Weekly Democratic Address
October 5, 2018
Hello, I’m Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York and I am the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, the FBI, our courts, our immigration system and the United States Constitution.
Every day, I hear from my constituents about the sense of worry, frustration and disappointment they feel when they see the consequences of an Administration that has not been held accountable to the people, with policies that tear families apart and go against the values at our country’s core. All the while, the Republican Congress has failed to fulfill its Constitutional duty to ensure that our laws and government are working for the American people.
I share that same sense of frustration and anger. It is the responsibility of Congress to act as a check and balance to the Administration of the day – that is fundamental to our democracy. It is a responsibility that the Republican Majority has abdicated, choosing instead only to block and deflect on behalf of President Trump and his Administration. How are we, as representatives of the American people, doing our job if we do not protect liberty and justice and refuse to hold those in power accountable?
Like millions of Americans who watched and listened to the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh last week, I was overwhelmed by the bravery and poise of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to sit in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell her story in the face of intense, personal, and what I am sure was extremely painful questioning. Wherever they were and whatever they were doing, Americans across the country were able to hear directly from Dr. Blasey Ford, to be inspired by her courage, and to share some small understanding of the suffering she – like so many other women – has had to endure in silence.
Our country is in the midst of a reckoning where those in power who abuse their position and take advantage of others they perceive as weaker than themselves are being forced to answer for their behavior and face the accountability that has been missing for too long and for too many. I am glad Dr. Blasey Ford came forward to tell her truth, and I believe that time is running out for those who would rather such brave voices remain silent. Whether that is President Trump or anyone else who abuses their position of power, there must be justice and real consequences for those who violate our laws.
No person – not the President, not any federal judge, and not Members of Congress – can be above the law. Our laws should work for the people they are meant to protect. But America has a hard time living up to this standard when Congress fails to live up to its responsibilities, when Members of Congress join the President in trashing our most precious democratic institutions, and when the rule of law is constantly under threat.
The abuses and ethical lapses we have seen in the Trump Administration, in the Trump Campaign and in Congress clearly show the need to address the culture of corruption that has developed in the absence of appropriate checks on power. This corruption is at the heart of what Donald Trump represents: self-interest and ego driven decisions that come at the expense of the American people.
A responsible Congress would have exercised its authority to do its constitutional duty, demanding accountability from the Administration and passing legislation that promotes fair, honest governance and protects the rule of law. Instead, House Republicans have worked to block for the President and distract attention from the real crises caused by the Administration.
Accountability is what has been missing under the Republicans, from examining the impact of the President’s almost daily threats to our democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law, to the questions regarding the fairness and thoroughness of the investigation surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh – the questions are not being asked and answers are not being demanded on behalf of the American people.
I could list any number of issues that have been ignored by the Republican Majority since President Trump took office, including the corruption that has permitted the President, his family and members of his Administration to reap personal financial benefits from industries they govern, all at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Whether it is the Justice Department’s decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act in court, a decision that could strip health care coverage from tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and cost them millions of dollars in additional health care costs, or the Administration’s policy to separate children from their parents, holding young boys and girls in cages without any plan for reuniting them with their families, or the systematic and concerted effort to chip away at voting rights, particularly amongst African American and Hispanic communities, or the President’s regular attacks on the Mueller investigation and his efforts to undermine law enforcement, the courts, and the justice system to suit his own purposes – all of these areas have been completely ignored by a Republican Congress unwilling to do its job for the people.
This is something we have to address, in the interest of the American people and for the health and future of our democracy.
This is our promise as Democrats – a Congress that works for the people.
A Congress that will lower your health costs and prescription drug prices; that will raise your wages with strong economic growth by rebuilding America; that will clean up corruption to make Washington work for you.
We need a Congress that will work for the people, that will hold those in power accountable, and that will make sure our laws serve the interests of everyone and not just the few. This is a historic moment for our country. The stakes are high, and they demand action.