Monday evening was its first session of somewhat regular business but the 118th House of Representatives has already proven to be the House of Fodder (for articles) for political and comedic writers.
The first thing they did was pass a rules package. That is normally done at the opening session but since it lasted five days and concluded in the wee hours of the morning it was put off.
This rules package is interesting in that it contains a three-page secret addendum. So secret that the vast majority of House members have never seen it (and probably never will). Nonetheless it passed, largely along party lines by a vote of 220-213 (one Republican joined all Democrats in voting against it). Call me old-fashioned but I would never vote for something I never saw nor was given the opportunity to see.
In it’s first and futile legislative endeavor the House voted to rescind funding for an IRS expansion which right wing mythology has grossly misrepresented. This is an exercise in futility to placate the extreme right wing of the GOP. It is dead on arrival in the Senate and if it ever passed President Biden would be certain to veto it. The votes to override a veto simply don’t exist. Not even close.
Right wing mythology (read lies) is that the IRS is hiring 87,000 new agents to go after Joe Paycheck level taxpayers. In reality many of the desperately needed new hires will be other than agents. The targets will be high earning, financially complex people with a history of shall we say very liberal, and favorable to them, interpretations of the tax code. Those people take much more in resources and ability to audit. Think of it as a return on investment situation. It is more costly to audit them but the reward in recovered taxes and penalties is much, much higher. The Republicans like to portray themselves as the business savvy party. If you were such, why would you starve the only income producing entity in the federal government? The answer is you wouldn’t unless it was more important to your fundraising to provide a return on investment – and have no doubt that large campaign contributions are viewed as investment by those who make them – for said contributors (read: financiers/investors).
It appears (and we can only go by reports when secrets are involved) that a new “McCarthy Committee”) will be formed in the House charged with investigating the 1/6 investigators and the actions of all federal employees. This is the closest thing to a political witch hunt we have seen since the original McCarthy Committee. Like its predecessor it will be based on lies only it will be much more dangerous because it appears the foxes will be in charge of watching the henhouse. Rumor is that Jim Jordan will be heading it and based on a television appearance of his Scott Perry is angling to be on it. Both are shall we say persons of interest in the coup plot.
I’m not at the point of predicting it yet, but the 118th House going Democratic before it concludes wouldn’t totally surprise me. There is an open seat in Virginia-4 for which there will be a special election on February 21st. That will most likely go Democratic. I don’t know exactly how and when it will happen but I cannot see George Santos of New York-3 serving a full term. (In the House of Representatives anyway. Big House? That is another question.) His seat will probably go Democratic when a special election is held to replace him. It is highly unlikely that no other seats will become vacant and flip especially as the nutcase caucus within the GOP House delegation becomes more powerful as the margin dwindles. As the House Republicans move further and further away from the American people it will become increasingly easy for Democrat to flip seats.
My concern – and it shared by many – is that in the interim the Republicans cause harm via a government shutdown or worse by an unnecessary default. That risk is too real to ignore!
Part of the fascist playbook is to sow distrust in government and that is exactly what the House Republicans of the 118th seem dedicated to doing. They are not about solutions; they are about burning it down. But they will give me plenty to write about.
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