It’s predictable after every new mass-shooting horror: The political right’s reflexive call for “thoughts and prayers,” which is then mocked by people who favor more gun restrictions for lacking any accompanying ideas for preventing future killings. But there’s an equally predictable refrain on the center-left and in the media, too: “Once again, nothing will be done.”
Barely had the death toll of 17 been announced last week after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida than The Washington Post declared, “The gun debate is going nowhere quickly after Parkland.” CNN offered: “Amid continued string of mass shootings, gun control going nowhere in Congress.” After 59 concert-goers were mowed down in October, former Democratic congressman Steve Israel put to rest any hope for reform in a New York Times op-ed column titled “Nothing Will Change After the Las Vegas Shooting.”
This fatalism is borne of hard-won experience. Congress has failed repeatedly to pass any gun-control measures after past calamities, even the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.Yet this world-weary defeatism is self-fulfilling in its own way, and helps explain why Washington hasn’t taken action to address the killing. For one thing, such pessimism demoralizes, and dismisses, those who are motivated to fight against gun violence, such as the network of angry moms that sprung up after the Sandy Hook massacre and the organization led by former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, which have managed to achieve a series of state-level successes even as reform stalls at the national level. For another thing, it lets off the hook those who are opposed to stronger gun laws.
What would happen if the people of America were aware that there is legislation enacted to ensure that healthcare is accessible for every citizen? My guess is that people across the nation would be outraged at the political hijinks conducted over the past two weeks. “Obamacare” was defeated this past Friday with the pulling of a House bill to repeal and replace the present healthcare law. It is now time to enforce the law of the land that provides healthcare for every American citizen: the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And it is also time to end the war against the ACA over past seven years, a war waged to retain the supremacy of white men.
When New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson left Congress in 2009, she went to work the same month as a paid consultant for a subsidiary of weapons-contracting giant Lockheed Martin. That company then capitalized on Wilson’s extraordinary familiarity with Washington to craft a lobbying strategy meant to avoid having to compete for the renewal of a government contract that brought in huge profits. The strategy relied on discrete meetings between Lockheed officials and powerful members of the fledgling Obama Administration, key members of Congress, and influential Washingtonians who had also passed through the revolving door between government and private industry. Wilson, a Republican who had spent four years on the House Armed Services Committee and six years on the Intelligence Committee, spent five months drawing up a roadmap for Lockheed to achieve its key objective: Renewing its existing contract to manage Sandia National Laboratories, a wholly-owned subsidiary that helps make nuclear weapons and has an annual budget of more than $2 billion, without having to compete with any other firm — unlike most federal contractors. Fulfilling the classic role of a “nonlobbyist” strategic adviser, trading on information she gained while serving in public office, she told the firm exactly who they should approach for help.
While he initially supported Florida Congressman Daniel Webster, Steve Pearce ultimately voted for Paul Ryan for Speaker of the House on Thursday. Ryan won the position, replacing John Boehner, who announced last month that he would be leaving Congress and relinquish the position as Speaker of the House. Pearce explained his vote in a statement on Thursday afternoon. “As I’ve said often, every American deserves a government that is effective, efficient and accountable,” Pearce said. “Today’s election marks a transition.
When Speaker of the House John Boehner announced last month that he would be leaving the position—and Congress—it threw Washington D.C. for a loop. And the search for a replacement began immediately, with Boehner ally and California Republican Kevin McCarthy the odds-on favorite to take over. The Freedom Caucus, however, was not in on it. The very conservative Freedom Caucus makes up just over 40 members of the House. The exact numbers are not known because they keep the membership secret.
Speaker of the House John Boehner announced on Friday that he would resign from Congress on October 30. The Republican from Ohio has had a tough time as Speaker, attempting to control an increasingly fractious Republican majority even as that majority seemingly became more permanently ingrained thanks to redistricting. Boehner had planned to only serve as Speaker through the end of last year, but in his statement announcing his resignation said, “I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House.” Eric Cantor, the likely heir apparent to Boehner, was ousted in a shock primary election loss in 2014. “It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution,” he wrote.
A political consultant who previously ran for statewide office in New Mexico is now mulling a run for Congress in Texas. Bob Cornelius, CEO of 90 Degrees Agency, said he’s seriously considering a run against Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, in next year’s Republican Party primary. In an interview, Cornelius said Carter’s voting record isn’t conservative enough, citing votes to fund the health care overhaul, which he calls Obamacare, and military cuts in continuing budget resolutions. “I’ve traveled the district and spoken to leaders in the party,” he said. “I’ll make a final decision in the next couple of weeks.”
Cornelius describes himself as a “constitutionalist” who’s both socially and fiscally conservative.
If Congress fails to defund Planned Parenthood, Rep. Steve Pearce is among 18 conservative members of the House who vows to shut down the government again. This comes from a report from The Hill on a letter sent to Republican leadership in the House. The Hill says the letter was sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. All are, of course, Republicans. From The Hill:
“We must act to fully defund Planned Parenthood,” they wrote in a letter obtained by The Hill.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico’s Third Congressional District, slammed House Republicans over actions related to the Confederate flag. A vote on a spending bill was delayed over whether to stop flying the Confederate flag at National Parks. “It is shameful that on the very day South Carolina acted to take down the flag, House Republicans are standing up for the Confederate Battle Flag and the intolerance it represents,” Luján said on Thursday. Luján is also the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the top Democratic congressional entity for elections. Weeks after the a mass shooting at a black South Carolina church and hours after the South Carolina Legislature voted to take down the Confederate battle flag—more commonly cited as the Confederate flag—the House Republicans find themselves in the middle of a controversy over the flying of the flag.
Rep. Steve Pearce was kicked off the whip team of the Republican caucus following votes on rules for a trade proposal last week. Pearce, the lone Republican member of New Mexico’s delegation, voted against rules that House leadership pushed and he so he was punished by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. The National Journal reported on Pearce’s removal form the team:
Reps. Cynthia Lummis, Steve Pearce and Trent Franks have been removed from the whip team after they sided with GOP rebels to vote against a rule governing debate on a trade bill, according to sources close to the team. Lummis, a deputy whip and a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was perhaps the whip team’s highest-ranking bridge to the conference’s most intransigent members.