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The New Congress

By Tyler Bauer

Earlier today, the 116th Congress of the United States convened. Much of the news focus today has been on the House of Representatives, as this past year’s elections saw the Democrats take back the House. There are a few key stories from the House today.

Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House (Again)

With former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan retiring and control of the House of Representatives changing hands, one of the first orders of business was to elect a new Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi, a former Speaker of the House, was the favorite coming into today, and she received support from nearly every Democrat in the House. Eight years after she last served in this role, Nancy Pelosi is once again the Speaker of the House.

As I said after Election Day, it was always assumed that Nancy Pelosi would regain this position. Pelosi’s reclamation of the role of Speaker of the House means that, at least in the House, it will be business as usual for the Democrats. Pelosi is an entrenched member of the Democratic establishment, so don’t expect anything new and exciting to come from the Democrats in the House anytime soon.

Democrats Move to Impeach Trump

While Pelosi is hesitant to attempt to impeach President Trump so early in this Congress, other Democrats aren’t so shy. Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump today. Among other things, Sherman seeks to impeach President Trump for obstruction of justice in the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. (At the time of writing, I have found no argument made by Sherman to support such an accusation.)

Even if Sherman had evidence to support his claim, impeachment would likely fail. First, even with President Trump being so unpopular, I think the Democrats would have a difficult time getting enough votes in the House to impeach President Trump. Democrats in competitive districts would be hesitant to attack President Trump so openly, as that could mean losing their reelection bid next time around. Second, even if President Trump were impeached in the House, it would take a two-thirds majority in the Senate to indict President Trump and remove him from office. With the Republicans still controlling the Senate (and the possibility of hesitant Democrats in the Senate), nothing will come from Sherman’s attempt to impeach President Trump. Of course, this could change if President Trump is implicated in any wrongdoing, but as it stands, President Trump has done nothing worthy of impeachment.

Newcomers - Including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - Take Office

This Congress has a ton of new faces. Amid these new members, you’ll find the most women ever in Congress, as well as the most diverse group of members of Congress we’ve ever seen.

One rising star who fits both groups as a woman of Puerto Rican decent is twenty-nine-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Ocasio-Cortez has quickly become the face of the young, far-left wing of the Democratic Party. While I disagree with most everything Ocasio-Cortez stands for, I have to respect the fact that she won a seat in Congress without learning the three branches of government. No, really, she doesn’t know the three branches of government. In fact, she doesn’t even know that they’re called branches, not chambers. See for yourself.

To quote Murray Rothbard, “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

The same could be said for being ignorant of the most basic aspects of the federal government. If there was ever a reason to be fearful of those in power, this would be it. We can’t expect good governance if those in power are unaware of the power they wield.

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