Barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his majority of maniacs in the House has invited President Joe Biden to provide the annual State of the Union address Tuesday evening. (Daily Kos will be following along in real time, so join us here tomorrow night.) That invitation comes with no small amount of nonsense, including GOP boycotts of the event. Two-term Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), one of the maniacs who helped drag the speaker election out to 15 ballots, was the first to announce she refuses to “show up to and listen to him continue to lie.” Sure, Mary.
The House GOP is also talking about holding a vote Tuesday, before the speech, to rebuke Biden for not shooting down the Chinese balloon while it was in U.S. air space, i.e., over land where people are. Never mind that the debris field scattered over a 7-mile range in the Atlantic. The news that the Pentagon used the intervening days “to study and scrutinize the balloon and its equipment,” which provided “intelligence value,” will not deter the GOP from nonsense. Nor will the news that at least three Chinese balloons passed over the U.S. in the Trump administration, and he kept it a secret.
On the agenda for Monday in the House is endangering the nation by ending the requirement that foreign travelers to the U.S. show proof of vaccination to enter the country. It will also vote to punish Washington, D.C., and remind its residents that they have no right to self-determination.
RELATED: Chinese balloon shot down off coast of South Carolina
Last fall, the D.C. Council passed a new criminal code, the first major overhaul of the code since 1901. It eliminates most mandatory minimum sentences, reduces the maximum penalties for some felonies, and allows for jury trial in misdemeanor cases. It would go into effect in 2025, if Congress doesn’t overrule it. The Council also adopted a measure to allow the more than 50,000 noncitizens residing in the city to vote in local elections. Of course the House GOP, and no few Senate Republicans, want to overturn that, too.
Congress can do that because it is ultimately in control of the District. There’s a 30-legislative day review period in which Congress can disapprove of bills passed by D.C. lawmakers. Delegate Eleanor Homes Norton has proposed legislation to do away with that review, but that’s clearly not going to advance in this Congress. Luckily for all the people who are taxed without representation in the District, the Senate is not likely to take up these House disapproval resolutions.
So is this all a colossal waste of House time to prove that they are fundamentally white supremacists who want to take the nation back to the 19th century? Yes, it is. As will be this whole session of for the House with the GOP in charge.
To wit, also on tap for them this week, an Oversight hearing featuring former Twitter executives focusing on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Because of course. Also the first hearing of the select “Weaponization” committee, which so far hasn’t said what the hearing will be about or who they might try to get to testify.
Over on the Senate side, they finally got their organizing resolutions passed for the majority and minority membership on committees. Republicans had dragged it out for the whole month of January basically because they could.
One fun thing came of that, though. At the last minute, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yanked the seat of his rival pain in the ass Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on the powerful Commerce Committee, and didn’t give him another assignment.
They are out Monday, returning Tuesday to begin the process of voting on the first judicial nomination for the 118th Congress, DeAndrea Benjamin, to be U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the 4th Circuit. They will likely hold the cloture vote Tuesday, and have the final vote before the end of the week.
We're chatting with one of our favorite fellow election analysts on this week's episode of The Downballot, Kyle Kondik of Sabato's Crystal Ball. Kyle helped call races last year for CBS and gives us a rare window inside a TV network's election night decision desk, which literally has a big button to call control of the House—that no one got to press. Kyle also dives into his new race ratings for the 2024 Senate map, including why he thinks Joe Manchin's unlikely tight-rope act might finally come to an end.
In their Weekly Hits, co-hosts David Nir and David Beard recap big developments in two Senate contests: Rep. Adam Schiff's entry into the race to succeed Dianne Feinstein, and the GOP's unexpected show of unity in the open-seat election in Indiana. They also dissect the first poll of this year's hotly contested race for governor in Kentucky and highlight another 2023 battle that shouldn't get overlooked: the race for a vacant seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.