On January 3 the new Democratic majority in the House was sworn in.
President Donald Trump has begun facing an intensified level of scrutiny in the new year because Democratic House committee chairs, led by prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are poised to “comb through every corner of his administration, subpoena his Cabinet and investigate” Trump’s personal finances, associates and business interests.
The changing of House leadership will mark the first time Trump will sit at a clear disadvantage as he continues to try and build a wall on the southern border and push through other parts of his divisive policy.
“Democrats should not give an inch,” former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said.
Further, “Democrats can’t negotiate with Trump on the shutdown because he’s mentally incapacitated,” said former Democratic National Chair Howard Dean.
Legislation to end the shutdown will include the full-year appropriations for six of the seven outstanding funding bills and stop-gap funding until Feb. 8 for the Department of Homeland Security, which is where the fight over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding is contained.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House took up a bill to reopen government as the first order of business.
According to reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will only put a bill on the floor if President Trump will support and sign it.
McConnell didn’t respond to messages left by press time.
The Senate previously passed a bill to keep the government open without the president’s wall funding before Trump changed his mind and decided not to sign it, according to NPR.
The outgoing Republican House majority passed a bill with Trump’s wall funds that was not passed by the Senate, where Democratic votes are necessary for such legislation. Now, that Democrats are taking over as House majority, Trump’s battles are about to worsen.
There are now five Democratic chairs that figure to send Trump into more of his infamous tweet storms. Among them is Maxine Waters, who has spoken outwardly of impeaching the 45th president.
She now runs the Financial Services Committee, which will give her an avenue to probe the finances of Trump and the Trump Organization.
Waters has lashed out at Trump over his controversial immigration policy, which led to the separation of families at the border, including infants being taken away from their mothers.
She’s also pressed for an investigation into Deutsche Bank, a lender to Trump that was separately implicated in a Russian money laundering operation in 2017 and Waters has pushed the Treasury Department to divulge financial ties between Russia and the Trump family.
The jurisdiction of Waters’ committee makes it likely she’ll clash with Trump in a way that particularly hits home for him: his finances.
Also, Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, now has perhaps the broadest authority to investigate Trump and his administration as the new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
On Wednesday, Cummings announced the name change of the committee to the Committee on Oversight and Reform (COR).
“I am pleased that the House of Representatives will be changing the name of our Committee to better reflect our true jurisdiction, which covers both government and the private sector,” said Cummings. “In the upcoming session of Congress, we will investigate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump Administration, and we will also examine many other issues that affect the American people every day, such as the escalating prices of prescription drugs that are negatively impacting families across the country and the opioid crisis that is devastating our communities. I am also heartened that our new acronym will now reflect the fact that oversight is one of Congress’ core responsibilities under the Constitution.”
Recently, Cummings spoke of Trump’s ever-secret tax filings that the president still hasn’t divulged.
“I think there’s a lot of information in them that would be of interest to my committee. For example, we’d like to know exactly what has been the sources of income for this president,” Cummings told CNN.
“He’s made all kinds of claims that he doesn’t have relationships with Russia. He told us he didn’t have any relationships with Russia, and we’ve come to find out that’s not accurate. So there’ve been a lot of allegations, but I think the tax returns where he has to swear that the information is accurate, that would tell us a lot,” Cummings said.
The longtime congressman has asked the administration to comply with letters he sent out recently by January 11. The letters ranged from questions about Cabinet secretary travel to immigration to security clearances to hurricane recovery efforts by the administration.
But Cummings has also warned that he doesn’t want his committee to only zero in on Trump’s perceived failings.
“I believe that what we do in this Congress over the next year or so will have impact for the next 50 to 100 years,” he said.
“We’re going to cautiously go about with subpoenas. There would have to be something that has a compelling interest to the citizens of the United States and would have to be something that comes under our jurisdiction. So there’s certain criteria that has to be met. I do not expect to be issuing subpoenas, even the 64 that we’ve asked for because there are so many things that are backed up. And we’ll never get a chance to do everything.”