Whatever your politics we have a new Congress that looks more like America, as a result of the highest turnout in a midterm election in this country’s history. January 3, 2019 is one of the most significant days in recent history. The new 36 seat Democratic majority in Congress brought back Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House for the first time in 64 years. She proceeded to present two short term bills, one to reopen government, one on the 8 departments of government to meet the needs of the American people and the other to fund the Department of Homeland Security.
In the first press conference as Speaker, Pelosi announced “a new dawn” and a diverse one as the 116th Congress begins. In one of her first interviews Pelosi also said that she might consider a move to impeach the president. In previous appearances she had said that she didn’t think impeachment should be considered because it is too disruptive of the legislative process. Her initial steps indicate her strong opposition to president Trump’s wish to get money fo building a Wall. The main reason Trump shut down the government is his promise to build the Wall.
Former Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla) , who lost in the midterm elections, said that there must be a compromise to reform immigration and other issues and the parties must meet in the middle. The new Congress seems ready to start issuing subpoenas. Former Senator Byron Dorgan said “this is a political earthquake,” and he also asked that the discussion should concern the people who have hopes and dreams for the future regarding issue like jobs, healthcare and education.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) seemed to leave open the door for a compromise saying “let’s listen to the experts,” adding “let’s have that conversation over the next couple of weeks.” Colorado Senator Corey Gardner, is trying to persuade Mitch McConnell to agree and seems open to an agreement on the main issue of the shutdown and funding of the border.
It is hard to see how the president can hold to his view that there is no compromise unless he gets money for the Wall along the border with Mexico if some of the people affected by the shutdown are the border guards and other workers in the Department of Homeland Security. The effects of the shutdown do matter, and national parks will have to shut down because of the accumulation of trash and very important government workers will not receive paychecks. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) voted yes for the official rules of the new Congress which usually run along party lines. This is “about doing the right thing” for the American people and he is opposed to the mentality of us versus them that has prevailed. In spite of the political chaos in Washington, there is hope that this Congress will do the right thing for the country.