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CD184: Midterm Election

Congressional Dish

Release Date: 11/13/2018

Divided government! The 2018 midterm elections are over and we know what the 116th Congress is going to look like: The Republican Party will continue to control the Senate and the Democratic Party will control the House of Representatives. In this episode, we discuss the likely ramifications of a divided Congress, some of the interesting results of individual Congressional races, and the opportunities available for Republicans to get their last wishes rammed into law before their complete Congressional control ends in January.


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Interview: Schiff responds to threat from President Trump, CNN Politics, November 8, 2018.
News Conference: Minority Leader Pelosi on 2018 Election Results, C-SPAN, November 7, 2018.
  • 19:30 Representative Nancy Pelosi: In any event, next week we look forward to welcoming our new class of freshmen. We will celebrate their diversity, the freshness of their thinking, and the rest. And they will immediately be incorporated into our building consensus and how we go forward in a very open, transparent, bipartisan, unifying Congress. Any questions?

  • 21:10 Representative Nancy Pelosi: In appropriations and in many of the other committee—all of the other committees—we have a responsibility for oversight. And, hopefully, in the course of asking for information, we can just make the request and the information will come in. We’re concerned about what’s happening at EPA, for example, to degrading the air we breathe and the water we drink despite what the president said today. So, that’s only one example.

  • 27:30 Unknown Speaker: Follow up on what the president said this morning. He made clear that if Democrats launch investigations, that any hopes for bipartisanship is off. Do you have any concerns that these investigations could jeopardize your opportunities to legislate? Representative Nancy Pelosi: We do not intend to abandon or relinquish our responsibility as Article I, the first branch of government, and our responsibilities for accountability, for oversight, and the rest. This doesn’t mean we go looking for a fight, but it means that if we see a need to go forward, we will. But that will be the work of our committees. Every committee has oversight responsibility. Congresswoman Eshoo’s on Energy and Commerce, and that’s a big oversight committee, as some of you probably are aware. But, specifically, to some of the concerns that the president may have, the Judiciary Committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Oversight Committee, the—well, there’re a number of committees that—depending on how we go down that path—the Financial Services committee, did I say Intelligence? Oh, Homeland Security Committee, because, of course, we are shamed as a nation by a policy that takes babies out of the arms of their mothers, that builds tents, and all the rest to house people, and there’s separation of families. So we want to look into that, and we would hope that we can do so by simply having oversight. If, in fact, requires a subpoena—I hope not, but—so be it.

News Conference: President Trump on 2018 Election Results, C-SPAN, November 7, 2018.
  • 23:00 President Donald Trump: Their whole agenda has been to try not giving me anything for the wall. I really believe politically they’re hurting themselves. I actually think politically that’s a good thing for me, but I want to get the wall up because we need to— Unknown Speaker: So no shut-down scenario— President Trump: I don’t know. I can’t tell you that. Unknown Speaker: —for the, for the mid, for the lame duck. President Trump: No, I can’t commit to that, but it’s possible.
News Conference: Democrat Richard Neal says he plans to seek Trump tax returns, APNews, YouTube, November 7, 2018.
Hearing: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, C-SPAN, August 16, 2018.
  • 1:14:30 Senator Claire McCaskill: This is about the fourth or fifth time I’ve been on this dais, and no one seems to be worried about the fact that you all get to wash your hands of these children. You want to talk about catch and release? You’re catching these children and then you’re releasing them and everyone goes like this. Not my problem. I think the thing that really stuck out to me in the report that the committee issued was the finding—and this was finding number 14—HHS has a plan to notify state governments before placing unaccompanied children previously held in secure facilities, but HHS has failed to implement that plan. HHS explained it cannot implement the plan because it cannot determine who to notify in state government. Well, let me just tell you, Commander, I will make an offer to you today: I think my staff can get you a list of agencies and phone numbers before close of business tomorrow. Would that be helpful? Commander Jonathan White: I’ll be glad to convey that, but I think it does address—I think there are very real questions, but— Sen. McCaskill: No, they’re not. White: —widely appro— Sen. McCaskill: No. They’re not. Every state has a child-welfare agency. In Missouri, it’s the Missouri Department of Social Services, the Children’s Division, and they’re responsible for foster care, for child placement, for monitoring child detention centers, they are responsible for the welfare of children who have been separated from their families. And they have contacts in every corner of my state. There’s a hotline that they administer. There is all kinds of ways that they can communicate with school systems, with local governments, with all the people that are working as foster parents. There is a huge network in every single state, because you know what the states do? They take the responsibility for having children in their care seriously.

  • 1:54:30 Senator Heidi Heitkamp: One facility provider basically, if my rough math is right, 11,000 children have been assigned to Southwest Key over a number of facilities, not one facility, but they’re obviously a large provider. The reports coming out of Dallas say that they basically, in a half-year period, have a contract that’s worth a half a billion dollars that they’re being paid, which, if you do the rough math, that’s about $45,000 per child. I think that we should have some pretty high expectations at $45,000 per child. So I would love a list of all the contractors that you currently have, the number of complaints, and the severity of the complaints, in each one of those cases, what disciplinary action has been, and how you’re cooperating consistently with state authorities, who usually are the licensing authorities, and I understand that.

Audio Recording: Nunes on secret tape: Kavanaugh vote, then Rosenstein impeachment, MSNBC, July 30, 2018.
Hearing: Wartime Contracting, Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee, C-SPAN, July 16,2013.
  • 3:30 Senator Claire McCaskill: I learned just this week that the Defense Department spent millions to construct a building in Afghanistan that has never been used. This facility was built despite the fact that the forward commander said they neither needed nor wanted this facility, in May 2010, almost a full year before construction began. We now have a brand-new state-of-the-art building that cost the taxpayers 34 million to build. The worst part is that all indications are, we’re going to tear it down. We can’t even give it away to the Afghanistan government for free because they don’t want a building that they will have to spend millions to rewire because it was built to U.S. electrical code. I also recently learned that more than 13 million may have been wasted on a USAID agricultural development contract with a company called Chemonics. The waste alone is bad enough, but the Special Inspector General also found that the contractor failed to cooperate with the audit. Frankly, that’s just unacceptable.
Hearing: Wartime Contracting, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, C-SPAN, September 21, 2011.
  • 46:30 Senator Claire McCaskill: I want to talk about something that I mentioned—and you mentioned in your report, but I think it’s something we need to flesh out for this committee—and that’s contractors being subject to the jurisdiction of the United States of America. Heartbreaking incident in Iraq, that I'm sure you all are aware of, where the negligence of one of our contractors killed one of our soldiers. And in trying to find justice for that family, the contractor avoided the jurisdiction of the United States, and the most insulting thing about it was he then got another—that company then got another contract with our government. After they had used the fact that they were not subject to the jurisdiction of our country as a way to avoid justice for this man’s family, we then decided we should sign up again with them.

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Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)