U.S. HOUSE IMPEACHED TRUMP OVER CAPITOL RIOTS
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, for a second time, for the single charge of "incitement of insurrection". The vote was 232-197, with ten Republicans joining Democrats who said Trump needed to be held accountable. Trump was impeached in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine but acquitted by the Senate in 2020.
The impeachment proceedings came one week after a violent mob breached the U.S. Capitol sending lawmakers into hiding and lockdown. This action caused a several hour delay in the certification of the electoral college votes, which was the last step in finalizing Biden's victory. The House first attempted to push Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to intervene and invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office. Pence made it clear that he would not do so.
Hundreds of National Guard troops were called into Washington ahead of the impeachment and inauguration to reinforce security at the Capitol. There have been threats of more trouble from protestors around the nation's 50 state capitols as well as D.C.
Actual removal seems unlikely before the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not agree to bring the chamber back from recess for an emergency session for impeachment trial, ensuring that a Senate trial would not begin at least until January 19, the day before Biden's inauguration. McConnell has not ruled out voting to convict Trump in the event of a trial and has not made a final decision on how he would vote.
Following the impeachment vote, Trump condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol last week. Earlier in the day Trump released a statement urging his supporters to remain peaceful and saying there must be No violence, No lawbreaking and No vandalism of any kind. He called on all Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers as the country prepares for Biden's swearing in.
Trump is the first President to be impeached twice.
MEMBERS OF OHIO'S 134th GENERAL ASSEMBLY TAKE OATHS OF OFFICE
The Senate and House kicked off the 134th General Assembly in an opening session unlike
those in recent years. COVID-19 protocols dampened the traditional ceremonies. Senate
Republicans will enjoy a 25-8 seat advantage this session, while House Republicans stand at
a 65-35 seat majority. Leadership teams for both caucus's were chosen without objection.
Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp indicated the priorities for
their respective caucuses will be finalized after upcoming scheduled retreats.
An interesting note that the two top leaders in the General Assembly represent districts located
in the northwest part of the state and both reside
in Lima, Ohio.
PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS $900 BILLION STIMULUS BILL
H.R. 133, an Act that provides $900 billion in pandemic-related stimulus and averted a federal government shut down by making appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021 was signed into law. The $2.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed both chambers of Congress with overwhelming support. The President delayed signing the bill, describing it as wasteful spending and urged members of Congress to consider increasing the $600 payment checks from $600 to $2,000. During the President's signing statement, in addition to the request to increase the stimulus checks, he also urged the Senate to repeal Section 230, a federal law that provides liability protection to internet companies and to start an investigation into voter fraud.
The House moved quickly to pass a measure to increase COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000. The legislation passed, one day after the President signed the bill with a 275-134 vote. The GOP-controlled Senate is a different story. They refused to bring the matter to the floor; therefore, stimulus payment checks remain at $600.
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