Fighting Back: “Democrats ran on delivering a Congress that works For The People. And we won.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Gerry Connolly from Virginia, a member of the House Oversight Committee. Rep. Connolly: “the new House majority was elected to get things done for all of us and provide a constitutional check on the Trump administration.”

(Congressman Connolly celebrated the diversity of House Democrats who will serve in the 116th Congress and reaffirmed Democrats’ promise to work For The People.)

“I am thrilled by [the diversity of the incoming freshman class]. Women and people of color who make up a majority of new Democratic Members, who include the first Muslim and Native American women ever to serve in Congress.

“I am encouraged by the wealth of experience these new Congressmen and women will bring. They are veterans, teachers, business owners and community activists who represent the fabric of America.

“And I am also humbled by their desire to serve their constituents and their country. […]

“Last week, Americans made clear they want a constitutional check on the rampant abuses of the Trump administration. The scandals, lack of transparency, and self-dealing must stop. Congress is a co-equal branch of government and we have a constitutional duty to provide that oversight.

“The new Democratic majority will carry out judicious, methodical, and fact-based oversight. Our investigations will go wherever the facts lead us, and we will act decisively when we find violations of public trust.

“It’s time for a Congress that works for all of the people, instead of a rubber stamp for special interests and President Trump.

“These are the promises we Democrats made to the American people, and these are the promises we will redeem.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Gerry Connolly Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I’m Congressman Gerry Connolly from Virginia, and I serve as a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“This week, I helped welcome many of the new Members of Congress, including three incredible women from the Commonwealth of Virginia – Jennifer Wexton, Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria. They are among the record number of women who will serve in the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress. Theirs is a dynamic and historic freshman class that promises to bring new talent and fresh ideas to the Congress.

“I am thrilled by their diversity. Women and people of color who make up a majority of new Democratic Members, who include the first Muslim and Native American women ever to serve in Congress.

“I am encouraged by the wealth of experience these new Congressmen and women will bring. They are veterans, teachers, business owners and community activists who represent the fabric of America.

“And I am also humbled by their desire to serve their constituents and their country.

“The new House majority was elected to get things done for all of us and provide a constitutional check on the Trump administration.

“Democrats campaigned on a clear vision to deliver a Congress that works For The People: to make health care more accessible and prescription drugs more affordable, and to protect those with pre-existing conditions; to invest in priorities like infrastructure and education that will grow our economy and raise wages in America; and, to clean up corruption here in Washington.

“Americans rejected the Republican plan to deprive millions of Americans of health care and to allow health insurance companies once again to deny families health insurance simply because of a pre-existing condition.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million Americans now have gained access to health insurance.

“Rather than dismantle and sabotage Obamacare, House Democrats want to work to make it better by creating more competition, bringing down prescription drug costs, and expanding access to health care.

“I was proud to work with my Governor – Governor Ralph Northam – in Virginia to expand Medicaid to 450,000 new recipients of Medicaid this year. And thanks to voters last Tuesday, a half a million more individuals across America will now also have access to Medicaid.

“37 states have now joined the Medicaid expansion, but every state should expand Medicaid and provide millions more Americans with affordable health care.

“We Democrats also recognize that to be competitive in the 21st century global economy, we need to make strategic investments that grow our economy and raise household incomes. Rather than fighting for a wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for, let’s start rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges and rail systems and sea ports and airports.

“Today, public investment in infrastructure accounts for just 1.5 percent of our gross domestic product – a reduction from 4.2 percent in the 1930s. That amounts to $130 billion to 520 billion in cuts, that is to say money we are not investing that we should be to maintain our infrastructure.

“Without investments in infrastructure and research and education, no nation can be great. Our own history tells us that.

“And House Democrats are also committed to fight the influence of money in politics, we want to strengthen ethics rules, and we want to ensure that the sacred right to vote is just that: sacred and available to every American – regardless of race, color, creed or religion.

“Your vote must always count.

“Last week, Americans made clear they want a constitutional check on the rampant abuses of the Trump administration. The scandals, lack of transparency, and self-dealing must stop. Congress is a co-equal branch of government and we have a constitutional duty to provide that oversight.

“Our Oversight Committee has requested more than 64 subpoenas to seek documents and compel testimony from witnesses involving government ethics or wrongdoing. But House Republicans granted zero of those 64 requests.

“The American people deserve greater accountability from their government.

“The new Democratic majority will carry out judicious, methodical, and fact-based oversight. Our investigations will go wherever the facts lead us, and we will act decisively when we find violations of public trust.

“It’s time for a Congress that works for all of the people, instead of a rubber stamp for special interests and President Trump.

“These are the promises we Democrats made to the American people, and these are the promises we will redeem.

“Thank you, and God bless.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Soon to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning. While it is snowing here, we have great sadness in my state of California, just an unprecedented number of people dead, in the high 50s, and many missing. It is just – we have had these fires again and again, but these seem to be particularly deadly. So our thoughts and prayers and resources need to be with California at this very sad time.

Much discussion about fires and causes and the rest, but right now, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered, lost their lives, lost their loved ones, lost their homes, impossible to be made whole. So, again, it is a very sad time for us in that regard.

On the other hand, here we are celebrating a great victory for the Democratic Party, but more importantly for the American people. Every place I go, people say – and not even go, just coming in and every means of communication: ‘Thank you for saving America.’

And I convey that gratitude to my colleagues, to the grassroots people who were so effective in getting out that vote, and particularly to our candidates. They had the courage to run, the stamina to win, and they are here now in what is one of the most transformative new Members – body of Members of Congress in our country’s history, the biggest victory for the Democrats since 1974 when the Watergate babies came in. I don’t know if this Congress will name itself, but we’re almost close to 60 new Democrats – 60 new Democrats – around 40 in the red-to-blue.

We’re just waiting for some final results from California, Georgia, Maine, Texas, those places where we have a – are still a question mark, even New York State. But we will win 40 – we will have won 40 seats. It may be a net of lower because of two seats that we do not win – they were our own seats, but we’ll see what the number is.

But I think I should have said from the start that winning 23 seats in a voter-suppressed, gerrymandered map was a wave, was a wave. I always knew we would win that, but now getting up to 40, that’s really a very big – almost a tsunami. I don’t know. We’ll see.

The thrill of it all is that half the new Members in our Democratic class are women. One on the Republican side. Happy for that one person, but sad to say just one. We are on track to, again – it is transformative. They will decide what their priority is. They have given us one already, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, but they will decide how they want to proceed, what they want to proceed with and the manner in which they do that.

They are entrepreneurial. They are enthusiastic. And they want to make progress for our country. And we want them to do so in the most open Congress.

The American people talked about A Better Deal, and then we talked about a For The People agenda. For The People: we will lower health care costs. We will grow their paychecks. And we will bring integrity to government.

And to that end, this group has decided, 100 candidates wrote and said they wanted H.R. 1 to be our priority and our agenda as we go forward. Fortunately, we are ready, under the leadership of [Congressman] John Sarbanes. He has been working with an array of co-chairs on his task force. We are ready with that legislation. And how lovely it will be so early in this Congress to pass H.R. 1, all that it does, including passing finally the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, largely what has been proposed by Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama.

Again, we are going to be opening this Congress in a very, very open and transparent way to do what we said we were going to do. We are going to defend our protections for people with pre-existing conditions, lower drug costs, protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by taking them off the chopping block. And we will increase workers’ benefits – wages by building the infrastructure of America and all that that implies in the greenest possible way with the most worker training involved in it so that everyone participates in that success for our country.

We’ll clean up corruption, again as H.R. 1 will do, to make Washington work for the people, reduce the role of money in politics, and advance the election by strengthening, again, the Voting Rights Act.

Again, transparency, that openness, so essential to engaging the American people in what is happening here and how it affects them.

One of the reasons we were so successful in this past Congress on health care issues was because of the outside groups. Their mobilization made all the difference. Many of them participated in the campaign around one issue: health care, the Affordable Care Act, issues that relate to Medicare and Medicaid. And that was our successful issue.

But, again, openness, bipartisanship where we can. You have heard me say this over and over. Bipartisanship. We have a common, a responsibility to find our common ground where we can. Where we cannot, we must stand our ground, as Thomas Jefferson said, like a rock. But we must try. And I have urged the freshmen to reach across the aisle. We respect every Member here, and we respect the people who sent them here.

Then, again, all of us are committed to a better future for America’s working families. That is our common denominator in the Democratic Party. That’s what unifies us, and that’s what connects us to the aspirations of the American people.

While that’s happening, on the other side of Pennsylvania, the President continues to wage an all-out campaign to obstruct the Mueller investigation. Just this morning, the President once again took to Twitter to try to discredit the investigation, tweeting: ‘A total witch hunt like no other in American history.’

This is the President of the United States. President Trump installed Matthew Whitaker as Acting AG for one purpose: to end the investigation. There’s bipartisan consensus that this appointment violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, which trumps any statute that the Administration’s lawyers have cited.

As George Conway and former Solicitor General Neal Katyal wrote in The New York Times, ‘Mr. Whitaker’s installation makes a mockery of our Constitution and of our Founders’ vision.’ Bipartisan.

House Democrats demand, once again, that in our negotiations on the omnibus bill, that the GOP leadership include – join us in including the language that would say the special counsel – to protect any Special Counsel. The Special Counsel cannot be fired without cause. He or she would be granted a three-judge appeal panel if fired; could only be removed by a Senate-confirmed AG – replaced by a Senate-confirmed Attorney General or top Senate confirmed Justice Department official.

This is very important. Whitaker would not qualify because that such an appointment must be made by someone confirmed by the Congress, by the Senate. That’s a fact. But now it has to be reemphasized. And then, very importantly, the preservation of all the documentation so that the people can know the truth.

I don’t know if you saw an op-ed the other day by Senator –, former Leader Daschle and former Leader Frist, jointly, Democrat and Republican, saying that the Starr documents were released, the Starr report was released, big vote in the Congress to do so; so too should the Mueller documents be released.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Pelosi Statement on Republicans’ Rule Change to Prevent Action on War Powers Resolution

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after House Republicans moved to end fast-track war powers privileges, preventing the Congress from exercising its oversight powers under the War Powers Resolution:

“The conflict in Yemen has gone on for far too long, leaving a permanent stain on the conscience of the world. Yet, House Republicans just took sweeping, unprecedented action to undermine Congress’ solemn, long-established prerogative to limit the President’s war powers.

“Last week, the Department of Defense announced they would no longer support the aerial refueling of Saudi planes used to bomb targets in Yemen. This step alone does not come close to addressing our concerns, or stopping the carnage. The United States has continued to provide additional support to Saudi forces in Yemen, even as they have waged a war of staggering brutality and devastation that has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of scores of civilians, including a school bus filled with children this summer.

“As thirty top Obama Administration officials wrote in a letter this weekend, ‘the Trump administration has doubled down on support for the Saudi leadership’s prosecution of the war, while removing restrictions we had put in place. It is past time for America’s role in this disastrous war in Yemen to end.’

“Real, immediate action must be taken by the Congress to end this horrific humanitarian crisis.”

~

  11 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats ran on delivering a Congress that works For The People. And we won.”

  1. JanF
    November 17, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Pelosi Statement on Trump-DeVos Draft Proposal to Roll Back Title IX

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled a draft proposal that rolls back campus sexual assault rules and critical protections for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses:

    “Today, Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration reversed decades of progress for students, schools and survivors. With wanton disregard, this Administration has cruelly codified their utter contempt for survivor justice by making schools unwelcoming and less safe.

    “This draft proposal enables schools to shirk responsibility, completely ignores harassment, denies survivors due process and discourages survivors to come forward. Yet again, the Trump Administration and Republicans continue to perpetuate the most anti-woman, anti-student and anti-equality agenda in recent memory. Across all three branches of government, they are waging a vicious war on progress and protections for survivors, students, women’s health care and basic freedoms.

    “The continued pattern of Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration to roll back critical Title IX and civil rights protections is a disgrace. Our Democratic Majority, led by strong, diverse and dynamic women, will fight this cruel agenda and instead take bold, immediate action to ensure that every student and survivor, in every place, can live free from the fear of sexual harassment and violence.”

    Bolding added.

  2. JanF
    November 17, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Leader Pelosi, in her presser, talked about whether the attacks from the men who said “I’m sure we can find a competent female to be Speaker” bothered her:

    Q: I wanted to ask you about the role of gender in the speakership race. Representative Ryan said yesterday that there are plenty of women who can replace you, and he named, among others, Marcia Fudge. Is he playing the gender card there?

    Leader Pelosi. I haven’t engaged in that because I had 137,000 ads against me in the campaign. That puts some, shall we say, pressure on our candidates because I have never run for national office, so most people don’t even know who I am, an Italian American grandmother with lots of energy and a mother of five, grandmother of nine who is here to do what’s right for the future, not for my family; they’re fine. But I don’t want them living in a society where one in five children in America lives in poverty and goes to sleep hungry at night. That’s my why. That’s why I’m here.

    So, to see the mischaracterizations or the characterization of San Francisco, San Francisco liberal, yes, proudly so. So, it makes it hard on the candidates, and here they are running for the first time, many of them, and they really need to focus on their why. And it is not about me. It is about them and their opponent, and obviously, those ads didn’t work.

    We had the biggest victory since 1974. You have to ask those people what their motivation is. I think, of the 17, it is mostly like 14 men who are on that letter.

    Q: Is that sexism at work?

    Leader Pelosi. You know, I have never gone to that place. I enjoy a tremendous amount of support from the women in our caucus, from the new Members who are women in our caucus, and so I get the upside I think of being a woman. You would have to ask them. If, in fact, there is any misogyny involved in it, it is their problem, not mine. Thank you all. Thank you.

    Bolding added.

    “If there is any misogyny involved, that’s their problem not mine.” It is also of some interest to the women in those members’ districts who might not want literal pigs representing them. Just sayin’.

    • JanF
      November 17, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Seth Freaking Moulton: Misogynist

      Moulton’s ambition and sharp elbows have long been a subject of his colleagues’ grumbling, and his latest fusillade at Pelosi — this time, after a sweeping electoral win — has angered even some of his admirers.

      “Let me get this straight — 17 or 18 who aren’t happy can block the will of over 200 members of the caucus? Where does that end?” [Gerry Connolly] added. “With his zeal for revolution, there’s a lot of wounded left on the battlefield.

      :::raises hand::: If he gives the Speakership to the Republicans, that would include me.

  3. bfitzinAR
    November 17, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Dems stand for saving the safety net, good jobs via rebuilding infrastructure, and stopping corruption in government. It’s deplorable/despicable/unpatriotic/evil just how many Americans – mostly white Americans – are fighting to the death (as long as it’s our death) to stop us.

  4. JanF
    November 17, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Storing these Stacey Abrams links here – for now.

    • JanF
      November 17, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Mother Jones’ Ari Berman: Brian Kemp’s Win In Georgia Is Tainted by Voter Suppression

      At a press conference on Friday, Abrams said that “under the watch of the now-former secretary of state, democracy failed Georgia.” She noted that although there was “no further viable remedy” to challenge the election results, she would soon be filing “a major federal lawsuit” challenging Kemp’s “gross mismanagement” of the election. “Voting is not a right for some, it is a right for all,” she said.

      “It is not about me, it is about us, it is about the democracy that we share,” Abrams added.

      We don’t know yet—and might never know—how many people were disenfranchised or dissuaded from voting in the state. But it’s clear that Kemp did everything in his power to put in place restrictive voting policies that would help his candidacy and hurt his opponent, all while overseeing his own election.

    • JanF
      November 17, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Georgia’s Stacey Abrams Admits Defeat, Says Kemp Used ‘Deliberate’ Suppression To Win

      “I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said. “But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.”

      In a fiery speech, Abrams insisted this was no normal concession, decrying the “deliberate and intentional” voter suppression by Kemp that she believed had led to this conclusion.

      “Pundits and hyperpartisans will hear my words as a rejection of the normal order. You see, I’m supposed to say nice things and accept my fate. They will complain that I should not use this moment to recap what was done wrong or to demand a remedy. You see, as a leader I should be stoic in my outrage and silent in my rebuke,” Abrams said. “But stoicism is a luxury and silence is a weapon for those who would quiet the voices of the people. And I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”

      My bolding.

    • JanF
      November 17, 2018 at 11:47 am

      A lot of us can’t wait to see what she does next!

    • JanF
      November 17, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      2020!!

    • JanF
      November 18, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Stacey Abrams’ future role is still emerging: In defeat, Abrams casts aside traditional expectations

      Jennifer Palmieri, the former Obama and Clinton adviser, said Abrams can fill an important national void. Republicans, she said, have spent a generation focused on passing GOP-friendly voting rules, redrawing district boundaries and electing like-minded secretaries of state like Kemp. The left has answered with a less-effective patchwork of lawyers and think tanks. “She would be a formidable force on that front,” Palmieri said.

      Lawrence-Hardy and other Abrams confidants say she’s not considered future runs for office. The next chance would be to challenge for Republican Sen. David Perdue’s seat in 2020, though those close to Abrams say her policy interests are better suited to the governor’s office.

      Her new group is Fair Fight Georgia:

      ABOUT OUR FIGHT

      We know that elections in Georgia, and throughout much of our country, are not fair. Voters are being suppressed and disenfranchised systematically.

      We are fighting to change that.

    • JanF
      November 18, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Comments are closed.