Health care could have big electoral implications in 2018. 53% of voters said they were less likely to vote for a member of Congress if they supported the health care bill being considered, to only 21% who said they’d be more likely to support a member who voted yes. One thing that’s particularly notable is the division even within the Republican base on that front. Only 36% of GOP voters would be more likely to support a member of Congress if they voted for that health care bill, to 32% who would be less likely to. That suggests bucking the party on health care isn’t the kind of thing that’s so unpopular it would have much chance of leading to a successful primary challenge from the right.
The AHCA’s passage in the House serves as a news peg for us to move a number of Republican-held House districts into more competitive rating categories. That doesn’t mean the AHCA will be an anchor on GOP incumbents next year. It’s just too early to know, for reasons we’ll get into. But broader historical patterns suggest that the Democrats have a chance to win the House next year, and health care could be part of a potential winning message. This weeks’ changes align our ratings with our overall belief that the House is in play, even while noting that the true level of danger Republicans face is as yet unclear [Kyle Kondik, “House 2018: Health Care Vote Gives Democrats Another Midterm Argument,” Sabato’s Crystal Ball, 2017.05.11].
South Dakota’s at-large seat is not one of the shifters; it’s one of the 276 districts—141 Republican, 135 Democratic—that Sabato’s team considers ungettable.
It is within the remaining 159 districts, which make up about 37% of the House’s total, where majorities are won and lost. Of these districts — which includes Peterson’s even though his district is technically outside of the range specified above — Republicans control 100, and Democrats control 59. Putting as many of those 100 “on the table” is [DCCC chair Rep. Ben Ray] Luján’s goal. Democrats need to win about a quarter of those seats, 24, to win the House, while not losing any of their own seats in the process [Kondik, 2017.05.11].
But hey, Chris Martian, or other enterprising South Dakota Democrat, if you want to put South Dakota’s House seat into Sabato’s gettable column, Kristi Noem and Donald Trump are writing your campaign script for you.
Against GOP mainstays Shantel Krebs and Dusty Johnson, Democrats may reasonably hesitate to enter the House race (although we already have one, Chris Martian, fourteen months out from primary). Against a Newspeaking Trumpist like Tapio who wants to kill Medicaid, anti-Trump activists may fall al over each other racing to the courthouse to get petitions and make 2018 a real referendum on Il Duce.
He developed websites for Arobba Consulting in Rapid City for two years, programmed computers for the Rapid City school district for five years, directed info-tech at Douglas schools for a year and a half, and most recently spent eight months managing data systems for the Pasco school district in Washington.
What the f— difference does it make? Ever? In any situation? It doesn’t. It’s there so that people don’t have to think for themselves. They can shut their brains off and coast. It’s political comfort food.
When I express concern over the actual number of jobs the DAPL will produce, I’m called a libtard snowflake.
When I conclude that Gorsuch probably won’t turn SCOTUS upside down, I’m called a Trumpster or an idiot conservative.
Martian’s FEC filing lists his party affiliation as “DEM”; however, the Secretary of State’s records show Martian registered as an independent. Labels may not matter to Martian, but they do matter to the FEC, the SOS, and election law. If Martian is running as a Democrat, he’ll need to gather 706 petition signatures between January 1 and March 27, 2018. If Martian is running as an independent, he’ll need to gather 2,774 signatures between January 1 and April 30, 2018.
What, no mention of shooting rattlesnakes? Team Krebs must be saving that Bad River imagery for after the first debate.
But what’s that line in the video (as well as in her campaign announcement e-mail) about responsiveness?
For the first time in my life, I believe we have the opportunity to make the federal government more responsive to the people. Just like we do in South Dakota and just like I’ve done in my office [Shantel Krebs, first House campaign e-mail, 2017.03.13].
The Sergeant-at-Arms is authorized and directed to impose a fine against a Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner for the use of an electronic device for still photography or for audio or visual recording or broadcasting in contravention of clause 5 of rule XVII and any applicable Speaker’s announced policy on electronic devices.
…A fine imposed pursuant to this paragraph shall be $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for any subsequent offense.
…Upon notification from the chair of the Committee on Ethics pursuant to clause 3(g)(3)(C), the Chief Administrative Officer shall deduct the amount of any fine levied under clause 3(g) from the net salary otherwise due the Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner [U.S. House of Representatives, House Resolution 5, approved 2017.01.03].
No selfies from the floor? No livestreaming when the House leadership shuts down the public cameras?
Congress already has loads of rules restricting audio and video recording at the Capitol. But H. Res. 5 puts teeth in the rules for members by docking their pay.
I will always stand first on the First Amendment, but the law profs footnote a back-up argument that cutting Reps’ pay for selfies might violate the Last Amendment:
An additional issue concerns the 27th Amendment which provides “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” The proposed House rules amendments could be seen as having the potential effect of reducing Member pay without an intervening election, as the Chief Administrative Officer would be required to automatically deduct the amount of the fine from the Member’s pay [Jamie Raskin, Laurence H. Tribe, et al., letter to Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, 2017.01.03].
Article 1, First Amendment, 27th Amendment—from beginning to end, the Constitution says Kristi Noem and her cranky Republican colleagues have no right to ban members from documenting House activities. Come on, Kristi: don’t build a wall between the people and elected representatives. Selfies are o.k. in China; they’re o.k. in the seat of democracy.
Behind closed doors, the caucus voted to approve an amendment to a broader House rules package that would put the office under the House Ethics Committee and significantly restrict its authority. The House will vote Tuesday on the rules package as members open the 115th Congress.
…Other changes would include requiring that any matter potentially involving a violation of criminal law be referred to the Ethics Committee. The OCE also would be barred from considering anonymous complaints, and its jurisdiction would be limited to the last three Congresses [Billy House and Erik Wasson, “House GOP Votes to Strip Ethics Office of Independent Status,” Bloomberg, 2017.01.02].
Under the proposed new rules, the office could not employ a spokesperson, investigate anonymous tips or refer criminal wrongdoing to prosecutors without the express consent of the Ethics Committee, which would gain the power to summarily end any OCE probe [Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian, “House Republicans Vote to Rein in Independent Ethics Office,” Washington Post, 2017.01.02].
In other words, if the OCE sees something, they can’t say something.
In a sign of the Newspeak era we are entering, sponsor Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) says his amendment “strengthens” the OCE/OCCR.
WaPo says the GOP conference vote was 119–74. Rep. Kristi Noem hasn’t returned from her holiday Twitter drift, but she didn’t list gutting the OCE on her pre-Christmas policy agenda, so maybe there’s hope that she was one of the 74 who recognized that Congress only has 14 approval points left and that doing less on ethics won’t keep them. Or, maybe she’s so busy watching the Rose Parade and being “all in” for Governor that she was one of the 48 Republicans who didn’t make the caucus meeting. But we’ll get her on the record on ethics today when the 115th Congress votes on its rules for the session right after its swearing-in… which will be followed swiftly by several swearings-at.
Once again, South Dakota’s Congressional delegation shows no interest in putting their money where their mouths are on reforming the scandal-plagued EB-5 visa investment program. Despite Senator Chuck Grassley’s effort to rouse Congress to action, Rep. Kristi Noem, Senator John Thune, and EB-5-savvy Senator Mike Rounds voted last week to extend EB-5 without any reforms.
Noem, Thune, and Rounds expressed their reform-laziness in the House and Senate votes last Wednesday for the continuing budget resolution (oh yeah, too lazy to pass a real budget, too), which included a provision to extend EB-5 into the lame-duck session. The continuing resolution was the last vote before both Houses recessed from three weeks of “work” to go back home and campaign for six weeks.
Democratic U.S. House candidate Rep. Paula Hawks condemns her opponent’s laziness:
I think South Dakotans are hungry for a Congresswoman able to stand up to special interests and Washington lobbyists. We know the EB-5 program is broken. We know the EB-5 program is riddled with corruption. Yet Congress can’t muster up the political will to institute even the smallest of reforms to increase transparency and integrity over the program. It is an utter failure in leadership [Rep. Paula Hawks, press release, 2016.10.03].
State Rep. Paula Hawks has U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem playing defense. In response to the Democratic U.S. House candidate’s criticism of her abdication from the House Agriculture Committee, our incumbent Congresswoman has been insisting at every stop on her recess tour that her work on House Ways and Means is much more important.
“It was a decision we talked about extensively with them before I worked to get on the committee. The Ways and Means Committee impacts taxes, trade and the regulatory environment that our ag producers live with every day. So I always want to be where I can get the most good done, and that’s the Ways and Means Committee.”
Hawks questioned that, saying it was “just false.”
“When I speak with Ag industry leaders, organizations and members, losing our seat on the Ag Committee is the first issue they bring up,” she said. “It just doesn’t make any sense. You can’t stand up for South Dakota if you don’t even have a seat at the table where the most important decisions are being made for your No. 1 industry” [Roger Whittle, “Rep. Kristi Noem Disputes Claims Made by Challenger Paula Hawks,” Watertown Public Opinion, 2016.08.11].
Rep. Noem repeated that message yesterday here in Aberdeen, saying she switched committees because she’s all about taxes and trade:
As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Noem spoke about tax and trade policies, both of which she said need to be reformed.
The Ways and Means Committee, she said, is often referred to as the oldest committee in Congress as it was the first one established. And some people refer to it as the most powerful committee because it has jurisdiction over tax policy, trade policy, health care issues and mroe.
South Dakota has never had a person on the committee, she said.
“I decided that if I was going to be there and be away from my state and my family, I wanted to be where I could have the biggest impact,” Noem said. “When you come from an agricultural state like South Dakota does, (tax and trade) issues are huge” [Victoria Lusk, “Noem Focuses on Tax, Trade Policy During Luncheon,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.08.17].
Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson won’t be at the South Dakota Libertarian Convention here in Aberdeen Saturday afternoon, but he did at least give the Libertarians some press with a front-page phone interview with the the local paper today. Johnson, who lived in Aberdeen from age 6 to 13 before his folks took him to Albuquerque, says his growing-up time in the Midwest “immeasurably” influenced his political views… but the AAN article doesn’t really explain that influence.
Johnson does say “the root of all evil is Congress” and disavows any desire to run for House or Senate:
…[W]hen it comes to that job, being a congressperson, man or woman or even the U.S. Senate, I think that you get judged by how much bacon you bring home, and that’s the reason why we have a $20 trillion debt. Congress spends money that isn’t there, and I don’t want to be a part of it [Gary Johnson, in Katherine Grandstrand, “Ex-Aberdeen Resident Gary Johnson Happy to Be ‘Middle’ Presidential Candidate,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.07.28].
Yes, because being the President who signs that bacon and debt means you aren’t at all a part of that evil. Right.