New Congress, Speaker Vote, Election Fraud, Georgia, Etc.

This is my update for Sunday, January Third.  Not a whole lot of stimulus news today, so I’ll make this brief, I just want to cover what’s going on in Congress today. 

Today is January Third, and as stated in Section Two of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, Congress begins on January Third at noon Eastern Time, so today is the first day of the one hundred and seventeenth Congress, members were sworn in, ceremonies were obviously scaled back due to the coronavirus crisis. 

Now what’s interesting is in the past when January Third has fallen on a Sunday, members of Congress would typically reach a bipartisan agreement to move the date so they don’t have to work on a weekend.  But this year Democrats wanted to be ready to go for the joint session this Wednesday, January Sixth, to ratify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, which is the final step in the election process. 

Some Republicans plan to challenge some of the states’ results.  Republican Senator Ted Cruz as well as other Republicans issued a statement yesterday, saying that Congress should appoint a commission, similar to a commission appointed in Eighteen Seventy-Seven to look into allegations of voter fraud in the election of Eighteen Seventy-Six, a commission to conduct an emergency ten-day audit of the election results in disputed states. 

And Cruz and these other Republican Senators or senators-elect said in this statement, “We intend to vote on January Sixth to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ unless and until that emergency ten-day audit is completed.”  That’s what this group is saying, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted this morning about this commission, “Proposing a commission at this late date – which has zero chance of becoming reality – is not effectively fighting for President Trump. It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy.” 

However, he also said, that he does look forward to hearing from them and will listen closely to the objections raised by this group of senators, also noting that they will need to provide clear and convincing evidence that mistakes were made by the courts and state legislatures that investigated the Trump campaign’s claims of voter fraud. 

He closed by noting that this group of Senators has “a high bar to clear.”  Indeed they do.  Speaking of Republican senators, after Mitch McConnell was sworn in he said, “To say the 117th Congress convenes at a challenging time would indeed be an understatement. From political division to a deadly pandemic to adversaries around the world, the hurdles before us are many, and they are serious. 

But there is also plenty of reason for hope.”  Yeah, Mitch, how ‘bout you give us a little hope, yeah?  In terms of the House, Democrats currently have a two hundred and twenty-two to two hundred and eleven majority in the House, that is the narrowest House majority of either party in twenty years. 

We’re missing two seats because one race in New York has still not been decided, and Republican Representative Luke Letlow, who was newly elected to represented Louisiana’s fifth congressional district, passed away on December Twenty-Ninth from complications of COVID-19 and so his seat is vacant.  And later today, members of the House will vote for speaker of the House. 

Nancy Pelosi, who will be eighty-one years old in two months, is up for reelection as Speaker of the House, she won the election for Democratic leader last year, and today she is expected to be reelected as Speaker of the House for what will likely be her final term.

So what can we expect from this one hundred and seventeenth Congress?  Well, if Republicans win at least one of the Georgia Senate runoff races on Tuesday, I frankly expect the one hundred and seventeenth Congress to be even more gridlocked than even than the one hundred and sixteenth Congress. 

Democrats have an incredibly slim majority in the House, the closest majority in twenty years, and the Senate is even closer.  But obviously, if Democrats control the Senate by winning both of the Georgia Senate runoff races, they at least have nominal control over the White House and both Houses of Congress, and we might actually see more stimulus sooner rather than later because we won’t have Mitch McConnell getting in the way, and we may even see a standalone vote on two-thousand-dollar stimulus checks, which even Republican Senators like Lindsey Graham think might have a chance at passing if it is simply put on the Senate floor and given a chance. 

These Georgia Senate runoff races are by far the most expensive Senate races in history, and history does of course favor Republicans in Georgia.  Since Nineteen-Eighty-Eight, Republicans have won every statewide runoff election in Georgia except one, in Nineteen-Ninety-Eight, due to a drop-off in Democratic turnout. 

However, two months ago, Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in Nineteen-Ninety-Two.  And Trump, Trump still thinks that he won Georgia. 

Reportedly, Trump had a one-hour phone call yesterday with the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is a Republican himself, telling him that there’s nothing wrong with Raffensperger coming out and saying that they’ve recalculated the vote results.  Trump said, “So look.  All I want to do is this.  I just want to find eleven thousand, seven hundred and eighty votes, which is one more than we have. 

Because we won the state.”  Trump insisted that there’s no way he lost Georgia and that he won by hundreds of thousands of votes.  Of course Raffensperger disagreed with the president and informed him that his data is incorrect.  This morning Trump summarized the call this way in a tweet: “I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”  And frankly, I don’t think he’s doing the Republican party any favors here on Tuesday, I mean look at the first reply to his tweet right here, “Sir, I live in Georgia and I’m not voting on Tuesday. You are right the whole system is totally rigged. You are the only politician I ever trusted and they betrayed you. I’ll vote again if you run in Twenty-Twenty-Four.  Just so disappointed and disgusted with politics right now.”  Does Donald Trump hate the Republican party, is that what’s going on right now? 

Anyway, that is my update for today, not directly stimulus-related, but obviously the Georgia Senate runoff on Tuesday has huge implications for stimulus, if there will be another stimulus check, and if there is another stimulus check, when you will get it and how much it will be for. 


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