Saturday, January 05, 2019
The 116th Congress: New Faces and the Same Old BS
In its place, we now have the 116th Congress, which was sworn into office on January 3rd. While the Republicans still retain control of the Senate and Executive branches, Democrats have retaken the House of Representatives, with 67 Democrats and 44 Republicans. The 116th has already established several notable firsts such as being the most diverse Congress in history. 22 of the new members are former members of either military or CIA. There will 42 women joining its ranks, plus the first ever Native American women (Deb Haaland D-NM and Sharise Davids D-KS), the first Palestinian-American (Rashida Tlaib D-MI) and the first conservative Muslim woman (Ilhan Omar (D-MN), plus the first Korean-American (Andy Kim D-NJ). As an aside, Ms. Tlaib is also a Muslim, though unlike Omar, does not wear the traditional hijab headdress. Lastly, there is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist from New York, who was the youngest individual elected to Congress at the age of 28.
The 116th Congress is also unique in terms of religious diversity. While Congress is still overwhelmingly Christian (88%), there are now three Muslims in office along with three Hindus and two Buddhists. 34 members of Congress are Jewish. Of the Christians, there are 163 Catholics, 72 Baptists, 42 Methodists, 26 each Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian. The rest is a smattering of other denominations with 80 members listed as "unspecified". As an interesting aside, all of the Republicans self-identify as "Christian" except two members, Rep. Lee Zeldkin (NY) and Rep. David Kustoff (TN), who are Jewish. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, 62 members of the 282 Congressional Democrats don't identify as Christian. 31 are Jewish, 3 each are Muslim and Hindus, 2 each are Unitarian Universalists and Buddhists and 19 are religiously unaffiliated.
Meanwhile, the partial government shutdown continues. The chief stumbling block being Trump's insistence on funding for a wall to secure our southern border with Mexico, which an overwhelming majority of the American Public has been demanding. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) continue to lead the stalemate, along with approximately 25% of Republicans (President Trump has asked for 1.6 billion dollars to begin funding the wall project. The estimate total cost will be around 5 billion dollars). Included in the shutdown are programs which affect low income families.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or "SNAP" which provides food stamps and child nutrition programs at school as well as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) only have funding for approximately a month. In the interim, about 800,000 federal employees in nine agencies have been affected, with 380,000 having been furloughed without pay while the rest continue to work without pay while neither the President, members of Congress or any their staff are affected by the shutdown.
Under the Obama Regime, it actually did everything it could to encourage and protect illegal immigrants including suing the State of Arizona for attempting to enforce current immigration laws and even allowing, for the first ever, a foreign government---Mexico---to join in the lawsuit. Obama didn't even have the decency to lie to us! He just simply ignored us as if we didn't matter. Trump made building the wall one of his central campaign planks and, unlike other candidates---Democrat or Republican---seems determined to keep his pledge to the American People.
If this is any indication, 2019 will be a bad year for the American People, but perhaps this is the price we pay for partisan games; the only ones who are actually affected are ordinary people just trying to get on with their lives as best as they can. America can no longer afford to be part of these childish playground antics. Most Americans live from paycheck to paycheck. We don't have the luxury (or money) to wait for someone to blink like Pelosi, Schumer, or even Trump does.
List of Acts of the 115th United States Congress
Meet the New Freshmen in Congress
Faith on the Hill
Rashida Tlaib Wants to Impeach
Everything you need to know about the government shutdown