Steil in the Washington Examiner: Exposing Washington’s Partisan Power Grab Agenda

May 12, 2021
Column

Rep. Bryan Steil (WI-01) in the Washington Examiner: Exposing Washington's Partisan Power Grab Agenda 

There are three words to describe President Joe Biden's and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2021 agenda: partisan power grab.

Despite Biden’s public claims that he seeks unity and bipartisanship, we have seen a classic bait-and-switch, delivering ineffective, wasteful, and partisan results. Despite the problems facing our families, communities, and nation, Biden and Pelosi are teaming up to take control of Washington.

The Supreme Court, the Senate, a sitting member of Congress, and even our election system itself are under attack by the far Left and its pursuit for power.

First, H.R. 1. I believe instilling confidence back into our elections should be a top priority. Pelosi and Biden have moved in the opposite direction. Pelosi and House Democrats’ top legislative priority, H.R. 1, guts voting safeguards such as voter ID laws and centralizes all control of elections in Washington. H.R. 1 threatens the integrity of secure elections. Not only does H.R. 1 tie the hands of our states and localities, it mandates ballot harvesting and takes public money to fund campaigns for politicians. These are dollars that could be used to fix roads, reopen schools, or provide tax relief to you and your family. Instead, the bill sends those dollars to political campaigns, filling the pockets of campaign consultants and filling the airwaves with attack ads.

Next, with one of the slimmest majorities in modern history, Pelosi became desperate to grow her numbers in the House of Representatives. In November’s election, Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa won her district by six votes. After the votes were counted and recounted using a bipartisan process, Miller-Meeks was certified the winner by the state of Iowa. However, Pelosi and Democrats on the Committee on House Administration attempted to unseat Miller-Meeks from Congress to add another Democrat to their caucus. Imagine the precedent this would set if the party in power could unseat a duly elected member of Congress for political purposes. My colleagues and I sounded the alarm and created a backlash. As you might expect, this pursuit made the most vulnerable members in the Democratic caucus squeamish. Soon after, the Democratic challenger conceded and Pelosi’s attempt to steal a congressional seat came to an end. Count that as one win for the Right.

With their efforts to grab a House seat failing, the next move was to grab seats in the U.S. Senate. It should come as no shock to see Democrats, as soon as they had power, move to gain more seats in the Senate by creating a new seat out of the District of Columbia. (As if D.C. doesn’t already have too much power over our lives!) To be clear, district statehood is not about federal representation for D.C. residents; that could be accomplished by simply adding the residential areas of D.C. to Maryland. Instead, this is a blatant power grab by the far Left to add two more Democrats to the Senate. Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin even admitted that the district statehood push is to help boost their numbers in the Senate, stating, “The Senate has become a major impediment to social progress for the country.”

The power grabs don’t stop in the legislative branch. The idea of adding justices to the Supreme Court, referred to as “court-packing,” has received bipartisan backlash for years. The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg stated, “I think [increasing the number of judges] was a bad idea when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to pack the court.” In 1983, then-Sen. Joe Biden called court-packing a “bonehead idea.” Despite his previous opposition, Biden took preliminary steps to examine adding justices to the Supreme Court. A group of Democrats, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, introduced a bill to add four justices to the court. We cannot allow the Supreme Court to become a compliant arm of the legislative branch.

Do you see the pattern?

Rather than focusing on the needs of our country, Biden and Pelosi are concerned about cementing their political power. None of these actions are designed to help families living paycheck to paycheck, get our lives back to normal, or make government more efficient. They are designed to help one party maintain power in Washington.

The current agenda in Washington is the wrong agenda for America. We must continue to sound the alarm and create national awareness, as we did when Pelosi tried to remove a sitting member of Congress, to force Pelosi and Biden to abandon their plans. I will continue exposing these partisan power grabs and work to advance policies that support families and workers.

Republican Bryan Steil represents Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Elections on the Committee of House Administration.