For the nearly two years of the Trump presidency, the Republican-controlled House’s idea of oversight was to investigate Hillary Clinton for being Hillary Clinton, and when it came to Trump, looking the other way. But starting on January 3, that crazy concept of checks and balances will return to Washington when Democrats once again run the House of Representatives. And they plan to get busy immediately. Take Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Chairman-designate of the House Oversight Committee, who on Day One will have sent out a few letters.
Like one to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker “demanding the age, gender, country of origin and current location of every child who was separated from his or her parents under the Trump administration’s immigration policy.” And one to the White House counsel, demanding to know which White House officials “have used nongovernmental email accounts to conduct official business.” Then there will be the one to whoever is the White House chief of staff about “information and documents about the use of government-owned aircraft for personal travel and private aircraft for official travel.” And a sure-to-induce-rage letter to the Trump Organization “asking for a complete accounting of all the payments it has received from foreign governments or foreign-government-owned entities since Donald Trump’s election.” In other words, there will be a new sheriff in town. Or as Cummings put it:
“I’m not trying to do anything extraordinary. I’m trying to do what the Constitution says I’m supposed to do.”
At the same time, proving once again that it’s possible to walk and chew gum, soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority will be jumping right in on health care, commonsense gun reform, “dark money” in politics, and restoring voting rights.
Checks and balances, government for the people … good times.