It took 15 ballots, but early this morning soon after midnight Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, CA, was clutching the speaker’s gavel handed to him by new Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. McCarthy’s dream to become Speaker of the House has come true, but now begins the nightmare of governance amid a slim, deeply fractured majority—and following a raft of concessions made to the extremist saboteur wing of his Republican Party.
We don’t yet know the details—we won’t learn about the rules package he agreed to until Monday when Congress is in session again—but he likely has enabled any one rank-and-file member of Congress to call for a snap vote to remove him from his new job. The aggressively anti-government contingent has likely secured seats on the Rules Committee, influencing what bills reach the floor; they or other members may be able to employ so-called open rules to push for an unlimited number of changes on spending bills, making passage nearly impossible.
No matter how much the craven McCarthy pounds his wooden gavel, basic and important issues such as raising the debt limit to avoid default will be fraught with conflict and risk government collapse. As I noted yesterday, the Republicans have already made clear their top concerns include wasteful plans to investigate Hunter Biden and the contents of his laptop. What’s a serious legislator—what’s a country—to do to ensure that genuine challenges are addressed? I think this GOP-led 118th Congress, now sworn in, will give a whole new meaning to the notion of political gridlock; the circus really has come to town. (Note who was seated side-by-side last night: Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and the fraudulent George Santos.)
In the weeks and month ahead, we may be wringing our hands daily about the weak House Speaker and his inability to hold off the constant sabotage and conduct House business. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reflect on what we expect Congress to do. We surely will hear the new Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaking out on everything from voting rights and defending democracy, economic equality and reproductive freedom to health care, the climate crisis and a “unanimity of purpose” among the Democrats. (If you didn’t catch his historic and inspiring speech before McCarthy took over, do yourself a favor.)
So here’s the question: What problem should Congress address? Never mind for a moment the difficulty of doing so. Share your ideas of one or several top problems that need to be fixed and causes that could benefit from a Congress ready to improve America and create a better world. As always, I look forward to reading your answers—and for this community to hear from each other. Please do be respectful in your replies.
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*Photo: New Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries hands Kevin McCarthy the speaker’s gavel on Jan. 7, 2023. Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.
I think that the DOJ needs to address the liars & insurrectionists in the House, & then the remaining members can begin to seriously address the Peoples’ business.
Voting rights. If we cannot vote good people into Congress we’ll never get any problem solved.
Citizen's United! Allowing major corp. to fund our elections has truly warped our system. Tied in with that, Voting Rights.
Please take care of the Elderly population. We need Social Security and medicare to be safe and survive. It is not an intitlement it is a right and benefit that was earned for decades of contributing to the workforce, working, raising children, voluteering. We cannot be ignored just because we have aged, we still care
Universal Healthcare; expand SCOTUS; dark money in politics; agree with others that voting rights must be addressed and Civil Rights Act must be law again; more for climate change impact; protect and strengthen Medicare/Social Security and look at needs of huge Older Adult population/combat ageism.
A path to citizenship for immigrants.
Considering our current labor shortage, the further crackdown on immigration makes little sense. With a comprehensive immigration policy could potentially, if done right, ease our labor shortage and create a manageable process for ingress at the border. Currently, communities like ElPaso, Tx are overwhelmed thus fueling Abbot’s depraved media show busing to other communities.
Address climate change instantly and substantively as it is the most dangerous worldwide problem facing everyone on our planet! Unfortunately virtually all the Republican members of the House will not do so but it is possible that five or more of their caucus will join a united Democratic caucus with respect to the spending necessitated by longer term solutions? Time is running out very quickly; we have no time to spare!
Raise the debt ceiling to avoid crashing the global economy and ending the dollar’s preeminent value.
WIthout having a solid foundation in how the legislative branch of our government is supposed to function, an understanding of parliamentary procedures, a deep reverence for our Constitution and the dynamism of a pluralistic society Congress will be unable to address anything of substance. Perhaps remedial classes in American and Congressional history should be offered to all members of Congress.
Will they address any? Will any republicans cross the aisle now that the terrorists are in charge? Voting rights would get my vote. Don’t see how that happens.
It seems to me the most important problem is that there are AT LEAST 100 traitorous seditionists seated in Congress in clear violation of the Constitution. Until those insurrectionists are indicted/prosecuted/removed forcibly from Congress, nothing will get done - and we'll be lucky to even have a country two years from now.
Start with some easy (or easier) single issue stuff that might build some goodwill, like raising the debt ceiling, a modest wireless infrastructure funding bill to ensure that rural areas (the definition of rural needs to be expanded to include cities of less than 100,000), have adequate wireless infrastructure, codify DACA.
The elephant in this room (no pun intended) is the commitment to expel each and every seditionist sitting in Congress. Shaking hands with the seditionists is equivalent to shaking hands with the devil. The Party of Traitors has now taken over the House. Time to get real.
The single most important that Congress should handle are voting rights. Everything feeds from there. But this will never happen until we have Dem control of both chambers, and a filibuster proof majority. Let’s keep working towards that.
Why can’t all the Democrats and a few “moderate” Republicans (assuming there still are any) just vote down the Rules package on Monday? Then the lunatics won’t get all the give-a-ways agreed to by McCarthy. I assume the non-holdout Republicans who supported McCarthy from the beginning didn’t agree and aren’t bound by what McCarthy promised to the “crazies” to ultimately get their votes in the end.
So this is an aside, but I can't help comparing Hakeem Jeffries' soaring speech - which literally ran through the entire alphabet from A to Z in defining democratic values - to what followed: a speech by McCarthy that seemed like the ramblings of an earnest, but intellectually impaired and malevolent schoolboy.
What a disgrace.
It so bothers me that there was not any apparent effort by GOP “moderates” to defang the MAGA extremism. It doesn’t take much - a dozen GOP threaten to vote for Hakeem Jeffries or a more moderate Republican for speaker.
That is all it would have taken to take the extremists out of the drivers seat and show the world our government isn’t so broken. But apparently it is…
My silver lining is that Democrats will have the opportunity to demonstrate competence in juxtaposition ahead of the critical 2024 Presidential elections where a dark horse fascist candidate might have a shot.
Protect Medicare, Social Security and Reproductive rights even if by Executive Order.
Fix the corruption of our judicial system and prison system - there is NO justice or right to a fair trial in the US, that is a slogan. If you get arrested, 99% of the time you go to jail even if innocent
End childhood hunger and provide early pre- school eduction to all to lift the underserved out of poverty.
I think immigration is the big one, and one Democrats can show the world they are the sane ones.
The Dem controlled Senate should seek to pass a carbon copy of the 2013 bill that won 69 Senate votes. And push it over to McCarthy to watch them eat themselves in front of the American people.
I've been thinking all morning about the issue of the debt ceiling. If McCarthy and his extremist colleagues have a goal of what is referred to as "tanking the economy" it seems likely the stock market will tank also, and maybe even global markets. This would be absolutely a disaster for those of us who have investment and retirement accounts that we have saved for and built up for years. I admit to not understanding the ups and downs of the stock market. Could this lead to much more than a recession? I don't think anything is really going to get done. Maybe some immigration reform. However, voting rights (The John Lewis Voting Rights Act for example), additional infrastructure improvements, tax reform - None of that is going to get done.
So many seditious representatives in the House are now emboldened by power, and by the fact that the DOJ hasn’t held a single one of them accountable. The House needs a housecleaning.
Sadly, I don't think anything serious will happen. Damn, we need DOJ to step up and arrest all those who have undermined our government including those in Congress, since we know McCarthy will not do anything about the saboteurs in his party.
I would like to see immigration reform, voting rights, and continued improvements to health care. Maybe we'll see some progress in two years but I don't expect anything but a circus for the next two.
McCarthy is a SPINO... Speaker in Name Only and will be addressing one fire after another after another.
There's only 3 must pass right? The stupid debt ceiling and the two omnibus for 2024 and 2025. I'm guessing that's about it for these idiots.
I haven’t been to a circus for many years but I’m afraid the 118th Congress is going to be a constant -ever present-annoying -disgusting -useless -wasteful- nasty-circus.
The speech given by Hakeem Jeffries was one of the best I have heard from any politician in a very long time. Very much in the Obama style but more passionate, very articulate, and appeared spoken without a prompter, all surprising because he was so calm during all of the ballots, never showing much emotion, and always humble, yet he blew everyone away, and really pissed the Reps off, didn't he? I don't think it was expected, which made it even better.
Now the clown show begins and the country will be in a very bad place unless the Dems can work some kind of magic where they can get some crossovers from the moderate Reps to get things done. You have to day that the Dems are together and just come across as being more in control of who they are. Will that be possible? Who knows from this bunch, but they do have only a four-vote majority and there are a lot of Reps that do not like their Speaker. And bless him, McCarthy gave Trump credit. When are they going to learn? What will the clown show do when Trump is indicted, then arrested, and then convicted? Another attack on the Capitol? Maybe on the White House this time? What happens if any of this group of bomb throwers are arrested as well? WOW! Should be an interesting two years. Great time to be a political scientist and historian.
What problem should Congress Address?
Share reality of Deficit including improvements in 2022; who and what entities ..have/are/.should be ..contributing.
-Appropriate Federal staffing
Deficit Tracker | Bipartisan Policy Center
https://bipartisanpolicy.org/report/deficit-tracker/ (Dec 12, 2022)
Treasury: FY 2022 Deficit Was $1.4 Trillion | Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (OCT 21, 2022 BUDGETS & PROJECTIONS)
Treasury: FY 2022 Deficit Was $1.4 Trillion | Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
2. Immigration Reform
Congress has failed on immigration reform - here's a timeline (Jan 7, 2023)
Immigration Reform - Review, Negotiate & Legislation
FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Border Enforcement Actions | The White House (Jan 5, 2023)
3. Codifying legislation regarding women’s right to choose healthcare
4. Wealth tax, Minimum Corporate tax
5. Dark money into the light
6. Universal Healthcare Insurance
7. Social media standards of privacy and consequences for disinformation
Campaign/election reform (a move to ranked choice voting would go a long way toward solving the problem of extremism)
From a wish list perspective: 1) Voting rights and anti-suppression gerrymanding issues; 2) Debt ceiling raised; 3) coherent energy and climate policy rather than the one offs in place and under IRA; 4) expand funding for fighting off the next COVID wave. 5) Continue and expanding funding for Ukraine.
From a practical perspective, success will depend on Ds finding 6 Rs to minimize the damage nihilists will do. The first is to vote down all crazy rules that may come out of the rules committee. Otherwise, it is finding 6 Rs to kill bad bills and otherwise get thru the next 2 years preserving as much as possible what the last Congress did.
• Immigration - This issue has spanned many administrations. Congress MUST do their job to address the problem. Serious solutions must be considered, which will require that both political parties listen to each other & compromise where practical/necessary.
• Climate Change - Follow the science, though I feel it may be too late.
• Health Care (including Medicare) - Costs are rising astronomically. Doctors seem to be in short supply. Other countries seem to do this better than the US. Insurance companies have made the whole enterprise a big racket.
• Campaign Finance - Big corporations & ultra wealthy contributors have entirely too much influence in our elections, none of whom care about the average voter/citizen.
• Maybe, just maybe, members of both parties could give some thought to being kinder, more thoughtful, more civil, and actively listening to one another. Actually, we all might want to consider this.
There are lots of issues out there. These might be a good start.
The first thing we need to take care of is getting the insurrectionists out of Congress and into jail. If we don't, we are setting ourselves up for even bigger problems than we have had so far.
I agree that until the insurrectionists are held accountable we can only expect an escalation of institution-destroying chaos. However, if sanity were to prevailI would like to see the minimum wage doubled, a federal law mandating upgrade of a water systems, a federal law mandating reproductive freedom and a federal law protecting voting rights. Basic, really, if sanity ruled.
I feel as if we cant move on from January 6 th until the Justice dept actually charges those in charge of the insurrection. We need DOJ to actually start enforcing justice.
They need to clean up immigration policy 1st. If they can do that they can do anything. Everything else should revolve around smart environmental planning.
Border and Immigration
Tax Code - Reducing Inequity
The judiciary needs ethical standards and a body to enforce them. Should be SCOTUS but they themselves are ethically compromised. Can Congress or Executive Branches act or not possible because of separation of powers?
Nothing good for the American people will be done.
The next 2 years will be the “freedom caucus” v.
democracy. Well, I’ll take that back a bit. The infra-
structure bill that’s already been passed will be implemented. But, as far as new legislation is concerned, there won’t be any. Dems will spend their time doing damage control.
Congress needs to address immigration reform as our nation needs additional workers to take jobs that have gone begging be they pharmacists, hotel employees or restaurant workers. Plus increasing immigration will help solidify by increasing the tax base of Social Security and Medicare.
Voting rights would be my top priority. Getting dark money out of the elections is something I would love Congress to address
You're very knowledgeable about politics. What do you think it needs to accomplish first?
It’s odd how the calendar can offer up fortuitous pairing of historical moments -- yesterday’s 2-year anniversary of the January 6th coup attempt with the successful legislative coup by the same anti-democratic forces. But I go back 82 years to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 8th State of the Union speech, which has come to be known as the Four Freedoms Speech. FDR envisioned a future after WWII where 4 fundamental human freedoms would prevail everywhere: freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.
He delivered that address specifically hoping to harden the country’s resolve to fight the Axis and to prepare America for entry into war, but the central element of freedoms really was a distillation of FDR’s values and the core of his presidency. The listener could hear FDR’s core New Deal philosophy that an individual can only feel secure in their freedom if entwined with basic economic security. The president viewed individual liberties guaranteed in America’s Bill of Rights as sacred. These elemental freedoms were, as Roosevelt saw them, a basis for a just, secure, and peaceful world and became the foundation for the UN Charter.
I believe that we have to deploy our imaginations and create as expansive and bright a future picture for ourselves as did FDR. We must then demand of and support our Democratic members to hone, refine, and constantly repeat the implicit messages of that speech for our modern lives. It would be befitting for every great challenge we face -- from reimagining renewable energy to water depletion, from domestic resource and supply chain management to quality jobs reinvestment, from a universal healthcare safety net to affordable neighborhoods with great public schools. And we must lift our leaders in all their varied stripes -- building the deep bench and encouraging new voters to take up the baton as it is passed for that we can honor the leaders who brought us to today.
Congress should address criminals within their ranks-why should people who don’t believe in democracy have power in our democracy?￼
I think poverty and illiteracy are major United States problems. Poverty encompasses everyone from the homeless to those who barely make it from paycheck to paycheck (if they even get one). Several years ago when in Mexico City, I was taken aback by the number of beggars, many of whom hired children to help, a scene I had never encountered in the US. Now, there is someone at every stop sign, red light, store entrance asking for help in this country. This is shameful in the richest country in the world.
In 2022, US military allotment was $778 billion. (The DOD is the largest employer in the world.) China -
$252 billion, Russia - $61.7 billion.To keep us safe and prepared, they say. From whom? Some superior outer space alien invasion? We have 22 B-2 Spirit stealth bombers. Each costs $737 million.Think of what it would mean if only a few were not built and the money divided among 32 million US citizens.We are a militaristic nation, been in 107 wars/conflicts, with @ 7-850 thousand American soldiers killed. Where is the rationale, reasoning, logic of this while skinny, probably sick vets' signs say "Need food"
Lack of money and illiteracy are interconnected. The US is not even on the list of the 10 most literate countries of the world. If one cannot read or comprehend an employment application, the result is no job or a low paying one. 54% of Americans have a literacy rate below a 6th grade level.The federal gov't funds for public education, K - 12, are about 8% of total spent. The rest is from state and local
taxes. States with the most uneducated, the poorest, and the oldest, do not vote to raise property taxes. NJ ranks 5th in literacy. Property taxes are high. A NJ house I lived in for 20 years has taxes now at over $25,000/year. The schools are excellent.
Public schools need help: buildings that are unsafe structurally and from guns, teachers who do not know enough of their subject matter( and are so underpaid it's pathetic ), books that are still influenced by Texas producers and politicians as in most red states-authoritarian governors, books banned, real history not allowed to be taught i.e. slavery, grammar, manners, citizenship put aside, general dislike and disinterest by students. I remember if you "got it" at school, you paid for it at home. Now often parents screech , holler, swear at school board meetings, people who were so glad when zoom classes were over and teachers back on the job, not they.
Perhaps besides poverty and literacy, I should add a diminished American character-ability to agree, get along, work together, even speech,appearance, book and movie topics.
I think all of the last sentences will remain relevant. I am afraid the cat is out of the bag and there is no going backwards.
Oh. They ARE STUCK!!
What lesson are we teaching our children teenagers young college students & young adults about the total disregard for the rule of law in the USA? I’m waiting for Merrick Garland to answer.
The sanity of members of Congress
Where to begin. I guess I should first hope that the GOP side of Congress will be more functional than it appeared last week. I have to hope that the finally elected Speaker will actually be able to lead his raucous caucus. I have to hope that the GOP agenda isn't going to be stuck in investigating grievances that have already been debunked, e.g. Hunter Biden, COVID/Dr. Fauci. So, trying to be optimistic, I would like to see Congress address voting rights, as it appeared that in this past election efforts were made to marginalize some segments of our electorate, specifically those who tend to vote for democrats. I would also like to see legislation put in place that would prevent election denialism and insurrection on the Capitol from EVER HAPPENING AGAIN. Choice/reproductive freedom is also a very important issue to address. SCOTUS took us back 50 years; and we cannot let that stand. Freedom to choose, freedom for women to make personal medical decisions with their doctors and without government interference hs to be restored. We also need gun legislation that really works. The gun violence epidemic in this country is shameful, far worse than exists in any other development democratic nation. We must fix that. Hatred in the form of racism/anti-semitism/homophobia has to be eliminated; and we need legislation to do that because we can't depend on people doing the correct thing. Knowing that things move slowly in the hall of government, especially with a Congress so closely divided, I am limiting why wish list because I don't want to aim for too much and be disappointed. If we could just get these priorities addressed and fix some of the brokenness in our country, we would be making a good start. Of course, I am also hoping that the DOJ, through its special counsel, will be acting and indicting those who committed crimes in connection with January 6 VERY SOON !!!
Reform campaign finance laws reversing "Citizens United". Codify Roe vs Wade.
Simplify the tax code to a "flat tax " type of structure.
Finally pass a strong immigration reform law. Guarantee and simplify voting rights for anyone over 18 that is a U S citizen. Abolish Gerrymandering. Unfortunately I could go on and on. But I wont.