Fighting Back: “We need a Congress that will hold those in power accountable”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Nadler

Every day, I hear from my constituents about the sense of worry, frustration and disappointment they feel when they see the consequences of an Administration that has not been held accountable to the people, with policies that tear families apart and go against the values at our country’s core. All the while, the Republican Congress has failed to fulfill its Constitutional duty to ensure that our laws and government are working for the American people.

“I share that same sense of frustration and anger. It is the responsibility of Congress to act as a check and balance to the Administration of the day – that is fundamental to our democracy. It is a responsibility that the Republican Majority has abdicated, choosing instead only to block and deflect on behalf of President Trump and his Administration. […]

Our country is in the midst of a reckoning where those in power who abuse their position and take advantage of others they perceive as weaker than themselves are being forced to answer for their behavior and face the accountability that has been missing for too long and for too many. I am glad Dr. Blasey Ford came forward to tell her truth, and I believe that time is running out for those who would rather such brave voices remain silent. Whether that is President Trump or anyone else who abuses their position of power, there must be justice and real consequences for those who violate our laws.

(Video will be posted when it becomes available)

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Jerrold Nadler Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Ranking Member Nadler highlights the lack of any accountability for people in power, and how Congress has abdicated its responsibility to act as a check and balance.

“Hello, I’m Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York and I am the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, the FBI, our courts, our immigration system and the United States Constitution.

“Every day, I hear from my constituents about the sense of worry, frustration and disappointment they feel when they see the consequences of an Administration that has not been held accountable to the people, with policies that tear families apart and go against the values at our country’s core. All the while, the Republican Congress has failed to fulfill its Constitutional duty to ensure that our laws and government are working for the American people.

“I share that same sense of frustration and anger. It is the responsibility of Congress to act as a check and balance to the Administration of the day – that is fundamental to our democracy. It is a responsibility that the Republican Majority has abdicated, choosing instead only to block and deflect on behalf of President Trump and his Administration. How are we, as representatives of the American people, doing our job if we do not protect liberty and justice and refuse to hold those in power accountable?

“Like millions of Americans who watched and listened to the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh last week, I was overwhelmed by the bravery and poise of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to sit in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell her story in the face of intense, personal, and what I am sure was extremely painful questioning. Wherever they were and whatever they were doing, Americans across the country were able to hear directly from Dr. Blasey Ford, to be inspired by her courage, and to share some small understanding of the suffering she—like so many other women—has had to endure in silence.

“Our country is in the midst of a reckoning where those in power who abuse their position and take advantage of others they perceive as weaker than themselves are being forced to answer for their behavior and face the accountability that has been missing for too long and for too many. I am glad Dr. Blasey Ford came forward to tell her truth, and I believe that time is running out for those who would rather such brave voices remain silent. Whether that is President Trump or anyone else who abuses their position of power, there must be justice and real consequences for those who violate our laws.

“No person—not the President, not any federal judge, and not Members of Congress—can be above the law. Our laws should work for the people they are meant to protect. But America has a hard time living up to this standard when Congress fails to live up to its responsibilities, when Members of Congress join the President in trashing our most precious democratic institutions, and when the rule of law is constantly under threat.

“The abuses and ethical lapses we have seen in the Trump Administration, in the Trump Campaign and in Congress clearly show the need to address the culture of corruption that has developed in the absence of appropriate checks on power. This corruption is at the heart of what Donald Trump represents: self-interest and ego driven decisions that come at the expense of the American people.

“A responsible Congress would have exercised its authority to do its constitutional duty, demanding accountability from the Administration and passing legislation that promotes fair, honest governance and protects the rule of law. Instead, House Republicans have worked to block for the President and distract attention from the real crises caused by the Administration.

“Accountability is what has been missing under the Republicans, from examining the impact of the President’s almost daily threats to our democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law, to the questions regarding the fairness and thoroughness of the investigation surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh – the questions are not being asked and answers are not being demanded on behalf of the American people.

“I could list any number of issues that have been ignored by the Republican Majority since President Trump took office, including the corruption that has permitted the President, his family and members of his Administration to reap personal financial benefits from industries they govern, all at the expense of ordinary citizens.

“Whether it is the Justice Department’s decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act in court, a decision that could strip health care coverage from tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and cost them millions of dollars in additional health care costs, or the Administration’s policy to separate children from their parents, holding young boys and girls in cages without any plan for reuniting them with their families, or the systematic and concerted effort to chip away at voting rights, particularly amongst African American and Hispanic communities, or the President’s regular attacks on the Mueller investigation and his efforts to undermine law enforcement, the courts, and the justice system to suit his own purposes – all of these areas have been completely ignored by a Republican Congress unwilling to do its job for the people.

“This is something we have to address, in the interest of the American people and for the health and future of our democracy.

This is our promise as Democrats – a Congress that works For The People. A Congress that will:

– Lower your health costs and prescription drug prices;
– Raise your wages with strong economic growth by rebuilding America;
– Clean up corruption to make Washington work for you.

“We need a Congress that will work For The People, that will hold those in power accountable, and that will make sure our laws serve the interests of everyone and not just the few. This is a historic moment for our country. The stakes are high, and they demand action.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

The House was in recess and there was no weekly Democratic House leadership news conference.

From Leader Pelosi’s newsroom, a glimpse at future legislation that a Democratic Congress would work on:

Pelosi Statement on Signing of California Net Neutrality Bill

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement after California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the strongest net neutrality legislation in the nation:

“California is once again proudly leading the nation to guarantee that the free and open Internet is here to stay. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Wiener, Governor Brown, the California legislature and advocates and activists across the state, California has enacted the strongest net neutrality protections in the country, defending this essential engine of innovation, job creation and free speech for all Americans.

“Each day, the Trump Administration and House Republicans continue their all-out assault on net neutrality. States now must follow the example of California and pass robust net neutrality protections that keep our communities safe, help students and small business thrive, create the good-paying jobs of the 21st Century and strengthen the entrepreneurial American spirit that is the envy of the world.

Democrats are committed to safeguarding the free and open Internet that is the American people’s right. We urge Republicans to end their obstruction and join Democrats to sign Congressman Mike Doyle’s legislation to restore net neutrality, and we will continue to fight For The People as we work to restore net neutrality’s vital protections, expand access to nationwide, competitive broadband options and close the urban-rural divide to unleash the economic power of every community.”

~

  9 comments for “Fighting Back: “We need a Congress that will hold those in power accountable”

  1. JanF
    October 6, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Pelosi Statement on September Jobs Report

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Department of Labor reported that the economy created a disappointing 134,000 jobs, the worst performance since last September, and that workers’ wages increased at roughly the same pace as inflation in September:

    “Beneath the September jobs numbers, middle class families across America are struggling to keep their heads above the rising costs of health care, prescription drugs, and everyday living expenses.

    “Working families are paying the price from Republicans’ relentless effort to sabotage their health care and drive up insurance premiums. Instead of lowering prescription drug costs, Republicans handed massive tax breaks to the same Big Pharma companies hiking prices on seniors and families. The wealthiest 1 percent have raked in the stock buybacks and tax breaks of the completely unpaid-for GOP tax scam for the rich, while middle class Americans face rising Republican debt designed to force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    The American people deserve better than a Republican Congress and Administration that steals from their futures again and again, just to enrich the GOP’s special interest friends. Democrats are fighting For The People: lowering their health care costs and prescription drug prices, increasing pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America, and cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for the American people.”

    Inflation caused by irresponsible Republican policies is hitting the bottom line of most Americans and the next phase of tax cuts – which will be paid for by cuts to Medicare and Social Security – will make matters worse.

    #GetOutTheVote #GetOutAndVote #VoteTheRepublicansOut

  2. JanF
    October 6, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Jerry Nadler on the Kavanaugh confirmation:

    Democrats vowed to open an investigation into Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegations if they take control of the House of Representatives in the November midterms.

    The New York Times reported that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the congressman poised to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats flip the House, announced the forthcoming investigation in a statement made on Friday.

    “It is not something we are eager to do,” Nadler told the newspaper. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”

  3. October 6, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Thanks, Jan. Well, I hope that holding those in power accountable will come to pass if the Dems take the House. Not feeling very optimistic this morning.

    • JanF
      October 6, 2018 at 8:58 am

      It is a dark day. But there are signs that a lot of people “get” that the Republicans destroyed the legitimacy of the court and that they and the drunken lout they elevated to the court will only succeed in lowering its credibility.

      I have been hate reading this morning about the damage that has been done.

      NY Times: The High Court Brought Low

      The degrading spectacle of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process is behind us; the degrading era of his service on the Supreme Court lies ahead. If senators vote as expected on Saturday, Judge Kavanaugh, with a razor-thin victory on an almost strict party-line Senate vote, will be sworn in as the newest associate justice of the Supreme Court as early as next week.

      Credible accusations of sexual assault, lies told under oath, explicitly partisan attacks on the senators trying to assess his fitness to serve: None of it was enough to give Republican leaders more than momentary pause in their campaign to seize decisive control of the Supreme Court. […]

      While Mr. Trump had plenty of qualified, highly conservative lawyers to pick among, he chose to insist on Judge Kavanaugh. The result was a confirmation process, and now almost certainly a justice, tainted by dishonesty, shamelessness, self-pity, indifference to women’s fears and calculated divisiveness — the hallmarks, in other words, of Mr. Trump’s politics.

      Having first sickened the White House and then Congress, the virus of Trumpism is about to spread to the Supreme Court itself. […]

      Most Americans are not where this Senate majority is. They do not support President Trump. They do not approve of relentless partisanship and disregard for the integrity of democratic institutions. And they have the power to call their government to account.

      Slate: How Liberals Could Declare War on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court

      Brett Kavanaugh is about to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, where he will become part of a five-justice conservative bloc that will swiftly roll back decades of progressive jurisprudence. His confirmation will be a major victory for the Republican Party and its leader, Donald Trump, who will soon succeed in entrenching GOP control over the court for at least a generation. But as soon as Kavanaugh takes the oath, he will plunge the Supreme Court into a legitimacy crisis that could weaken its power over the long term. This crisis will become particularly acute if Democrats retake Congress and the presidency but find their reforms stymied by a reactionary judiciary. The broad consensus over the court’s authority to interpret the Constitution will crumble. If that all comes to pass, Kavanaugh’s appointment may come to be seen as a Pyrrhic victory not just for Trump but for the entire conservative movement.

      The Supreme Court has always needed buy-in from the political branches to enforce its rulings. As my colleague Dahlia Lithwick wrote in 2016, the court “relies on us to believe that it’s magic. The power and legitimacy of the whole institution depend upon the idea that regardless of the political maelstrom surrounding it, the court is doing just fine and always will be.” Remarkably, throughout most of American history, this magic trick has worked. […]

      No matter the end result of liberal defiance, it will likely transform the Supreme Court’s legitimacy crisis into a full-blown constitutional crisis. Kavanaugh’s confirmation will have poisoned the foundation of the judiciary’s authority. The Supreme Court derives its power from the belief that it sits above the political fray. Brett Kavanaugh is poised to shatter that illusion.

      Good riddance. The court has been given celebrity status by too many Democrats impressed with celebrity. It is just another institution tainted by the power given to the slave states to override the will of the majority, by the electoral college and the makeup of the Senate. It needs to be changed to reflect the will of the people, not the will of Mitch McConnell and his donors.

  4. bfitzinAR
    October 6, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I’m tired. We’re all tired. I just hope the anger gives us the energy to carry through. We must take back Congress but we can’t rest there. We must take back the White House and keep Congress, keep it longer than a single term. We saw this with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – a maybe 18-month stretch of time to get anything done, then back to the grind of blocking new damage and no more time to deal with the old damage much less make progress. No rest. But lots of anger. I hope it’s enough.

  5. JanF
    October 7, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I don’t know what power Congress has or if there is any sanction available for the ethical lapses that Brett Kavanaugh engaged in but this is horrifying: D.C. Circuit sent complaints about Kavanaugh’s testimony to Chief Justice Roberts:

    A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — the court on which Kavanaugh serves — passed on to Roberts a string of complaints the court received starting three weeks ago, said four people familiar with the matter.

    That judge, Karen LeCraft Henderson, had dismissed other complaints against Kavanaugh as frivolous, but she concluded that some were substantive enough that they should not be handled by Kavanaugh’s fellow judges in the D.C. Circuit. […]

    Roberts did not see an urgent need for them to be resolved by the judicial branch while he continued to review the incoming complaints, they said.

    The situation is highly unusual, said legal experts and several people familiar with the matter. Never before has a Supreme Court nominee been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review.

    Roberts’s decision not to immediately refer the cases to another appeals court has caused some concern in the legal community. Now that he has been confirmed, the details of the complaints may not become public and instead may be dismissed, legal experts say. Supreme Court justices are not subject to the misconduct rules governing these claims

    “Welcome, fellow destroyer of democracy! I will just shred these pesky pieces of paper!”

  6. JanF
    October 9, 2018 at 3:16 am

  7. JanF
    October 9, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Nancy Pelosi: “DON’T AGONIZE, ORGANIZE: OWN OCTOBER”

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    The GOP’s decision to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has wounded the very soul of justice in our country.

    Amid our heartbreak, however, we renew our resolve and determination. We are awed by the dignity and bravery of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and by the courage of the countless survivors across our country who have come forward with their own stories, even at great personal risk.

    To preserve the full record of this dark chapter, I am filing a FOIA request so the public can see the FBI report, transcripts of interviews, instructions from the White House, and any communications to the FBI from Senate Republicans regarding the scope of the investigation. This is important to set the record straight.

    We must not agonize, we must organize. People must vote. What is at stake in this election is nothing less than the health and financial security of families across America. The new conservative majority on the Supreme Court threatens a rollback of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, more leverage for corporate special interests over working families, and little hope to reform Citizens United. That is why we must fight even harder to win so that we can advance our For The People agenda:

    – lower health costs and prescription drug prices;
    – raise workers’ wages with strong economic growth by rebuilding America;
    – clean up corruption to make Washington work for the people.

    In stark contrast to the GOP Congress, our Democratic agenda will be conducted with openness and accountability to the people, fairness to everyone, and solutions that bring us together.

    With the majority, we will strengthen the Congress to the vision of our Founders: Article I, the first branch of government, a check and balance on the executive and judiciary.

    To achieve this, we must OWN OCTOBER with our For The People agenda, which I hope you will advance in events and on social media in the weeks ahead.

    Thanks for your leadership.

  8. JanF
    October 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm

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