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GOP Has Not Created A New Church Committee

House Republicans last week announced that they would quickly create a special committee that they referred to as the Church Committee II.  Formally, they named it the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.  The subcommittee was created on a straight party-line vote:  All 221 Republicans voted in favor while all 211 Democrats were opposed. It will be chaired by far-right Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, the former wrestling coach at Ohio State University whom six former wrestlers accused of doing nothing to help them, despite the fact that he knew they were being molested by the team doctor.  Jordan is also the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; in one of life’s ironies, despite graduating from an obscure law school in central Ohio, he never bothered to take the bar exam.

Economic Justice Coalition Launches ‘Full Employment For All’ Campaign

In an effort to "create an economy of full employment for all regardless of race, gender, or religion," 10 leading U.S. economic advocacy groups on Monday launched a new campaign calling for a federally subsidized jobs program targeting communities plagued by high unemployment. The Full Employment for All campaign is timed to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and the 60th anniversary year of King's "I Have a Dream Speech." Just as King's indictments of U.S. capitalism and militarism are often overlooked, omitted, or overshadowed by his civil rights work, the full name and purpose of the August 1963 demonstration—the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—have been eclipsed by the iconic speech he delivered there. A year before his April 1968 assassination—which happened while he was supporting striking Black Memphis sanitation workers—King wrote that "we must create full employment or we must create incomes."

House Republican Rules Package Designed To Enable Skewed Priorities

The House Republican majority recently adopted a rules package to guide that chamber’s legislative action that would put up steep barriers to investments in critical national needs while paving the way for ever more tax cuts, inevitably tilted toward the wealthy and profitable corporations. That isn’t an agenda that will expand opportunity or support broadly shared economic growth. Proponents describe the rules as “restoring fiscal sanity,” but they just reflect an ideology that ignores reams of evidence showing that the tax cuts of recent decades haven’t meaningfully boosted economic growth. The large tax cuts have led to higher deficits and debt and lower investments in areas such as education, research, child care, climate, and transportation that would make our nation as a whole stronger. The new House rules can be waived, but this package offers a window into the House majority’s priorities — favoring new tax cuts while hindering new investments.

The Vote For House Speaker Obscured Democratic Treachery

In 2021 Democratic Party progressives asked those members of congress who claimed to share their political priorities to stand up to their leadership, which meant standing up for the people. They knew that Joe Biden promised to veto any legislation providing free, universal healthcare, known as Medicare for All. But they did what any political activist should do. They made the demand anyway. The call to #ForcetheVote was a request for House members to withhold their votes for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House unless she committed herself to bringing Medicare for All to a vote. The House members who called themselves progressives did nothing of the sort. They elected Nancy Pelosi without demanding that she bring Medicare for All or any other issue for a vote. The Squad and the Progressive Caucus, all failed to do what their supporters wanted.

Congressional Chaos – Deals And Trades

The U.S. Congress’ dysfunction was on full display through 15 rounds of votes for the “Speaker of the House” position. The rivalry, trading, dealing, secret and public concessions, within the Republican Party, and even physical scuffles were in clear view. The multiple votes and the open floor fights are a preamble of the coming session. During the theater of numerous votes, the House of Representatives ground to a halt. Without a Speaker elected, no other body in the House can function or even convene meetings, nor can the new members of the House be sworn in. Since the Republicans had a majority (a slim majority, 222 Republicans, 212 Democrats) in the House, they chose the Speaker, who is right behind the vice president in the list for succession to the presidency. But 218 votes were needed to make Kevin McCarthy, a conservative California Republican with eight terms in Congress, Speaker.

In Ukraine, It’s Patriot vs. Iskander For Now

With the Republicans poised to take narrow control of the House of Representatives in the US Congress in January, the Joe Biden Administration is hoping to extract as much funding as possible for the proxy war in Ukraine against Russia before the locus of legislative business shifts on the Hill. The White House is requesting nearly $45 billion in new funding. Who else could canvass better than an accomplished actor-politician? Enter President Vladimir Zelensky. When Zelensky proposed on Sunday that he’d find time to visit Washington for a few hours on Wednesday, President Biden promptly accepted. For Zelensky too, it pays to be seen holding Biden’s hands amidst swirling rumors of a power struggle in Kiev. To be sure, from the strategic perspective, the backdrop of Zelensky’s decision to travel to Washington urgently would have been the one-day trip by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Minsk on Monday, which shook up the geopolitics of European security.

‘I Did Not Know I Had A Voice’

After nearly a decade working as a live-in nanny in New York City, Ludie Delva knew she was being underpaid, but didn’t know there was a minimum wage. And though she worked upwards of 60 hours per week, she wasn’t aware that she also qualified for overtime that might’ve helped with the bills she struggled to pay on her $500 weekly paycheck. Nor did she know about New York state’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, legislation that would ultimately allow Delva to reclaim over $25,000 in stolen wages from two former employers. The final amounts paled in comparison to what they owed her, but the money still allowed Delva to purchase a home for her family in Haiti, and survive a pandemic that thrust domestic workers around the country into prolonged economic uncertainty.

Venezuela Fiercely Rejects US Senate’s Passing Of BOLIVAR Act

This Friday, December 16, the US Senate unanimously approved the Law to Prohibit Operations and Leasing with the Illegitimate Authoritarian Regime of Venezuela (BOLIVAR Act), presented by the ultra-conservative Floridian senator, Rick Scott. The discussion of the interventionist act in the lower house of the US Congress is still pending. “The regulations prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone who supports the oppressive Maduro regime,” reported the official website of Scott, who was one of the primary promoters of the law. Scott was joined by far-right Senator Marco Rubio as well as other far-right congressmen. The bill had been unanimously approved by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in March 2021, as a preliminary step before being discussed in the Senate.

House Committee Wraps Up Historic Investigation Into Oil Industry

Congressional investigators released a new set of documents that underscored the oil and gas industry’s ongoing attempts to block climate policies and confuse the public about their long-term investments in fossil fuels. The latest tranche of documents caps off a nearly two-year investigation that appears set to come to an end with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives in January. On December 9, the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee published its latest set of documents as part of its ongoing investigation into the oil industry’s history of climate denial and obfuscation. The documents offer more evidence showing that the industry’s “greenwashing” continues up to the present day.

Solidarity Rally For Railroad Workers

After missing-in-action the past few weeks, some rail union chiefs have called for a major rally in Washington, DC at the Capitol Building. In addition, the unions are assisting to build rallies at rail terminals in towns and cities across the country. RWU urges all railroad workers from every craft, family, members, other working class friends and allies to take part. These rallies are intended to draw the public’s attention towards: The need for increased rail safety – prioritizing the need to maintain two-person crews. The devastating effects of so-called “precision scheduled railroading” on the nation's rail workers, shippers, passengers and economy. NOTE: The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is conducting a major hearing on this very question today. The need for paid sick leave.

Hakeem Jeffries And The Railroad Workers

The Black Agenda Report team is proud to have coined the phrases “Black misleadership class” and “Black political class.” These words cannot be uttered and written too often because they name and shame the people who work alongside the neoliberal and imperialist order in the United States while also pretending to act on behalf of Black people, whose needs are antithetical to those of the oligarchy. Congressional Black Caucus member Hakeem Jeffries is the Black politico of the moment and his rise is a cautionary tale which must be followed closely. Jeffries will be the new Minority Leader of the House of Representatives when the 118th Congress convenes in January 2023. He is the first Black person to head a legislative branch in the U.S. but those who are on the exalted list of firsts are often those who bear watching the most.

Know Thine Enemy

The Congressional decision to prohibit railroad workers from going on strike and force them to accept a contract that meets few of their demands is part of the class war that has defined American politics for decades. The two ruling political parties differ only in rhetoric. They are bonded in their determination to reduce wages; dismantle social programs, which the Bill Clinton administration did with welfare; and thwart unions and prohibit strikes, the only tool workers have to pressure employers. This latest move against the railroad unions, where working conditions have descended into a special kind of hell with massive layoffs, the denial of even a single day of paid sick leave, and punishing work schedules that include being forced to “always be on call,” is one more blow to the working class and our anemic democracy.

Democrats, Then Republicans Smite Rail Labor

While Railroad Workers United (RWU) finds it despicable – but not surprising – that both political parties opted to side with Big Business over working people yesterday and vote against the interests of railroad workers - not once, but twice, within hours. We suffered a one-two punch at the hands of, first the Democratic Party; the second served up by the Republicans. First, responding to the wishes of President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House voted to legislate a contract that the majority of U.S. freight rail workers had previously voted to reject. The Senate would quickly follow suit. In effect, their actions simply overrode our voices and desires. Rail workers – like all workers – should have the right to bargain collectively and to freely engage in strike activity if and when the members see fit and when they democratically elect to do so.

Railroad Workers Protest Joe Biden’s Interference In Fight For Their Rights

As the date for a possible national railroad strike nears, President Joe Biden stepped in this week to force a contract on the railroad workers. On Monday, November 28, the While House released this statement, which begins with: I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators – without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown. After some encouraging words from progressives Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Jamaal Bowman on Tuesday, Lauren K. Gurley reported today that the Congressional Progressive Caucus intends to fall in step behind President Biden. The pushback by railroad workers and their supporters was swift.

Senate Votes To Overturn Covid-19 National Emergency

Just a week after the midterm elections, the Senate voted to end the National Emergency Declaration on Covid-19. This vote, in which Democrats joined Republicans 62-36, comes after the U.S. handled the Covid-19 pandemic in impressively pitiful fashion, with over 1 million dead and millions more grappling with long Covid-19 symptoms. It also comes as winter months approach and respiratory illnesses are on the rise, particularly among children as pediatric intensive care units reach capacity. Ending the National Covid-19 Emergency declaration could affect anything from the access to medical supplies to helping cover costs of Covid-19 testing. Its end could also help pave the way to restart student loan payments. Ironically, the vote comes with the help of the Democrats, members of the same party who claimed just a week earlier that they needed the public’s support at the ballot box so they that could keep protecting the public interest, from Covid-19 policies to protecting abortion rights.
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