Friday, January 9, 2015

Now both branches of Congress run by lunatics

Congressional leadership? (photo: AP)
Congressional leadership? (photo: AP)

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
08 January 15
ell, it’s a reality now, the lunatics are running both branches of Congress. Mitch McConnell has taken the gavel in the Senate.

The Republican takeover of the Senate will usher in new committee chairmen expected to push a right-wing extremist agenda.

Lawmakers who are expected to take the helm of major Senate committees include a number of vocal critics of the Obama administration. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), in line to lead the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been critical of the administration’s response to Islamic State militants and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Likely Senate Banking chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has lambasted the Obama administration’s Dodd-Frank financial law and could push to roll back powers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is expected to take the gavel at the Senate Budget Committee. GOP control of the budget process in the Senate and House, which remains under Republican control, will give the party greater leverage in budget negotiations with President Barack Obama, particularly over the nation’s borrowing authority and government funding levels. Senator Sessions, a conservative, could use the position to lead GOP efforts to use the budget process to target the Affordable Care Act and programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who is expected to be the next chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is a climate change denier and could put pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Similarly, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has echoed concerns by House Republicans on the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups and the Justice Department’s handling of the “Fast and Furious” operation involving gun-running along the Mexican border. As the expected next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley could revive investigations into those matters while seeking more authority and access to inspectors general who monitor government agencies.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who could chair the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel, has criticized the Obama administration’s frequent use of waivers from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, in line for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could press the White House to take a stronger stance against Iran in ongoing nuclear-program negotiations, as well as press for a more aggressive response to Russia’s foreign policy goals.

And if all that isn’t bad enough, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will likely take over the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

So who still thinks there is no difference between the Republicans and Democrats?

Scott Galindez was formerly the co-founder of Truthout.

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