AFTER 2018 : A TO-DO LIST FOR THE NEXT CONGRESS — IF

arkansas-town-hall

^ overflow crowd of local, Arkansas voters confront Senator Tom Cotton, one of the present Congress’s true villains

—- —-

IF.

Yes, IF. IF the Democrats take back the House in the 2018 election — and the result in Saturday’s Delaware special State Senate election augurs well for such a wave — there is a long list of reforms that should be enacted. Senator Cotton felt the heat of it, as did many Republican members of Congress, who now have decided to hide from the wrath to come.

It won’t work.

I propose now to set forth that wrath, to list what we the 2019 Congress’s likely new majority ought to prioritize:

1.immigration reform. the next Congress must enact a new immigration bill which will (a) offer a path to citizenship for all those who reside in the nation as of election day, November 2018 (b) welcome back those who have been deported since January 20, 2017 despite not having any criminal record other than traffic violations (3) offer citizenship to all undocumented immigrants on active duty in the Armed Forces for at least two months, on dates prior to the new law’s enactment (4) order a due process legal procedure for immigrants detained by the ICE, and require regulations to be issued thereunder and that all said law and regulations shall be published in every large-city newspaper of general circulation and on-line (5) said procedure shall include the right to obtain legal representation. (6) detention shall only be to holding centers operated by the Federal government, and never to private detention.

2.immigration and visas. (1) no agent of the ICE or Customs and Border patrol (CBP) shall have authority to stop or question any individual except at the border (or within proximity to it where such authority is adjudged necessarily incident to border authority). (2) the law must make clear that the Fourth Amendment’s protections, and those expanded by the Fourteenth Amendment, apply to natural person present within the nation, and that acts which would be deemed to violate of said Amendments shall be subject to Title 38 of the United Stares Code and its specified penalties and remedies for aggrieved persons. (3) the law must make clear that any Federal agent found to have repeatedly violated said protections and laws shall be  of this sort shall be subject to dismissal from Federal service. (4) visas granted by the State Department to any person shall not be revoked or suspended without reasonable prior written notice, which notice shall include the grounds for such revocation or suspension, as well as a statement of the visa holder’s right to appeal said action, including procedures for bringing an appeal. (5) visas shall be liberally granted to persons who have family residing within the nation, or who produce proof of admission to an educational institution, or acceptance to employment; but all such visa applicants shall be required to submit to an extensive written examination of his or her biography, social connections, and fitness for said employment, or education, or residence with family (6) (ADDED AS A RESULT OF NEWS REPORTS PUBLISHED TODAY):  no agent of the ICE or CBP shall behave toward any detainee in an intimidating or disrespectful manner, they shall always understand that they are representatives of the nation they serve. Upon being hired, and again upon deployment to duty  they shall take an oath to this effect and shall subscribe in writing to a code of conduct that shall expressly include language incorporating the duty set forth above.

3.immigration, visas, and investigation. No person subject to the above laws shall ever be required to tender his or her phone contents, computer, laptop, or internet records, or other personal information, without the agent requesting same having a warrant, specific to the person, in full compliance with Fourth Amendment sanctions. (2) No agent of the ICE, CBP, or other enforcement organization, shall go on “fishing expeditions” of random people in random places; all enforcement actions shall comply with applicable Fourth, Fifth, Fourteenth, and Eighth Amendment protections.

4.Federal agencies and nominations to judicial office. (1) no Federal judicial office which shall become vacant shall remain vacant for longer than six months after vacancy. (2) No Federal judiciary shall be reduced in number by any law without said law being favorably acted upon by both branches of two successful Congresses. (3) No office of any Federal Agency requiring Senate confirmation shall go unfilled for more than six months. If aa Presidential nomination is not f9orgyhc0omoing within two months of any vacancy therein, the Congress shall nominate and act upon said nomination within four months of said deadline.

5.Funding and De-funding of Federal agencies. No Federal Agency may have its budget reduced by more than two percent during any Congress, and no such reduction shall take effect unless enacted by two successive Congresses.

6.National debt. The Fourteenth Amendment means what it says. No Treasury Secretary or agent thereof, and no Congress, shall take any act which shall call the full faith and credit of the United Stares into question. If the Congress refuses to raise the upper limit of allowable Treasury borrowing, the Secretary shall have plenary authority to borrow such sums as he or she deems necessary to maintain the full faith and credit of the United States.

7.Citizens United. The Congress shall enact an Amendment to the Constitution specifying that only natural persons may donate money to election campaigns, except that unions, as aggregations of natural persons, may donate up to the Federal law’s donation limit multiplied by the number of members in said union.

9.voting rights. Congress shall enact a law providing for (1) same day registration and (2) mail in balloting for all elections to Federal office. Congress shall update the 1965 voting rights act to assure Department of Justice monitoring of states in which state action to suppress or otherwise burden voting has taken place within the prior decade.

10.minimum wage. The Federal minimum wage shall be raised to $ 10/hour effective as of March 1, 2019.

11.interference by foreign powers in American elections. Congress shall charge the Department of Homeland Security with monitoring and, where applicable, countering, acts of cyber espionage, or other broadcasts, by any agent of any foreign state or entity, tending to influence or impede an American election. The CIA shall co-operate in any such monitoring or countering, and the Department of Defense and the NSA shall be consulted on any action to be taken.

12.National Security Agency. the NSA shall always include in its membership the following persons : Secretaries of  State and Defense; NSA chief; Joint Chiefs of Staff; CEO of the CIA and FBI. No civilian not of one of the prior , or the President or Vice President, shall ever be  a member of the NSA Principals committee.

13.Attorney General. The oath of office shall make clear that the nominee to be Attrorney General is the nation’s lawyer, not the President’s, the oath being to the Constitution. In furtherance whereof, the President shall be advised that he must obtain his own counsel, who sahll not be the Attorney General, nor of his staff, nor recommended by him.

14.Executive Orders. No executive order shall take effect until the completion of due review by the agencies charged with executing it, or by the Congressional committee overseeing its provenance, and until such Order, after review, shall be published generally, and online, for a public comment period of one calendar month prior to proposed effective date. “Emergency: Orders shall specify the nature of the emergency, in detail, and shall be reviewed by appropriate Federal Court and Congressional oversight committee for a 48-hour period befire3 taking effect.

The above 14 points probably do not exhaust the number of urgent legislations that the next Congress must act upon, but they are a strong beginning of assuring that the abuses that have grown up since 9/11, and which became lethal during the 2016 election, shall be turned back once and for all.

Can the next Congress be Democratic and thus able to enact ? I think so. Saturday’s special election in Delaware saw a 14 points wing, from a two point Democratic victory in 2014 to a 16 point win this time. A swing of anything even close to 14 points would, in  the 2018 elections, easily cost the Republicans 50 to 70 seats in Congress as well as many state legislative majorities. All the signs are there for such a swing happening : enormous activism everywhere and a President who seems to relish stirring up an ever increasing host of opponents. He retains the support of his party — about 80 percent — but his support among independents has reversed,m from a ten point plus to about a 12 point minus., It is non-aligned voters whom the President has alienated. they are the deciders, as always.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

1 thought on “AFTER 2018 : A TO-DO LIST FOR THE NEXT CONGRESS — IF”

  1. Mike – I share your views on most of these issues but there are a number of problems. (1) Presumably, Trump would veto most, if not all, of these bills if they managed to make it through both houses (of which I’m highly skeptical). (2) The provision for Congress to fill vacancies in the Executive Branch or Judiciary if the President fails to appoint someone in 2 months is clearly unconstitutional. (3) Point 5 on funding and defunding agencies is also almost certainly unconstitutional. But, we can dream that some day soon there might be a Congress that represents the American people.

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