While corporate media were covering another mass shooting, this one allegedly by an Army veteran in Florida, the US Congress met in a Joint Session today to certify the final Electoral College vote count. Despite multiple challenges to the results in 10 different states by House Democrats from the Progressive and Black Caucuses, not one US Senator (Democratic, Republican or, yes, Independent) stepped up to join them, as required by the Constitution, for an official challenge to the results. We have full coverage of that, along with the citizen protests inside the Senate chamber as Vice President Joe Biden officially certified the results.
In another reminder that Democrats may not yet fully appreciate what we are all now up against, Republicans in the US House passed the radical REINS Act ("Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny" Act) on the second day of the Congressional session. The bill, which the Koch Brothers and their many political organizations have been pushing for years, will upend more than a century of governmental functioning by requiring that every major regulation adopted by a federal agency be approved by both houses of Congress within 70 days. Under the Act, if either the House or Senate fail to ratify new regulations — created by experts, sometimes over many years, to enforce laws passed by Congress — it cannot be enforced, and no other similar regulation can be considered until the next session of Congress, a year or two later.
Investigative journalist Steve Horn, who covered the bill's passage in the House at DeSmogBlog yesterday, joins us to discuss the disturbing and far-reaching ramifications if this bill passes in the Senate and is signed by the President, and why it is that it's seemingly receiving little or no attention or concern from Democrats or corporate media.
"The Koch Brothers and the entities they fund…see this as a potential landmark thing. It's huge," Horn tells me. "If it gets through the courts, it could be something akin to a Citizens United, where it sets a whole new precedent. I think the Koch Brothers see this as a potential sea change in government. They want to change the landscape altogether." Well, that'll do it.
Then, as the GOP is drastically limiting the number of days and witnesses for upcoming confirmation hearings of Trump's top appointments, more than 1,000 attorneys are opposing the controversial appointment of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the next US Attorney General. And a number of longtime DoJ Civil Rights Unit attorneys are calling him out for lying about his litigation record on civil rights when he served as US Attorney in the 80s. And, finally, Michelle Obama, in her final remarks as First Lady at the White House, called for hope, not fear, as we all move forward together.
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