People who think the job of a member of Congress during a local natural disaster is purely performative have definitely never been around a member of Congress during a local natural disaster. It might be the single situation where they can (and do) most affect policy outcomes.
In most situations, members of Congress are legislators, not executives. But in local emergencies, they often take on a role that mimics executive decision-making, as they become a federal coordinator / POC for local executives.
In the legislature, they are one of 435 or 100. In a local emergency, they are conduit to tons of resources and a resource who can effectively coordinate certain sets of actors and lean on people to make things happen. Can very much turn into administrators.
One congressional truism is this: if you ran the Senate on the House procedures, you would lose some things but it would ultimately work fine. But if you ran the House on the Senate procedures, it would turn into some combo of Lord of the Flies and Mad Max within hours.
Just imagine Gohmert Hour, except you can’t stop it, and it’s happening in the middle of trying to conduct business.
That’s problem one of about six dozen.
Meanwhile, Matt Gaetz is moving to table the motion to proceed. Not a specific motion to proceed. Every one of them.
Unfortunately, Andy Biggs won’t give unanimous consent to *anything,* so there’s nothing to do but try to move motions to proceed.
I've watched the procedural clusterfuck 3 times now, and my favorite part, I think, is Schumer trying to break into a roll call vote (!) to get a quorum call started, and then it not being clear if the next name call by the clerk is the roll call or quorum call? @mollyereynolds
For the record, it appear to me to be plainly out of order to suggest the absence of a quorum after the roll call has commenced and someone has responded to the call. (But I can't tell if anyone actually responds to the call).
Senate, I love you and hate you so much.
I *think* if no one has responded to the roll call, then it's possible the quorum call was in order, and thus when the clerk says "Baldwin" we're actually in a quorum call, not the roll call (i.e. the roll call that we don't know what we are voting on).
I am still of the mind that the Dems/Congress made a series of strategic errors on 1/6 regarding impeachment. I'm not really blaming them---these were very weighty decisions that would have had to have been made on short notice---but they seem wrong in retrospect.
Schumer should not have agreed to the UC that setup the pro forma sessions running through 1/19. While it's true the Senate leaders (probably) now have the authority to break into adjournments, they lost the opportunity to press the importance of immediacy.
More importantly, Pelosi should not have adjourned the House on 1/7 until 1/10. I would have preferred an immediate impeachment vote, but at the very least she should have only adjourned until 1/8, and kept everyone in town.
Note that this does not lock Manchin in to supporting the final reconciliation bill that is brought to the Senate floor under the budget resolution, just that he's supporting the resolution itself that contains the reconciliation instructions to the various committees.
The budget res only instructs to committees to return legislation within (wide) parameters (example in screenshot). The actual size of the package and its details are TBD, and can/will include negotiations and, of course, require a maj vote in Senate.
Every indication is that Manchin wants to get to yes, which means (1) he'll almost certainly vote for the final package; (2) he'll have a lot of negotiating leverage over its size and components. All still TBD.
It was wild. Maybe 3/4 Yankees fans there and 1/4 Mets fans. Huge collective gasp, then about a 2 second pause, and then dozens of screaming matches started all around me. At one point, some guy gave me the move where you put your hand under your chin and flick it at someone.
I remember driving back home to Upstate, me and a buddy, listening to WFAN, Tony on the overnight, and he opened the show with I DON’T WANT ANY CALLS ABOUT ANYTHING BUT THIS CLEMENS PIZZA DEAL SO DON’T EVEN BOTHER WE’RE GOING STRAIGHT THROUGH ON THIS ALL NIGHT.
With many norms crumbling in the face of ever-increasing partisanship on Capitol Hill, it's worth pointing out ones that are not: POTUS cabinet nominees aren't barely skating by on party-line votes, they're sailing through with massive supermajorities.
That's not particularly surprising (at least it isn't to me); a sense that POTUS should have the ideological team he wants, so long as they are neutrally competent, still pervades executive nomination politics. A massive number or executive noms go by voice, or with 80+ votes.
But I think it probably surprises a lot of people, who have (not unreasonably) taken to thinking that partisanship is an overwhelming driver of vote position in Congress across all areas of legislative life.
That's not quite yet true on the executive nominations front.
This isn’t that surprising. The Trump rallies are unified around Trump, and he quite obviously gave up last week. No one wants to stand around protesting in the cold for no discernible reason. Loud voices on the internet do not automatically translate into well-attended rallies.
There are only two regular events that bring the whole of the United States government together, the annual State of the Union Address, and the quadrennial inauguration. They are very different events, and reflect very different qualities of our Constitutional system.
I’ve written at length about the State of the Union, and how it is the singular event that most reflects the intentions of the Constitution: the president, coming to the Capitol, to ask the representatives of the people to enact laws he thinks are good.
As we inaugurate a new president and begging a new administration, my regular reminder that the president is not the legislator-in-chief. We have a perfectly capable Congress—indeed a better institution—for that job.
The president’s job is much tougher: governing. 1/
The primary job of the president is to govern. That is, to implement and execute American foreign policy that he is largely responsible for designing, and to use executive discretion to sensibly administer domestic policy set in broad strokes by Congress.
Of course POTUS is involved in designing the domestic policy. He has both the veto and a strong position from which to be a leader.
But executives aren’t vital to legislating. They are absolutely vital to governing, from crisis scenarios to mundane policy execution.
Trump’s continued refusal to address the riot is itself a damning indictment of his fitness for office. Any other POTUS of our lifetime would have by now visited the Capitol, spoke publicly many times, and proposed policy changes to address the problems.
You know, been a leader.
People just accept this from Trump, because it’s been four years of totally abysmal policy leadership and public leadership. It was the exact same with COVID. He can’t empathize. He won’t make tough policy choices. And he can’t build support for policy decisions. He won’t lead.
Note that a privileged resolution for impeachment could be brought to the floor immediately—no judiciary committee or rules committee—as a Question of Privilege, and the PQ could be ordered at the end of an hour of debate and then the resolution voted on. It can be *very* quick.
Here’s an old blog post I did about moving impeachment via a Question of Privilege.
No impeachment has ever succeeded on the floor via a Question of Privilege. Lots of them are brought, because it’s one of the few ways individual Members can unilaterally set the floor agenda. Leadership can’t stop them.
I don’t believe this is correct. Rule I, clause 12(e) was added in the 114th Congress, and specifically allows the Speaker, after “consultation” with the minority leader, to unilaterally break an adjournment and reconvene when in the public interest. (Citations in next tweet).
Enough. Pelosi is openly announcing she talked to Miley about keeping the nuclear codes away from the President, but she won't use her authority to reconvene the House ASAP and move an impeachment resolution today?
It sure looks like the necessary preparation, manpower, and resources for guarding the Capitol were severely lacking. I've been there for State of the Union, way bigger perimeter.
But I see people saying deadly force should have been used earlier, but I'm not so sure.
Deadly force would have changed things. The USCP probably could have prevented the breech by killing people. Honestly, if you described this chain of events, my assumption would have been dozens dead, mostly rioters.
I'm not convinced that would have been a better outcome.
With the manpower and resources on hand, the tactical decision to focus on protecting the members rather than the building might have been best. You can clearly see that the deadly force perimeter was the chambers until the members were all evacuated.
Wednesday I was mostly angry at idiots for storming the Capitol and trashing a beautiful monument to the republic in a futile attempt to vent conspiracy-driven rage.
Now that it's clear this was all premeditated, I'm mostly enraged at those who actively or passively abetted it.
That the White House reportedly affirmatively denied authorization to deploy of the National Guard to defend the Capitol from a violent mob of thousands, with all of Congress and the VP inside, would rank among the most republic-undermining actions a US POTUS has ever taken.
Especially after planning, promoting, and executing a rally specifically timed and designed to create that very mob, and fueling it with an utterly absurd and baseless conspiracy theory about the collapse of the republic via election fraud.
It's simply not possible to imagine any American president in any of our living lifetimes observe an angry mob occupy the Capitol, and decide that he shouldn't be a visible and vocal leader the following day.
What even is the job of POTUS if not to be leading this very moment?
The easiest thing in the world to imagine is GWB or Obama standing in the hallway at the Capitol with some officers, observing the wreckage, and giving a serious, determined, and detailed account of his plan for a federal response.
Like, does the president seriously not have any policy changes in mind in the wake of this? Even a complete idiot politician could easily gin up those answers.
You know who couldn't: someone who simply doesn't care, or even worse, actually likes what happened.
That doesn't mean there's any chance he's staying---all of those institutions have essentially clarified that he's done on January 20th---but it does mean we are dealing with a unique (in the U.S. in our lifetimes) situation.
And it doesn't mean there was ever any doubt that he was going to have to leave. But it totally transforms the politics of leaving, and upends all the norms of traditional US voluntary peaceful transfers.
All I can think about is all the time I've spent wandering around the Capitol marveling at the architectural beauty and detail and the tiny unintentional historical shrines to the republic behind every door and it makes me angry but mostly sad to see people trying to destroy it.
One of the rooms I've spent a ton of time in at the Capitol is H-144, a tiny meeting room that also doubled in my day as the main Leg Approps hearing room. It has an unbelievable Brumidi painting on the ceiling. I hope it was spared.
But it was the random stuff you'd find behind every door that I really loved. Here's a wall of historical political photos from a random room, I think it might have been H-216, the Approps Chair's office.