The Grand Bargain - Senators Hatch, McCain, Graham and Collins - Declare Your Independence
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Senators Hatch, McCain, Graham and Collins - Declare Your Independence!
Senators Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins: we, the undersigned, call on you to
Declare Your Independence from the President-Elect by Becoming Independents
Senator Schumer:we, the undersigned, call on you to work with
Senators Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins
to run the Senate for the next two years by negotiation
and compromise among the five of you, with the help of ALL Members of the Senate.
THIS IS THE GRAND BARGAIN.
In 2001, Vermont Republican Senator James Jeffords left the Republican Party and became in Independent. At the time, the Senate was in a 50/50 split with incoming Vice President Dick Cheney as the tiebreaking vote, thus giving the Republicans control over the Senate. Jeffords' defection turned the Senate over to the Democrats.
This idea is not without precedent, but it's never been done as a bipartisan move before. Why now?
The president-elect is unstable and irresponsible. He has placed a professional disseminator of hateful and divisive disinformation as his Chief Strategist while positioning himself as the sole source of information for those loyal to him, a tactic he used in the campaign that many thought would disappear if he were to be elected. It has not. It has only worsened. This creates an atmosphere of fear, panic, and confusion, in which facts run uphill against lies and propaganda. This is clearly by design, and it is terribly dangerous.
The president-elect refuses intelligence briefings while siding with WikiLeaks against the US Intelligence community; he took a phone call from Taiwan that may endanger the US relationship with China; he has asked for names of private citizens working for the Department of Energy’s renewable energy projects; he has ordered diplomats to vacate their positions around the world before there are replacements; and he has used Twitter in often disturbing ways - attacking and haranguing businesses with often false information and attacking individuals as though he was not a world leader, but a snide, cruel, and thin-skinned internet troll. He has refused to divest himself from his businesses and investments, many of which overlap with his duties as President and will surely cause his decisions to be impacted.
These are only a few examples of his frightening behavior.
It has become clear that the leadership of the United States Senate is refusing to act responsibly in the face of this clear and present danger. Senator McConnell, whose wife will now have a powerful position in the new administration, has ignored the Office of Congressional Ethics and has begun to move forward in an unprecedented manner with the confirmation of un-vetted nominees for cabinet posts, among other dangerous and politically vindictive behaviors that threaten the tenets and protocols of the American government.
This abuse of power can be obstructed, and both of these men can be reminded that this government is not theirs alone, and that the Republican Party is not theirs alone. There is a way to remind them and the country that there are a large number of people working within the government who want to see this President checked from his most outlandish behavior with some kind of leverage, and want the rule of law to be preserved.
This is that leverage. And it is true bipartisanship.
HOW WOULD IT WORK?
The GRAND BARGAIN would last from on or around January 20, 2017-December 31, 2018, at which point it would expire.
The suggested ground rules are:
— The Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia will be filled by whomever the President and Senate Republicans approve, without interference or obstruction from the Democratic Senators who will take control of the Senate when Senators Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins become Independents.
— Any additional Supreme Court seat or seats vacated during the stated times of the Grand Bargain (January 2017-December 2018) will be filled by whomever the President and Senate Republicans approve, without interference or obstruction from the Democratic Senators who will take control of the Senate when Senators Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins become Independents.
—Any and all attempts to privatize Medicare and/or reduce Medicaid spending will not be considered in any way by the Senate during the course of the Grand Bargain.
— Steve Bannon’s removal from White House staff and banishment from the Administration will be demanded by refusing to confirm any cabinet members or move on any legislation until that demand is met.
—Senators Schumer, Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins will confer on all cabinet appointments and decide by negotiation and compromise which nominees will be approved and which current nominees must be replaced with a new nominee.
— Senators Schumer, Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins will confer and negotiate on all additional legislation and nominees, with the exception of Supreme Court seats, with Senator Schumer understanding that the Democratic Senators must be willing to approve legislation that would normally be considered part of the Republican Party platform.
— Senators Schumer, Hatch, McCain, Graham, and Collins will hold joint biweekly press conferences to discuss the current state of the Grand Bargain, so the United States can see real bipartisanship at work for the first time in more than 20 years.
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