It is hard to believe, but Donald Trump was good for one thing. He showed us all the places where an out-of-control president could bend, break, and benefit from assumptions and traditions while he was in office. After several extremely close calls, House Democrats have decided that now is the best time to boost the checks on the U.S. president’s power.
After Watergate and the Vietnam War, presidential powers were assessed. But after Trump, it was past time to reassess important ways to shore up weaknesses in our government’s various interlocking systems, ones that could have been or were exploited during the former president’s reign.
Tuesday, House Democrats introduced “a package of proposed new limits on executive power,” The New York Times reported:
‘Democrats have spent months negotiating with the Biden White House to refine a broad set of proposals that amount to a point-by-point rebuke of the ways that Donald J. Trump shattered norms over the course of his presidency. The Democrats have compiled numerous bills into a package they call the Protecting Our Democracy Act.’
The Executive branch has been operating in spite of a system that has rotted out from the inside. The House’s proffer would limit presidential pardons around corruption, insure subpoenas were dealt with, and freeze secret congressional appropriation funds, and get rid of inspectors general (AG) under certain circumstances, such as “retaliation against whistle-blowers,” and the list continued.
Representative Adam Schiff, (D-CA) introduced the bill that he hoped to get a floor vote on sometime this fall. As it currently exists under the Senate rules, a full 10 members of the GOP would have to sign off on the legislation.
Schiff released this statement, NBC News reported:
‘While Donald Trump is no longer president, the fault lines he exposed in the foundation of our democracy remain — ready for a future unethical president to exploit. These weaknesses continue to erode the American people’s trust in our democratic institutions and the norms that are essential to a functioning democracy. As Congress pursues its mission to strengthen and protect our democracy for future generations, these reforms will help ensure that we can keep our cherished republic.’
Policy advocate with the group Protect Democracy Loren Dayton said:
‘Many of the pieces of the Protecting Our Democracy Act have previously received substantial Republican support in the Senate, and we believe that they will again as part of other legislation there, which consulted with lawmakers on the text of the bill and is promoting it.’
Mr. Trump’s showed America that a president could ignore presidential rules and traditions, which we naively assumed were laws:
‘[Norms of presidential self-restraint] has really put our republic on a very tenuous footing. Our democracy turns out to be much more fragile than we understood, and this is an effort to put into law that which we thought was already mandatory.’
On instructions from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the bill was compiled in components developed by numerous lawmakers and House committees. That way, it could break apart and hitch a ride with other bills.
There was a new urgency among the Democrats and even some Republicans given the Trump dynasty:
‘For example, in pushing a proposal to give greater force to the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in campaign politics at work, supporters of the legislation cited an episode in which a Trump White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, was cited by an independent agency for flagrant violations of that law. The Trump administration ignored the agency’s request to sanction her and she dismissed the finding as “blah blah blah.”‘
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the bill:
‘[A] robust, transformative package of democracy reforms that will restore democratic norms and institutions and put in place essential safeguards to prevent any president, regardless of party, from abusing the public trust or desecrating our democracy.’
Stand Up America’s founder Sean Eldridge indicated his organization intended to run digital ads, which promoted the bill. It will also distribute important details about the bill, ask its members to write letters-to-the-editor, and call legislators:
‘Our plan is to engage our two million members and build a grass-roots pressure campaign to help this across the finish line.’
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.