The Derailment of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives
Think of America as a train with an engine (Constitution), with three baggage cars (Legislative, Executive and Judicial), and with fifty (50) coal cars (one for each state), and the maintainers of the tracks are (We the People). Sometimes the train may come off the tracks and unless it gets corrected and back on track, the train is unable to move forward, and pushing it backwards won’t make it right either. In this analogy America’s Legislative baggage car has come off the track, and “We the People” must help get it back on track.
How do you eliminate bullying, in the home; in schools; the workplace; in public; or in government?
It seems straightforward doesn’t it? In the home it is with a loving environment, teaching respect and instilling discipline; in schools it is by educating students and redirecting bully behavior; in the workplace it’s by establishing and enforcing proper guidelines and work ethic; in public it’s creating and enforcing laws for public safety; but in government it begins to get tricky.
“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust . . . .” — James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 57.
The United States Constitution is the law of the land and divides the federal government into three (3) branches, the Legislative, Executive and Judicial providing for a balance of power.
Congress is the legislative, or lawmaking, branch of our national government. It shares power with the president and the Supreme Court. The writers of the U.S. Constitution thought Congress was so important, they listed it first! Congress has two parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives. (Article I, Section 1)
Here is where it has gotten tricky, some people believe that members of congress represent a true cross section of America, but they do not.
Senators and Representatives come from all parts of the United States, but they do not reflect a true cross section of America. Overall, members of Congress tend to be older, wealthier, and better educated than those they represent.
Doesn’t that just make you feel good? [sarcasm]
Congress begins at noon on January 3 of each odd-numbered year following a general election. A Congress lasts for 2 years with each year constituting a separate session.
Congress has five main functions: lawmaking, representing the people, performing oversight, helping constituents, and educating the public.
Congress has authority over financial and budgetary matters, through the enumerated power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
Taking a closer look at the House of Representatives we see:
The House has several powers assigned exclusively to it, including the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach federal officials, and elect the President in the case of an Electoral College tie.
Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the power to impeach a government official, in effect serving as prosecutor. The Senate has the sole power to conduct impeachment trials, essentially serving as jury and judge. Since 1789 the Senate has tried seventeen federal officials, including two presidents.
Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which Congress has impeached and convicted officials partly for prior crimes. … To date, no president has been removed from office by impeachment and conviction.
The Constitution explicitly assigned the president the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of their Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, and receive ambassadors.
Congress has the power to overturn an executive order by passing legislation that invalidates it. … In the case of the former, the president retains the power to veto such a decision; however, the Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds majority to end an executive order.
The 116th Congress is predominately Democrats, Republicans, and Independents of various flavors, with the Republicans possessing the majority in both the Senate and the House.
With a Republican president (Donald Trump) the Republican Party has a trifecta and working together with the Democrats should be able to get quite a bit of work accomplished, right?
During previous sessions of Congress where Democrats had the majority it became apparent that then Democratic Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) ruled from a bully pulpit. Republican House members being in the minority were unable to advance legislative actions without the “blessing” of the Democratic Speaker. There were instances of Democrats calling a special session and locking the doors of the House chamber and preventing Republicans from participating on voting for certain bills.
This is the same congress that pushed thru the Affordable Care Act where the speaker said “We must pass it before we can know what’s in it.” This gave birth to Obamacare.
Under the current Session of the House legislative actions are being hindered and obstructed by and/or under the direction of the Bully pulpit of the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer with the Democratic mantra of “Resist and Obstruct Donald Trump” and select members of the House to include members of the Democratic Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) like Maxine Waters with her mantra of “Impeach Donald Trump”. The blatant and frequent public displays of disrespect toward the President of the United States at a minimum would fall under “disorderly behavior” or in some instances bordering on “subversion” or “treason”.
There are instances in the House where Republicans have submitted themselves with Democrats purely as a means of supporting this obstructionist disrespectful behavior. Whether it’s thru “fear” or “inexperience of government” it certainly has impeded the ability of the Executive Branch to govern effectively.
Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution provides that “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”
Clearly the actions of a few Representatives undermine the will of the people who voted them into office. Those whose actions warrant it must surely be held accountable and within the provisions of Article I, Section 5 I call upon the members of the House to bring them on charges in accordance with the Constitutional authority so outlined below.
Members of Congress, like other citizens in the United States, are subject to investigation and prosecution for criminal misconduct and other statutory violations through the criminal justice system, initiated by Federal, State, or local public prosecutors, and conducted through the courts. Violations of “ethical norms” and principles of ethical behavior by a Member, however, are enforced, principally, at the ballot box by the Member’s constituents who choose their representatives in Congress, but are also enforced internally in each House of Congress by other Members of the House or the Senate.
The enforcement of Federal statutory laws, including criminal statutes, is vested in the President of the United States by the United States Constitution at Article I, Section 1. Criminal prosecutions for Federal crimes are under the authority of the Attorney General, appointed by the President as head of the Justice Department in the executive branch.1 Members of Congress have no general immunity from criminal prosecutions,2 and are subject to prosecution for violations of Federal criminal laws by the United States Attorneys of the Department of Justice.3
Unlike criminal laws or other Federal statutory provisions, however, there exist broad ethical standards, codes of conduct or behavior, and general principles of morality, written or unwritten, by which a Member of Congress may also be judged. This chapter explores these ethical standards and their enforcement in the Congress.
SOURCES OF AUTHORITY AND POWER OF SELF-DISCIPLINE
Each House of Congress has been given in the United States Constitution express authority and responsibility for decisions about the qualifications, elections, and the conduct of its own Members. The Constitution expressly instructs that each House of Congress “shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members;”4 and further provides that each House of Congress may determine its own rules of proceedings, may “punish its Members for disorderly Behavior,” and may, “with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.”5
The direction to discipline or “punish” its own Members, and the authority to expel, relate directly to and inform the right “recognized by common parliamentary law” of self-preservation of the institutional integrity of the legislature and its proceedings.6 Even if not granted expressly within a constitution or similar document, authorities have contended that the right to expel and to discipline members of a legislative body is an inherent right of that institution. This disciplinary authority has been described as one “naturally and even necessarily incidental to . . . legislative bodies; which, without such power, could not exist honorably, and fulfill the object of their creation.”7
The power and practice of congressional self-discipline for legislative misconduct is one which is, to some extent, compelled by the structure of our Federal government. In formulating the new Federal government, the Framers of the Constitution were determined, for reasons of the balance of powers and of “checks and balances” within the governmental system, to have three independent and co-equal branches of government.8 As part of the assurance of an independent legislature, one not fettered nor intimidated by a powerful law-enforcing executive, the Constitution expressly granted a limited immunity to Members of Congress from prosecution when the conduct involved official legislative activities.9 The so-called “speech or debate” clause immunity provides that a Member “shall not be questioned in any other place” concerning official legislative conduct.10 Since a Member may not be questioned “in any other place” regarding certain conduct in the legislative process, this speech or debate immunity provides a cogent and practical reason for the countervailing authority and responsibility within the Constitution for congressional self-discipline and the necessity for internal enforcement of legislative standards of conduct.
It’s time that the self-serving Democratic Party members of Congress stop their business as usual games of attempting to “publicly humiliate” the president or those who they feel have different political views.
It’s also time for American voters wake up to the reality of what’s really happening in the “Swamp” we call Washington DC politics. Special and Midterm elections are upon us and every citizen is encouraged to vote their conscience and who will best represent the American people. – I am the Real Truckmaster!