Out with the old and in with the new. January 3 marks the passing of the 116th Congress and the birth of the 117th. With a healthy majority in the House, Democrats were able to pass several progressive bills – not to mention, launch a handful of investigations and impeach a president they couldn’t stand. But the slim GOP majority in the Senate was enough to grind “progress” to a halt – and lovers of liberty thank God for that.
The 2020 elections didn’t go as well for the Democrats as they would have hoped. Sure, they ousted Trump, it is assumed, but the problem with a fraudulent presidential election is that it doesn’t carry far enough downstream. Unless the Dems can pull off an equally miraculous win in both Georgia runoffs, they will have failed to create any net change in the Senate – and they’ve lost ground in the House to boot. So, can we expect anything different from the new Congress, or just more of the same?
A Historic Achievement
Regardless of what legacy the 116th Congress may have hoped for, there’s no question that the most significant historical event of this session, for which it will likely be remembered above all else, is the impeachment of President Donald Trump. As Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble explained at the time:
“The vote itself was a predictably partisan 228 – 193. No Republicans voted in favor of the resolution and a single Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), voted against. Peterson represents a district that can hardly be described as a “swing district,” as, in 2016, his constituents voted for President Donald Trump by a margin of more than 30 points. The House’s sole independent, former Republican Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), voted with Democrats.”
Only two of the previous 115 Congresses can boast such an event. On February 24, 1868, the House voted to impeach Andrew Johnson, though the Senate acquitted him. More than a century later, the 105th Congress impeached Bill Clinton on December 19, 1998. Again, the Senate acquitted the impeached president.
Before Trump, two sessions had impeached a president; now, there have been three. For that reason alone, despite the failure to remove Trump from office, the 116th Congress goes down in history for changing the nation’s impeachment count – though, of course, not its removed presidents count.
A Legacy Denied
Radical resistance to President Trump may be what the 116th Congress will be most remembered for, but it isn’t the legacy the Democrats, who controlled the House, wanted. They had hoped to be recognized as the lawmakers that finally achieved equal rights for all. Equal rights for all sounds good, but what the left means by that is the supremacy of a progressive state obsessed with identity politics over the rights of the individual – with them in control, of course. When it comes to pushing this legacy, two bills stand out, as either could have served as the magnum opus for the Democrats of the 116th, had they survived the Senate.
In March of 2019, the House passed the For the People Act “to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influx of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.” Sounds noble, but it was actually a bill granting illegal aliens the right to vote in U.S. elections. In March 2019, the bill was read a second time in the Senate and placed on the calendar under General Orders.
Just a couple of months later, in May, the House passed the Equality Act to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” You have to hand it to congressional Democrats; they have a knack for marketing. As is often the case, however, the real damage is hidden much deeper in the bills, falling under the “and for other purposes” part. If made law, this would have created a new protected class and overruled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The bill would have required Christian school health plans to cover sex reassignment surgery. Churches and schools could have been forced to hire employees who simply don’t qualify, scripturally, and the next time a gay couple heads to a Christian baker for a cake, refusal to create it could have ended the business. Again, however, it died in the Senate, and the progressive legacy was denied.
What Lies Ahead
The 116th Congress consisted of 233 Democrats in the House, along with 195 Republicans (196 until Paul Mitchel of Michigan left the party), and a single Libertarian. In the 117th, there are ten fewer Democrats. Also, there are fewer vacancies and no third parties. Republicans gained 16 seats, bringing their strength up to 211. Democrats still hold the House, though, and will likely continue to pass most progressive items with a party-line vote.
In the Senate, Republicans held a slight lead with 52 seats to 46 Democrats and two Independents – who are effectively Democrats. The new Congress will begin with a similar layout – 51 Republicans to 46 Democrats and their two Independent loyalists – and will return to the 52-48 lead if both Republicans win their January 5 runoffs in Georgia. But if they both lose, the Senate will be tied – with a Democrat VP casting the deciding votes.
With anti-gun globalist Joe Biden in the captain’s chair, the congressional agenda will likely include opening salvos of Biden’s war on guns. Add to that an attempt to undo all that Trump has accomplished in foreign policy, and, of course, the standard fare of progressive bills for “equality.” The new administration needs to look good, too, so we can expect a healthy dose of coronavirus virtue-signaling mixed in as well. Will the new Congress be any more productive for Democrats than the old? That all depends on which Senate emerges from Georgia.
Read more from James Fite.