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As the 116th Congress gavels into session, it’s time to think about the level of hypocrisy we’re going to see in the coming weeks and months.

If you were paying attention at all, beyond the obvious attempts to end the government shutdown, the House is focusing on a wish list of legislation. Most of the items will be dead on arrival in the Senate, but that doesn’t mean anyone should be dismissing these ideas immediately. Two items in particular shouldn’t be dismissed by Republicans just because they are coming from across the aisle.

10 years of tax returns

Tempting as it might be to continue to “protect the president’s tax returns” game, Republicans need to seriously think about this bill in terms of future Democrat nominees. Picture a future with Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah Winfrey running for the presidency. Seriously, this does need to be considered, since we’re dealing with a former game show host in the Oval Office right now – sorry, but it is the truth.

So, do we really want to see future candidates of that ilk managing to hide their financial dealings when they run for the highest office in the land? No?

Like all legislation, it is important to remember that it will be the law regardless of who is in power, until it is repealed or rendered null by the courts. (Just a hint, but it’s not likely that this kind of law will be considered unconstitutional.) It might sting a bit now, but failing to pass something like this soon could have disastrous effects in the future. If Zuckerberg and Oprah didn’t scare you as examples, think someone like Cher!

Protect the Mueller!

More than a few Republicans have been salivating at the thought of shutting down the Mueller investigation into “Russian collusion” by Trump. Right now, it is important to remember procedure on the Hill. The first shot has already been fired across the bow, even before Nancy Pelosi was officially elected Speaker of the House.

She said impeachment isn’t out of the question.

Scoff if you like, but impeachment is still similar to our regular criminal court system. The House starts the ball rolling, and arguably takes up the job of the prosecutor. There is discovery (i.e., investigation) initiated by that chamber, and then it is turned over to the Senate which theoretically acts as judge and jury.

So, if Republicans kill the Mueller investigation before it is done, they are just begging for Pelosi and the Democrats in the House to start impeachment proceedings. Sure, they might not do it, but is it really worth the gamble? If Mueller is stopped, the House could just tell him to continue anyway, but this time as the start of the impeachment process. That means they could also severely expand the scope of the investigation. (Just a hint here, but that’s something the Republicans really don’t want to happen.)

Confused? Angry? Don’t feel bad about that. Those are just typical reactions to the realities of politicking on the Hill. It’s not pretty. It never was, and never will be. But, at least now it has become somewhat predictable. No matter what, it boils down to political hypocrisy.

Liz Harrison

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