January 03, 2019
If there's one piece of advice Democrat Gene Green would give the new House majority, it's this: "Don't get too comfortable." The American people can snatch the gavel away from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) just as quickly as they gave it, the outgoing congressman cautioned. And based on the agenda Democrats are unveiling, that may not be as far-fetched as it seems.
For most of the country, it was shades of 2007 when the 78-year-old Pelosi took her place on the dais and talked about a bipartisanship she has never practiced. In her speech this afternoon, the one she's been waiting eight years to give, the new speaker talked about "reach[ing] across the aisle" and healing America's great divides -- only to prove how insincere she is about both by introducing a bill that super-charges the abortion debate.
As promised, Pelosi's first act as speaker was showboating a measure that would end the 12-day partial shutdown. "We're asking the president to open up government," she told reporters. What she didn't mention is that her bill would also re-open something else -- the global pipeline for taxpayer-funded abortion. Almost two years after President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, the new majority tried to upend it with language that would ship U.S. dollars overseas to groups that promote abortion.
Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried to brace himself for two more years of what he called "political performance art." "It's exactly the kind of proposal you'd expect if the incoming House Democrats are choosing to stage a political side show rather than doing the hard work of helping govern the country... The Senate," he fired back, "will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which cannot pass this chamber and which the president will not sign."
It's a scenario that voters will have to get used to in this brave new world of divided government. And not just voters -- but Republicans too, a large swath of whom weren't even in office when Nancy Pelosi was first speaker. "I know nothing but having a Republican from the White House all the way across the board," said U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas). "This'll be a great test of all of us, but especially my leadership." In a party where Democrats will be under fierce pressure to track Left, the Senate will have to become the conservative backstop to an onslaught of anti-life, anti-family policies. Fortunately for America, Leader McConnell is up to the challenge.
Meanwhile, Republicans aren't the only ones in for a roller-coaster ride into 2020. Pelosi's honeymoon in leadership was over before it began, thanks to a growing number of Democrats who think she should have never been speaker to begin with. Making matters worse, a lot of them are part of the newly sworn-in class of 2019, who rose to power last November on socialist promises of free everything. As the LA Times warns, they are poised to be "one of the most independent -- and difficult to control -- freshmen classes in years." She's only been in power for a few hours, the Wall Street Journal editors point out, but Pelosi's already facing a revolt from liberal extremists who won't be satisfied with anything resembling moderation.
One thing they do agree on, unfortunately, is a raft of legislation that's completely at odds with the pro-life president and Senate. Based on what Democrats have said, the House is cooking up a wild menu for 2019, complete with an absolute grilling of Donald Trump. With the who's who of anti-Trump radicals heading up the new House committees, this White House is in for an outright siege. "The new Democratic House is being compared with the first Pelosi majority of 2006," the Wall Street Journal editors point out, "but there's one big difference: The 2018 Democrats ran on no discernible agenda beyond rejecting Donald Trump and all his works. The animating purpose of Congress will be investigations to damage, and perhaps impeach, the President..." with fanatical chair people like Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and "you-tell-conservatives-they're-not-welcome" Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) leading the charge.
But if there's one thing that's never scared this president, it's confrontation. He, along with a stronger Senate majority, will continue to use their power to advance the mainstream, pro-family agenda that elected them in the first place. As for the rest of the country, "Voters may think they sent Democrats to Washington to 'check' Mr. Trump's unpresidential habits," the WSJ editors write, but "Americans may soon discover that they've invested those hopes in more polarization and vitriol."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.