Now that House Republicans have voted away most of their leverage against President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats in the debt ceiling deal that passed late Wednesday, they don’t have a whole lot to do in the remaining year-and-a-half of this session. They released the debt ceiling hostage until 2025, and set themselves up for maximum political pain if they decide to shut down the government. There’s not much real damage left for them to do on the legislative front, so they can get back to the agenda they ran on in the 2022 election: vengeance and destruction.
Georgia embarrassment Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who voted for the debt ceiling deal because she is now somehow part of the leadership team, previewed the agenda, and boy howdy, is it a treat.
First thing? Greene wants to strip Presidential Medal of Honor recipient Dr. Anthony Fauci of his government pension. Sure Marj, go with that. Knock yourself out trying to get rid of the federal pensions of your perceived political enemies.
Funnily enough, there are a couple of laws about the forfeiture or loss of federal pensions, which apply to officials, all the way up to presidents and former presidents “if convicted of a federal crime that relates to espionage, treason, or several other national security offenses against the United States,” and if “convicted of any one of a number of federal laws concerning corruption, election crimes, or misconduct in office.”
You sure you want to go there, Marj? And open up that can of worms, right now? With that guy as your standard-bearer?
And about those COVID-19 vaccine funds she wants to nix? Those are already mostly slashed in the current deal. There’s about $5 billion that McCarthy allowed to remain for the government to try to keep up with new vaccine development as this disease continues to morph and come back in ever more-virulent strains. The disease has already killed 1.1 million Americans, nearly 7 million people globally. How very “pro-life” of Greene.
Speaking of “pro-life,” she wants to defang the agency of what’s left of its power to regulate guns. That’s the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, whose mission is to protect “our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.” Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to arm criminal gangs. The majority of Americans disagree with her on that. Time and again, Republicans prove they are soft on crime.
Beyond that, the debt limit deal she just voted for precludes a whole lot of the things she’s got on that list to defund, and very few of the things she’s talking about can actually be done in appropriations. Because if the House Republicans try to do any of the defunding stunts she’s talking about, they’ll hit a Senate roadblock, and the only choice is to shut down the government.
Because of the bill Greene just voted for, a government shutdown would trigger automatic cuts to the budgets for defense and veterans care and Republicans would be blamed for that. She’s not going to find too many takers in her own caucus for that deal.
Greene’s in it for the performance, like most of her Republican colleagues. She may or may not understand how the government actually works, but she also doesn’t particularly care. So they can have all the hearings they want about the deep state. They can spend the rest of their majority doing what they do best, stewing in their revenge plots.
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We have Rural Organizing’s Aftyn Behn. Markos and Aftyn talk about what has been happening in rural communities across the country and progressives’ efforts to engage those voters. Behn also gives the podcast a breakdown of which issues will make the difference in the coming elections.