Congressional Caucuses Friend or Foe
I’ve written several articles about Congressional Caucuses. When President Trump took office there were 242 Congressional Caucuses. Yesterday I decided to check again and by golly in the span of 2 years there are now 512 Congressional Caucuses. 512! Do you wonder about whether this is a good thing or not? There is even a Caucus Makers Caucus!
Don’t get these confused with Congressional Committees.
The House has a committee and the Senate has a matching committee. Take the House Veterans Affairs Committee (I just made that up as an example), it would presumably create legislation about a specific need for Veterans. It would then vote to send it to the floor of the House for a vote. The full body of the House would vote on it, say to issue a pair of clean socks to Veterans. If it is rejected it would go back to committee to be reworked and then voted on to send it back to the floor. If it is passed, it goes to the Senate.
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (again I just made that up as an example), would create legislation about the same specific need for Veterans. It would vote to send it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. The full body of the Senate would vote on it, say to issue a pair of clean socks to Veterans. If it is rejected it would go back to committee to be ironed out then voted on to send it back to the floor. If it passes it is combined with the House bill and goes to the President to be signed into law.
This process is extraordinarily complicated in itself. The language must be exact. The voting must go exactly right. Both chambers of Congress must basically agree in detail. The President can reject it with a veto, or sign it into law, but if it is vetoed there are specific procedures to override the Presidential Veto and it becomes law.
Are you still with me? According to the Constitution the House and the Senate are separate bodies of the Legislative Branch of government. One of the “perks” is the creation of Caucuses. These are where members can join together to further like-minded goals. A Caucus is controlled by the rules of the House. Some are even funded by taxpayer dollars while others are not. They sort of act like Congressional Lobbyists and can bring legislators together to enable or block certain legislation.
Now think of 512 Congressional Lobbyists Groups each with a possible total of 535 members that could feasibly give 273,920 votes on any particular bill. What if a single Caucus had say, 49 members and out of those members there were 36 actively engaged in more than 100 different caucuses, involving members from BOTH sides of the isle and BOTH chambers of Congress? Would that be troubling to you? Or is that not troublesome whatsoever?
Someone once told me that I’m placing too much importance on the activities of one simple caucus and they are not that important. I strongly disagree.
Let’s look at one caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus which began in 1971. It currently has 49 members of both sides of the isle and of both chambers of congress. Sound familiar?
As of the date of this article they have 36 members actively engaged in a total of 109 Congressional Caucuses and 9 Congressional Organizations. The CBC has 13 members who may not be visibly active in caucuses, but many are extremely up front and vocal never-Trumpers frequently in the spotlight of the news at the drop of a hat.
The Congressional Black Caucus is made up entirely of African-American members (a requirement) and non-African-Americans are not accepted. They are primarily responsible for attacking public and private organizations, church organizations as they have taken the “mantle” of searching out racism in government and shedding light on it. Too bad they don’t start with themselves.
Currently they are attacking the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic entity) as a racist group. They have attacked men in general calling for them to be silent. They have sought to bring down statues of American Veterans, Christian symbols and even attempted to have US military installations renamed because they were named after Confederate Generals.
Their attack on law enforcement (Abolish ICE, etc) and their resistance to enforcement of immigration laws is a threat to the national security of the United States.
Are there no checks and balances in Congress to stop this kind of racism? Who is to say, “Enough is Enough”? Some of the more recognizable members of the CBC are Maxine Waters, Cory Booker, Keith Ellison, Mia Love, Elijah Cummings, Frederica Wilson, Kamala Harris, Sheila Jackson Lee and many others.
I have not delved into any of the other 511 Caucuses or 9 Congressional Associations, but how difficult just working in Congress can be without being thrown into the proverbial Lion’s Den with the appearance of political corruption by a few bad apples? Maybe we need a special investigation into Congressional Caucuses? – I am the Real Truckmaster!