Tag: house republicans
Mike Johnson

House Republicans Hesitate Over Johnson's Weird 'Trump Immunity' Bill

In the wake of former President Donald Trump's guilty verdict on 34 felony counts in New York, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) is now trying to make it virtually impossible for any local or state prosecutor to bring charges against him ever again. But trying to get enough support from within his conference for the concept is another challenge altogether.

Axios reported Friday that Johnson is trying to enlist members of the House Republican Conference to support the No More Political Prosecutions Act. That bill would make it so a current or former president could have any case brought by a local or state-level prosecutor moved to federal court. This would then put those local and state cases under a president's jurisdiction to either have his appointed attorney general dismiss or allow a president to pardon himself if convicted.

However, one major roadblock Johnson has run into is the more moderate faction of his caucus, as Republicans from swing districts have expressed reticence to fully support that legislation.

"I'm debating it," an unnamed centrist House Republican anonymously told Axios.

The bill to undermine local prosecutions against Trump is coupled with other efforts by the House's GOP majority to punish the DOJ over its own prosecution of the former president. Other legislation aimed at federal law enforcement includes budget cuts, and additional levels of congressional oversight. None of those measures are expected to pass the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, however.

Johnson could have trouble in particular from recently elected GOP members of the House, particularly from House districts President Joe Biden won comfortably in 2020. Reps. Anthony D'Esposito (R-NY), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Nick LaLota (R-NY) and Marc Molinaro (R-NY) were all elected less than four years ago, and showing staunch support for Trump after he was convicted by a New York jury could be a tough sell.

The speaker's majority has become increasingly tenuous since he took the gavel, and saw a wave of early retirements and resignations among his fellow Republicans over the past seven months. Johnson can't afford more than two defections from his conference in order to pass legislation, assuming full attendance from both Democrats and Republicans. This has gotten Johnson in trouble in the recent past, as a failure to whip enough votes resulted in him failing to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on his first attempt (the second attempt was successful).

Among this year's most notable House Republican exits include former Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO), Mike Gallagher (R-WI and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) — who chaired the powerful and influential House Energy and Commerce Committee — among others. Buck's old district is now experiencing a crowded primary that includes Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who changed districts in hopes of having less competitive reelection battles in the extremely rural congressional district.

And of course, former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was expelled from Congress in the wake of an Ethics Committee investigation highlighting his corrupt behavior both during his campaign and while he was in office. Santos was replaced by Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) in a February special election.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Sucking Up: House Republicans Want To Give Trump A Gold Medal

Sucking Up: House Republicans Want To Give Trump A Gold Medal

The first Congressional Gold Medal was struck in 1776 as a way of saying thanks to George Washington. Since then, the medal has been awarded just 184 times to hallowed figures including Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Compared to the 647 civilian Presidential Medals of Freedom or the 3,517 military Medals of Honor, the Congressional Gold Medal is the rarest of the great honors awarded in America.

Naturally, a group of Republicans is angling to present one to Donald Trump.

As Politicoreports, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida is leading a squad of six Republicans determined to bestow a medal on Trump. Adding to the absurdity, they claim they want to award the medal because of Trump’s “dedication to strengthening America’s diplomatic relations.” Which apparently means threatening to abandon allies, enabling Vladimir Putin, and exchanging “love letters” with Kim Jong Un.

Finding the best way to show obeisance to Donald Trump is every modern Republican’s major obsession. Checking in at Trump’s criminal trial for falsifying documents to hide a sexual encounter with a porn star and protect his candidacy in the 2016 election is the hot new ticket for Republicans hoping to survive the 2024 election—and the purges that would follow a Trump victory.

However, not everyone can blow off a day of work and run to a New York courthouse to help Trump get around his gag order.

Scoring some sweet time in front of Fox News cameras to tell Trump they want to give him the greatest honor Congress can award must sound pretty good to this group of House Republicans, which includes Rep. Lauren Boebert and Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler.

They get to talk about Trump’s accomplishments in the field of diplomacy, like that time Trump decided to launch a verbal war on Canada. Or how Trump prepared individual insults for G20 leaders. Or his no-U.S.-translator-allowed meetings with Putin. Or how world support for the U.S. crashed under Trump and rebounded under Joe Biden.

But they know it’s all just pretend. There’s absolutely zero chance that Trump will get a Congressional Gold Medal for his “exceptional leadership.”

That’s because the medal can only be awarded through an act of Congress. Two-thirds of the members on the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs are required to sponsor any proposed recipient before the measure can even make it to the House and Senate floor for a vote. And then the measure has to pass the full House with two-thirds of the vote.

Trump isn’t going to get past square one, and all six of those pushing this little scheme know it. This is just another example of so-called virtue signaling by Republicans—where the only virtue they understand is bolstering Trump's ego.

There is another shiny option Trump can strive for: the Congressional Award Gold Medal, which has been awarded to thousands of Americans. To get one, Trump would only have to do 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and a five-day, four-night expedition or exploration. It sounds unlikely, but Republicans might declare that Trump’s rallies, social media attacks, golf outings, and court time in Manhattan satisfy those requirements.

He would also need to be between 14 and 18 years old. But considering the things Republicans are willing to believe about Trump, that doesn’t seem like an insurmountable problem.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Democrats Standing With Republicans Against 'Pro-Putin' GOP Faction

Some House Democrats and House Republicans are coming together toward a common opponent: far-right “pro-Putin” hardliners in the House Republican conference, who appear to be led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Congresswoman Greene has been threatening to oust the Republican Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. Last month she filed a “motion to vacate the chair.” If she chooses to call it up she could force a vote on the House floor to try to remove Speaker Johnson.

House Democrats say they are willing to vote against ousting Johnson, as long as the Speaker puts on the floor desperately needed and long-awaited legislation to fund aid to Ukraine and Israel. Johnson has refused to put the Ukraine aid bill on the floor for months, but after Iran attacked Israel Johnson switched gears. Almost all Democrats and a seemingly large number of Republicans want to pass the Ukraine and Israel aid packages.

Forgoing the possibility of installing Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker, which is conceivable given Johnson’s now one-vote majority, Democrats say if Johnson does the right thing, they will throw him their support.

“I think he’ll be in good shape,” to get Democrats to support him, if he puts the Ukraine aid bill on the floor, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) told CNN Thursday. “I would say that there’s a lot of support for the underlying bills. I think those are vital.”

“If these bills were delivered favorably, and the aid was favorably voted upon, and Marjorie Taylor Greene went up there with a motion to remove him, for instance, I think there’s gonna be a lot of Democrats that move to kill that motion,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said. “They don’t want to see him getting punished for doing the right thing.”

“I think it is a very bad policy of the House to allow one individual such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is an arsonist to this House of Representatives,” Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) told CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane, when asked about intervening to save Johnson. He added he doesn’t want her “to have so much influence.”

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, one of several Republicans who won their New York districts in 2022, districts that were previously held by Democrats, opposes Greene’s motion to vacate – although he praised the Georgia GOP congresswoman.

CNN’s Manu Raju reports Republicans “say it’s time to marginalize hardliners blocking [their] agenda.”

D’Esposito, speaking to Raju, called for “repercussions for those who completely alienate the will of the conference. The people gave us the majority because they wanted Republicans to govern.”

Rep. Mike Lawler, like D’Esposito is another New York Republican who won a previously Democratic seat in 2022. Lawler spoke out against the co-sponsor of Greene’s motion to vacate, Rep. Tim Massie (R-KY), along with two other House Republicans who are working to block the Ukraine aid bill via their powerful seats on the Rules Committee.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), a former Navy pilot, blasted Greene.

“Time is of the essence” for Ukraine, Rep. Sherrill told CNN Wednesday night. “The least we can do is support our Democratic allies, especially given what we know Putin to do. To watch a report and to think there are people like Marjorie Taylor Greene on the right that are pro-Putin? That are pro-Russia? It is really shocking.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), as NCRM reported Thursday, had denounced Greene.

“I guess their reasoning is they want Russia to win so badly that they want to oust the Speaker over it,” he said, referring to the Ukraine aid bill Greene and her cohorts want to tank. “I mean that’s a strange position to take.”

The far-right hardliners are also causing chaos in the House.

“Things just got very heated on the House floor,” NBC News’ Julie Tsirkin reported earlier Thursday. “Group of hardliners were trying to pressure Johnson to only put Israel aid on the floor and hold Ukraine aid until the Senate passed HR2.”

HR2 is the House Republicans’ extremist anti-immigrant legislation that has n o chance of passage in the Senate nor would it be signed into law by President Biden.

“Johnson said he couldn’t do it, and [Rep. Derrick] Van Orden,” a far-right Republican from Wisconsin “called him ‘tubby’ and vowed to bring on the MTV [Motion to Vacate.]”

“No one in the group [Gaetz, Boebert, Burchett, Higgins, Donalds et al.] was threatening Johnson with an MTV,” Tsirkin added. “Van Orden seemed to escalate things dramatically…”

Despite Greene’s pro-Putin and anti-Ukraine positions, her falsehoods about “Ukrainian Nazis,” and Russians not slaughtering Ukrainian clergy, reporters continue to “swarm”:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Rep. Mike Johnson

'Work Till You Drop Dead': GOP Budget Torches Social Security -- And IVF

The Republican Study Committee has released its proposed 2025 budget which would take an ax to major elements of the social safety net, healthcare system, and civil rights, while affecting nearly every American, either now or in the future.

Calling it “Fiscal Sanity to Save America,” the budget proposal from the far-right MAGA-affiliated group of about 170 House Republicans would effectively create a national abortion ban and ban on in-vitro fertilization procedures (IVF) by creating legal protections for human embryos starting at “the moment of fertilization.” It mentions the word “abortion” 77 times.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is a member and former chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

“The House GOP Study Committee (largest House GOP bloc) released a budget endorsing the Life at Conception Act, which would provide 14th amendment legal protections at every stage of life,” explained Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Semafor’s domestic policy and politics reporter. “Amounts to near-total ban on abortions with no IVF exceptions.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) blasted the Republican Study Committee’s budget.

“Wow today a group comprising 80% of republicans in Congress explicitly endorsed a far-right bill that would impose a national abortion ban and outlaw birth control and in vitro fertilization IVF,” he wrote on X.

“Just now 80% of republicans in Congress called for raising the retirement age and tying social security to life expectancy. Republicans want you to work until you drop dead,” he added minutes later.

“The new budget also calls for converting Medicare to a ‘premium support model,’ echoing a proposal that Republican former Speaker Paul Ryan had rallied support for,” NBC News reports. “Under the new RSC plan, traditional Medicare would compete with private plans and beneficiaries would be given subsidies to shop for the policies of their choice. The size of the subsidies could be pegged to the ‘average premium’ or ‘second lowest price’ in a particular market, the budget says.”

“The plan became a flashpoint in the 2012 election, when Ryan was GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, and President Barack Obama charged that it would ‘end Medicare as we know it.’ Ryan defended it as a way to put Medicare on better financial footing, and most of his party stood by him.”

Award-winning journalist Laurie Garrett observes the Republican Study Committee’s budget “cuts $1.5 trillion from Social Security,” “raises Medicare costs & cuts caps on pharma fees,” “cuts Medicaid, ACA/Obamacare & the Children’s Health Insurance Prog by $4.5 trillion over 10 years,” “creates $5.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich and corporations,” “eliminates all clean energy tax incentives,” and “raises Social Security Retirement age to 69.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote: “Social Security is NOT an entitlement. Americans pay into the program with each and every paycheck. Raising the Social Security retirement age is yet another way the extremists in the GOP are trying to take away your hard-earned money.”

The House Democratic Whip, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) summed it up this way:

“The MAGA GOP’s three-point plan:

– Raise the retirement age.
– Cut Social Security.
– Line the pockets of billionaires.

Democrats are going to stop them.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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