New York progressives heckle Santos, argue with Greene on Capitol steps

Progressive Democrats from New York heckled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) as he spoke to reporters on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, yelling at the embattled lawmaker to resign and telling Republicans to punt him from Congress.

Earlier in the day, House lawmakers pushed the question of whether Santos, who is facing federal charges, should be expelled from the chamber to the House Ethics Committee, which has already been investigating Santos since March amid mounting questions about his background and finances. The panel is looking into whether he engaged in unlawful activity during his 2022 campaign and failed to properly disclose information to the House.

Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) interrupted Santos’s press scrum with shouts about how Santos needs to leave Congress.

“Kick him out! He’s gotta go!” Bowman shouted. “Resign! Save yourself! Have some dignity!”

Ocasio-Cortez told Santos “you gotta go, you gotta give it up.”

“New Yorkers need better!” Bowman yelled.

Santos acknowledged the lawmakers, telling reporters “if I could understand you over my colleague screaming here.”

“I can’t continue to address you guys because there’s a deranged member here, so I’m gonna walk,” Santos said.

Bowman then got into an animated conversation with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), telling the Republican her “party’s hanging by a thread.”

“You gotta save the party,” Bowman said. “No more QAnon, no more MAGA, no more debt ceiling nonsense.”

As Bowman spoke, Greene started to chant “impeach Biden.” When Bowman told her to “do something about guns,” Greene shot back: “right, so close the border.”

The interactions between the lawmakers came after Santos continued to defend himself amid ongoing investigations, saying “there’s a process in this country, everybody is innocent until proven guilty.”

“You cannot behave as judge and jury in this procedure,” Santos said.

Squad members alone in calls to impeach Clarence Thomas after bombshell report

Three members of "The Squad" have renewed calls for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be impeached following a bombshell report on his relationship with a major Republican donor, however their Democratic colleagues have so far called for lesser measures.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — all members of the progressive “Squad” — have called for Thomas to be impeached following revelations that he received lavish gifts and trips from a Republican billionaire donor over the course of his career on the court. 

The ProPublica report that exposed the alleged gifts sparked outrage from Democrats, but the trio of progressive House Democrats have so far been alone in calls for his impeachment.

“This is beyond party or partisanship,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter last week. “This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached.”

“I've said it before and I'll say it again: Clarence Thomas needs to be impeached,” Omar said on Twitter on the same day.

Tlaib noted public confidence in the court was at “an all time low” and blasted Thomas for accepting" luxury trips from a billionaire mega-donor while doing the bidding of right-wing extremists from the bench.”

“Thomas must be impeached and SCOTUS needs a binding code of ethics,” Tlaib said on Twitter.

Thomas has defended his actions, saying he was advised early in his tenure on the court that he did not have to report trips from "close personal friends."

"I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines,” Thomas added.

While those House progressives have called for Thomas to be impeached, other Democrats have backed a probe into Thomas and efforts to create an enforceable code of conduct.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the top lawmaker on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his panel would act on the allegations laid out in the report.

“The highest court in the land shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards,” Durbin said in a statement last week. “Today’s report demonstrates, yet again, that Supreme Court Justices must be held to an enforceable code of conduct… the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”

A group of 16 congressional Democrats, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), sent a letter to Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts urging him to launch an investigation into the claims against Thomas.

“We believe that it is your duty as Chief Justice ‘to safeguard public faith in the judiciary,’ and that fulfilling that duty requires swift, thorough, independent and transparent investigation into these allegations,” the letter reads.

Ocasio-Cortez calls for Thomas impeachment after report of undisclosed gifts from GOP donor

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is calling for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be impeached following a report that he accepted luxurious gifts from a billionaire Republican donor for decades.

For years, Thomas took luxury trips and outings on yachts and private jets owned by Dallas businessman Harlan Crow, according to an investigation by ProPublica. Thomas did not disclose the travel, the investigation found. Crow has donated lavishly to Republican candidates.

Ocasio-Cortez blasted the alleged actions as an “almost cartoonish” level of corruption.

“This is beyond party or partisanship,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. “This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached.”

The New York congresswoman also said the report of Thomas’s alleged misconduct reflects negatively on Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. 

“Barring some dramatic change, this is what the Roberts court will be known for: rank corruption, erosion of democracy, and the stripping of human rights,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

Ocasio-Cortez is not the only Democratic lawmaker to blast Thomas after the report was released. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said the news called for an independent investigation.

“This cries out for the kind of independent investigation that the Supreme Court — and only the Supreme Court, across the entire government— refuses to perform,” Whitehouse said on Twitter.

Crow in a statement did not deny the allegations that Thomas had accepted such trips from him over the years, but he said the Supreme Court justice never asked for the gifts.

“The hospitality we have extended to the Thomas’s over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends,” Crow said in a statement. “Justice Thomas and Ginni never asked for any of this hospitality,” referring to the justice's wife, Ginni Thomas.

Raskin says he is halfway through his cancer treatment

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) is halfway through his treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with late last year, he said.

“I'm midway through my treatments here,” Raskin said in a video to supporters who signed a note to him through the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “I've done three of six rounds of chemotherapy, and you guys have completely bolstered my courage and my confidence.”

Raskin announced his diagnosis in December, saying his illness was a “serious but curable form of cancer.”

“Prognosis for most people in my situation is excellent after four months of treatment,” Raskin said in the December statement.

Raskin has continued to work throughout his treatment, and has recently started to don a bandana due to the hair loss from his cancer treatment. Raskin thanked supporters for sending him new headwear.

“I've got my own constitutional preamble bandana,” Raskin said in the video. “I've got flag hats. I've got people's own chemo hats that worked for them, from a place called Alex's Lemonade Stand. I got some bandanas. So my cup runneth over. And of course, a bunch of people sent me my own true blue Democrat mask.”

Raskin has most recently been at the forefront as the lead impeachment manager in former President Trump’s second impeachment and for his role on the House committee that was investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. 

“Thank you for everything you said about the Jan. 6 committee, thank you for everything you said about the impeachment trial,” Raskin finished. “Thank you for everything you said about us hanging tough for democracy and freedom against all the autocrats and all the theocrats and all the plutocrats of the world, from Putin and Moscow to Trump in Mar-a-Lago, all over the world.”

Texas Republican on possible Mayorkas impeachment vote: ‘I will see where the hearings take us’

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) was noncommittal on how he plans to vote in possible impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying on Sunday that he will “see where the hearings take us.”

“If the hearings take us down that line [of voting for his impeachment], then hearings take us down that line,” Gonzales said on "Fox News Sunday."

“But I’m waiting to see all the facts come out,” he added.

Mayorkas has consistently been the target of Republican scrutiny over his handling of immigration at the southern border.

Texas Rep. Pat Fallon (R) filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in the House last week, after conservatives frequently promised such a move on the campaign trail leading up to the 2022 midterms.

But after the fast-tracked filing of impeachment papers against the DHS secretary, some GOP House members are divided over how to handle the proceedings. Some Republicans think the pace of the impeachment process needs to be slowed to allow the gathering of information and evidence.

“We need to have hearings on this and we need to gather evidence and facts and, look, do I think the guy has done a terrible job? Yes,“ Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Hill last week. “Do I think he’s been derelict in his responsibilities? Yes. But we need to get all this together, and do it in a methodical way.”

Particularly in border states, Mayorkas has been the face of what Republican lawmakers have characterized as the Biden administration’s failures at the southern border. The GOP floated the ability to conduct oversight of the administration as a main peg for why they deserved to retake control of the House.

A majority vote in the House would be required for Mayorkas to be impeached. A two-thirds vote of the Senate would be needed for conviction — essentially a non-starter as Democrats hold a slim majority in the chamber.

New Congress: Here’s who’s heading the various House Committees

Republican leaders in the House unveiled their picks for who will head committees in the chamber, handing out key assignments that will control important legislative vessels over the next two years.

Democrats also named lawmakers who will serve as ranking members of the committees. Here is the landscape of the 118th Congress.

House Committee on Agriculture Chair: Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.)

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) (AP Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) who previously served as chair.

The Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over federal agricultural policies and retains oversight duty of a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture. Thompson, who has been in office since 2009, previously served as the ranking member on the committee in the last Congress. 

House Committee on Appropriations Chair: Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) (AP Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

One of the most powerful panels in Congress, the Appropriations Committee allocates federal funds to government agencies and regulated federal expenditures. Longtime lawmaker Granger, who has been in the House since 1997, was the first Republican woman to sit on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations. She is a fiscal conservative who was previously the committee’s ranking member.

House Armed Services Committee Chair: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)

Rep. Michael D. Rogers (R-Ala.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 to discuss holding the Biden administration accountable for the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) (Greg Nash)

Ranking Member: Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.)

The Armed Services Committee oversees and funds the Department of Defense and U.S. Armed Forces. It is annually responsible for the National Defense Authorization Act, which lays out the budget for Defense. Rogers made news last week for supposedly lunging at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) during a rift over the Speaker's vote. The incident was captured by CSPAN cameras.

House Budget Committee Chair: Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas)

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

The Budget Committee has oversight over the federal budget process. Its most important act each year is the drafting of the budget resolution that sets the level of revenue and spending that is expected in a fiscal year. Arrington has made clear his wishes to address the national debt during his Congressional tenure. Republicans reached a deal during the Speaker election to set government discretionary spending levels for fiscal year 2024 to 2022 levels.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chair: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Bobby Scott (R-Va.)

The Education and the Workforce Committee (formerly the Education and Labor Committee before a Republican rebrand this year) oversees federal education and workforce programs in the U.S. Foxx has already served as chair of the committee for three terms, but was granted a waiver by Republican leadership to lead it again. House GOP rules allow members to serve only three consecutive terms as the head of a panel. 

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) asks questions of Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the department on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)

The Energy and Commerce Committee has oversight of a broad swath of issues, including telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, energy supply and delivery and foreign and domestic commerce. McMorris Rodgers, who has been in Congress since 2005, is the former chair of the House Republican Conference. McMorris Rodgers has long been a proponent of domestic energy production.

House Financial Services Committee Chair: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.)

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Maxine Water (D-Calif.)

The Financial Services Committee is tasked with the oversight of the financial services industry, including the Federal Reserve, the Department of Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. McHenry was the committee’s ranking member in the last Congress and supported a Trump-era policy that stated payday lenders would not have to check whether borrowers could afford to repay high-interest loans.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chair: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) asks questions of Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget request for the State Department on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)

The Foreign Affairs Committee has broad jurisdiction to oversee legislation and investigations that concern U.S. foreign policy. It also oversees the Department of State. McCaul has been a strong proponent of American support to Ukraine during its war with Russia. He was previously the ranking member on the committee.

House Committee on Homeland Security Chair: Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.)

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) (AP Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)

The Homeland Security Committee has jurisdiction over legislation related to the security of the U.S. and oversees the Department of Homeland Security. The committee is slated to play an aggressive role in addressing the migration surge at the southern border, and there are plans to bring Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in to testify. Mayorkas has already had articles of impeachment filed against him in the 118th Congress. Green is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of hardline conservatives. 

House Committee on the Judiciary Chair: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Jerry Nadler (R-N.Y.)

The Judiciary Committee oversees federal courts and issues of justice within federal agencies and law enforcement. Jordan is also a Freedom Caucus and is a fiery conservative who has made headlines in his questioning of witnesses on various Congressional committees. He is a close ally and supporter of former President Trump. 

House Committee on Natural Resources Chair: Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

Photo of Bruce Westerman
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

The Natural Resources Committee considers legislation related to energy production, mining, fisheries, wildlife, public lands and Native Americans. Wetserman, in Congress since 2015, holds a master’s degree in forestry from Yale. 

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chair: Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.)

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.)
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)

The Oversight and Accountability Committee is the main investigative body in the House. As chair, Comer will be able to unilaterally issue subpoenas. Republicans have promised aggressive oversight of the Biden administration, inducing federal agencies. 

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chair: Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok.)

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) delivers his opening remarks during a Conference Committee meeting to discuss H.R. 4521, bipartisan innovation and competition legislation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok.) (Anna Rose Layden Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)

The Science, Space and Technology Committee has jurisdiction over federal scientific research and development that does not include defense. It includes oversight of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Lucas was previously the ranking member of the committee. He has said he wants to fortify American leadership in space exploration and turning back threats from China.

House Committee on Small Business Chair: Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas)

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) (AP Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.)

The Small Business Committee oversees the Small Business Administration and its programs and provides assistance to small businesses. Williams, who has been in Congress since 2013, was a car dealer before moving to politics. 

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair: Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wa.)

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation in the U.S., including roads, highways, dams, skies and railroads. Graves is a pilot and is known as a strong proponent of private pilots.

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chair: Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.)

Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.)
Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)

The Veterans’ Affairs Committee oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs and reviews legislation concerning military veterans. Bost is a Marine veteran and a former firefighter. He was previously the ranking member of the committee and has said he wants to ensure that veterans get access to the care and services they need in a timely manner.

House Committee on Ways and Means Chair: Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.)

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) (Julia Nikhinson Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.)

The Ways and Means Committee is one of the most powerful in Congress, as it is the chief tax-writing panel. It has jurisdiction over all taxation matters and programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Smith is a close ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and had a role in writing the Trump-era overhaul of the federal tax code.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair: Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio)

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) (Greg Nash Photo)

Ranking Member: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)

The Intelligence Committee is a permanent select committee that is charged with oversight of the U.S. intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Turned is expected to be the next chair of the committee. He was involved in the 2019 investigation that looked into whether former President Trump improperly withheld aid to Ukraine.

Who is House Clerk Cheryl Johnson overseeing Speaker vote?

House Clerk Cheryl Johnson has taken center stage amid the disarray of Republicans trying to choose the next Speaker, attempting to keep order in the Speakerless chamber.

Because the chamber can’t seat members without a new Speaker elected, Johnson, who has been House clerk since 2019, is presiding over the House, without her usual duties of delivering messages to the Senate and certifying the passage of bills.

However, the House also has not passed rules for this session, giving her few guidelines for enforcing order amid the chaos.

Johnson is a native of New Orleans and earned a law degree from Howard University after receiving an undergraduate degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She worked for the Smithsonian for a decade, as its director of government relations, before becoming House clerk.

Johnson, who is the fourth woman and second Black person to hold the role, has presided over six rounds of voting for House Speaker so far and has had to intervene in speeches from members on the floor to keep control of a chamber in the middle of inter- and intraparty battles.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who is the Democratic leader in the House and has had the most votes for Speaker in every round of voting, praised Johnson at a press conference on Thursday.

“I think Cheryl Johnson, who is a historic figure in her own right, is doing a very good job under difficult circumstances,” Jeffries said.

But the Speakership chaos is not the first turmoil that Johnson has seen in her short stint as House clerk. Since assuming the position in 2019, Johnson has witnessed two different impeachment proceedings and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. 

The position of House clerk is elected every two years at the start of a new Congress. Each party nominates a clerk after a Speaker is elected.