Coronavirus crisis gives Democrats ‘a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) As more lawmakers—disproportionately on the GOP side—join the ranks who are voluntarily self-quarantining due to the coronavirus pandemic, the question lingers of how far Democrats may go to make hay of their temporary advantage.
The change in power dynamics might even give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., an opening—albeit a very brief and long-shot one—to make another attempt at impeaching President Donald Trump.
The voluntary self-quarantine of five prominent Senate Republicans on Sunday narrowed the Senate majority enough to allow Democrats to defeat a much touted coronavirus relief package.
Democratic leaders claimed that the bill—which would have effectively granted most Americans a universal basic income of $1,200 payments during the crisis—offered too much in the way of corporate interests.
However, they have countered by demanding several entirely unrelated ‘wish list’ items that cater to their own lobbying interests, such as unprecedented union bargaining powers and environmental regulations.
A bit of a clap back from republicans. pic.twitter.com/8iiwtHs4HC
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 23, 2020
The touch-and-go negotiations may very well swing their way with the news that Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was discovered to be infected. As a result, Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, both of Utah, are going into voluntary quarantine.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida already was quarantining after having attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado also went into quarantine last week, according to Fox News.
On top of that, more than a dozen GOP members of the House of Representatives (and a handful of Democratic ones) have entered into quarantine as precaution.
Some CPAC attendees, including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, have already returned after testing negative. However leftists claim that Paul was recent contact with other senators, including Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, which may force them into quarantine also.
A Long-Shot Impeachment Attempt?
While it is unclear if the legal principle of double-jeopardy would apply to impeachment, Democrats likely would run up against constitutional issues for attempting to re-try Trump without filing new impeachment articles against him.
However, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, and others had previously left open the possibility that their ongoing investigations could yield new leads, including claims that Trump obstructed justice in the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion.
The biggest problem they could face in attempting to railroad through another impeachment would be the calendar—even the unprecedentedly quick December impeachment was roughly two months in the making, so two weeks of self-quarantine would not be nearly enough before those who test negative return to work.
Moreover, some GOP opponents who are voluntarily quarantining may cut it short, risking exposure to all, if such an egregious abuse of circumstances were at stake.
Moreover, even if Nadler and Pelosi were to clear the House at breakneck speed, they would still face a numbers game in the Senate.
Currently, without help from Romney, Democrats would still need additional GOP allies to secure the majority required to modify Senate rules, such as calling additional witnesses. And they would still fall well short of the required bar of a two-thirds majority needed to remove Trump from office.
Yet, the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus have done nothing if not prove how quickly the normal order can be upended.
As House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-SC, told a conference call with about 200 House Democrats on Thursday, according to the National Review, the health crisis undoubtedly has given the Left “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”