CategoryFederal

Democrats now hold 31 districts that Trump won in 2016

The new U.S. Congress is facing divided government, a shutdown, and new leadership priorities under a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. As we move farther from the 2018 elections and closer to 2020, representatives from districts won by the opposite party’s presidential candidate in 2016 will be some of the most fascinating to watch.
 
Republicans ceded ground in Clinton districts—they hold three that she won in 2016, down from 25 before the 2018 elections. The three remaining Republican-held districts are:
 
– New York’s 24th, represented by John Katko
– Pennsylvania’s 1st, represented by Brian Fitzpatrick
– Texas’ 23rd, represented by Will Hurd
 
Democrats also made gains in Trump districts and now hold 31 congressional districts that he won in 2016. They held 13 of those districts before the 2018 elections. The current Democratic districts that Trump won in 2016 are located in the following states:
 
– Arizona
– Georgia
– Illinois
– Iowa
– Maine
– Michigan
– Minnesota
– Nevada
– New Hampshire
– New Jersey
– New Mexico
– New York
– Oklahoma
– Pennsylvania
– South Carolina
– Utah
– Virginia
– Wisconsin
 
Click here to start preparing for 2020 elections in the U.S. House.


Trump makes case for border barrier in televised address; Democratic leadership rejects request

In the televised address from the Oval Office on January 8, 2019, President Donald Trump said that there is a humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, and he called on members of Congress to allocate $5.7 billion to build a wall or steel barrier to protect the nation. He said, “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need.”
 
In making his case for the barrier, Trump said that individuals who enter the country without legal permission from the southern border strain public resources and reduce job availability and wages. He also said that some drugs and criminals enter the country through the southern border, harming Americans.
 
In response to those, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who “have suggested a barrier is immoral,” Trump said, “Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.”
 
The address took place on the 18th day of a partial government shutdown. Trump said that he would not sign legislation to reopen the federal government if it did not include border funding.
 
Immediately after Trump’s speech, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), issued a televised response rejecting Trump’s request for a border wall and calling on him to reopen the government. Pelosi said, “President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.”
 
Schumer said that Democrats support border security measures, but “disagree with the president about the most effective way to do it.” Schumer also criticized Trump for creating a crisis that he said did not exist. Schumer said, “This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.”
 
In his address, Trump did not declare a national emergency over border security, something he is considering if Congress refuses to fund the requested border barrier. “Federal law allows the president to halt military construction projects and divert those funds for the emergency,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Democrats said that they would challenge Trump’s declaration in court if issued.


SCOTUS issues two unanimous opinions

The U.S. Supreme Court issued two unanimous opinions this week – Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., and Culbertson v. Berryhill. Last term, the justices issued 20 unanimous opinions.
 
In Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., the court considered a case regarding the Federal Arbitration Act. In his first opinion for the court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh vacated and remanded the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
 
In Culbertson v. Berryhill, the court considered a question concerning Social Security and attorney fees. The court unanimously reversed and remanded the ruling of the Eleventh Circuit Court.
 
The justices have granted cert in 65 cases and have issued decisions in seven of them. They have 26 cases remaining on their argument schedule.


Government shutdown delays comment period for Trump administration’s “Waters of the U.S.” proposal

The federal government shutdown has delayed a comment period for a proposed rule that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in December. The rule would replace the Clean Water Act’s definition of “waters of the United States” set by the Obama administration in 2015. The EPA aims to clarify the difference between federally-protected waterways and state-protected waterways, which it says will help landowners determine whether they need a federal permit to do projects on their property. The EPA has decided to wait until Congress funds the agency to begin a 60-day comment period during which the public may submit written feedback about the rule.
 
Proposed rules are preliminary versions of a prospective federal agency regulation. If an agency determines that a new regulation is necessary, the agency develops a proposed rule for publication in the Federal Register. After a period of public comment, the agency may determine to revise the proposed rule, abandon the proposal, or move forward to the final rule stage of the rulemaking process.


Senate Judiciary Committee committee schedules hearings for Barr

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced that it will hold a confirmation hearing for William Barr’s nomination to be United States Attorney General on January 15 and 16. President Donald Trump (R) announced his intent to nominate Barr to the position on December 7, 2018, and formally sent his nomination to the Senate on January 3, 2019. Barr will have to be confirmed by the Senate with a simple majority vote before taking office.
 
Barr served as the 77th United States Attorney General under former President George H.W. Bush (R) from 1991 to 1993. He was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote in November 1991. The previous attorney general under Trump, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed 52-47 in November 2017.


Trump’s nominee to FCC, a Democrat, confirmed by U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate voted yesterday to confirm Democrat Geoffrey Starks as a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under federal law, only three FCC commissioners can be from the same political party, so President Trump nominated Starks based on recommendations from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). The FCC is an independent federal agency formed in 1934 that regulates interstate and international radio, television and other communications.
 
Independent federal agencies operate with some degree of autonomy from the executive branch. These agencies exist outside of the Executive Office of the President and executive departments or have top officials with protections against removal by the president or other officials. The FCC is run by five commissioners appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to five-year terms.


Federal Register weekly update; 2019 off to a slow start

The _Federal Register_ is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
 
During the week of January 1 to January 4, the number of pages in the _Federal Register_ increased by 34 pages. A total of 15 documents were included in the week’s _Federal Register_, including 14 notices and one rule.
 
No proposed or final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866. To be deemed significant, final rules must prospectively have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the _Federal Register_ increased by 704 pages. As of January 4, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 670 pages.
 
According to government data, the _Federal Register_ hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the _Federal Register_ from 2017 to 2019: https://ballotpedia.org/Changes_to_the_Federal_Register
 
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the _Federal Register_ from 1936 to 2016: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2016
 
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the _Federal Register_ as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.


Federal Register 2018 in review

In 2018, the Trump administration added a total of 68,082 pages to the _Federal Register_, a daily journal of federal government activity which includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory execution. The page total will likely decrease after the National Archives processes the blank pages and finalizes the publication. Over the course of the year, the _Federal Register_ included a total of 27,749 documents: 22,020 notices, 260 presidential documents, 2,044 proposed rules, and 3,367 rules.
 
During 2017, the Trump administration added a total of 61,950 pages to the _Federal Register_. The 2018 page total led the 2017 page total by 6,132 pages.
 
The Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the _Federal Register_ each week in 2018. Over the course of the Obama administration, the _Federal Register_ increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
The 2018 and 2017 page totals under the Trump administration are the lowest page totals since 2001, when the _Federal Register_ reached 64,438 pages. According to government data, the _Federal Register_ hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
The 3,367 final rules in the 2018 _Federal Register_ and the 3,281 final rules in the 2017 _Federal Register_ are the lowest annual rule counts since the 1970s.
 
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the _Federal Register_ as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.


Pelosi elected speaker of the House

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was elected speaker of the House with 220 votes. Fifteen Democrats did not vote for her. Eight of those who voted against Pelosi were among the 16 Democrats that signed a letter opposing her candidacy on November 19, 2018.
 
Pelosi previously served as speaker of the House from 2007-2011. She is the first and only woman to hold the position.
 
The speaker of the House presides over sessions of the lower chamber and is second in the line of presidential succession.


Warren forms presidential exploratory committee and Iowa team

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced Monday that she had formed a presidential exploratory committee, joining former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro (D) in taking the first steps towards a possible presidential run.
 
Warren has brought on several experienced staffers to her Iowa team from the Clinton, Obama, and Sanders campaigns: Emily Parcell, Janice Rottenberg, and Brendan Summers.
 
More than 440 candidates have already filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2020, including 133 Democrats, 60 Republicans, 18 Libertarians, and 10 Greens.
 
Ballotpedia is also tracking more than 60 possible Democratic and Republican presidential contenders.


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