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Thomas Gallatin / Jan. 3, 2019

The Transitioning Agenda of the 116th Congress

Dems take over the House and signal no willingness to compromise to end the partial government shutdown.

As that old adage states, elections have consequences. Those consequences will begin to be felt today as the 116th Congress is seated amidst a partial government shutdown. The most significant change is in the House, where Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will take over as speaker for the second time as Democrats reclaim the majority. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will preside over a Republican majority that grew two seats stronger, with newer members more likely to support President Donald Trump’s agenda. Oh, the clashes we’ll see.

So what’s on the agenda for Pelosi and House Democrats? To put it succinctly, two things: pushing socialism and destroying Trump.

Prior to the midterm elections, Pelosi sought to tamp down impeachment talk, calculating that it wouldn’t play well with voters. But since securing the House majority, she has changed her tune, now signaling that impeachment is indeed on the table. Thursday Pelosi cryptically stated, “We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason.” Impeachment or not, Pelosi’s agenda is clear: Do everything possible to prevent Trump from winning reelection in 2020. Hence the shutdown.

As the partial government shutdown nears two full weeks, Pelosi and the Democrats have stubbornly refused to offer any true compromise spending proposal by steadfastly rejecting any deal that provides funds for construction of a border wall. While the $5 billion Trump demanded for a wall is a mere pittance when compared to the overall budget, the Democrats’ refusal is purely a political play. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will do everything in their power to prevent Trump from following through on his biggest campaign promise. For Democrats, this fight over the border is a calculated effort to severely damage Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. They can’t let Trump get a win on his signature campaign issue. They couldn’t care less about strengthening our nation’s border security and protecting Americans.

Thus, for the foreseeable future, Americans have a lot more political gridlock to look forward to, as coming to any legislative compromises will be tough sledding. Indeed, it’s foreboding that the transition to the 116th Congress comes in the midst of a shutdown. If Democrats were bad over the last two years, how much worse will they be with a House majority?

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