Last week, we predicted that Pelosi would appoint the biggest Wall Street shill among the new freshmen, Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), to the biggest fount of congressional corruption, the House Financial Services Committee. The Finance Sector and the Wall Street banksters financed Gottheimer's election and they expect him to return the favor going forward. Yesterday, Pelosi, gave Wall Street and Gottheimer what they wanted. Placing a corrupt scumbag on the committee, along with two other freshmen sleaze bags, Charlie Crist (FL) and Vicente Gonzalez (TX).
One watch dog type, not there for the bribes– Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)– was put on the committee to help the few honest members– Maxine Waters, Keith Ellison, Mike Capuano– hold the banksters accountable and keep an eye on the crooked Democrats who are part of that committee's sewer (Jim Himes, Kyrsten Sinema, Denny Heck, Terri Sewell, John Delaney, Gregory Meeks, William Lacy Clay, David Scott…).
But there was one committee, where it was apparent Pelosi thought long and hard about making appointments, the huge potential Age of Trump battleground– House Judiciary. Senior members, John Conyers and Jerry Nadler, already do an amazing job there but Pelosi decided to send her best reinforcements to the committee that is likely to be the tip of the spear in the battle to protect Americans from Trump (and Sessions). Before she even got to the freshmen, she appointed Ted Lieu (D-CA), the best possible selection, to the committee. Lieu, in a statement to the press pointed out why this assignment is so crucial. “As a former prosecutor, one of only a handful of immigrants serving in Congress, and the only Democrat with a computer science degree, I hope I can bring a unique perspective to the committee charged with overseeing our nation’s administration of law and justice. The Judiciary Committee was my first choice because of the numerous critical issues over which the Committee has jurisdiction, such as immigration, civil liberties, criminal justice reform, privacy, and encryption. The Judiciary Committee takes on exceptional importance given the prior statements of Trump– who lost the popular vote– in which he advocated for a Muslim-American registry as well as the deportation of millions of people, which would include children, high school, and college students who are undocumented. I will fight like hell on the Judiciary Committee to stop all unconstitutional, discriminatory and stupid ideas by our next President.”
Ted is one of the few members of Congress to go to the secret room without any recording devises (including no pens or pencils) to read the classified intelligence report on Russian hacking. Here's the statement he issued this morning:
I have now read the highly classified intelligence report on Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections. I analyzed the report from my perspective as a computer science major and as a Member of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
Here is my reaction: there is clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusions of the intelligence community as set forth in the unclassified version of the report. Russian hacking of Americans and American political organizations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election was multifaceted and brazen, with the goals of undermining faith in the U.S. democratic process and harming Secretary Clinton's electability. Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for Trump.
I believe Trump is actively misleading Americans when he says the Russians did not attempt to help his election chances and denigrate Secretary Clinton’s electability. Cyber espionage against American political organizations and cyber intrusions into our electoral boards are not partisan issues, they are American issues. I call on every Member of Congress who has been briefed on or read the classified report to tell Trump that he needs to tell the truth to the American people. At stake is not just our national security, but the very fabric of our democracy.
Good Pelosi! The two freshmen she put on the committee were two of the best elected in 2016, especially for this assignment, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
Pramila told her constituents in Seattle why this appointment makes so much sense. “I couldn’t be prouder to be appointed to the House Judiciary Committee. I look forward to bringing my passion and experience to immigration reform, real criminal justice reform, women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, and civil liberties. After 9/11, I led the fight against the Bush administration and civil liberties abuses of Arabs and Muslims, successfully suing the administration and stopping the deportations of over 4,000 Muslims across our country. I’m proud to have led efforts for some of the most progressive immigration policies in the nation, including pushing for comprehensive and humane immigration reform, passing the DREAM Act, promoting citizenship and preserving drivers’ licenses for all. I have also been a leader on voting rights, shepherding the largest voter registration drive in Washington state and registering over 23,000 New Americans to vote, as well as leading the push in the State Senate for the Washington Voting Rights Act and Automatic Voter Registration. In the 115th Congress, I pledge to fight for our progressive values, and block the Trump administration’s plans to deport vulnerable undocumented immigrants, create a Muslim registry and violate our civil rights and civil liberties.”
As for Jamie Raskin, we first became aware of him as a counsel for People for the American Way. This is his forte. He's written several books on constitutional law, including best-seller, Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People (2003), which is about Bush v. Gore, conservative judicial activism and the Court’s assault on democratic rights, and We the Students: Supreme Court Decisions for and About America’s Students (2015). “In 1981,” he told Maryland voters yesterday, “as a college junior, I interned for Congressman John Conyers on the Judiciary Committee and found there not only a lifelong mentor, but a passion for constitutional law and a profound appreciation for the Judiciary Committee and the role that it plays in defending the rights and freedoms of the people. In 2017, with such profound disrespect for constitutional values being displayed by the incoming administration, the work of the Judiciary Committee is of surpassing and urgent importance. In this Committee, we will take a stand for civil rights and voting rights, civil liberties and reproductive freedom, the rights of citizens and the rights of immigrants, criminal justice reform and access to justice for all. I am grateful to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Ranking Member John Conyers, and above all my constituents for making this appointment possible.”
Note: when Blue America endorses men and women like Pramila, Jamie and Ted, it isn't random. We put a lot of effort into it. And we're glad when they live up… as these three are already doing in a big way.
UPDATE: New Dems Make Their Move To Sell-Out
A member of Congress who asked me not to identify him sent me a copy of the letter Jim Himes, on behalf of the New Dems, sent Paul Ryan, offering to work with him in a way that allows him to bypass Pelosi. “It's appalling,” he wrote. “They want to meet as a New Dem caucus to negotiate with Ryan on changing Obamacare. We should, as a caucus, speak with one voice and not let the Republicans divide and conquer. Only Nancy Pelosi should be dealing with Ryan on behalf of the House Democrats. The New Dems are really undercutting our caucus and potentially selling out. Any chance you can do something on this and circulate it in progressive circles? The only shot we have of resisting is to stay unified.”
Here's the letter from Himes to Ryan,which was similar to a letter Tim Kaine and other right-of-center Senate Dems sent to McConnell last week:
Dear Speaker Ryan,
As Members with a demonstrated commitment to working across the aisle to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we write to express our strong opposition to plans to repeal the law. Repealing the law will have immediate effects that will lead to higher costs, less access, and lower quality care for Americans across the country. Access to lifesaving health care is not a partisan issue, and any changes to the Affordable Care Act should reflect this shared value of ours through a commitment to bipartisan dialogue.
Repealing the ACA threatens to interrupt care, price millions of Americans out of their health insurance, and have far-reaching consequences that will destabilize markets for all Americans, regardless of how they access health care coverage. Not only will this jeopardize access to health care for those who need it most, the anticipated burden of uncompensated care costs will cripple health care providers’ ability to meet the needs of their communities.
Instead of repealing, we are open to working with you to make constructive improvements to the Affordable Care Act that reduce health care costs for families and seniors, invest in prevention, increase choices for consumers, streamline regulations, reduce burdens for small businesses, and encourage participation by the young and healthy. We believe there are productive changes that can be made to improve the Affordable Care Act without compromising the critical protections our constituents depend on. We can’t go back to a time when preexisting conditions made a person uninsurable, when women were charged more for insurance than men, and when seniors had to pay out of pocket for prescription drugs because of the “donut hole.”
We hope that you will take these factors into consideration and work with Members from both parties to responsibly work towards the goal of high quality, affordable health coverage for every American.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis