Tag: hakeem jeffries

Congressional Democrats And Biden Prepare To Thwart GOP Debt Extortion

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has informed Congress that the U.S. could default on payments as early as June 1. Congress, or possibly Biden unilaterally, will have to act to lift or suspend that cap. House Republicans have insisted that they won’t allow this to happen without the imposition of draconian budget cuts in return, a hostage-taking demand that poses a very real threat to the U.S. economy and would have "massive and far-reaching" impact on global trade and push other countries into a recession, as well.

In January, with Republicans already holding the debt ceiling hostage, House Democrats covertly set up the one legislative option they have for forcing a clean debt ceiling vote in the House. That “secret weapon” is a discharge petition. It’s a way for the lawmakers to bypass leadership in the House to force a bill onto the floor. It does require the participation of five Republicans, as a bare majority of 218 members have to be on board to make it work. The process takes a lot of time, so Jeffries and team got to work early, The New York Times reports, quietly introducing a bill called the "Breaking Gridlock Act."

In a letter to colleagues on Tuesday , House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries informed his colleagues that they had this option available.

“The filing of a debt ceiling measure to be brought up on the discharge calendar preserves an important option. It is now time for MAGA Republicans to act in a bipartisan manner to pay America’s bills without extreme conditions.” - Hakeem Jeffries in a letter to colleagues

The legislation was introduced by California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, a relatively unknown Democrat whose legislative activity was likely to go unnoticed. That was step number one: avoid attracting attention by not having a prominent member offer the bill. Step two was writing it as a “Swiss Army knife” bill, one with a lot of options for moving forward. It was written to be relevant to as many committees as possible, increasing the chances it would make it out of one of them for a potential vote in the House.

The plan worked: The bill was referred to 20 committees and it has sat in those committees, waiting to be deployed as the discharge petition on a clean debt ceiling hike.

That is important because the rule for discharge petitions requires that they have to sit in committee, or “ripen,” for 30 legislative days, meaning days when the House is actually in session. Since the congressional calendar allows extensive time off for holidays and district work, that can be the equivalent of a couple of months in normal human working time. So, the bill has already “ripened” and is ready to be discharged if Democrats can win over at least five Republican votes.

This is the hard part: Getting the bill discharged requires 218 signatures and that means finding five Republicans to sign on. So far, no Republicans are biting . Without them, and because there are further delays built into the process after those 218 signatures on the petition are secured, the discharge petition is absolutely not a guaranteed fix for the crisis.

So far, Republican leaders say their coalition will stick together. In an interview with The Hill , Rep. Scott Perry said, “They’re not going to get any Republicans…..We already passed our bill.”

That’s big talk from a Texas Republican in a secure seat. But what about those Republicans in swing districts? This discharge petition might provide a wedge to splinter some away from McCarthy and the extremists in the Freedom Caucus, who seem to be running the show. They might balk as the clock keeps ticking down toward global economic disaster and Democrats, led by Jeffries, have given them a place to land.

There’s an outside chance that Congress and the White will end up kicking the can down the road with a short-term fix , a suspension of the debt limit for several weeks or a few months, or whatever negotiators can work out. The possibility of this temporary solution could get stronger as the X-date (the day when the Treasury Department runs out of money to pay the bills) gets closer. If a short reprieve happens, that would give House Democrats more time to deploy their discharge petition weapon and try to win over those swingy Republicans

While the House Democrats are pursuing that, the Times also reports , the White House has been exploring what’s been dubbed by Cornell Law School Professor Michael C. Dorf as the “least unconstitutional option.” That involves Biden taking Section Four of the 14th Amendment literally: a constitutional challenge to the debt limit.

This means Biden could declare that Congress is failing in its constitutional duty to pay the debts it incurs, so as president, he is constitutionally bound to uphold the clear directive of the 14th Amendment: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

“Top economic and legal officials at the White House, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department have made that theory a subject of intense and unresolved debate in recent months,” the Times reports, citing ”several people familiar with the discussions.”

As of now, the official position of the White House is that this is something Congress is obligated to do, with no strings attached. It’s an encouraging sign that the option is being seriously considered, because it’s a perfectly valid one and it provides yet another pressure point to force Republicans into doing their job. “If you don’t do it,” Biden could say, “I’ll do it without you.”

It would be a good idea, though, for Biden to start preparing the American public for this possibility, clearly laying out the stakes for the nation and the world about the very real danger Republicans are posing to the U.S. economy and well beyond. Biden should declare he will not let that happen on his watch. In the meantime, it’s time to tighten those screws on the swingy Republicans and get them to pull up—before we all go off the fiscal cliff together.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos .

Should Mainstream Democrats Primary AOC?

When will mainstream Democrats start fighting back? When will they stop playing nice with a left fringe that regards them, not Republicans, as the opposition, if not the enemy?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's threat to kill President Joe Biden's hard-fought infrastructure deal should have been a last straw.

Read Now Show less

WATCH Rep. Jeffries’ Scorching Brooklyn Takedown Of Utah GOP Trumpster

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) figuratively set fire to freshman Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT)in a speech that called him out for daring to criticize Democrats for not being patriotic while Owens himself had voted, one day after the January 6 insurrection, to overturn the results of a fair presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

On one of his first days in the chamber, Owens lectured House Democrats on needing to show national unity by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance alongside Republican counterparts. Owens did this even though he himself voted on January 7 to challenge the Electoral College's votes declaring Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 elections, thus attempting to overturn millions of non-white Americans' legal votes and destroy the very notion of Democracy itself.

Owens said, "Tonight [people] will not stand for the flag because they've been taught by their adults not to love our nation. What can we do here as leaders? Guys, let's put aside the partisanship and appreciate the fact we have a body here of every color under the rainbow, every background… I'm gonna follow up with what Congressman Lee [Zeldin] says: 'It's not about words. It is about actions.' Fifteen seconds to show our kids that we are adults, that we can agree to disagree, where we love our country enough to at least stand up and recognize our flag."

In response, Jeffries said, "He sat here lecturing us about patriotism, and I was just going to ask him how he voted after a violent mob attacked the Capitol, to hunt down members of Congress, to hang Mike Pence, to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, to stop us from undertaking our constitutional responsibilities as part of the peaceful transfer of power. More than 100 officers seriously injured: brain injuries, head trauma. Ine officer lost three fingers. Another officer, because of an assault on him, is likely to be blind. Officers Sisnik died, blood was spilled, two other officers are no longer with us.

"And you want to sit here and lecture us about patriotism?!?" Jeffries continued. "When you voted to object to an election that you know Joe Biden won, and perpetrated the big lie. But the notion of you come in here lecturing us on your first day before this committee… it's not about words, it's about actions. You know what? Explain your actions on January 7 when you supported an insurrection."

Another Trump Fanatic Busted -- For Threatening Family Of Rep. Jeffries

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The FBI on Tuesday arrested a California man for sending threatening text messages to family members of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as well as a family member of an unnamed New York City-based journalist, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Robert Lemke was charged with one count of threatening interstate communications after he allegedly texted Jeffries' brother on Jan. 6 — the day of the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the United States Capitol — and threatened to hurt Jeffries' family if he did not overturn the election results.

"Your brother is putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words," Lemke wrote in the text, according to the complaint. "We are armed and nearby your house. You had better have a word with him. We are not far from his either."

Lemke texted that he also knew where Jeffries' kids were located, saying, "Your words have consequences. Stop telling lies; Biden did not win, he will not be president. We are not[] white supremacists. Most of us are active/retired law enforcement or military. You are putting your family at risk. We have armed members near your home."

The complaint does not identify Jeffries, instead saying the victim was the brother of "Congressman-1."

However, Jeffries confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that he was the member of Congress in the complaint.

Lemke is the latest Trump fan to be charged with making threats to Democratic lawmakers after buying into Trump's lies about voter fraud and stolen elections.

In November, shortly after Trump lost the 2020 election, a New York man was arrested for threatening to kill now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Over the course of his four-year tenure, dozens of Trump supporters have either been arrested for making threats or for carrying out violence against those who did not support Trump leading up to the election.

But that number has swelled into the hundreds since the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a mob incited by Trump himself waged a violent and deadly attack at the Capitol.

The FBI on Tuesday said that roughly 135 people have been arrested for their role in the terror attack at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including one Capitol Police officer. Hundreds more could be arrested in the coming days, as the FBI has identified more than 400 suspects, NBC News reported .

"Regardless of the level of criminal conduct, we're not selectively targeting or just trying to charge the most significant crime," acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said at a news conference on Tuesday, according to NBC's report. "If a crime was committed we are charging you, whether you were outside or inside the Capitol."

Jeffries appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday and spoke about the threats his family received, which he said "unfolded at the same moment that we had been evacuated" from the House chamber during the violent insurrection.

Jeffries thanked the law enforcement officers who arrested Lemke, and placed blame for the threats directly on Trump himself, who Jeffries said "is responsible for this type of activity."

"He's the person who has perpetrated the Big Lie that he actually won the election and that the presidency was stolen by Joe Biden and Democrats in the House," Jeffries told MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "That's why there were people who violently attacked the Capitol, who were there to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence, and hunt down members of Congress. And now you've got Senate Republicans who want to whitewash the whole thing. We're not going to allow them to whitewash anything."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.