The Most Dangerous Period in Washington Could Be About to Happen

The lame-duck session is the most dangerous period in the nation’s capital that you’ve never heard of.

There are nearly two months in between Election Day in November and the swearing-in of the newly elected Congress in January. This period is known as the lame-duck session, because many of the voting members won’t be returning due to defeat or retirement (hence, they’re “lame ducks”).

Why is it dangerous? Because those lame ducks have no oversight or accountability, and the members who are returning have just won re-election—and won’t have to face the voters for two or six more years.

It wasn’t always this way. Lame-duck sessions used to be a quirk of history, only employed to address pressing issues or unexpected emergencies. However, they are now routinely used by both parties to schedule difficult or controversial votes after the election.

In the minds of congressional and party leadership, this delay tactic accomplishes two valuable things. First, it pushes meaningful votes until after the time when voters can hold the members accountable. This allows party leadership to protect their vulnerable members at the ballot box. Are you a voter who wants to know where your member of Congress stands on critical issues? Too bad! You have to vote them into office to find out what they really think.

Second, it means that all votes become “must-pass,” because the end of the year is suddenly approaching. Deliberation on major legislation—the sort that could have been (and should have been) considered earlier in the year—is now crammed into a few short days because Congress is up against a cliff of its own making.

The existence of the modern lame-duck session is troubling for several obvious reasons. During a lame-duck session, the accountability normally assigned to weighty legislative matters goes out the window. The “representative” part of “representative democracy” matters little to departing members who will vote on new laws and confirm judges for lifetime appointments—all before the door hits them on the way out.

But the damage doesn’t stop there. For returning members, the lame duck acts as a shield against behaviors that would seem unconscionable during the rest of the year. The opaqueness of a lame duck helps accomplish this. Votes are jammed into a short time frame with little clarity on who is voting on what, leaving voters with limited information. Not to mention that these members have just been re-elected, and the length of time before they stand for re-election renders any action they take now basically moot, since voters will likely not recall it with ease.

Instead of recognizing the dangerously twisted incentives provided in a lame duck, House and Senate leadership take full advantage of them. Rather than dealing with the hard issues up front, congressional leadership waits for a lame duck to handle controversial measures. Lame ducks are coming to be known as the period when the real work is done.

2016 has been a perfect example of this calculating behavior. This year, Congress could potentially set up a lame-duck session that will consider major policies, all of which carry more weight than any other measure the members will have considered before the election.

Consider just a few policies that may be voted on during the lame duck: funding authorization for the Defense Department, a new internet tax, and a $5.6 billion bailout of coal miner pensions, just to name a few. Together, these policies represent the most significant—and controversial—work that Congress will have done all year. And it’ll be doing so in the period of very little accountability to the voters.

The ability to clearly assign responsibility to elected officials is central to representative democracy, and a fundamental tenet on which the American government was founded. To deliberately push the consideration of major policy issues until after an election is as much an intentional deception as it is a blow to the health of our representative government.

Voters should demand that Congress complete its must-pass work before the November elections, and leave more controversial issues to the next president, and the new Congress. (For more from the author of “The Most Dangerous Period in Washington Could Be About to Happen” please click HERE)

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White House Addresses Decision Not to Support Cops With Blue Light Display

Though the Obama White House has been illuminated to show support for other causes, most notably the legalization of gay marriage, numerous critics pointed out the mansion received no such treatment following the recent mass shooting that left five Dallas police officers dead.

Reports indicate the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association sent a request to the administration to shine blue light on the White House as a memorial to the officers killed and injured, though the effort was not successful.

“Actions speak louder than scripted words,” FLEOA president Jon Adler wrote in a statement, “and the honorable act of displaying law enforcement’s ‘Thin Blue Line’ at the White House would demonstrate the President’s sincere commitment to our fallen heroes and their families.”

In response to a question asked by a reporter on Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest reportedly confirmed turning the White House blue is “not something we plan to do at this point.”

Further explaining the decision to limit its public display of support for the law enforcement community, the administration described President Barack Obama’s actions thus far as sufficient.

“The president has chosen to acknowledge this loss and pay tribute to these heroes in a variety of other ways,” the White House statement asserted, “including: ordering flags lowered to half staff, traveling to Dallas to speak at the memorial service and spending a substantial amount of time after the service visiting with the families of those who were lost.”

Earnest confirmed Obama was slated to host a White House meeting on Wednesday “that will include law enforcement officials” in addition to “activists, academics, civil rights leaders, local political leaders from across the country.” (For more from the author of “White House Addresses Decision Not to Support Cops With Blue Light Display” please click HERE)

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Conservative Congressmen: We Can Lead No Matter Who’s in the White House

Several members of Congress told The Stream Thursday that conservative policies will emerge from the House no matter who is President in 2017.

“We’ve got things we’re going to do here regardless of who the president is,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said at the monthly Conversations with Conservatives in response to a question from The Stream about how conservatives plan to lead if Donald Trump wins the White House.

Gohmert recalled that under President George W. Bush, “We had a Republican in the White House,” he said. “We had some great things we wanted to move forward on, and I was surprised as a freshman how much we were affected by the agenda that President Bush had at the time.”

So who the president is “does have an effect, it is a legitimate question,” he continued. “But I think because this is not an election like we’ve ever seen in my lifetime, we’re going to be able to have more say than we have in the past, if we will stand up and say. But that’s been a concern in the past. We just kind of limped along with whatever agenda anybody else had. I think that now you’ve got people who are actually pulling the wagon, and pushing from the other side, and we’ve got a real chance to start achieving some of our agenda.”

Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp praised House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for putting forth a series of policy proposals in recent weeks. “As it stands now, we have a Democrat nominee and a Republican nominee that have the highest negatives probably ever in the history of presidential politics,” said Huelskamp at the Capitol Hill meeting, “and I think for Republicans, personalities divide, but policies unite.”

“I think on plenty of issues, it’s very unclear what Donald Trump thinks, and what his official stands are,” he said.

According to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), “We anticipate unveiling five pieces of legislation we think are important.” Jordan, who like Huelskamp praised Ryan’s policy agenda, named the religious liberty-focused First Amendment Defense Act and welfare reform as two areas of top concern for the Freedom Caucus.

One area of common concern for conservatives and establishment Republicans is education reform. Moderator Genevieve Wood, a senior fellow in communications at the Heritage Foundation, asked Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) about a bill she has introduced that would improve school choice and relieve parents of some of the burdens imposed by federal mandates.

According to Lummis, her bill would allow parents who object to federal mandates to “get an education savings account for their child in the amount that is the average for that state to educate a student” and take that money elsewhere. Lummis said that while the bill would apply to all federal mandates, it was introduced after President Obama’s May mandate that schools will risk federal funding if they do not allow gender-confused teenagers to use the restroom, locker room and other sex-segregated facilities of their choice.

That mandate is being opposed by states that filed a lawsuit against the federal government late last month. (For more from the author of “Conservative Congressmen: We Can Lead No Matter Who’s in the White House” please click HERE)

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White House Caught Lying About Scrubbing Public Record

Video Transcript:

The White House has now joined the State Department in being caught doctoring the public record.

KEVIN CORKE: Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?


The White House changed the embarrassing admission to say “inaudible” in the transcript.

BYRON TAU: ABC reported over the weekend that the White House scratched a line from a briefing transcript because reportedly, you said it was “inaudible.” I was in that briefing and I recall the question and it seemed pretty audible to me. The video also makes it pretty clear. I heard what was being said. Is the White House going to restore that line?

: Well, Byron, I think what was true at the time is that there was a little cross-talk.

I don’t think so Josh. But let’s see if there’s cross-talk one more time.

CORKE: Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?


(For more from the author of “White House Caught Lying About Scrubbing Public Record” please click HERE)

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White House Put on Lock Down Right After Obama Returns From Memorial Day Ceremony

According to developing reports Monday, the White House was placed on lock down shortly after President Barack Obama had returned to the executive mansion from his Memorial Day visit to the Arlington National Cemetery.

Local news reports included sightings of emergency personnel — including hazard materials teams — responding to the White House. At least one individual allegedly tossed a suspicious package over the property’s perimeter wall.

Reporters on the scene indicated they were temporarily prevented from leaving the White House grounds, but were later ushered out through a separate exit. (For more from the author of “White House Put on Lock Down Right After Obama Returns From Memorial Day Ceremony” please click HERE)

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Something Was Just Revealed About Every Single Reporter Covering the White House

Not a single member of the White House press corps is a registered Republican, according to survey results recently published by Politico.

Those results are buried in a story this week on President Barack Obama’s relationship with the press. An infographic posted in the story reveals that not a single one of the 72 members of the White House press corps surveyed by the Virginia-based trade publication identifies with the GOP.

Of the journalists surveyed, more than a quarter are registered Democrats and 13 percent are not members of any political party. Sixty percent are not registered to vote, but 72 percent of those polled said they think reporters should vote in elections they cover.

Twelve survey respondents said they plan to vote for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Three said they support her rival Bernie Sanders. Two plan to vote for Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.) and one supports Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they expect Hillary Clinton to be the nation’s next president. (Read more from “Something Was Just Revealed About Every Single Reporter Covering the White House” HERE)

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Watch: WH Censors French President Saying ‘ISLAMIST Terrorism’

The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”

The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.

Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.

(Read more from “Watch: WH Censors French President Saying ‘ISLAMIST Terrorism'” HERE)

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White House: Clinton Won’t Be Indicted [+video]

By Daniel Halper. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said today that “based on what we know” it does not look like Hillary Clinton will be indicted. Earnest made the remarks the White House podium.

(Read more from “White House: Clinton Won’t Be Indicted” HERE)


Former House Oversight Chairman: ‘FBI Director Would Like to Indict Clinton and Abedin’

By Gabby Morrongiello. California Congressman Darrell Issa, who previously led an investigation into Benghazi as former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, says the FBI “would like to indict both Huma [Abedin] and Hillary Clinton” for conducting sensitive government business on an unsecure, private email server.

“I think the FBI director would like to indict both Huma and Hillary as we speak,” the Republican heavyweight told the Washington Examiner Thursday, during a debate watch-party at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s New Hampshire campaign headquarters.

“I think he’s in a position where he’s being forced to triple-time make a case of what would otherwise be, what they call, a slam dunk,” Issa said, referring to FBI Director James Comey, who previously told the Senate Judiciary Committee he would conduct a “competent,” “honest” and “independent” probe into Clinton’s handling of classified information during her tenure as secretary of state.

Still, Issa suggested Clinton’s wrongdoing is obvious. (Read more from “Former House Oversight Chairman: ‘FBI Director Would Like to Indict Clinton and Abedin'” HERE)

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Watch: ‘Siri’ Interrupts White House Press Briefing, Answers Iran Question

gty_iphone_siri_jp_113011_wg“Siri” tried to butt in on Thursday’s White House press briefing.

The virtual iPhone personal assistant unexpectedly interjected when a reporter was asking Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the Iran nuclear deal, and whether President Obama was “upset” he couldn’t get any Republicans on board.

A virtual voice could be heard in the room answering: “Sorry, I’m not sure what you want me to change.” (Read more from “‘Siri’ Interrupts White House Press Briefing, Answers Iran Question” HERE)

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White House ‘Monitoring’ Reports Russian Military Is in Syria

AAdVmATThe White House on Thursday said it was closely monitoring reports that Russia is carrying out military operations in Syria, warning such actions, if confirmed, would be “destabilizing and counter-productive.”

“We are aware of reports that Russia may have deployed military personnel and aircraft to Syria, and we are monitoring those reports quite closely,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

“Any military support to the Assad regime for any purpose, whether it’s in the form of military personnel, aircraft supplies, weapons, or funding, is both destabilizing and counterproductive.”

The comments come after images appeared on a social media account linked to Syrian fighters purporting to show Russian aircraft and drones near Idlib province.

Unconfirmed reports suggested the aircraft may have included a Russian Sukhoi 34 advanced strike fighter, which Syria is not thought to own. (Read more from “White House ‘Monitoring’ Reports Russian Military Is in Syria” HERE)

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