Despite all the considerable drama this week, House Democrats did hold votes to find Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to respond to subpoenas.
The House voted Wednesday to hold Atty. Gen. William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with its subpoenas seeking information about why the Trump administration wanted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
It marked the first time the full House held Trump Cabinet officials in contempt since Democrats took over the chamber.
The mostly partisan 230-198 vote comes days after Trump, blocked by the Supreme Court from proceeding with the citizenship question, announced that he would give up the legal battle.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the reason Ross had provided for adding the citizenship question — to help in enforcing the Voting Rights Act — was “contrived.” The justices blocked the Commerce Department from adding the question unless administration officials could provide a more compelling rationale.
Critics say the real reason for adding the question was to suppress census turnout in Democratic-majority states like California, where large immigrant populations would be afraid to respond. That would lead to a drop in congressional seats and federal funds for those states.
The House Reform and Oversight Committee voted last month to advance the contempt resolution to the full House after Barr and Ross declined to share documents detailing the rationale behind the proposed citizenship question.
The contempt citation will be automatically referred to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for prosecution, but that almost certainly won’t happen, since Barr oversees the office.
It’s more likely that Democrats intend Wednesday’s vote as a symbolic gesture meant to show their disapproval. They could also turn to the courts for help in enforcing their subpoenas.
That would explain this then.
Whole bunch of symbolic gestures happening, with none of them getting a vote in the Senate because of Mitch. The ones that House Democrats actually have full control over, well those are also symbolic gestures and go nowhere, so that's nice. It's really great that House Democrats have passed scores of legislation that go nowhere and don't benefit anyone.
House Democrats passed another symbolic gesture today, actually.
The House voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, delivering a long-sought victory to liberals and putting the Democratic Party’s official imprimatur on the so-called Fight for $15, which many Democratic presidential candidates have embraced.
The bill would more than double the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour — about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, or about $10,000 less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. It has not been raised since 2009, the longest time the country has gone without a minimum-wage increase since it was established 1938.
The measure, which passed largely along party lines, 231-199, after Republicans branded it a jobs-killer, faces a steep climb in the Senate. Only three Republicans voted for it, while six Democrats opposed it.
But it previews what Democrats would do if they capture the Senate and the White House in 2020, and it demonstrates how fast the politics have shifted since 2012, when fast-food workers began to strike in cities around the country, demanding $15-an-hour wages and a union.
At the time, the figure seemed absurdly high, and even Democrats thought it was politically impossible. In the years since, even Republican states like Arkansas and Missouri have raised minimum wages, encouraging Democrats on Capitol Hill. In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, pushed the issue to the fore when he challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“This is an historic day,” declared Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who argued that raising the minimum would disproportionately help women, who make up more than half of minimum wage workers, and would particularly help women of color. Turning to Republicans, she said: “No one can live with dignity on a $7.25-per-hour minimum wage. Can you?”
Nancy Pelosi delivered on her promise, Democrats got it done, right?
Well, there's a problem. Mitch McConnell will never allow it to come up for a vote. Never. Because he's protecting America, you see.
Hiking the U.S. minimum wage to $15 per hour would give millions of Americans a raise but put a smaller share of people out of work, according to projections released Monday.
Raising the pay floor to $15 per hour by 2025 would boost wages for 17 million workers, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated. At the same time, 1.3 million people would lose jobs, according to the CBO projections.
So Republicans will say "We saved over a million jobs from Democrat socialism!" And people will continue to vote for Republicans in the Senate to balance out those wacky Dems and their symbolic gestures because that's how the both sides game works.
Symbolic Gestures 101 is a fun class, no?