with reports that were negative to him. Her argument is that this was “potentially illegal” and immoral, so she could turn on him. His presidential rival, Hillary Clinton; Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos; former CIA director John Brennan and several FBI agents who testified against him in the Russian investigation were targeted.
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