• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

Support Our Annual Fund Drive!fund-drive-progress-thermometer

We only shake our readers down two times a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Return of Constitutional Government?

The partial shutdown of the federal government is about to set a new and dubious record for the longest in our nation’s history. Amazingly, this happened while one party controlled Congress and the presidency, illustrating the Republicans’ incredible failure to successfully govern during Donald Trump’s two-year tenure. But all that changed with the historic re-ascendency of Rep. Nancy Pelosi to speaker of the House, leading the new majority of Democrats elected in the blow-out mid-term rejection of Trump’s chaotic, destructive presidency.

Our government is constitutionally established with three “separate but equal” branches: The Legislative, Executive and Judicial. The Legislative, Congress, writes the laws and appropriates funding; the Executive, the president, implements the laws with the funding provided; and the Judicial ensures that society adheres to the rights, principles and responsibilities enumerated in the Constitution.

Unfortunately, for the last two years we’ve had a bizarre form of governance where an inexperienced and unskilled president tried to rule by imperial fiat. Simply put, if Trump didn’t want it, Congressional Republican majorities didn’t do it. Those who rightfully disagreed with this mutation and sought to fulfill their oath to serve the Constitution, not their political party, were castigated, demeaned and sometimes even driven from office.

This is not how it’s supposed to work, which is perhaps why it didn’t work. Congress has the responsibility to propose, debate and approve laws and appropriations no matter what the president may or may not support. For those who may have forgotten, that’s just what the Republican majorities in Congress did for the last six years of the Obama presidency, caring little what he did or didn’t want and stymieing any of his appointments or policy initiatives they didn’t like.

To say the worm has turned would be an exaggeration since the Republicans still hold the Senate majority. But it’s safe to say with the divided Congress, we will no longer see undue power vested in the president but quite the opposite — which is a return to Constitutional governance.

Speaker Pelosi, the target of savage degradation by Trump, including targeting her in the mid-terms as a goad to Republican voters, understands very well how government is supposed to work. With 31 years in Congress and now in her historic second speakership, few have more experience in the challenges and opportunities the new Democratic House majority brings.

Moreover, Pelosi leads the most diverse Democratic majority in history with the highest number of women, minority and LGBTQ representatives ever seated in Congress. Those new members have no tolerance for Trump’s white nationalism and have declared to fight for the equality and opportunity guaranteed for all citizens in the Constitution, regardless of race, sex or religion.

Within hours of re-taking the speaker’s gavel, Pelosi’s new majority passed bills to reopen and fund government — but without the billions Trump has demanded for his wall. What they do, however, is ensure hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers will be able to go back to work, pay their bills, take care of their families and fulfill the functions for which they were hired.

Now it’s time for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to start performing his job as a member of a separate but equal Congress. McConnell’s claim that he won’t pass bills without pre-approval by Trump is an abdication of his congressional responsibility.

Trump doesn’t like what’s in the legislation? Fine, let him veto them and see if Congress overrides his veto. That’s how government is supposed to work — not by congressional obeisance to the president.

 

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
Richard Moser
The Empire Is Running Out of War Stories. Or is it? Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again?
Roger Harris
Why Trump is Facing Impeachment
Doug Lummis
Everything Going Wrong in Okinawa
Ramzy Baroud
Administrative Torture: Free Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian Citizen in Israeli Prison
Christopher Ketcham
Ode to the Drums of Ginger Baker
W. T. Whitney
Upcoming Elections Represent Testing Time for Bolivia’s Socialist Government
Louis Proyect
Building Soldier Resistance Under the Shadows of Fascism
Mark Ashwill
Reflections on General Giap and the End of an Era in Vietnam
Gabriel Leão
Killing the Messengers: Rising Violence Against Journalists and Indigenous Leaders Defending the Amazon
Graham Peebles
Climate Change: All Talk No Action
Arthur Hoyle
The Meaning of Donald Trump
Dean Baker
Those Quaint Corporate Scandals in Japan
Laura Santina
Take Their Feet Off Our Necks
Julian Vigo
The New Workers’ Revolution is Afoot
Robert Koehler
The Rights of Nature
Dan Bacher
New Report Reveals Oil Waste in CA Aquifers
David Swanson
Trump’s Opponents Have Him Beat . . . When It Comes to Incompetence
Ben Debney
Liberals, Class and the Joker Complex
Brian Wakamo
Paying College Athletes: California Takes on the NCAA
Theo Wuest
Don’t Leave Equality to the Supreme Court
Jesse Jackson
To His Wealthy Donors, Trump is the Grifter
Mairead Maguire
Pathways to Peace
George Wuerthner
Logging Wild and Scenic River Corridors in the Name of Reducing Wildfires is a Really Bad Idea
Tracey L. Rogers
We Can’t Hug Away Injustice
Mike Garrity
How the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Stopped Trump From Bulldozing Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk Grizzly Bears into Extinction
Lawrence Wittner
Why Are Americans So Confused About the Meaning of “Democratic Socialism”?
Nicky Reid
Climate Cthulhu: A Post-Modern Horror Story
Seth Sandronsky
A Sacramento King’s Ransom: Local Tax Dollars and the Owner’s Wealth
Susan Block
Cougar 2020?
David Yearsley
Mother Mallard’s Little Boy Grows Up
Elliot Sperber
Taking Out Columbus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail