Sunday, October 19, 2014

What is lost if we lose on the 4th? Among other things, a pro-U.S. Senate majority & a lot of progressive brains!

^^^ The above collage of white men over 40, who just happen to be anti-U.S. Government Republicans, could be a large part of Republican control of the United States Senate re chairmanships of committees with subpoena power if Democrats do not stop them on Tuesday, November 4th at ballot boxes across the country!

Senators Orrin Hatch, Thad Cochran, John McCain, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby and Chuck Grassly are all potential chairmen per a great food-for-thought article in Politico (which leans right and has more insight into the GOP than I do)!

“Anti-U.S. Government Republicans,” by the way, are defined by me for me as:
Republicans who do not adhere to some of my favorite, basic concepts of the United States Constitution ~ Compromise (not my way or the highway); United States (not 50 sovereign states); and The Common Good (not “starve the beast” and the surpluses will “trickle down”).

Focused on the point of its article, Politico makes it’s guesses and provides some grist for the mill as to how the potential future chairmen might use their positions of power but it does not highlight the power of the subpoena, nor does it provide the same grist for the mill as to how the potential past chairmen have used their positions of power.

So, let’s do just a bit of that: First, defining Senate subpoena power and Second, using five Senate Committees as examples, demonstrating who/what might be lost if the Senate majority goes from Democratic to Republican. 

Senate subpoena power (or House investigations on steroids!):  

Any of the above referenced committees, including subcommittees thereof, or any special committees created by the senate, may have the powers of subpoena, the power to administer oaths, and the power to issue commissions for the examination of witnesses in accordance with the provisions of chapter 44.16 RCW. The committee chair shall file with the committee on rules, prior to issuance of any process, a statement of purpose setting forth the name or names of those subject to process. The rules committee shall consider every proposed issuance of process at a meeting of the rules committee immediately following the filing of the statement with the committee. The process shall not be issued prior to consideration by the rules committee. The process shall be limited to the named individuals and the committee on rules may overrule the service on an individual so named.

Five Random Senate Committee examples (or some of what Democrats risk losing!):

The SenateAppropriations Committee has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate.

Currently under the leadership of Chairwoman Mikulski who, could be replaced by GOP-ER Thad Cochran:
was first appointed to the Committee in 1987 became the first woman and first Marylander to chair the Committee on December 20, 2012. 
Senator Mikulski graduated from Mt. St. Agnes College and earned a Masters of Social Work from the University of Maryland. 

Determined to make a difference, she began her career in social work helping at-risk children and educating seniors about Medicare. Social work evolved into community activism when Mikulski successfully organized communities to defeat a proposed 16-lane highway through Baltimore's Fells Point.
Senator Mikulski has a long record of public service, starting with her election in 1971 to the Baltimore City Council. In 1976, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she represented Maryland’s 3rd District for ten years. 
She became the first Democratic woman Senator elected in her own right in 1986 and in 2012, Senator Mikulski became the longest serving woman in the history of the United States Congress.

TheSenate Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congress’s annual budget plan and monitoring action of the budge for the Federal Government. 

Currently under the leadership of Chairwoman Murray who, could be replaced by GOP-ER Jeff Sessions:
was originally known for her work on education and children’s issues,  she has become a leading figure on the nation's budget, transportation, border and port security, healthcare, economic development and veteran's issues. Senator Murray is serving her fourth term in the U.S. Senate as a member of the Democratic Leadership. 
In 2013, Senator Murray became the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. She has consistently fought for budgets that work for families and communities, cut spending responsibly, and call on the wealthiest  Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. As the chair of the committee, she is committed to bringing more Americans into the budget process, giving them a seat at the table to share their stories and budget priorities.
Patty Murray never planned to enter politics. But in the 1980’s, when a state politician told her she “couldn’t make a difference,” Murray led a grassroots coalition of 13,000 parents to save a local preschool program from budget cuts. She went on to serve on the local school board, and in 1988 was elected to the Washington State Senate.
In 1992, Murray ran for the United States Senate as a voice for Washington families who were not being heard in the Senate. Dramatically outspent, Murray ran a grassroots campaign of family, friends, supporters, and public interest groups to beat a 10-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives and became the first woman to represent Washington state in the U.S. Senate. Senator Murray was re-elected in 1998, 2004, and 2010 and is Washington’s senior Senator.

TheSenate Finance Committee is responsible for matters related to taxation and other revenue measures, generally, including health programs under the Social Security Act (notably Medicare and Medicaid) and reciprocal trade agreements, etc.

Currently under the leadership of  chairman Ron Wyden who, could be replaced by GOP-ER Orrin Hatch :
 believes  the nation’s biggest challenges can only be solved by what he calls “principled bipartisanship,” solutions that allow all parties to stay true to their respective principles while taking the best ideas from all sides. 

In 2010, he  authored the first comprehensive bipartisan tax reform bill in more than 25 years. His plan would lower rates, eliminate loopholes and tax breaks for special interests, and simplify the tax code so that individuals and families can file a one-page tax return.
Wyden has taken the lead on policies that are helping to grow the economy in areas like improved infrastructure through his Build America Bonds program, micro and nano-technology, e-commerce, and incentives for cleaner sources of energy.

As former chair of the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Ron fought to ensure America’s ability to compete in a free and fair global marketplace.

He served as the director of Oregon Legal Services for the Elderly from 1977 to 1979 and was a member of the Oregon State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators during that same period. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

TheSenate Armed Services Committee is responsible for legislative oversight of the military.

Currently under the leadership of Chairman Carl Levin, who could be replaced by John McCain, whose:
top priority has been the economic well-being of Michigan families and  policies that would help American manufacturers compete globally.

Since joining the Senate, he has been a member the Armed Services Committee. From 2001 to 2003 and again from 2007 to the present, he has been the committee’s chairman.

 He has focused on taking care of the men and women of our military and their families, supporting much-needed pay raises and improvements in treatment and other policies for wounded warriors. He opposed the resolution giving congressional authorization to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, offering an alternative resolution that would have given time for weapons inspectors to do their work.

His legal background runs through his career: tough, vigilant oversight of powerful institutions in government and the private sector. He has led investigations of the 2008 financial crisis, abusive credit card practices, the Enron collapse, speculation in energy and food markets, abusive offshore tax havens and money laundering by corrupt foreign leaders.

 He established an investigative team on the Armed Services Committee that has probed treatment of detainees in U.S. military custody and abuses by security contractors in Afghanistan. Whether questioning Wall Street executives or top generals, he has earned what Congressional Quarterly called a reputation “for a tough, prosecutorial style of questioning witnesses at hearings that rarely, if ever, comes across as grandstanding.”

TheSenate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings prior to the Senate votes on confirmation of federal judges (including Supreme Court justices) nominated by the president. The committee also has a broad jurisdiction over matters relating to federal criminal law, as well as human rights, immigration law, intellectual property rights, antitrust law, and Internet privacy. It is also Senate procedure that all proposed Constitutional Amendments pass through the Judiciary Committee.

Currently under the leadership of Patrick Leahy, who could be replaced by GOP-ER Chuck Grassley:
was elected to the United States Senate in 1974. Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a position he has held since January 2007.  He also served as Chairman from June 2001 through January 2003.  
He served for eight years as State's Attorney in Chittenden County, Vermont.  
 A former prosecutor, he has championed those serving in law enforcement, first responders, and victims of crime.  He is the author of the bipartisan Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which were signed into law in 2013. 
Leahy is a longtime protector of civil rights and civil liberties.  As Chairman, in 2009 he led the effort to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to broaden federal hate crimes law so that those targeted because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability would be protected. 
 In 2011, Leahy chaired the first-ever congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.  He has also been a steadfast champion for immigration reform, managing the Senate’s consideration of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act in 2013.
  Leahy created the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, now encompassed in the  Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, and has established the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. 
Leahy has also been a leading voice in protecting the nation’s intellectual property and promoting innovation.  Chairman Leahy authored the PRO-IP Act, which was enacted in 2012, to strengthen tools used to prosecute the theft of American’s intellectual property, and he is a strong proponent of open Internet rules designed to prevent discrimination against lawful Internet content and promote competition in the online marketplace. 
Leahy has long fought for the protection of privacy rights and freedom of speech on the Internet.  He is the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.  
As a senior member of the Senate, Leahy is one of few Senators to have voted on the confirmation of every sitting member of the current Supreme Court.

Personally, I know all I need to know because I know I am not voting for anyone who does not share my view of the United States of America and her processes.

But, if you need to know more, I highly recommend checking the Senate committees through the links provided, reading more about the committees through the Wikipedia links providing and reading about the men Politico is predicting will be in charge of our Senate if Democrats lose it to Republicans on the 4th: 

Past and current policy-related biographical information tells a lot about a person.

Then, decide ~ & vote for the party wired for The People not the party wired like this:


(* A shout out to the AP for the collage photograph of Republicans!)

(Anatomy of modern GOP brain meme courtesy of: )