Tyler Olson


Virginia’s Sen. Tim Kaine has been at the forefront of the 14th Amendment push

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Thursday did not rule out bringing legislation to bar former President Donald Trump from office if he is not convicted at the ongoing Senate impeachment trial.

Democratic senators have discussed in recent weeks that if they cannot secure the 67 votes needed to convict Trump — and bar him from holding office in a subsequent simple-majority vote — that they might invoke the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to do the same.

Schumer, D-N.Y., was asked about the possibility in a press conference ahead of the impeachment trial proceedings Thursday.

“We’re first going to finish the impeachment trial and then Democrats will get together and discuss where we go next,” Schumer replied.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference about student debt outside the U.S. Capitol on February 4, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

He’d also praised the case made by the House impeachment managers Wednesday and that he is “hopeful it will change minds. It’s hard to look at that and not see the gravity of what happened.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has been on the forefront of the 14th Amendment push among Democrats, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., late last month called it “intriguing.”

“What Senator Kaine is talking about is a censure resolution that would also specifically include the elements of the 14th Amendment that lead to disqualification from future office,” Coons said. “That’s intriguing to me and something I’m willing to look at the bottom line here is we have to deliver accountability for the events of January 6.”

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says that Congress can bar people who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. from holding office. It was originally meant to prevent former Confederates from serving in the government after the Civil War.

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” the amendment says.

“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article,” it adds.

Sen. Tim Kaine D-Va., speaks during a news conference outside of the Senate chamber, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Some interpret this amendment as fundamentally giving Congress the ability to bar a person who “engaged in insurrection” — what Trump is accused of in the article of impeachment — from office.

It’s almost certain that this action, like an impeachment conviction, does not have the votes to pass.

It would likely raise constitutional questions and slippery slope concerns that it would set a precedent neither party wants when their preferred candidate is in office.

Trump’s current impeachment was spurred by the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Trump, after months of making false claims that he’d won the presidential election, called a rally in Washington, D.C., with his supporters for the same day Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence were meeting in a joint session to certify the results of the election.

Trump, at the rally, repeated his false election claims and he and advisers used pitched rhetoric, riling up the large crowd. Trump at one point in the rally told his followers to “peacefully and patriotically” march to the Capitol, a comment his defenders point to as part of the reason why he does not bear responsibility for the ransacking of the Capitol.

But House impeachment managers are arguing that one comment does not cancel out the balance of Trump’s other comments in that speech or in the proceeding months.

“In a speech spanning almost 11,000 words — yes, we did check — that was the one time, the only time, President Trump used the word peaceful or any suggestion of nonviolence,” impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., said.

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Schumer made his comments at a press conference with Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. Democrats more generally but Ossoff, Warnock and Schumer specifically have been the subjects of harsh criticism from progressives for allegedly backing off their campaign promise of $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans.

The coronavirus relief plan being pushed by President Biden and congressional Democrats includes $1,400 stimulus checks, which Democrats say adds up to $2,000 with the $600 stimulus checks passed in the waning days of the Trump administration.

The senators argued that the Democrats’ plan in all provides average families with much more than $2,000 in total federal aid.

“Senator Warnock and I are here to deliver for Georgia families who are counting on us for aid during this pandemic,” said Senator Ossoff. “This bill will send $8,200 in new federal financial support to an average working family of four in Georgia while we invest massively in vaccines and the health response to end this pandemic.”

Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this report.

Author: Tyler Olson

Source: Fox News: Schumer leaves door open to 14th Amendment measure to bar Trump from office

Democrats say Republicans are standing in the way of a bill that does enough to address the effects of the pandemic

Senate Republicans are set to force Democrats to cast votes on a variety of potentially uncomfortable topics in the coming days, taking advantage of the rules of the budget reconciliation process Democrats are using to advance President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plan while getting around a filibuster.

Debate on the budget resolution, which started Wednesday, will continue in the Senate on Thursday. After that time expires — Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., predicted that will happen shortly after lunch — a process called a vote-a-rama begins.

During that time, any senator is entitled to file an amendment to the resolution, which could result in dozens of votes on various provisions going late into the night and even early into Friday morning.

Republicans strongly oppose the fact that Democrats are using reconciliation to advance the coronavirus stimulus and therefore plan to use the vote-a-rama as a way to punish Democrats, extracting a pound of flesh by forcing them into uncomfortable votes.

“The new President talks a lot about unity, but his White House staff and congressional leadership are working from the opposite playbook,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said of the budget reconciliation process. “We’ll be discussing the facts… Senate Republicans will be ready and waiting with a host of amendments to improve the rushed procedural step that’s being jammed through.”

He added: “We’ll be getting senators on the record about whether taxpayers should fund checks for illegal immigrants… whether Democrats should raise taxes on small businesses in the midst of this historic crisis… and whether generous federal funding should pour into school districts where the unions refuse to let schools open. And this is just a small taste.”

In fact, just minutes after McConnell’s floor speech, Sen. Josh Hawley. R-Mo., introduced an amendment that would oppose federal funding from schools that don’t get kids back in classrooms.

“In spite of overwhelming evidence that schools can reopen safely, partisan advocates are using children’s education as a cudgel to push their radical agendas,” Hawley said in a statement along with the amendment. “The effect on children and working-class families has been absolutely devastating. The federal government should put an end to this two-tiered education system for the haves and the have-nots by incentivizing schools to safely reopen.”

In response, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized Republicans Thursday for their plan to introduce “messaging amendments” to “score political points.”

“What amendments our friends in the minority propose is entirely up to them,” Schumer said. He added that he hopes Republicans don’t use “the debate over pandemic relief to sharpen… partisan talking points.”

Schumer continued: “If there are good-faith amendments from the other side, we look forward to them.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Wednesday also announced that he is leading seven amendments for the reconciliation process and co-sponsoring three.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) listens while Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. Hawley on Wednesday said he was introducing an amendment to oppose government funding for school districts that don’t get kids into classrooms. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

Among them are amendments that advocate reversing the president’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL oil pipeline; resuming oil and gas leasing on federal lands; stopping any tax increases while the pandemic is still going on; preventing the U.S. government from using taxpayer money to implement the Paris Climate Agreement; and more.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., meanwhile, said in a release that he’ll introduce amendments to support funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons program; oppose taxpayer funding from being used for abortion internationally and at domestic nonprofits; oppose illegal immigrants from using U.S.-government supported health care options; and support keeping the number of Supreme Court justices at nine.

“Republicans are happy to work with Democrats to bring COVID-19 relief to the American people, but we cannot and will not support a bill that redirects funds to long-standing Democratic priorities,” Cotton said. “My amendments are designed to ensure the American people – not the Senate Democrats’ far-left policies – are protected.”

Not all of the amendments that are introduced will get a full floor vote during the vote-a-rama. And some may be dropped as against what’s called the Byrd rule — a rule that says anything passed during budget reconciliation must have to do with the federal budget in some way.

But the wide range of amendments Republican senators said they would introduce on Wednesday indicates that they plan to make the budget reconciliation process as painful as possible for Democrats. Republicans have decried the move to invoke reconciliation as a partisan gambit to avoid working with them on coronavirus relief.

Likely to be one of the hottest topics during the debate over reconciliation is reopening schools, which Republicans appear to have decided is a winning issue for them. Not only did McConnell dedicate the bulk of his speech Wednesday to criticizing Democrats and labor unions over the slow reopening of schools, but Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, gave a speech on the issue as well.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y, takes the elevator in the U.S. Capitol, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The White House reemphasized to Fox News on Tuesday that it is committed to fulfilling its promise to get kids into classrooms in Biden’s first 100 days, despite union pressure slowing its effort in the first couple of weeks.

Democrats meanwhile have accused Republicans of holding out on money that could go to schools to help them open in person, as well as money for local governments and other sectors of the economy they say is badly needed.

“A safe learning environment means also personal protective equipment,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “Barriers such as we’re seeing in restaurants and other public places — plexiglass and other kinds of dividers. And these kinds of essential equipment are the reason that we’re advocating $130 billion for our schools.”

Republicans say that plenty of federal money has already gone to helping schools reopening and that this just constitutes “moving the goalposts.” But Schumer said in the Senate on Wednesday that more needs to be done.

“The $1.9 trillion budget resolution is designed to meet the needs of a country that has been devastated by disease and recession for nearly a year,” he said. “Secretary Yellen told the Democratic caucus yesterday that it is her belief that if Congress fails to dedicate the necessary resources to meet the needs of the American people and survive this crisis, we will see long-term scarring in our economy, and our country would be mired in the COVID crisis for years.”

Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.

Author: Tyler Olson

Source: Fox News: McConnell to force Democrats to vote on paying illegal immigrants, funding schools that refuse to open

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