This Friday, the House Judiciary Committee took the historic step of passing articles of impeachment against the President. Simultaneously, Washington, in a reversal of its present deadlock, seems bent on cleaning the legislative slate by the end of the year. New York Representative Lee Zeldin checked in with The Cats Roundtable to discuss how the shaky waters of the impeachment effort to remove Trump have mixed with end-of-the-year deadlines for critical legislation.
On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi announced the drawing up of articles of impeachment against the President, and after stepping down the hall, announced a bipartisan agreement regarding the U.S.-Mexican-Canada trade agreement, a deal that the President has made one of his top priorities for the year. Representative Zeldin was insistent that Democrats had “conceded” on the USMCA, but called it a victory “for the President and the American worker.”
On Wednesday, even as the House Judiciary Committee took up the impeachment articles, the House passed the NDAA, a defense spending bill that offers federal employees twelve weeks of paid parental leave, which had been strongly advocated by Ivanka Trump. Zeldin says that Pelosi’s decisions to concede these victories for the President are a sign of unease about how the impeachment process will play out among Democrats. It seems as if Americans don’t find the impeachment a center-stage issue, and Zeldin points out that Democrats desire to show they can do their day jobs.
He echoes charges from other Republican lawmakers, that Democrats are throwing out the bread-and-butter issues voters care about in favor of a personal vendetta, and going forward into 2020 doesn’t predict Pelosi will continue working with the President or Republicans.
Though Democrats are trying to do damage control, Zeldin believes the toll has been taken, especially on swing-district Democratic representatives who have been “thrown under the bus.” With some Democratic districts voting for Trump in 2016, Zeldin believes that much like his own constituency, Americans at large are increasingly becoming disenfranchised by Democrats for defying their voting base.
Zeldin also sees a lot of work left to be done. Though lawmakers have come to preliminary agreements on legislation to keep the government running past December 20th, he is concerned with the lax attitude of representatives on the Hill ahead of the holiday season. For the future, Zeldin also is worried about the “lame duck sessions”—congressional sessions that occur when a successor is elected, but before the successor’s term of office starts—that will surround the 2020 elections.
He calls the climate in Washington “toxic” and the impeachment in particular “sucking up too much bandwidth.” Zeldin believes Americans at large will respond overwhelmingly against Democrats at the ballot.
But he is ultimately hopeful, and shares with The Cats Roundtable that he thinks Americans will grow stronger as the process plays itself out.
“Our country’s going to get through it, we’ll be stronger for it,” he said. “We just have to keep fighting.”
And the best way Americans can vent their frustration? Zeldin says: show up to the ballot box.
“This is a moment in time for us to double down” he said. “And I do believe we’re going to come out of this even stronger than we were before.”