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Hakeem Jeffries isn’t yet speaker, but the Democrat may be the most powerful person in Congress



WASHINGTON (AP) — Without wielding a gavel and holding a proper role outlined in the Constitution, Republican Hakeem Jeffries could be the most powerful person in Congress today.

Jeffries, the Democratic House Minority Leader, secured the votes needed to maintain the government running despite opposition from House Republicans to avert a federal government shutdown.

Jeffries, who made sure Democrats honored their commitments and sent $95 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine and other U.S. allies.

And Jeffries, who, with the entire House Democratic leadership behind him, decided this week that his party would help Speaker Mike Johnson stay in office quite than be forced from office by far-right Republicans led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“How powerful is Jeffries now?” said Jeffery Jenkins, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California who has written extensively about Congress. “That’s significant power.”

The decision by Jeffries and a team of House Democratic leaders to forged votes to stop Johnson’s ouster marks a powerful turning point in a protracted political season of dysfunction, gridlock and chaos in Congress.

By declaring that it’s enough that it’s time to “turn the page” on the Republican confusion, the Democratic leader is flexing his power in a really public and timely way, trying to point out lawmakers and everybody else who watches in horror at a broken Congress that there can be alternative approach to governance.

“From the very beginning of this Congress, House Republicans have witnessed chaos, dysfunction and extremism among the American people,” Jeffries said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Jeffries said that since House Republicans are “unwilling or unable” to take control of “extreme MAGA Republicans,” “a bipartisan coalition and partnership will be necessary to achieve this goal. We need more common sense in Washington and less chaos.”

In the House, the minority leader is commonly viewed as the speaker in waiting, the highest-ranking official of a celebration out of power, biding his time in hopes of regaining the majority — and with it the speaker’s gavel — in the next election. Elected by his own party, it’s a job without much formal basis.

But in Jeffries’ case, the position of minority leader has gained enormous strength, filling the political void left by the real speaker, Johnson, who governs a fragile, thread-thin Republican majority and is under constant threat from far-right provocateurs that the GOP Speaker cannot fully control.

“He serves as shadow speaker on all important votes,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

While Johnson still wields the powerful tools of the Speaker’s office, a constitutionally mandated job that’s second in line of succession to the presidency, the Republican-led House has endured a tumultuous session of infighting and upheaval that has left its goals and priorities stalled.

In a fit of discontent just months after winning the majority, far-right Republicans ousted the previous speaker, now-retired Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., last fall in a never-before-seen act of partisan defiance. He refused to specifically ask Democrats for help.

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Johnson faces the same threat of removal, but Jeffries sees Johnson as a more honest broker and potential partner he’s willing to support not less than temporarily — although Johnson also hasn’t openly asked for any help from the other side of the aisle. A vote on Greene’s motion to fireplace the speaker is anticipated next week.

While Johnson approaches Donald Trump and receives the nod of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Jeffries has what Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a retired speaker, called the “currency of the realm” – that’s, votes – which might be required in the House to bring about any order. session until the end.

Pelosi said in an interview that Jeffries has “always had influence” as minority leader due to his slim majority in the House.

“But it’s a matter of whether he shows that he wants to take advantage of it,” she said.

Jeffries said she “masterfully” secured Democratic priorities, especially humanitarian aid in a foreign aid package that was initially opposed by Republicans.

However, Pelosi disagreed with the concept that Democrats would support Johnson at this point, creating some recent era of coalitions in American politics.

“Our House functions because we want things to function in a bipartisan way,” she said. “He doesn’t necessarily save Speaker Johnson – he upholds the dignity of the institution.”

Jeffries is a quiet, confident operator who’s positioning himself and his party as purveyors of democratic norms amid the Republican thunderstorm of Trump-era disruption.

Jeffries, the first Black American to guide a political party in Congress, is already a historic figure whose stature will only increase if he’s elected first to wield the gavel as Speaker of the House.

Born in Brooklyn, Jeffries, 53, has steadily risen through the New York state political ranks after which onto the national stage as a charismatic next-generation leader, elected to Congress in 2012 from districts once represented by one other historic legislator, Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman elected to Congress.

Jeffries, a former corporate lawyer, can be known for his sharp oratory, drawing on his upbringing at the historic Black Cornerstone Baptist Church, a spiritual home for a lot of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of enslaved African Americans who fled to Brooklyn from the American South. But he also gives his speeches and remarks a contemporary sensitivity and rhythm, connecting generations.

Last yr, when Republicans did not muster votes on the procedural stage of a budget and debt agreement, it was Jeffries who stood intently at his desk in the House chamber and held up his ballot to signal to Democrats that it was time to step up motion and deliver.

Jeffries has repeatedly asserted that Democratic votes would prevent a federal government shutdown. And last month, when Johnson faced an all-out right-wing Republican revolt over Ukraine aid, Jeffries stepped in again, asserting that Democrats had more votes than Republicans to get the bill through.

Heading into the November elections, each parties are battling for political survival and control in the narrowly divided House, and Jeffries would definitely face his own challenges leading Democrats in the event that they were to win a divided majority on many key issues.

But each Jeffries and Johnson have gone across the country raising money and enthusiasm for his or her party’s candidates ahead of November, with the GOP speaker attempting to keep his job and the Democratic leader waiting to take it.

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Politics and Current

We need Black women in office, now more than ever




Juneteenth is a time to rejoice Black freedom across America and a reminder that freedom have to be continually earned. It was a Black woman, Opal Lee, who organized June 16 as a federal holiday. You may not know her name or the story that, on the age of 89, she walked across 14 states – 2,500 km – from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., advocating for June 16 to be a national holiday. Carrying out work while remaining unrecognized is a well-known challenge for Black women in America.

Every election we hear that Black women are the “backbone of the Democratic Party,” its most loyal voting group, having polled with higher turnout than every other group over the past five presidential election cycles.

In 2020, Black women voters pushed President Joe Biden into the White House. In fact, 90% black women voted for the Democratic presidential candidate, giving him ultimate victory over Donald Trump, especially in key battleground states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

However, our voting power has not translated into our own electoral success and we remain significantly underrepresented in elected office.

Even as Black women gained representation and Kamala Harris became the primary Black vp of the United States in 2020, America lost its only Black female senator on her option to higher office. When Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2022, there have been still no Black women in the Senate. Laphonza Butler has since been appointed to switch the late Dianne Feinstein in California, making her only the third black woman to ever serve in the upper legislative house.


Although record numbers of Black women now hold congressional, statewide and legislative positions, they proceed to enrich less than 6% of elected offices though it comprises 7.8% of the US population. The disparities are most dramatic in states like Mississippi, where Black people make up the biggest share of the population in any state – 38% – say Black women only 10 of the 174 seats in the state legislature — still less than 6%.

It’s time to make Black women the face of the Democratic Party, not only its backbone. We deserve the tools and resources we need to not only win, but thrive.

This yr, Black women have candidates on the ballot to make that occur. Everyone must do the whole lot they’ll to support and support them.

Just take a look at Angela Alsobrooks in Maryland and Lisa Blunt Rochester in Delaware, who’re on the verge of becoming the primary two black women to serve concurrently in the U.S. Senate.

Look at Lateefah Simon, who ran in nine primaries with 56% of the vote in her bid to switch Rep. Barbara Lee in California’s twelfth Congressional District (she’s going to face one other Democrat in November). AND Janelle Bynumwho won the first as a candidate endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and sought to flip Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District from red to blue.

Advancing Black women in political office is at the guts of Emerge’s work as we head into the warmth of the 2024 election. Our Sitting Together program is the nation’s first advanced leadership candidate program designed specifically for Black women who aspire to pursue higher-level positions.

And it really works in any respect levels of presidency. Cohort members have already been successful in the rise of Ohio Rep. Emilia Sykes to Congress, currently representing Ohio-13, Pennsylvania Rep. Joanna McClinton to Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and Tennessee Rep. London Lamar to the Tennessee Senate.

Research shows that when black women run for office, they win at a better level than their white and/or male counterparts. I imagine it’s because they not only understand the problems facing on a regular basis Americans from all walks of life, but they live these issues – from economic insecurity, access to health care, and problems with equity and equality.

Therefore, we would not have to sacrifice progress for excellence if the appropriate candidates are on the ballot. While the presidential races will get essentially the most attention, the races for local mayors, state legislatures, governors and congresses can have a much greater impact on Americans’ day by day lives – that is where Black women candidates are working to generate energy and a spotlight.

That’s why I take a look at November with such optimism. I even have seen the keenness and influence of Black women leaders who’ve been lifted up by our organization and pushed to turn out to be a part of the American political system. This inspires me and I hope it inspires more women of color to vote or run for office themselves.

As we rejoice Black resilience and achievements this June, we must move the fight into November and vote for candidates who will defend equality and freedom for all people.

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Politics and Current

Black voters are not happy with the vote between Biden and Trump




Black Voters, Biden, Trump, 2024 Presidential Election

A brand new poll of Black voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania shows how dissatisfied many individuals are in having to decide on between current President Joe Biden and former commander-in-chief Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election.

New discoveries from the University of Suffolk reveal like supporting Biden amongst black voters who helped him take office 4 years ago is declining ahead of the November election. Polls of Black voters in two swing states have Biden ranked first or second because most would still prefer to vote for him to avoid one other Trump administration.

Pew Center research revealed that 92% of Black voters supported Biden during the 2020 election. But now, lower than five months before the 2024 presidential election, Biden’s support amongst black voters is dramatically lower than it was 4 years ago.

Take your sisters. Olivia and Macayla Jones. “I’m not voting for Trump, but I’m not enthusiastic about voting for Biden. None of my close friends are thrilled with either candidate. It’s a universal feeling,” said Olivia Jones, 22, a senior at Central Michigan University

Macayla Jones, 23, a communications coordinator at a youth center in Bellville, Michigan, plans to vote for Biden as “the lesser of two evils, which still worries me a little.”

While Trump was in Detroit, working judge black votersa recent poll shows how unpopular the forty fifth president is amongst African American voters. Those planning to vote in November still favor Biden over Trump or third-party candidates like Cornel West or Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The poll was conducted June 9-13 via telephone survey of 500 African-Americans registered in Pennsylvania and an equal number in Michigan. Inflation and the economy are the biggest issues Black voters want to deal with.

Moreover, 14% remain undecided who and whether they may vote in November.

“I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do this time,” said Howie, an accountant and longtime registered Democrat. “I don’t necessarily believe in any of them at this point.”

Macayla and Olivia Jones represent a younger group of voters who desire a candidate who makes them feel like their concerns are being heard. Key issues they wish to resolve include a ceasefire in Israel’s war in Gaza, protecting reproductive rights, eliminating student loan debt and gun reform.

“I prefer candidates who better represent our generation and what we want this country to look like,” Macayla said. “Someone who listens to us.”

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Undeterred Clarence Thomas under fire after reports revealing more undisclosed trips aboard the GOP billionaire’s private jet and nearly $4.2 million in gifts




Clarence Thomas Claims Critics Have Plotted to

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under fire again over his repeated acceptance of luxury gifts and free travel after Senate Democrats released a series of documents showing the veteran lawyer didn’t disclose three private flights he took with billionaire Republican Party donor Harlan Crow in 2017–2021.

As detailed in a document provided by Crow’s lawyers to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two of the flights were round trips and one included multiple destinations.

The latest revelation in the case follows a shocking ProPublica report last yr that exposed Judge Thomas usually accepted gifts from multiple billionaire Republican megadonors, including former Berkshire Hathaway executive David Sokol, former Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga and Crow, a Dallas real estate mogul, amongst others.

Clarence Thomas claims critics planned to 'bombard' his reputation amid calls for his resignation
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Clarence Thomas has served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. He was nominated by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and is the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court, after Justice Thurgood Marshall. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Judge Thomas never mentioned it in his annual financial reports, regardless that he received very expensive gifts for over 20 years.

The Senate Finance Committee can also be investigating Thomas’s financial dealings over the past 20 years amid increased calls for stricter ethics rules and Thomas’ resignation.

Recent documents show that Judge Thomas traveled across the country at will, which indicates that in May 2017 he flew on a Crow private jet from St. Louis to Kalispell, Montana, and then went to Dallas. Then, in March 2019, the conservative justice took the billionaire’s private jet from Washington, D.C. to Savannah, Georgia, and back. In June 2021, Thomas secretly flew from Washington, D.C., to San Jose, California, and back, in line with logs obtained by the Judiciary Committee.

The most notable discovery is that Thomas made three journeys that had not been previously disclosed.

The news got here shortly after a report by the group Fix the Court found that Thomas had received more gifts than every other Supreme Court justice in history, with the total value of those gifts since 1981 exceeding $5.87 million, including nearly .2 million dollars were received in just the last 20 years, in line with the commission’s reading.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, criticized Thomas for what he called a transparent violation of ethics and decency.

“Nearly $4.2 million in gifts, and even that was not enough for Judge Thomas, with at least three additional trips that the Commission has not disclosed to date, the Commission found,” Durbin said in a press release. press release. “The Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the Supreme Court’s ethics crisis provides new information – like the one we released today – and makes clear that the high court needs an enforceable code of conduct as its members continue to choose not to meet for the moment.”

Thomas previously admitted that he received only 27 gifts on federal disclosure forms before Fix the Court released its research, while his lack of transparency led to ongoing discussions on Capitol Hill about judicial ethics.

Legal experts suggested that failing to reveal the trips would likely not result in any penalty for Thomas.

The Code of Conduct for Judges, established in November 2023, has no provisions on consequences in the event of breaches, nor does it provide a mechanism for determining whether such breaches have occurred.

The code, devoid of any real enforcement power, has come under increasing criticism in the wake of the various ethics scandals which have engulfed the Supreme Court over the past yr.

More recently, the controversy surrounding Justice Samuel Alito and the display of far-right flags at two of his residences in reference to the January 6 attack only highlighted the ineffectiveness of the code.

Last June, Alito also sought to dispel a ProPublica report alleging that he went on a luxury fishing trip to Alaska 15 years ago with a billionaire Republican donor whose hedge fund was the subject of several Supreme Court decisions that Alito never he didn’t withdraw.

Meanwhile, a few of the gifts Thomas received helped cover various living expenses, including private school tuition for his grandson, automobile batteries and tires for the family vehicle, ProPublica reports.

But Crow was the one who really raised the lifestyle for the conservative justice after a few of the financial difficulties Thomas had in his early years on the Supreme Court.

According to ProPublica, Crow paid for Thomas’ extravagant around-the-world vacation on a private jet, and also financed exotic cruises on a luxury yacht and the purchase of a luxury RV with a $267,000 loan that Thomas didn’t should repay.

The reasons for the largesse towards Thomas remain unclear, raising concerns about potential attempts to influence and corrupt the highest court in the land.

Crow previously insisted that he and Thomas were close friends and that Thomas had not adjudicated on any matters involving his estate.

Yale Law School professor George Priest, who has spent summers with Thomas and Crow in the past, told ProPublica that he believed Crow’s generosity was geared toward improving Thomas’s quality of life fairly than attempting to influence his legal opinions.

Lawmakers use every ethics controversy as a platform to call for a code of conduct that imposes real consequences for actions perceived as undermining confidence in the Supreme Court.

“As a result of our investigation and subpoena authorization, we are providing the American public with greater clarity about the scope of Supreme Court justices’ ethical lapses and the need for ethics reform,” Durbin also noted in his statement. “Despite his lowest ever approval rating and endless self-made scandals, Chief Justice Roberts continues to refuse to use his current powers to implement an enforceable code of conduct.”

As with all revelations about Thomas, the latest report sparked criticism of the Supreme Court justice and calls for his removal or resignation.

“Stop framing it as, ‘Thomas must resign’ – he won’t ever, ever, ever try this – start pushing for impeachment. With each revelation about Clarence Thomas’ gifts from billionaire donor Harlan Crow, it becomes more and more clear: Congress must impeach Thomas,” one X user wrote.

“Accepting money shows he has no integrity. It would take honesty to resign. He has served the far right throughout his career,” wrote one other user. “This man is an embarrassment to every bar card holder and has no shame in bringing the same to SCOTUS.”

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