First Branch Forecast for January 18, 2022

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THE TOP LINE

It’s Tuesday, Lemon. The House is back today after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with an apparently light floor schedule; the Senate canceled recess to try again to move voting rights legislation with debate on Tuesday and a cloture vote on Wednesday, hopefully all members will be healthy, present, and prepared to take a stand for democracy. This week’s committee schedule looks quiet, but we’ve got our eyes on Wednesday’s intriguing House Rules hearing on using budget principles to prepare for future pandemics and disasters and Thursday’s ModCom hearing on the status of the committee’s recommendations for making Congress work better for the American people (witnesses have not been officially announced).

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First Branch Forecast for January 10, 2022

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Welcome‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌First‌ ‌Branch‌ ‌Forecast,‌ ‌your‌ ‌regular‌ ‌look‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌Legislative‌ ‌branch‌ ‌and‌ government ‌transparency.‌ ‌Tell ‌your‌ ‌friends‌ ‌to‌ subscribe.

THE TOP LINE

This week. The House is back Monday evening with a quorum call to start the second session of the 117th Congress; the Senate is back on Monday as well. The floor and committees look fairly quiet, but watch out for Tuesday’s Leg Branch Approps hearing with 3/4s of the Capitol Police Board and a Senate Judiciary hearing on domestic terrorism; a Wednesday House Defense Approps subcommitte hearing on the negative consequences of the CR on defense readiness and a SSCI hearing on a DHS intel nominee. Senator Reid will lie in state on Wednesday — the Nevada Independent summarized his life and linked to video from this weekend’s services

Trump insurrection. Last week was the one year anniversary of the Trump insurrection. Many of those criminally responsible are at large and uncharged; those who are politically responsible continue to downplay, deny, or shift responsibility — or counterprogram with misinformation. We will not pass over those who remain silent with the purpose of evading responsibility and encouraging the media to move its attention elsewhere. You can tell a lot by those who skipped out on the commemoration. The denial and downplaying of these terrible events have particular relevance for those on the hill. If you are a staffer and have not yet done so, please respond to the Congressional Progressive Staff Association’s survey on your attitudes toward the congressional workplace one year after January 6th. 

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First Branch Forecast for January 3, 2022

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January’s 6th’s anniversary is this Thursday and so far no one of significance has been held accountable for the Trump insurrection, Republicans blocked a 9/11 style commission, the Select Committee will turn into a pumpkin at the end of the year (as will any contempt prosecutions, should we get that far), and the media still is talking about “partisan divides.” Trump will counterprogram the commemoration, likely to repeat the big lies that deny his election loss, assert the sacking of the Capitol was a peaceful protest led by good people, and falsely claim election fraud (as a basis to rig the elections going forward) — all of which we can expect to see winked at by congressional leadership and amplified by the press. The far right will use the attention to portray themselves as the victims — they (ironically) like comparing themselves to Jewish victims of the Holocaust — and will use their “victimhood” as a basis for further violent actions. Regarding the select committee, intended as an accountability mechanism: “Our legacy piece and final product will be the select committee’s report,” with an interim report expected this summer. That’ll show ‘em. Can we at least stop calling it “January 6th” and use a more accurate descriptor, like the “Trump insurrection?” We appear to be at the end game for efforts to arrest our democratic decline — a draw is tantamount to a loss.

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