HISTORY has been made when the members of the 116th Congress were sworn in on January 3, including Filipino-American TJ Cox, representing California’s 21st District.
This new Congress reflects the face and energy of America today with a record number of women and people of color elected into office — including a refugee from Somalia, transgender, Native American, Muslim, and the youngest woman to represent her constituents at age 28.
Nancy Pelosi also makes history as she reclaims the House Speakership, a post she previously held when she served as the first and so far only female House speaker from 2007 to 2011.
“Our nation is at a historic moment,” Pelosi said shortly after she was re-elected. “Two months ago, the American people spoke and demanded a new dawn.”
The Democrats regaining the House leadership would now end President Donald Trump’s hold of both Houses of Congress, and the Republicans’ control of the three co-equal branches of government. This development would make the Constitution’s requirement of checks and balances work again, where no one person, political party, nor ideology would be given unbridled power.
With this, the Democrats in Congress would now be pushing to protect the Mueller probe, investigate Trump’s and his family’s finance quagmire including his tax returns.
Pelosi and the Democratic leadership in Congress also signified their stand that despite the Justice Department guideline that no sitting president should be indicted, there is NO LAW nor provision in the Constitution that says so. With the record number of legal issues Trump is now facing, they say they do not rule out indicting Trump, nor do they rule out the option of impeachment. Nobody, not even the President of the United States is and should be above the law.
While the Democrats in Congress have vowed to strengthen the oversight function of the Legislature, they are also pushing their legislative agenda to make the government work for the American people, and not just for the privileged few.
Late Thursday night, December 3, the House passed legislation that would end the partial government shutdown and would provide funding for near future for the closed government agencies, but would not give Trump the $ 5-billion funding to build a border wall, sticking to their offer of $1.6 billion toward border security.
Trump has been using more than 800,000 federal workers as hostages, working without getting a paycheck or going on furlough since the government shutdown on December 22, 2018, when Trump rejected the bipartisan offer to keep the government running because he wanted the funding for his beautiful wall he promised Mexico would pay for during the campaign. Also affected are all Americans who depend on government services to go about their business.
Pushing for the wall is demanded by Trump’s base, while polls reveal a majority of Americans do not support taxpayers money being used to build the wall.
The Democrats will also push legislation to protect Obamacare, to address the disparity of income in America, and as Pelosi said, “To face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis.”
The House Democrats are also unveiling a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package that addresses what they call a “culture of corruption in Washington” and aims to reduce the role of money in politics. This legislative measure would make it easier for citizens to register and vote, tighten election security, and require presidents to disclose their tax returns.
DEMOCRACY is alive and should be protected in America!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! !
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos