Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Washington Talm'Some Ole Bullshit - Fired Resigned Dept. Sec. Navy Mobly Talm'bout WW-III

SCMP |  Even if Congress is able to return to regular business in the coming months, attention from legislative matters will quickly be pulled away again – this time by election season. In the run-up to November 3, not only will President Trump be seeking re-election, but most members of the House and around a third of the Senate will also be absorbed in fights to stay in office.

“In an election year, really anything after July is not likely to happen,” said Chris Lu, a former House oversight committee lawyer who later served as Barack Obama’s White House cabinet secretary.

“This will be an incredibly short legislating year with the exception of, obviously, continuing to provide relief and possible stimulus [relating to the coronavirus outbreak],” said Lu, who also served as a commissioner on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an influential advisory panel on human rights issues in the country.

Neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – one of Beijing’s most vocal critics – or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to requests for comment on whether they anticipated scheduling floor time for any of the China-related bills that still await votes. One House aide on the Democratic side, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the chance of any non-coronavirus legislation moving ahead was “pretty, pretty limited”.

Yet despite the narrowing window for China-related legislation to reach Trump by January, many lawmakers are pressing ahead, both with intensifying rhetoric and several pieces of legislation about Beijing’s handling of the outbreak.

“Not much of what gets proposed or introduced in the upcoming days [regarding China] will become policy, but everyone wants to message that they’re on it,” said a senior congressional staffer, who requested anonymity to discuss lawmakers’ internal deliberations.

In March alone, lawmakers introduced at least 20 China-related bills, ranging from demands that China pay for the US pandemic costs to calls for an international investigation of Beijing’s coronavirus response.

With criticism intensifying about the US government’s own response, Republicans’ complaints have become ever louder. On Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proclaimed on Twitter that the Chinese government was “responsible for 16,000 American deaths and 17 million Americans being unemployed”.