Slams GOP Shutdown ‘Farce’
Talking about the GOP shutdown and Obamacare, President Obama yesterday asked workers at a Rockville, Maryland construction company what would happen if they decided to shutdown their workplace. “You’d get fired!” one worker responded. “You’d get fired” the President agreed.
The President has been speaking out about the House Republican and Tea Party led federal government shutdown, and took the GOP to task yesterday.
Referring to a comment made by Republican Congressman Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, President Obama reminded the GOP that they weren’t elected to the House to “get” something.
“You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There is no higher honor than that,” the President said, to great applause. “You’ve already gotten the opportunity to help businesses like this one, workers like these. So the American people aren’t in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it. What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job. What you get is our medical researchers back on the job. What you get are little kids back into Head Start. What you get are our national parks and monuments open again. What you get is the economy not stalling, but continuing to grow. What you get are workers continuing to be hired. That’s what you get. That’s what you should be asking for.”
Here’s the video:
Here’s an excerpt of the text of the President’s comments, via the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: But as I said, the problem weâ€™ve got is that thereâ€™s one faction of one party, in one half of one branch of government that so far has refused to allow that yes-or-no vote unless they get some massive partisan concessions in exchange for doing what theyâ€™re supposed to be doing anyway, in exchange for doing what everybody else agrees is necessary. And they wonâ€™t agree to end the shutdown until they get their way. And you may think Iâ€™m exaggerating, but just the other day, one tea party Republican called the idea of a shutdown â€œwonderful.â€ Another said that a shutdown is â€œexactly what we wanted.â€ Well, they got exactly what they wanted. Now theyâ€™re trying to figure out how to get out of it.
Just yesterday, one House Republican said — I’m quoting here, because I want to make sure people understand I didn’t make this up. One House Republican said, â€œWeâ€™re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I donâ€™t know what that even is.â€ That was a quote. “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have got to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” Think about that.
You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There is no higher honor than that. (Applause.) You’ve already gotten the opportunity to help businesses like this one, workers like these. So the American people aren’t in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it. What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job. What you get is our medical researchers back on the job. (Applause.) What you get are little kids back into Head Start. (Applause.) What you get are our national parks and monuments open again. What you get is the economy not stalling, but continuing to grow. (Applause.) What you get are workers continuing to be hired. That’s what you get. That’s what you should be asking for. Take a vote, stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now. (Applause.)
If you’re being disrespected, it’s because of that attitude you got that you deserve to get something for doing your job. Everybody here just does their job, right? If you’re working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said, you know what, I want to get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get. (Laughter.) But I’m just going to stop working until I get something. I’m going to shut down the whole plant until I get something.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You’d get fired.
THE PRESIDENT: You’d get fired. (Applause.) Right? Because the deal is you’ve already gotten hired. You’ve got a job. You’re getting a paycheck. And so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and looking out for your fellow workers. That’s what you’re getting. Well, it shouldn’t be any different for a member of Congress.
Now, unlike past shutdowns — I want to make sure everybody understands this because, again, sometimes the tendency is to say, well, both sides are at fault. This one has nothing to do with deficits or spending or budgets. Our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 60 years. Weâ€™ve cut the deficits in half since I took office. (Applause.) And some of the things that the Republicans are asking for right now would actually add to our deficits, seriously.
So this is not about spending. And this isn’t about fiscal responsibility. This whole thing is about one thing: the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. (Applause.) That’s all this has become about. That seems to be the only thing that unites the Republican Party these days.
Through this whole fight, theyâ€™ve said the American people donâ€™t want Obamacare, so we should shut down the government to repeal it or delay it. But here’s the problem: The government is now shut down, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business. (Applause.) So they’re not even accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish. And, by the way, in the first two days since the new marketplaces — basically big group plans that we’ve set up — the first two days that they opened, websites where you can compare and purchase new affordable insurance plans and maybe get tax credits to reduce your costs, millions of Americans have made it clear they do want health insurance. (Applause.)
More than 6 million people visited the website HealthCare.gov the day it opened. Nearly 200,000 people picked up the phone and called the call center. In Kentucky alone — this is a state where — I didnâ€™t win Kentucky. (Laughter.) So I know they weren’t doing it for me. In Kentucky, nearly 11,000 people applied for new insurance plans in the first two days — just in one state, Kentucky. And many Americans are finding out when they go on the website that they’ll save a lot of money or get health insurance for the first time.
So I would think that if, in fact, this was going to be such a disaster that the Republicans say it’s going to be, that it was going to be so unpopular, they wouldnâ€™t have to shut down the government. They could wait, nobody would show any interest, there would be, like, two people on the website — (laughter) — and everybody would then vote for candidates who want to repeal it.
It’s not as if Republicans haven’t had a chance to debate the health care law. It passed the House of Representatives. It passed the Senate. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — you remember all this. Last November, voters rejected the presidential candidate that ran on a platform to repeal it. (Applause.) So the Affordable Care Act has gone through every single democratic process, all three branches of government. It’s the law of the land. It’s here to stay.
I’ve said to Republicans, if there are specific things you think can improve the law to make it even better for people as opposed to just gutting it and leaving 25 million people without health insurance, I’m happy to talk to you about that. But a Republican shutdown won’t change the fact that millions of people need health insurance, and that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. The shutdown does not change that. All the shutdown is doing is making it harder for ordinary Americans to get by, and harder for businesses to create jobs at a time when our economy is just starting to gain traction again.
You’ve heard Republicans say that Obamacare will hurt the economy, but the economy has been growing and creating jobs. The single-greatest threat to our economy and to our businesses like this one is not the Affordable Care Act, it’s the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to stop refighting a settled election, or making the demands that have nothing to do with the budget. They need to move on to the actual business of governing. Thatâ€™s what will help the economy. That’s what will grow the economy. Thatâ€™s what will put people back to work. (Applause.)
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House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”
The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.
While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.
“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”
He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”
Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.
On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”
“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”
Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.
There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.
The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.
Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.
Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.
R.I.P. Sandra Day O’Connor: Politicians, Reporters Mourn First Woman on Supreme Court
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passed away Friday morning in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 93. She was the first woman on the Court.
The news was announced by the Supreme Court, which said that the former justice died of a respiratory illness combined with complications of advanced dementia.
“A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.
Though O’Connor was appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and was conservative, she was known to be a swing vote in many major decisions. Her appointment was challenged from the religious right as she had been vocally against banning abortion and had supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
While she normally joined the Court’s conservatives, she would side with the liberal members of the court in 28 cases. In 1992, she was the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the Roe v. Wade decision.
However, in 2000, she voted with the conservative majority on Bush v. Gore, which stopped the Florida election recount, keeping then-Vice President Al Gore from potentially becoming president. She retired in 2006, during President George W. Bush’s second term, and was replaced by conservative Justice Samuel Alito.
Politicians, pundits and journalists alike took to X (formerly Twitter) to mourn the passing of O’Connor.
“I’m sorry to hear of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passing. I loved Evan Thomas’s recent bio, which showed off her can-do, self-starter, distinctly southwestern mentality. The first female Supreme Court justice (the original SCOTUSlady!), never a victim, & a model of civility. RIP,” wrote Anastasia Boden, director of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.
I’m sorry to hear of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passing. I loved Evan Thomas’s recent bio, which showed off her can-do, self-starter, distinctly southwestern mentality. The first female Supreme Court justice (the original SCOTUSlady!), never a victim, & a model of civility. RIP. pic.twitter.com/5EFuQykvSI
— A lady (@Anastasia_esq) December 1, 2023
“Today, we say goodbye to the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and first female majority leader of a state senate. El Paso’s own Sandra Day O’Connor was instrumental in developing case law as a jurist, especially sex discrimination under Title VII,” Representative Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) wrote.
Today, we say goodbye to the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and first female majority leader of a state senate.
El Paso's own Sandra Day O'Connor was instrumental in developing case law as a jurist, especially sex discrimination under Title VII. https://t.co/OxndeFrJVz
— Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (@RepJasmine) December 1, 2023
“She blazed every trail she set foot on—defying the odds stacked against women in the legal profession to rise to become Arizona’s assistant attorney general, our first female majority leader in the state Senate, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, and ultimately our first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. She brought her Arizona brand of pragmatism and independence with her to the Supreme Court and was often the swing vote on consequential decisions,” Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ) wrote in a statement.
“Justice O’Connor was not perfect. But her drive for consensus & common sense, her love of family, and her career itself, having graduated from law school at 22 in 1952, are especially notable and laudable. May her memory be a blessing,” tweeted MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.
Justice O’Connor was not perfect. But her drive for consensus & common sense, her love of family, and her career itself, having graduated from law school at 22 in 1952, are especially notable and laudable. May her memory be a blessing.https://t.co/HPxpmyKQUO
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) December 1, 2023
“Sad news w the passing of fmr Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor She was a trailblazer for the high court &always worked to find consensus She was 1st justice I had honor of voting for as Senator Her contributions 2 the court will endure +she will be missed,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote.
“Sandra Day O’Connor was a trailblazer whose life and career paved the way for so many others. Her service and dedication to our country will be long-remembered. My heart is with her family and loved ones today,” Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said.
“I’m saddened to hear about the passing of former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. As the first female justice, she leaves behind a trailblazing conservative legacy. My prayers are with her family during this difficult time,” Representative Cory Mills (R-FL) wrote.
Featured image by Kyle Tsui via Wikimedia Commons.
The Christian Ziegler/Moms for Liberty Scandal Could Hurt Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to distance himself from Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler and his wife Bridget, the co-founder of Moms for Liberty—but his close involvement with them could spell trouble for him.
On Thursday, Christian Ziegler, elected this year as chair of the Florida Republican Party, was accused of sexual assault. The accuser is a woman who says she’s had a regular three-way sexual relationship with both Zieglers.
DeSantis told ABC News Thursday night that Ziegler should resign as chair.
“He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” DeSantis said.
Before Thursday, DeSantis was close with the Zieglers. In February, during DeSantis’ fight with Disney, he appointed Bridget Ziegler to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a new board overseeing Disney’s theme parks in Orlando, according to Variety. DeSantis has not called on Bridget Ziegler to step down from either the district or her position on the Sarasota County School Board.
Last year, Christian Ziegler opened a rally for DeSantis, and has backed DeSantis’ using of the culture war to make a name for himself.
“All you have to do is Google Christian Ziegler Ron DeSantis, and you’ll see no one has been in the press more than I have promoting the governor and what he’s done because I think he’s done an outstanding job, especially on the cultural issues, which for me, are a big passion of mine,” Ziegler said in a March interview with CBS Miami.
DeSantis’ approval ratings as governor have been falling. In a poll taken in November, before the allegations against Christian Ziegler were made public, DeSantis’ overall approval had fallen four points since July, to a 49% approval rating. But among independent voters, his disapproval rating rocketed to 60%, a 14-point boost during the same time frame. Disapproval also grew by 10 percent, to 80%, among Black voters.
The allegations against Christian Ziegler are serious. Ziegler is accused of sexually assaulting the woman he and his wife and a standing sexual relationship with on October 2. He’s also accused of secretly recording video of their previous sexual encounters.
Though DeSantis has called on him to resign, other GOP leaders have supported Ziegler.
“If the allegations are true I’m pretty sure change will come at the [Republican Party of Florida] but I don’t believe it for a minute,” Lee County GOP Chair Michael Thompson told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Christian’s the chairman. Christian’s still the chairman of the organization until something else happens. We don’t anticipate Christian leaving as the chair.”
“Innocent until proven guilty,” Thompson added. “That’s what our justice system needs to get back to and that’s for everybody across the board, not just for Trump, not just for Ziegler… let’s not try to convict people in headlines. Let’s see the evidence.”
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