Student Forum Newsletter
House Elects Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker
ON OCT. 25, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) was elected as Speaker of the House, after weeks of infighting that saw Republicans reject three nominees before turning to Johnson to end the deadlock.
Johnson received votes from all 220 Republicans present. Democrats nominated House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as speaker; he received votes from all 209 Democrats present.
“The people’s house is back in business,” Johnson said in remarks in the House chamber following his election. He thanked Republicans for their trust in him and vowed to work with Democrats where possible.
McCarthy Ousted as House Speaker, GOP Scrambles to Choose Nominee
ON OCT. 3, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted as House speaker by far-right Republicans along with Democrats, ending his nine months in the position and sending a fractious Congress into further disarray.
The ousting was set in motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who followed through on the threat he made to remove McCarthy if he relied on Democratic votes to pass any spending legislation—as he did to narrowly avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
McCarthy’s ousting marked the first time in U.S. history that a speaker of the House was removed from office.
Federal Deficit Explodes Even as Economy Grows
ON SEPT. 3, budget experts announced that the federal deficit is projected to roughly double this year, as bigger interest payments and lower tax receipts widen the nation’s spending imbalance despite overall economic growth.
After the government’s record spending in 2020 and 2021 to combat the impact of covid-19, the deficit dropped by the greatest amount ever in 2022, falling from close to $3 trillion to roughly $1 trillion. But rather than continue to fall to its pre-pandemic levels, the deficit then shot upward.
The federal deficit will likely rise to about $2 trillion for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates for lower deficits.
In June, the Supreme Court issued some of the biggest decisions of its term, including curtailing affirmative action in college admissions; rejecting President Biden’s plan to cancel or reduce federal student loan debts; and dismissing the “independent state legislature” theory, which would have given states greater power
over federal elections.
President Biden Proposes Stiff EPA Emission Limits to Boost U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales
ON APRIL 12, the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency proposed the nation’s most ambitious climate regulations to date—plans designed to ensure two-thirds of new passenger cars and a quarter of new heavy trucks sold in the United States are all-electric by 2032.
The new rules would require nothing short of a revolution in the U.S. auto industry. The Biden administration is proposing to crack down on vehicle pollution with tailpipe emission limits so tough they will compel automakers to ensure two out of every three cars and light trucks sold in 2032 are electric models.
The government’s challenge to automakers is monumental. Last year, all-electric vehicles accounted for just 5.8 percent of new cars sold in the United States.
U.S. TikTok Ban Legislation Advances in House
ON MARCH 1, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee forced through a bill that could effectively ban TikTok from all mobile devices in the U.S. despite united opposition from Democrats.
“Everybody knows what TikTok is,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the bill’s sponsor. “It’s too dangerous to be on our phones as members of Congress. It’s too dangerous to be on our children’s phones. That’s the whole point of this bill.”
The committee ultimately advanced Rep. McCaul’s DATA Act, H.R.1153, by a vote of 24 to 16, with all Democrats voting no.
President Biden Delivers State of the Union Address to ‘Interactive’ Audience
ON FEB. 7, President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union (SOTU) address since he’s been in office. Speaking to a divided Congress for the first time, an optimistic Biden made the case that the nation was stronger and more stable than when he assumed office two years ago.
Throughout Biden’s speech, tensions were on display in the chamber. On several occasions, Republicans interrupted the President by heckling, despite the attempts of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to shush his congressional colleagues and control the emotion.
The most disruptive moments came when President Biden charged that Republicans wanted to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare as part of their efforts to reduce the deficit. Republicans erupted in almost theatrical outrage. “Liar,” shouted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) while others booed and jeered.
Many Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), have stated that they are not in favor of cutting the Social Security and Medicare programs.
McCarthy Wins House Speaker Election, Finally
ON JAN. 7, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) officially secured the House speaker’s gavel, elected on the 15th ballot with 216 votes, after four days of unsuccessful votes and some last-minute drama. Elected representatives were finally sworn in as members of the 118th Congress, and the House got to work.
McCarthy had been in tense negotiations for days with a small but critical group of far-right conservative lawmakers who made extended demands for concessions that would essentially make it easier to depose a speaker and weaken the powers of the speaker’s office to drive the legislative agenda and assign committee posts.
2022 Midterm Elections: Red Wave Turns into Mix of Red and Blue; Dems Keep Senate; Control of House a Toss-Up at Press Time
DAYS AFTER AMERICANS voted in the Nov. 8th U.S. midterm elections, votes were still being tallied and control of Congress hung in the balance. Both sides waited on pins and needles for the results of races in states such as Arizona and Nevada to be announced.
However, on Sat., Nov. 12, the Fox News Decision Desk projected that Democrats will maintain power in the Senate, thanks to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) being declared the winner in her race against Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada.
Cortez Masto received 48.77% or 487,829 votes while Laxalt received 48.11% or 481,273 votes. That’s a difference of only 6,556 votes. Lesson learned? Every vote counts!
What Are the Midterm Elections and Why Are They Important?
ON NOV. 8, during the 2022 midterm elections, control of Congress will be in the balance. President Joe Biden won’t be on the ballot, but many of the people elected to Congress in state and local offices will. And they will have a big impact on what he can get done for the remainder of his first term. The big question on everybody’s minds is: As a result of the midterm elections, which party will control the U.S. House and Senate?