GOP Symbolism

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A few weeks ago I suggested that House Republicans would mostly try to buy off their deficit-hating tea party supporters with a series of meaningless symbolic votes. Little did I know just how literally that would come true. Ripping a page from the Newt Gingrich playbook, it appears that they’re all set to end the practice of passing honorific resolutions:

Today’s Republicans, imbued with a sense that Washington’s priorities have become muddled, contend that most commemorations are a waste of floor time needed for more pressing matters.

“I do not suspect that Jefferson or Madison ever envisioned Congress honoring the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius or supporting the designation of National Pi Day,” said Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the next House majority leader. “I believe people want our time, energy and efforts focused on their priorities.”

Apparently they’re doing this because voting on resolutions takes up too much floor time and costs the taxpayers too much money. Neither of which happens to be true, but so what? It sounds good. I recommend that Cantor introduce a resolution seeking a sense of the House about banning resolutions. It should impress the yokels, and I imagine that’s all he’s really after here.

When Democrats took over the House in 2006 they instituted PAYGO and put some teeth back in the ethics process. Now that Republicans have taken over they plan to ditch PAYGO and disband the Office of Congressional Ethics. But they’re going to end the practice of honoring National Pi Day! That’s change you can believe in.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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