Today’s Shorts: Republican Disarray, ‘Go Big or Go Home’ & Calling on the Ancestors

It’s been a dizzying month is Congress since I first published this article on Substack. It’s worth knowing how our country got here politically. Libertarian bullies have been wreaking havoc in the Arizona Legislature for years. Now they’re going it on the Congress.

Republican Chaos: Arizonans Have Seen this Movie Before

In an historic move on October 2, 2023, “Freedom” Caucus member Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called for a vote to remove Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the Speaker’s chair. On October 3, 2023, by a vote of 216-210 the US House of Representatives made history and removed McCarthy as Speaker. All of the House Democrats and eight Republicans voted to oust McCarthy.

On September 30, McCarthy revealed a deal with the Democrats to stop the US government from shutting down that night and set up a 45-day deadline for a budget. They did the right thing.

That bipartisan effort to stop a federal government shutdown, preserve people’s paychecks and protect our country’s financial standing prompted Gaetz and other Republican hardliners to move against McCarthy. (Mind you, all of them — including McCarthy — are election deniers and acolytes of former President Donald Trump. It’s not as if McCarthy is a flaming liberal. They are eating their own.)

As of today, October 20, the US House of Representatives has been without a Speaker for more two weeks. In the background, the 45-day deadline for stopgap funding to keep the US government open is creeping up.

The House should be hard at work on the budget instead of playing political games. The hardliners don’t have the votes. None of the ultra conservative Republicans, who have tried to win the Speaker’s chair, have been able to get a majority of Republicans to vote for them.

Democrats are hanging tough against all of the hardcore conservative Republicans who have stepped up to run for Speaker and who are to the right of McCarthy — Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA)Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH). Today, literally moments ago, Jordon lost his third bid for Speaker of the House.

How did we get here?

In order to win the Speaker’s chair back in January 2023, McCarthy suffered through 15 humiliating rounds of votes and made many concessions to the far right wing of his party. He let them chair committees, let them propose and bring their extreme bills to the floor and agreed to a rule change that allowed any member to call for a vote to remove the Speaker. That last concession did him in. It was a rough nine months for McCarthy as Speaker. Rather than deal with Democrats, McCarthy catered to the right and like rabid dogs, they viciously bit the hand that reached out to them.

Apparently, the ‘Gang the Couldn’t Shoot Straight’ didn’t have a game plan beyond dumping McCarthy.

Mainstream Congressional Republicans need the Democrats to govern, but they have not completely accepted that fact.

The problem is that for years, mainstream Republicans — like Senator Mitch McConnell and former Arizona Speaker Rusty Bowers — have been bowing to right wing extremists in order to hold their thin majorities together and to pass their worst ideas on party line votes. At the federal and state levels, the Republican Party chose to cling to power, rather than to govern. McConnell and other old timers like Senator Lindsey Graham initially balked at Trump’s brash authoritarian ways, but eventually supported the extremists in their party in order to hold power. The old school Republicans wanted to continue the status quo, which has allowed them to game the system and pass loads of legislation on a party line vote with little or no debate.

Ironically, one of the newly elected Republicans from Arizona, Rep. Eli Crane, said he voted for the right-wing rule changes, against McCarthy, and for Jordan for Speaker because he wanted to end the status quo in Congress.

Dude, you and your cronies helped the Democrats break your own party’s status quo. (Woo hoo! Continued on Substack here.

To continue reading this article, as well as Dems: Go Big or Go Home. Run in Every Race in 2024! and Ohio Abolitionists Should Haunt Rep. Jim Jordan at Powers for the People on Substack here.

Podcast: National Infrastructure Bank Would Rebuild US, Create Jobs & Restore Global Competitiveness

National Infrastructure Bank

In our history, beginning with President George Washington and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, the US has created four National Infrastructure Banks (NIB). Under Presidents Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt, National Infrastructure Banks built and upgraded infrastructure across the country from roads, damns and bridges to health clinics, schools and the national parks; provided productive work and good pay for thousands if not millions of Americans; increased production and manufacturing capacity nationwide; and created economic vitality.

Continue reading Podcast: National Infrastructure Bank Would Rebuild US, Create Jobs & Restore Global Competitiveness

Black History Month in #AZLeg Starts with Anti-Abortion Manifesto (video)

Rep. Walt Blackman's anti-abortion speech

Rep. Walt Blackman used the first day of Black History Month to sharply attack women’s right to choose and to insult women. Blackman claimed that black women have been duped into having an abortion by Planned Parenthood. This is insulting to anyone who has suffered an unwanted pregnancy.

Blackman — like other Republicans — ignores the role of the FATHER in unwanted pregnancy. If men want to prevent abortions, have sex only with your wives, wear a condom when you don’t want to create a new life, and “just say no” to unprotected sex. Older men should consider getting vasectomies to prevent abortions.

Stop trying to control women’s lives and decisions.

Continue reading Black History Month in #AZLeg Starts with Anti-Abortion Manifesto (video)

Podcast: The Filibuster, It’s Time to Remove a Relic of Racism (video)

Rep. PPH podcast

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, he and other Democratic leaders have proposed sweeping legislation to tackle deep-seated societal problems.

Many popular progressive bills – like the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; the Richard L. Trumka Protect the Right to Organize Act, the Dream and Promise Act, and the Women’s Health Protection Act – have been passed by the US House of Representatives. Unfortunately, these bills and many more are blocked in the Senate by the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold.

Parts of Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better Plan are also in jeopardy due to opposition from so-called “moderates” in Congress. Build Back Better would rebuild and modernize our nation’s neglected infrastructure, address climate change, create jobs, and lower taxes and costs for the middle class. Who pays for Build Back Better? Biden’s plan calls for a “fairer tax code.” Rather than taking on more debt, corporations and the wealthiest Americans would pay more in taxes to fund this sweeping recovery plan. These are the people who have enjoyed decades of tax cuts under the guise of trickledown economics. These are the people who made billions during the pandemic while working families scraped by. These are the people who build private space ships to glorify their egos while they starve their workers and bust unions. These are the people who enjoyed the biggest tax cut ever under President Trump. Unfortunately, these are also the people who have the money to buy politicians and lobbyists. That is why Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was passed by Republicans on a party line with a simple majority without debate just days before Christmas, but Biden’s plan, which would tax the rich to the benefit of the rest of the country, needs a super majority to overcome a filibuster.

Continue reading Podcast: The Filibuster, It’s Time to Remove a Relic of Racism (video)

‘A View from the Left Side’: New Podcast from Rep. PPH (video)

Rep. Pam Powers Hannley

I’m not the politician who strides into the room with an entourage and takes the first opportunity to grab a mic and give a speech. I’m the politician who wanders around parties and events chitchatting incognito until somebody, like my husband, tips people off and blows my cover.

Before COVID, I heard a lot of your stories with this way.

Literally everywhere I go–even to Jim’s recent Rincon Rangers High School Reunion–people tell me how much they appreciate getting an insider’s view of the Arizona Legislature through my video updates and blog posts.

Although this blog has been quiet since the end of a grueling, six-month Legislative session, I have been busy in the background.* Given the dismal state of our state government and the struggles to make progressive change in the Congress, I decided to up my communication game and start a weekly podcast.  Each episode of A View from the Left Side focuses on a specific topic and includes a commentary to set the stage, followed by guest interviews. My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.

A View from the Left Side began with a soft opening on August 20 with Episode 1: The State of Politics in Arizona. There is obviously a lot of material for a political podcast in Arizona. 

Continue reading ‘A View from the Left Side’: New Podcast from Rep. PPH (video)

Dump Trump. Save & Expand Postal Services (video)

Keep Post Office Open

President Trump and Congress have been bailing out businesses with multiple Coronavirus relief packages. One business they haven’t helped is the US Postal Service. In fact, Trump has suggested shutting down the post office and privatizing the services.

I think that is a terrible idea for the American public. The US Postal Service (USPS) is the general public’s most cost-effective and convenient way to send letters and packages to other people in this country. The Postal Service was created by the Founding Fathers because they realized how important it was for us to stay in communication with each other and with the government. President Thomas Jefferson even wanted the newspaper to be delivered free to every person in the US to keep us informed.

Privatization of government services never benefits the people. I can’t think of any instance in which a service was privatized, and the people actually got better service and/or more cost-effective service. With privatization, the service always gets worse, more expensive, and less widespread and universal. It’s costs 55 cents for one first class postage stamp; that is the cost to mail a letter to anyone in the US. To send a Fed Ex letter, it costs $8.50– or $11 if the letter’s destination is more than 601 miles away. Plus, you have to take the letter to Fed Ex to mail it. Privatization is about making money. It’s not about providing quality, low-cost services in a non-discriminatory way, across the entire country equally for everybody. That’s what the Postal Service gives us. If Trump succeeds in privatizing the postal service, thousands of union workers will lose their jobs, costs will skyrocket, convenience will be lost, and people in remote areas will lose mail service or pay ridiculous prices in order to guarantee a profit.

Continue reading Dump Trump. Save & Expand Postal Services (video)