Pelosi’s Suggestion That President Trump Postpone the State of the Union Address Is Not as Strange as It Sounds

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Trump on Wednesday to postpone the State of the Union address, she gave him two options – reschedule the speech, or send it to Congress in a letter.

Pelosi’s letter argued that the speech raised safety concerns because many members of the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, which handle security for the event, are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown. She noted that a State of the Union address has never before been held during a government shutdown.

Pelosi’s suggestion for a written State of the Union might seem strange to many Americans, but in fact, the U.S. went without a presidential address to a joint session of Congress for 112 years.

The first reference to a “State of the Union” address is in the Constitution. The document states that the president can “from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-opens, as the @SecretService, the lead federal agency for #SOTU security, faces its 26th day without funding.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 16, 2019

The constitution does not say whether or not this information would need to be given aloud, nor how often. It was President George Washington who first interpreted this to be a speech to a joint session of Congress, which was known as the “President’s Address” and President John Adams followed his lead.

President Thomas Jefferson, however, had a very different vision of presidential power – as well as the President’s Address. Jefferson was against strong federal power (and strong presidential power), and thought that the speech seemed to be too regal. He wrote a letter to Congress explaining that he had decided to do without the speech because it was inconvenient, took too long to read, and made it difficult for legislators to respond.

Presidents delivered their addresses to Congress as a letter for 112 years – until President Woodrow Wilson decided to once again deliver it as a speech in December 1913.

At the time, many lawmakers were shocked by Wilson’s decision. “All official Washington was agape last night over the decision of the President to …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


Democrats Question President Trump’s EPA Nominee About Rollbacks

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday called climate change “a huge issue” but not the “greatest crisis” and drew fire from Democrats at his confirmation hearing over the regulatory rollbacks he’s made in six months as the agency’s acting administrator.

Republicans on the GOP-majority Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mostly had praise for Andrew Wheeler, who has served as the agency’s acting head since Scott Pruitt’s resignation in July amid ethics scandals. The committee chairman, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., called Wheeler “very well-qualified” to take the job.

But Democrats pressed Wheeler about his work as a lobbyist helping an influential coal magnate meet with Trump administration officials before his nomination to the EPA and his moves on deregulation and on what they said was his inattention to the growing dangers of climate change.

“You seem to be consistently doing things that undermine the health and safety of this nation,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., told Wheeler.

Markey asked him why he was pulling back on regulations that proponents say protect human health and the environment.

“I believe we are moving forward” on protections, Wheeler responded.

Wheeler cited changes he had initiated to roll back future mileage standards for cars and autos and to ease Obama-era clampdowns on dirtier-burning coal-fired power plants.

He said EPA staff, whom he did not identify, had concluded that those rollbacks would ultimately lead to health gains. Environmental groups and formal assessments from the EPA and other agencies have contested that, saying the changes would increase pollution and increase harm to people and the climate.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said the rollbacks in car mileage standards and toxic mercury emissions under Wheeler were examples of unsafe deregulation and went beyond what industries themselves wanted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., noted Wheeler had failed to mention climate change in his initial remarks to lawmakers.

“Do you agree that climate change is a global crisis?” Sanders asked, shouting at times.

“I would not call it the greatest crisis,” Wheeler said. “I would call it a huge issue that has to be addressed globally.”

Wheeler told lawmakers that he had yet to read a massive government climate change report released late last year that emphasized man-made climate change was already underway.

Wheeler said he had received one staff briefing so far on the climate change report. The work of the EPA and other government agencies, the report stresses the massive economic toll expected from increasingly …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


Notes from the Dome: UCP office vandalism, scrapping Bighorn Country proposal

United Conservative MLA Dave Hanson is partly blaming “over-the-top rhetoric” from the NDP for vandalism to his constituency office in St. Paul.

The front windows of the office were shattered by large rocks Tuesday night. Nobody was hurt.

In a Wednesday news release, the MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills said his office received an email from a person who took responsibility for the vandalism and attributed the actions to what Hanson called “over-the-top rhetoric” on Twitter from Community and Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir.

Specifically, the Twitter post suggested the UCP would eliminate AISH payments.

“These claims are patently false. Not only have there been no such commitments, but this falsehood is demonstrably untrue, having been repeatedly debunked,” Hanson said.

That’s not to say Hanson thinks the NDP are responsible for the attack or are behind the attack.

“Individuals are responsible for their own actions,” he said.

“That said, with an election expected soon, this incident should be a reminder for responsibility. Fear-mongering and peddling false claims for political gain can cause undue distress when programs and services people depend on are being used as a political ploy.”

Alberta Advantage Party would scrap Bighorn plan

The Alberta Advantage Party says if elected in 2019 it will nix the controversial Bighorn Country plan and roll back the Castle Park and Porcupine-Livingstone projects put in place by the NDP government.

Party leader Marilyn Burns said in a statement the Bighorn plan is “destructive to Albertan’s way of life,” and accused the government of failing in meaningful and adequate consultations.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips recently cancelled public consultations over the proposal, citing security concerns, then held a telephone town hall Tuesday.

Under the AAP, Burns said, Alberta would return to the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan, which is the current legislated land use framework.

“We would go back to the drawing board and create an open and transparent process which provides integrated land management that is sustainable and that would provide access to our beautiful natural areas for all Albertans,” she said.

…read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics