This has been an action-packed week to say the least.
The House Committee on Financial Services, which Congressman Pittenger is on, had its semi-annual hearing with the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. I got to get in early to secure a seat so that I could watch the hearing and take notes. The line for the public to get in was at least 75 people long when I showed up. In the hearing, partisan differences were apparent in the types of questions the members were asking Yellen. Republicans questioned her on many matters including the use of the Dodd-Frank Act and the slowly improving economy. Democrats on the other hand praised Yellen for the job she has done since taking over in 2014.
Historically the economy has been one of the top issues that concern voters. Donald Trump, being a successful businessman, could use this to his advantage if voters feel insecure about our economy. So as we round the corner to the elections, watch how politicians will try to talk about the economy.
On Wednesday John Lewis and fellow Democrat representatives staged a sit-in on the house floor. I was giving a tour to a few constituents when the sit-in started, and found out that it was going on when we showed up to the House Chamber gallery and there was a three hour wait to get in. That’s when I knew something entertaining was going on in there. When I got back to the office, I helped answer the phone for a few hours. The phones rang off the hook and one caller even compared AR-15’s to weapons of mass destruction. Later I went back to the House Chamber with a fellow intern to see what was taking place. It was quite the political show that the Democrats were putting on during the recess. Nancy Pelosi brushed by me as she walked down to the floor. She announced that she wasn’t going to leave the sit-in “till hell freezes over.” However, the protest conveniently ended in time for all of those involved to fly back home for the extended recess.
It was cool to be here on the Hill while the sit-in was taking place, but it doesn’t feel like the sit-in will be remembered as a historic moment for gun reform. It seems more as if it’s just another example of political theater where politicians use emotions to fire people up, but don’t actually try to come up with any type of meaningful legislation that can become law. After all, why didn’t Democrats pass gun reform when they had a supermajority in 2009? Even three days ago Republican Senators put two bills on the floor for gun reform, but everyone stuck to party lines and those two bills, as well as the Democrats’ versions, failed to get the needed 60 votes.
What an exciting time to be in Washington.