Fighting Back: “Republicans’ total inability to govern is harming our country.”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

(“This weekend marks the anniversary of President Trump’s first year in office — a year that has severely tested our democracy,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).)

“This weekend marks the anniversary of President Trump’s first year in office — a year that has severely tested our democracy. Past presidents — regardless of their political party or ideology — have understood that our American democracy is strongest when we unite around a sense of common purpose. President Trump has taken the opposite approach. Where others have worked to unite us, he has sought to divide us — deepening divisions in our society rather than working together to achieve our goals…Despite all this, as we enter the second year of the Trump presidency, I have faith in the resiliency, judgement, and goodness of the American people.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript of Van Hollen address will be posted when it becomes available.

News coverage: Van Hollen Delivers Weekly Democratic Address, Denounces Trump on All Fronts

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) says President Trump’s first year in office has been marked by harmful policy choices, inflammatory rhetoric and a failure to addresss key issues.

In the Democrats’ weekly address, which coincides with Trump’s first anniversary in office, Van Hollen faulted the president for not focusing early on infrastructure renewal — a frequently mentioned campaign pledge. Instead, he said, Trump pursued policies to “destroy” the Affordable Care Act, weaken America’s response to climate change and enact “a tax scheme” that benefits the wealthy. This will drive up the national debt, he said, “leaving our children and grandchildren to pay the tab. At the same time, the Republican budget paves the way for massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.”

Van Hollen said Trump has offered insufficient response to the nation’s opioid abuse crisis, failed to stand up to Russia for its meddling in the 2016 elections and refused to get tough with China, who candidate Trump often accused of unfair trade practices. In addition, he faulted the president for “his refusal to denounce white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., to his recent, repulsive comments about certain immigrants, to his attempt to impose a Muslim ban.”

The senator said Democrats stand ready to work with the president on the nation’s challenges, and he praised those who protested the administration’s policies.

“Together, we will defend our democracy from whatever challenges we face.”


Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Is it still morning? No. Good afternoon. It’s always important to place ourselves in time, and right now we are in a moment of truth, a moment of truth about how we go forward to meet the needs of the American people.

Today, the Republican majority is asking us to vote for the fourth continuing resolution. The deadline for the fiscal year was September 30. Since then, we’ve had three continuing resolutions, with the anticipation that we could work in a bipartisan, transparent way to come to a budget agreement and go forward with our meeting the needs of our military, meeting the needs of our domestic agenda. Instead, we’re having another continuing resolution.

It’s really almost like an amateur hour, in speaking about time, because this should have been done. We could have come to a place where we have come to a budget agreement, as well as protecting our DREAMers, which is part of the agreement as we go forward, but instead, Republicans are dilly dallying, taking their good old time. Maybe they just don’t believe in governance.

The President said in May: ‘our country needs a good shutdown in September.’

The country needs a good shutdown, Mr. President? Perhaps you don’t understand the consequences in the lives of individual families and our veterans, our seniors who depend on Social Security checks, our families to enjoy our national parks and the rest. Just so many things in between, our judicial system, meeting the needs of our veterans, et cetera. Our country does not need any shutdown, and there is no good shutdown.

And so we are hopeful that they can realize that the clock is ticking on our meeting the needs of the American people.

Today, they are putting on the floor a continuing resolution, which in itself is not the way to go, just to have another continuing resolution, and how many more are there to come. But the fact is, of its substance, it is wrong, having nothing to do with protecting our DREAMers or anything else.

We will be opposing this continuing resolution, because while they put the CHIP program in it, they do not put the accompanying provisions that make CHIP work.

And I just want to say that today we will be introducing a bill that Mr. [A. Donald] McEachin of Virginia will offer and take up on the Floor as our Previous Question, and that will have CHIP, and it will also have community health centers, Medicare extenders, home visiting care, Medicaid DSH, very important for hospitals, therapy services, special diabetes for Native Americans, teaching health centers where our doctors, primary care doctors can get experience in how to meet those needs. That legislation, as I say, is being introduced today with a broad number of sponsors from our Members.

This is what we should be doing today. And why not? Because these provisions require funding, and instead of funding these, the Republicans are giving another tax break in this bill of $[31] billion. Is this too complicated?

Okay. We were supposed to finish our omnibus bill by September 30. We did not. So now they ask for a continuing resolution for 3 months, and then one in December, another in December, now one in January.

And this continuing resolution, in addition to being a bad idea as a way of funding government, is wrong in terms of the way it abandons those initiatives like community health centers, which are essential to our meeting the health needs of the American people, especially our children. Where are they going to go? So for that reason, we’ll be opposing it.

Today, also, House Democrats sent a letter to the President, and in the letter we talk to him about what this debate is about in terms of keeping government open, in terms of our budget agreement. We have two pieces of it: our military, which we firmly support, we support our military, men and women in uniform, but we also want to have our domestic agenda funded.

One third of our domestic agenda is security. It’s Veterans Affairs, it’s Homeland Security, it’s Department of State, it’s antiterrorism activities of the Department of Justice. That’s 34 percent of the domestic budget.

So if we are about the strength of our country, it’s certainly measured in our military might, but also in these other initiatives that are not included in the defense side of the ledger, and also in the health, the education, and the well-being of the American people, as a source of our strength as well.

And so what we’re saying in the letter is, in addition to providing certainty to our military, we want to fight opioid addiction, we want to address crises facing our veterans in terms of housing and infrastructure, we want to help Americans’ endangered pensions, we want to protect our DREAMers, we want to fund community health centers that provide the primary care for 27 million Americans, and we want to, at the same time, provide the disaster assistance so necessary for the areas affected by natural disasters, with an emphasis on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which did not do so well in the version that we have seen so far.

So this is what it is. If we could just sit down and get this done, except there seems to be some resentment on the other side of the aisle to our having our domestic agenda funded. I don’t know what’s going on over there, but I do know that this continuing resolution is a very bad idea.

I would have hoped that if they thought there was a need for a continuing resolution, it would be predicated on having already reached an agreement on the budget and on the DREAMers.

Now, let me just be sure to say to you that even if not one DREAMer ever existed, we still have a problem on the budget side of this. Now, this isn’t something that DREAMers are holding up. And in the CR, as I say, it’s about what isn’t in there to help meet the health needs of the American people.

So much else going on at the same time, but right now, the clock, we’re back to time, it’s about time, it’s about time that we sat down in a bipartisan way to get this done. We’re close. They just won’t go in for the close.

It’s about time that we do what the President said. He wants to help DACA, people with DACA. Okay, DACA. He said that, of course, yesterday when he was here. So let’s just do it. What’s the dilly dallying about? It’s a waste of time. It’s not responsible.

And we want to fight very hard to avoid shutting down government. That’s not something that we have ever advocated. And I hope that the President was maybe, just maybe his thinking had not evolved at that point when he said what this country needs is a good shutdown.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)


Pelosi Remarks at House Democratic Leadership Press Conference Ahead of Trump Shutdown

Leader Pelosi: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here. I stand proudly with the leadership of the House of Representatives, leadership of a Caucus that voted overwhelmingly, with great unity to support our values in rejecting the ill-founded Republican CR [continuing resolution]. CRs are a way to debilitate government – you don’t quite shut it down, but you debilitate our country of the ability to act in full force as we go into the rest of the fiscal year. […]

So, on the subjaect of process, our Members knew that the right thing to do was to vote against the CR even though the Republicans were advertising it as this, that and the other thing. And what do they do in the CR? They hid around little children, they hid behind them and said, ‘Well, we’re going to put CHIP in there.’ Oh, really? CHIP has been a priority of the Democrats and, really, a bipartisan agenda all along. When we had the shutdown in 2013, just imagine this – on October 1, a vote was taken. Two hundred and twenty-one Republicans, the Majority of the Congress, 221 Republicans voted yes to shut down government. On October 16, when the vote was taken to open government, 144 Republicans voted to keep government shut down.

Among those who voted to shut down government were Speaker Ryan – wasn’t Speaker then but was a leader in his Party. Speaker Ryan, McCarthy, Scalise, [McMorris] Rodgers and Mulvaney, of OMB fame now. And when it was time to open it up, Ryan, Scalise and Mulvaney all voted to keep government shut down.

We believe in governance, we believe in meeting the needs of the American people, Democrats are not about shutting down government. So don’t hand us that.

More at the link. Video is here: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke to reporters as a midnight deadline to fund the government and avert a shutdown approaches.


  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “Republicans’ total inability to govern is harming our country.”

  1. JanF
    January 20, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Nancy Pelosi’s “Dear Colleague” letter after Thursday’s vote:

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    Last night, House Democrats demonstrated great unity in expressing our values and acting upon them. I am writing to thank you and also to express the appreciation of so many across the country who have conveyed their gratitude for our taking a strong stand.

    Failing to meet the needs of the American people with their insistence on a short-term extension, Republicans are depriving the military of the certainty they need to go forward. Short-term extensions hinder many other vital initiatives which need long-term assurances; for example, transportation projects and the invaluable research taking place at the NIH.

    The negotiations on a long-term Omnibus are continuing and progress has been made, however the Republicans have refused to conclude the talks because of their failure to exert leadership within their own Caucus.

    Because of the courage and leadership of Congressional Democrats, our hand is greatly strengthened in our negotiations for the priorities spelled out in the letter from House Democrats led by Congressman Peter Welch which was sent to the President yesterday. In the negotiations, Democrats are insisting on parity in the budget, funding to fight the opioid epidemic, addressing the VA funding shortfall for our veterans, passing the DREAM Act, passing long-term extensions of both CHIP and Community Health Centers, addressing the pensions crisis, and passing a strong disaster supplemental especially for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and recent wildfires and mudslides. All of the priorities we are insisting upon have strong bipartisan support.

    Thank you for your commitment to our values. Thank you for your courage and leadership.

    best regards,

  2. JanF
    January 20, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Very cool!

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