Archive for the ‘Legislative Branch’ Category

While testifying to the House Committee on Administration, Newt Gingrich showed that he’s still part history teacher, part patriot and part constitutionalist. It isn’t surprising to me that his list of accomplishments as Speaker is lengthy and impressive. Speaker Gingrich is still one of the most impressive intellects of our time.

During Speaker Gingrich’s testimony, Speaker Gingrich started with a lesson on the Constitution, then transitioned to a civics teacher before finishing as a school principal admonishing disobedient students. Specifically, I want to focus on Speaker Gingrich’s role of admonishing Congress.

Specifically, Speaker Gingrich called out Congress essentially for being elitists and wimps:

Our national anthem says we are “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Our Founding Fathers risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to defend freedom. The Civil War generation lost 630,000 Americans fighting for the Union and to end slavery. The Greatest Generation went across the planet risking its lives to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. By the way, through all these events, Congress met in person.

Now, we are told that our members of the House are too precious to risk their lives by coming to Washington.

To these members I would say: If freedom isn’t worth the risk, quit the Congress. Someone with more courage will replace you in a special election. The emotion driving the proposal for remote voting is an expression of a kind of cowardice I would never have expected to see in America.

Ms. Pelosi, like Democrat governors Whitmer, Walz, Pritzker and Inslee, likes being in total control. The thought that Democrats voted to vote from their districts isn’t surprising, though it is wimpy. Across the way on Capitol Hill, the Senate is meeting regularly and getting lots of things done. They’re confirming judges and holding Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee hearings. The Democrat House has gotten things done but only after getting dragged kicking and screaming to do their job.

We are asking children and teachers to go back to school, but House members can’t come to Washington. We are asking truckers to crisscross the country bringing us food and supplies, but their representatives have to hide in fear and vote electronically to avoid risk.

We have young men and women risking their lives all across the planet to protect freedom, but their elected leaders can’t risk being in a room with immediate access to doctors and remarkably little risk of anything bad happening.

I am embarrassed for this House that such a proposal could even get to a hearing.

Let’s be clear about something. If average citizens can function safely in a Walmart, Congresscritters should be able to figure out a way to function on Capitol Hill. The routine is simple. Wash hands frequently, stay socially distanced, cough into your shirt rather than across a room and finally, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands. If the House can’t figure that out, then we need a different Speaker and a different (GOP) majority.

Here is Speaker Gingrich’s opening statement:

Gov. Walz and Speaker Hortman are playing purely partisan games in an attempt to pressure Republicans. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has said that “his caucus will block passage of a public infrastructure borrowing package until the peacetime state of emergency Gov. Tim Walz has used to enact the stay-at-home order and other coronavirus response measures comes to an end.”

Predictably, Speaker Hortman responded, saying “it is ‘disappointing to see the minority leader threaten to block much-needed investments in local jobs and projects in our communities.'” Ms. Hortman, there’s a simple solution to this impasse. It’s found by letting the people have a say in matters. Leader Daudt laid it out pretty simply:

The Legislature is in session. We believe we should be working with the governor on the response to COVID-19 and keeping Minnesota safe.

I’ll put it in simpler terms. Minnesota isn’t a monarchy. Tim Walz isn’t an emperor. He was elected to be Minnesota’s governor, not Minnesota’s king. It’s time he dropped the monarch act and provided servant leadership.

Speaker Hortman apparently favors monarchies:

Governor Walz and his Administration have served the people of Minnesota well during this crisis, and his thoughtfulness is why Minnesotans overwhelmingly approve of his actions. Ending the peacetime emergency declaration before the emergency has passed would be reckless.

Actually, letting Gov. Walz do whatever he wants is reckless. Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Right now, Gov. Walz is acting like he’s got total authority to do whatever he wants. If Hortman wants to campaign that Gov. Walz has the authority to make unilateral decisions and that he’s made nothing but good decisions, I can’t wait to see her surrender her Speaker’s gavel this November.

Gov. Walz and Speaker Hortman, if you want to run as an autocrat and the chief supporter of an out-of-control autocrat, don’t expect a gentle reception outside downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul this November. People with common sense don’t like authoritarianism. This about it this way. Gov. Walz has decided to ‘let’ more businesses open. Gov. Walz has ‘let’ people start fishing again. Gov. Walz has ‘let’ golf courses open after being pushed by protesters into that decision.

If this is right, the law needs changing:

The state of emergency, currently to end May 13, does not require legislative sign off, though lawmakers can vote to end it. House Republicans have made several unsuccessful attempts to pass legislation rescinding the order. The governor can extend the measure every 30 days with approval from an executive council of statewide elected officials, though he must call back the Legislature if he acts again after it has adjourned. Daudt said he would rather see the Legislature remain in session without a state of emergency past May to approve any virus response measures.

The legislative branch, not the executive branch, is where political disputes should be settled. Further, giving the governor the authority to extend his autocratic decisions theoretically gives him the ability to extend it indefinitely if there’s a divided legislature. Giving a governor the ability to make decisions without consulting the legislature is a recipe for disaster. Nobody should ever have that type of authority. The people must have a say in the matter.