Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law

CR STEW; 01/20/2108

Once again, Congress has failed to perform its most fundamental duty of funding the Federal government. There is a process for funding the government – the House of Representatives, as the chamber that constitutionally must initiate all spending bills, passes authorization and appropriation bills for each agency, department and function of the Federal government and passes the appropriation bills on to the Senate for action. Hypothetically, the Senate then debates the appropriation bills and either concurs with the House or passes its own appropriations. If the latter occurs, the chambers then meet in conference and iron out their differences so the appropriations can be enacted in time for the start of the Federal fiscal year on September 1. Note that I said HYPOTHETICALLY; for the current fiscal year (which is almost half over) the House did its job but the Senate failed to enact or even consider any of the appropriation bills. And this has been the pattern for many years -a total breakdown of the Congressionally mandated system. So, our Federal government has been funded by a series of short-term     “Continuing Resolutions, or CRs” that authorize funding for a limited time,usually at the same level as the previous CR. I believe we were operating under the third CR for this fiscal year prior to this morning..

Last night, the Republicans and Democrats, under failed leadership from all directions, failed to agree on a new CR. At 12:01 this morning, the Federal government technically shut down because there was no money available to continue its work. The shutdown is not because here is no money- the printing presses are still functional. The problem is that the managers of this enterprise refuse to spend the money to stay open. Who are the managers – Congress, But, who are the owners – WE are. So why do we allow the managers that we hired to shut down our government? This is no way to run a railroad.

SO, who wins? The Republicans believe they have created a political advantage for the mid-term elections by blaming the Democrats for the shutdown. The Democrats believe they won by standing  firm on their promise to take care of the Dreamers.The President always thinks he won – reality doesn’t live in his world.

Who lost? First of all, the millions of children who are insured under the Child Health Insurance Program that is  out of funds. Secondly, the Dreamers who are desperate for the legislative fix to their situation. Third, the millions of Americans working for the Federal government, including the military, or whose livelihood is tied to the work of the Federal government. And, certainly last but not least, US.

.Why did the effort to fund our government for one month fail last night? One – total lack of leadership. Two – total focus on “in yo face” electoral victories over the public good. Three – the desperate need on the part of the Democrats to avoid being run over by the Republicans and President Trump one more time. In 2017, the Democrats were left out of the attempt to Repeal and Replace Obamacare (which lost only because of the ineptitude of the Republican leadership), shut out of the tax bill, helpless to stem the rollback of the regulatory state, and hoisted on their own petard as the President nominated and confirmed conservative judges at all levels. They needed something to fire up their base, and standing up for the Dreamers was all that was available. Ergo, government shutdown.

Our Constitution begins with these words – WE, THE PEOPLE. In that hypothetical room where the negotiations were being theoretically conducted to fund the government, who was present?The Republicans and the Democrats, for sure. The President as an interested party. The lobbyists for the parties either benefiting or losing from the discussions.  Who was missing? US. We the people whose lives and futures are impacted by what happens in that room.

It is not the system that is broken. The problem is the men and women that are elected to represent We The People who go to Washington and leave us behind. By getting elected they prove their political expertise; unfortunately, when they arrive in the Swamp, they forget that being elected carries the responsibility of governing. If you get an opportunity this election season to ask a person running for Congress a question, ask them who they represent – their party, an interest group, a faction within their party, or YOU. And get a straight answer.

STAY TUNED.

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ICARUS (AKA STEVE BANNON); 01/11/2018

We all know the myth of Icarus who, with his father, made wings of feathers and wax and could actually fly. Icarus, in his joy, flew too close to the sun whereupon the wax melted and Icarus plummeted to his death. Icarus/Bannon forgot that there is only one Sun in Trump World; when he dared… Continue Reading

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BACK TO WORK(?); 01/04/2018

The Senate is back at work, or at least back in DC, and the House is scheduled to take up its burden next week.Here is what they face before the primaries in March: Government Funding. The short-term funding for the government expires January 19th. Already the battle lines are being drawn. The Democrats want a… Continue Reading

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Trump Administration – Year One; 12/26/2107

Here is my take on the successes and failures of the first year of the Donald J. Trump Administration: SUCCESSES:  JUDICIARY – Not only did President Trump successfully nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Antonia Scalia on the United States Supreme Court, he also successfully nominated 12 new justices to the various appellate courts, which… Continue Reading

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MUELLER, ETC.; 12/22/2017

Mueller – the revelation that 2 of the FBI agents assigned to the Mueller Russia investigation exchanged anti-Trump emails is a faux pas of the first magnitude. Given the hyper, vitriolic political climate surrounding the Trump Administration and the Russian probe, anyone who even walked past the door to the team’s offices should have been… Continue Reading

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THAT’S ALL THERE IS, THERE AIN’T NO MOORE; 12/13/2017

In a stunning political upset, Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election to choose the successor to Senator Jeff Session, who resigned to accept an appointment as United States Attorney General. Jones overcame the support of President Trump and Steve Bannon’s right-wing hordes and his own pro-choice stance to… Continue Reading

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JIMMY STEWART YOU AIN’T; 12/12/2017

Reports of sexual misconduct by the rich, famous and powerful have burst upon the national scene. It seem every day there are more stories of women coming forward to report incidents of sexual misconduct by men that they worked for. Ironically, neither the Clinton/Lewinsky adventure nor the Access Hollywood tape burst the dam of silence.… Continue Reading

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MOORE REDUX; 11/13/2017

Lest I be accused of piling on or jumping on the bandwagon at the last minute, I was vehemently opposed to Roy Moore’s candidacy for the United States Senate from Alabama from the git go, or earlier. Mr Moore’s positions on homosexuality, the Islamic religion, and the separation of church and state are totally antithetical… Continue Reading

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WE’RE NUMBER ONE!; 11/08/2017

The euphoric celebrations and grudging excuses arising out of yesterday’s state and local elections remind me of the days of yore when I was coaching my sons in T-Ball Games. At least once a season a team that was terrible and hadn’t won a game all season rose up and defeated a much better team.… Continue Reading

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TAX REFORM; 11/06/2017

Is it possible the Republicans will actually fulfill one of their promises during the first year of President Trump’s administration? Can they coalesce around “Tax Reform” when they couldn’t agree on “Repeal and Replace”? Be Still my Beating Heart! They passed a Budget Resolution that sets the stage for potential tax reform using the reconciliation… Continue Reading

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