Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

House Republicans Looking for Political Payback

House Republicans are finally getting their revenge on Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats by giving them a taste of their own medicine.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was riding high, planning revenge on former President Donald Trump by setting up a special committee to investigate the January 6 riot at the Capitol building in Washington, DC, she broke a longstanding congressional precedent by refusing to allow House Republicans to choose Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, two of their leading members, to sit on the committee.

Then-House GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy reacted by refusing to participate in the process of filling the committee’s Republican seats. This enabled Pelosi to do all the “selecting.” She picked two of the most anti-Trump Republicans in Congress, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who, as a result of the role they played in the committee hearings, were formally censured by the Republican National Committee.

As Pelosi had intended, the “bipartisan” committee acted as a Democrat propaganda machine. It conducted televised one-sided hearings, with minimal Republican participation, designed to demonize Trump and his supporters, and support the myth that the riot by the unarmed and unorganized Trump supporters at the Capitol building represented a serious threat to democracy.

McCarthy has now taken his revenge on Pelosi by using the same authority which she claimed as Speaker to keep Republicans Jim Jordan and Jim Banks off of the January 6 committee to remove Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence committee.

McCarthy has formally denied that his decision to oust Schiff and Swalwell was retaliatory, claims that they were both being removed because of their behavior which was unbecoming of the committee tasked with overseeing the nation’s intelligence services.

WHY SCHIFF AND SWALWELL HAD TO GO

In a letter to Hakeem Jeffries, the Democrat House minority leader, McCarthy called the dismissals of Schiff and Swalwell necessary “to maintain a standard worthy of this committee’s responsibilities” and to end “the misuse” of the intelligence panel during the last four years, which McCarthy claims has “severely undermined its primary national security and oversight missions — ultimately leaving our nation less safe.”

Schiff became notorious for claiming in March 2019 to have seen “more than circumstantial evidence” that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians during the 2016 election campaign. That evidence was never produced, yet Schiff kept raising the bogus charge after it was debunked by an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, and the Russian collusion accusation was revealed to have been an elaborate hoax based upon the false allegations in the Steele dossier that had been secretly paid for by the Clinton campaign. Yet Schiff has refused to apologize for falsely accusing Trump of collusion with the Russians.

McCarthy also said that Schiff “openly lied to the American people” in September 2019 when he was chairman of the intelligence committee, by falsely implying that the committee had had no contact with a whistleblower who had originally raised concerns about the phone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which ultimately led to Trump’s first impeachment trial.

In regard to Congressman Eric Swalwell, Axios reported in December 2020 that he had been in contact with suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang, who had been cultivating contacts with up-and-coming California politicians since 2012. Fang participated in fundraising on behalf of Swalwell’s 2014 congressional campaign, met with him at events, and helped place an intern in his congressional office.

Swalwell cut off contact with Fang in 2015 after participating in an intelligence briefing for him and top members of Congress on Chinese agents attempting to influence Congress. While Swalwell was never formally accused of any impropriety, when McCarthy announced that he would be removing Swalwell from the intelligence panel, he said, “If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee.”

MCCARTHY’S NEXT TARGET: ILHAN OMAR

McCarthy has also announced his intention to remove Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for her notorious antisemitic comments and verbal attacks on Israel. Unlike the select Intelligence Committee, over which McCarthy has direct control, removing Omar from Foreign Affairs will require a majority vote by the full House.

CNN gave a nationally televised forum Sunday to all three Democrats targeted for ouster from their committee assignments by McCarthy. Schiff took the opportunity to criticize McCarthy for his surrender to the demands of the members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who had initially blocked his election as Speaker, and for McCarthy’s failure to take any punitive action against GOP congressman George Santos, who has publicly admitted to lying to his Long Island voters about his personal background in order to get himself elected this past November.

“The people that Kevin McCarthy just put on committees, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and others, are speaking at white nationalist rallies,” Schiff said. “How can you, on the one hand, suggest that these are some kind of legitimate basis for unseating Democrats from committees, and put someone like George Santos on any committee? The hypocrisy just grabs you by the throat.”

Omar took the opportunity to condemn the Republicans who criticized her notorious “it’s all about the Benjamins” remark about supporters of Israel as antisemitic, by accusing the Republicans of Islamophobia and for “trafficking in their own ways, in anti-Semitism.”

She also made the incredible claim that before she came to Congress, “I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money… To insinuate that I knowingly said these things when people have read into my comments to make it sound as if I have something against the Jewish community is so wrong.”

But that claim is inconsistent with Omar’s past public remarks going back to 2012 when she said that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” and added, “may A-llah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

PELOSI REPEATED HARRY REID’S MISTAKE

The roots of this latest setback to respectful congressional protocols go back to the decision of former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s ill-fated 2013 decision to “go nuclear” in attempting to gain Senate confirmation for President Obama’s federal judiciary appointments, by ending the Senate filibuster for all judicial and executive branch nominees, except for nominees to the Supreme Court’s bench.

Reid had been warned at the time by his Senate Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, who told him, “You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.” Just five years later, McConnell was the Senate Majority Leader and made his own prophesy come true by eliminating the filibuster as a tool for blocking the confirmation of Supreme Court justices. That enabled Trump’s three conservative nominees to the Supreme Court bench, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, to win confirmation by a bare majority vote, thereby creating a reliable 6-3 conservative majority on the high court’s bench.

Pelosi should have learned from Reid’s mistake in breaking a well-established congressional precedent that had benefitted the leaders of both parties over the years, especially when they found themselves in the minority. But Pelosi was too determined to gain total control over the January 6 committee to use it as a partisan political weapon against Donald Trump to stop herself from overstepping her authority. By refusing to seat the congressmen that had been selected by GOP leaders, she had violated a long-standing House tradition that the minority party chooses its own members for standing and select committees, and had invited the retaliation in kind that we are now seeing from the next Republican to hold the Speaker’s gavel.

At the time, McCarthy had characterized Pelosi’s move this way: “The Democrats have created a new thing where they’re picking and choosing who could be on committee. Never in the history [of Congress] have you had the majority tell the minority who could be on committee.” But Pelosi ignored the warning.

“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth, and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” she said at the time, without specifying the “statements and actions” which had prompted her to break with a longstanding House precedent.

THE REVENGE OF MAJORIE TAYLOR GREENE

In fact, Pelosi had done the same thing before. In 2021, she permitted House Democrats to vote to strip Republican members Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona of their committee assignments to punish them for their provocative statements and actions.

Greene was removed from the Education and Budget Committees over her previous endorsement of conspiracy theories. She later expressed regret for believing in those theories that were not true. Gosar was censured for posting a video on Twitter that depicted him attacking President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He later took the video down “out of compassion for those who genuinely felt offense,” and declared on the House floor that he does not “espouse violence towards anyone.”

Now that Republicans are in majority control of the House, Speaker McCarthy and the House GOP Steering Committee have reinstated both of them, restoring Gosar to his previous assignments to the House Natural Resources and the House Oversight Committee, and assigning Greene to the Homeland Security Committee as well as the Oversight Committee.

Greene is looking forward to participating in the effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas for his mismanagement of the Southern border. After receiving her assignments, Greene said that the Homeland Security committee “will investigate the Biden administration’s violations of our laws and fund (and defund) programs to defend our border and American sovereignty.”

Greene is also anticipating the investigation by the House Oversight Committee, under the leadership of chairman James Comer of Kentucky, into evidence of corruption by members of the Biden family found on Hunter Biden’s laptop as well as improper Biden administration policies.

GREENE’S WARNING TO JOE BIDEN

“Joe Biden, be prepared,” Greene warned in a statement. “We are going to uncover every corrupt business dealing, every foreign entanglement, every abuse of power, and every check cut for ‘The Big Guy’. And it’s not just the Biden Crime Family. The GOP majority will investigate every bit of government being used to abuse the American people. Every three- and four-letter agency will now have to answer to Republican oversight, not the rubber-stamp of Democrat rule.”

The Republican investigations are a reaction to the breaking of a promise that the Biden administration had made to the American people on the first day of his presidency, when then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki vowed that the administration would “bring transparency and truth back to government.”

But in fact, in the words of a Washington Times editorial, “The Biden administration has turned out to be one of the most opaque, secretive and nontransparent in decades, creating the overt appearance of impropriety.”

BIDEN STONEWALLING THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY

While House Republicans were in the minority, they were not in a position to use the chamber’s oversight authority to launch such investigations. But now that they have won control the House and its investigative committees, the Biden White House has responded to the first requests for cooperation and information in those investigations from the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer, and the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, by stonewalling.

Comer sent a request to the Treasury Department to provide information on Biden family financial transactions that may have been marked suspicious. The Treasury Department responded with a letter saying it must first determine if Comer’s request is consistent with “longstanding Executive Branch interests,” and asked Comer to “specify in writing [his] purpose in seeking to obtain the requested information and the use [he] intends to make of it.”

Comer was not amused. “This coordinated effort by the Biden administration to hide information about President Biden and his family’s shady business schemes is alarming and raises many questions. We will continue to press for access to suspicious activity reports generated for the Biden family and their associates and will use the power of the gavel to get them if needed,” he replied.

BIDEN’S FALSE PROMISE OF TRANSPARENCY

The Biden administration’s promise of transparency with the American people was also breached by the 68-day delay between the discovery of classified documents illegally held in Joe Biden’s former Washington think tank office on November 2, and the January 10 confirmation by the White House of the CBS News report breaking the story, which had been kept secret by both the White House and the Justice Department.

Subsequent White House assurances that the November 2 discovery was a one-time occurrence, and that the next batch of documents to be found in the locked garage of Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home were safe alongside his classic Corvette, also turned out to be untrue. These suspicious circumstances have forced the attorney general to name a special counsel to conduct an impartial investigation of the matter, and prompted many Democrats as well as Republicans to demand that the Biden White House provide more satisfying answers to the still unanswered questions about what was in those documents, as well as how, when, and why they wound up in Biden’s home and office.

The White House stonewalling is not limited to inquiries by Republicans. The Democrat chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, has also refused to accept the excuse offered by the intelligence community for failing to brief his committee on the content of the documents for fear of interfering with the ongoing investigations. He insists that Congress needs to know what, if any, threat to national security may have arisen if the classified information in those documents had fallen into the wrong hands.

BIDEN’S DERELICTION OF DUTY

Entrepreneur and National Review contributor Kevin M. Spivak, writing in The American Mind, concludes that “Biden has become the most autocratic president in at least 50 years… Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution requires the President to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’ and in his oath of office, the president swears to do so.”

Based upon President Biden’s total disregard of this fundamental presidential duty, Republican-led House investigative committees have many targets to choose from during the remaining two years of his current term of office.

For example, when Biden authorized Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to limit the deportation of illegal immigrants crossing the border to “noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security,” he clearly violated US immigration laws 8 USC 1227, which declares that “inadmissible” aliens “shall” be deported.

BIDEN’S COVID PANDEMIC POWER GRABS

Even though Biden had previously admitted that he probably lacked the constitutional authority to impose vaccine mandates, in 2021 he ordered that all government contractors and employees be vaccinated and wear face masks. He had OSHA order all privately-owned businesses with 100 or more employees to require their vaccination, and had the CDC order a nationwide moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent, under the pretext that these unprecedented regulations were necessary as emergency pandemic preventive health measures.

In the following months, each of these measures was struck down in rulings by the US Supreme Court and other lower federal courts as unconstitutional or an illegal Executive Branch power grab.

BIDEN’S WAR ON THE DOMESTIC FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY

During his first day as president, Joe Biden declared war on the domestic fossil fuel industry by suspending the issuance of all new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands. In August 2022, a federal district court in Louisiana held that by doing so, Biden had exceeded his authority and issued a permanent injunction staying the lease suspensions in the 13 states which filed lawsuits against them.

But the Biden administration is defying the court injunction by slow-walking the approval of new leases, while piling on new regulations for drilling and fuel processing. Meanwhile, Biden has been depleting the nation’s strategic oil reserves to soften the political blowback on Democrats from higher gasoline prices. He has also been blaming the fossil fuel industry for the slower than expected recovery in the level of domestic energy production that is largely due to his administration’s own policies.

The Taylor Force Act, which was passed by a bipartisan vote by Congress in 2018, requires the US to stop funding the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to paying stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families who attack and try to kill Israeli citizens. But even though PA President Mahmoud Abbas has defiantly refused to stop the payments of Jewish blood money, the Biden administration has lawlessly restored payments of about $1 billion in financial aid to the PA.

STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS VOTE BRIBERY

Shortly after Biden took office, both he and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed introducing Congressional legislation to forgive federal student loan debt, after recognizing that Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to appropriate the necessary funds.

But as the 2022 midterm election neared and polls warned that the Republicans would likely sweep the House and take control of the Senate, Biden decided to boost the vote for Democrats by issuing, on his own authority, a thinly-disguised bribe for educated young voters by forgiving $10,000 in student debt and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

Fortunately, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the blatant $400 billion vote-buying scheme in a decision which was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

TARGETING PROTESTING PARENTS

The Biden administration has continued the weaponization of the Department of Justice against the enemies of its ultra-liberal woke political agenda.

In September 2021, the Biden White House colluded with the National School Boards Association (NSBA), resulting in a letter from the NSBA asking for federal action against parents across the country who were speaking out at public school meetings against Covid shutdowns, and the adoption of liberal curriculums based upon Critical Race Theory.

Five days later, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a directive to the FBI to meet with state and local officials to develop strategies which would treat such parents as domestic terrorists posing a threat of violence against local school board officials.

POLITICALLY SELECTIVE FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Department of Justice and the FBI was also employing a double standard against violent demonstrators depending on their political orientation. Since the January 6, 2021, riot of conservative Donald Trump supporters at the Capitol building in Washington, DC, the FBI has made more than 900 arrests, and hundreds more may face criminal charges in the continuing DOJ investigation.

By contrast, federal prosecutors seldom brought to trial the violent leftist rioters and looters belonging to Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement who terrorized business districts in cities across the country following the death of George Floyd, including more than half of the members of the mobs which attacked a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, for more than 100 consecutive days in the summer of 2020.

In addition, Attorney General Garland and the Biden White House ignored the calls from congressional Republicans to enforce the federal law (18 US Code 1507) that was supposed to protect the conservative Supreme Court justices against being harassed by organized groups of demonstrators outside their homes following their June 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Several Supreme Court decisions have declared that there is no hate-speech or misinformation exception to the First Amendment’s prohibition against “abridging the freedom of speech” either by Congress or the executive branch of government.

Nevertheless, as revealed by the Twitter files released by Elon Musk, the Biden White House and 11 federal agencies and departments that it controls, including DHS, the CDC, and the FBI, have participated in a concerted effort to suppress any dissenting voices by colluding with social media companies to block, demonetize, and silence any expression of views to which the administration objects.

Such actions were expressly forbidden by a Supreme Court opinion written by liberal Chief Justice Warren Burger who warned in Norwood v. Harrison (1973) that it is “axiomatic that a state may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.”

JUSTIFYING EQUITY-BASED RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

Based upon the liberal progressive insistence upon “equity of outcomes” as a substitute for equality of opportunity, the Biden administration has been promoting blatant racial discrimination in favor of blacks and members of other minority groups. However, the Supreme Court has ruled more than once that all “distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people.”

The Biden administration’s racial policies also fly in the face of the 2007 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts which states that using racial discrimination to undo racial discrimination doesn’t work, and that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Biden’s woke racial policies also violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in federally-funded programs and private employment. Nevertheless, on his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive order requiring a “whole-of-government” effort to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in all aspects of federal-government policies and American lives.

Similarly, Biden’s 2021 Covid relief American Rescue Plan and his trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill included billions of dollars of payments for restaurants, farmers, small businesses, homeowners, and construction companies based solely upon the race and gender of their owners (white men and often Asian Americans need not apply).

Biden has also ordered that 11% of all federal contracting dollars be awarded exclusively to small businesses owned by so-called marginalized minorities. Certain federal grants for medical research, infrastructure, student aid, and public housing are also available only to members of “disadvantaged minorities.”

BIDEN DETERMINED TO KEEP PUSHING

Many of these race-based exclusionary restrictions on Covid relief aid have been struck down in federal court rulings, and more than a dozen more lawsuits against them are still pending. Yet this has not deterred the Biden administration from continuing to impose discriminatory race-based standards on more than 140 federal agencies.

Despite near-unanimous Republican congressional opposition, Biden has managed to push through a great deal of his liberal legislative agenda over the past two years, while ignoring the federal laws and court decisions that don’t conform to that agenda. Over the next two years, Biden clearly expects to continue extending his executive authority to implement those liberal policies, especially those which don’t require congressional approval — unless McCarthy and House Republicans can find a way to stop him.

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