Saturday Morning Open Thread: Democrats Are Pro-Voters; Repubs Are Not

The Washington Post, paper of record in the company town where national politics is the monopoly industry, has a good explainer:

The House approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill Friday — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states and, in one of several provisions targeting President Trump, force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.

Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.

“It’s a power grab, a power grab on behalf of the people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at an event on the Capitol steps ahead of the planned vote.

The bill is headed for a brick wall in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear it will not get a vote. However, Democrats and their allies said the bill’s passage would build momentum for action in coming years if and when Democrats solidify control in Washington.

“If Mitch McConnell is the immovable object, H.R. 1 is the unstoppable force,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the lead author of the bill. “We’ll keep pushing on it.”…

Read the whole thing for a full list of the bill’s (excellent!) provisions.

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

Aside from its scope, what’s most remarkable about HR1 is that every single House Democrat voted for it… And every Republicans voted against it, which means the GOP is determined to use barriers to full participation in elections — along with related abuses like partisan gerrymandering and unregulated campaign spending — to maintain its competitive position, regardless of public opinion….

The vote on HR1 should also provide something of a counterargument to all the recent “Democrats in disarray” story lines stemming from intraparty debates over socialism or Israel. No, the bill won’t even get a hearing in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has denounced it as the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.” Mitch has a point: It might well help Democrats in the long run, for the rather honorable reason that they are defending rather than resisting the full expression of the popular will.








Repub Venality Open Thread: Careful What You Wish For…

Devin Nunes this weekend, from the warm damp embrace of CPAC:

The House Judiciary Committee, today:

The requests are not at this point subpoenas, and some are likely to face vigorous objection from their targets. Some receiving the document requests are attorneys like Don McGahn and Jay Sekulow, the latter of whom Cohen testified was instrumental in misleading Congress on client Trump’s behalf. To mitigate likely objections of executive privilege, the letters sent to witnesses say they may limit the documents they provide the committee to materials already provided to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Southern District of New York and other judicial or legislative entities.

Some of the targets of the requests give indications of where the myriad congressional investigations into Donald Trump, also pursued by the House intelligence, ways and means and oversight committees, are headed.

Receiving document requests were Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica, parent entity the SCL Group, and Trump campaign data expert Brad Parscale. Among the materials sought by investigators are “discussions or attempts to provide or receive election information… with, to or from foreign entities or individuals in connection with the 2016 U.S. presidential primary or general elections.”…

From Blackwater founder and potential Trump diplomatic backchannel Erik Prince, as well as current Prince venture Frontier Services Group, any material about Russia, lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia, “the contents of meetings between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, and any contacts during the campaign or transition “with or regarding the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia.”

From Erickson and the NRA—which is also the subject of at least two Senate inquiries—information on “any loan, financing transaction or investment by the Russian Federation, any Russian national, any Russian business, or any other Russian entity to the Trump Organization, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, or any of their Business Interests.”…

And so many more!


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Repub RatFvckery Open Thread: ‘Roger Who?


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Late Night Open Thread: Another Act in the Shutdown Shitshow Begins

Of course Trump doesn’t mind being in the spotlight, even a negative spotlight. But Mitch McConnell is every bit as selfish as Donny Dollhands, and a lot smarter about how he’s perceived by normal people his voters. He doesn’t mind being the anonymous Little Man Behind the Curtain, destroying other peoples’ lives for his own benefit — but how much appetite does he have for getting yelled at in public?

From the Washington Post, “House Democrats vote to reopen government and deny Trump wall money, defying veto threat”:

The newly Democratic-controlled House passed a package of bills late Thursday that would reopen the federal government without paying for President Trump’s border wall, drawing a swift veto threat from the White House and leaving the partial shutdown no closer to getting resolved.

But two Senate Republicans who are up for reelection in 2020 broke with Trump and party leaders on their shutdown strategy, saying it was time to end the impasse even if Democrats won’t give Trump the more than $5 billion in border funding he is demanding.

The comments from Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — the only Senate Republicans running for reelection in states Trump lost — pointed to cracks within the GOP that could grow as the shutdown nears the two-week mark. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated Thursday that the Senate will only take up government spending legislation that Trump supports…

The six-bill package passed the House 241-190 Thursday night, and the short-term Homeland Security spending bill passed 239-192. A handful of Republicans broke ranks on each measure to vote “yes” with the Democrats.

The House strategy could allow Senate Republicans to pass legislation that would reopen most of the government while setting aside the debate over the border wall. But thus far, because of Trump’s opposition, party leaders have refused…

“What we’re asking the Republicans in the Senate to do is to take ‘yes’ for an answer. We are sending them back exactly, word for word, what they have passed,” Pelosi said. “Why would they not do that? Is it because the president won’t sign it? Did they not hear about the coequal branch of government, and that we the Congress send the president legislation and he can choose to sign or not?”…


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Criminal Abuse Open Thread: Ready Player Individual-1

Balloon Juice commentor Waldo:

What prosecutors say: The president was in on it.
What Trump hears: The president was innocent.