CA Could Lose Congressional Seats if Supreme Court Changes Law to ‘One Citizen-One Vote’

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

While the immediate reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the “one-person, one vote case” has been liberals and minority groups saying “Oh, S***” and conservatives getting excited, the case is much more complicated than that. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of plaintiffs, it would affect two distinct (and often confused) processes. Most articles I’ve read have focused on the affect of district lines.

However, the (and perhaps most significant) effect would be on the apportionment of congressional seats among the states. As Paul Mitchell has pointed out, states with a greater percentage of undocumented immigrants or documented non-citizen residents or even more kids (California, Texas) would lose congressional seats–since they are not considered in the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP).

Let’s pause on the last factor. While most of the commentary has been about undocumented residents, those under 18 would also no longer count. California has the third highest percentage of residents under 18, behind DC and Utah. And, of course, DC doesn’t get House seats. Shouldn’t our kids count when education funding is being decided in Washington?

Then there is the impact on redistricting, which could create a couple of additional Republican districts in California.

For California Republicans and Democrats alike, it’s in the state’s interest on the apportionment issue. The last thing the state could afford is to get bogged down on intra-state partisan district line-drawing while our influence in the House of Representatives is ceded to smaller, less diverse states. It would be bad for our technology and film industries, as well as our ability to influence federal funding formulas that determine how much of our tax dollars come back to the Golden State.

Let’s think about the implications before we drink our Kool-Aid and jump into our partisan corners.

Scott Lay is a Higher education Lobbyist and Publisher of The Nooner

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Kamala Harris raises $2.5 million for California Senate bid

As reported by the Associated Press:

Democrat Kamala Harris has raised $2.5 million since mid-January for her U.S. Senate run in California, giving her an early financial edge in the 2016 contest, her campaign announced Monday.

Competitive races are costly, and analysts predict Harris could need $30 million or more by Election Day next year. She is the only major Democrat in the race so far, although potential contenders include several members of Congress.

Harris banked “a lot of money, but it costs a lot of money to run statewide in California,” said Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney.

Click here to read the full story

Kevin McCarthy: Bipartisan effort needed to deal with drought

The current drought in California is devastating. The order from the governor should not only alarm Californians, but the entire nation should take notice that the most productive agriculture state in the country has entered uncharted territory. We have experienced extreme drought conditions in years past but thanks to the most sophisticated water system in the country that captured and stored water during the wet years for use during the dry years, our communities and farmers survived.‎ Unfortunately, state officials have turned their back on this proven infrastructure system.

The order is the culmination of failed federal and state policies that have exacerbated the current drought into a man-made water crisis. Sacramento and Washington have chosen to put the well-being of fish above the well-being of people by refusing to capture millions of acre-feet of water during wet years for use during dry years.

These policies imposed on us now, and during wet seasons of the past, are leaving our families, businesses, communities, and state high and dry. These rules and regulations must be changed.

My House colleagues and I have acted aggressively to enact legislation that would have helped protect us from the current situation. In 2011, and again in early 2014, the House passed comprehensive water legislation to increase the amount of water we could capture and store. Unfortunately, the Obama and Brown Administrations and Senators Boxer and Feinstein opposed these proposals. As the drought continued to worsen, the House passed emergency drought legislation in December of 2014 to allow us to capture storm and rainwater from early season storms. That too was blocked by the Senate.

I’m from the Central Valley and we know that we cannot conserve or ration our way out of this drought. It is time for action, and House Republicans are developing another legislative proposal to help put California water policy back on the path to commonsense. Given the announcement, this time I hope Governor Brown, Senator Boxer, and Senator Feinstein will join my colleagues and me in this effort.

Kevin McCarthy is the Majority Leader, United States Congress

Originally published on Fox and Hounds Daily

CARTOON: Obama Deflated

Obama deflate

Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

CARTOON: Crash Test Dummy

State of the Union

 

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Boxer Exit Begins CA Youth Shift in Congress

Girls may run the world, as in the Beyonce song, but women run California’s congressional delegation. More specifically, older Democratic women — but that could change soon.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement announcement earlier this month kicks off a major demographic shift in California’s congressional delegation, as aging Democratic women move closer to retirement. Democratic women are the oldest group in California’s congressional delegation from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

California’s Congressional Delegation: Democratic women oldest group

The 104 women in the 114th Congress make up 19 percent of the members. In California, that percentage doubles — with women claiming 21 of 55 slots, or 38 percent.

Those numbers don’t tell the full story. There’s only one Republican woman from California in Congress, Rep. Mimi Walters of Orange County. Twenty Democratic women represent California in Washington, D.C. — near parity with their 21 Democratic male counterparts. Yet that parity is likely in jeopardy due to one factor: age.

At 81 years old, Dianne Feinstein is the oldest member of the United States Senate. She isn’t alone. Of the 15 members of California’s congressional delegation that are 68 years old or older, Democratic women take up 11 slots. The average age of California’s representatives in the 114th Congress, including both U.S. Senators, is 59 years old. For Democratic women, that figure jumps nearly a decade to 67 years old.

Even when you exclude Boxer and Feinstein from the tally and just go with House members, Democrats from California bring up the average age of the delegation. Five of the six oldest members of California’s congressional delegation are Democratic women:

  • Rep Grace Napolitano of El Monte, age 78;
  • Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, age 77;
  • Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, age 76;
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, age 74;
  • Lucille Roybal-Allard of Commerce, age 73.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, another 73-year-old California Democrat, is a few months older than Roybal-Allard.

year of the woman

1992 Year of the Woman

Many of California’s Democratic women first claimed a spot in Congress in 1992’s “Year of the Woman.” While the history books highlight the record number of women elected to the U.S. Senate, California also sent Lynn Schenk, Jane Harman, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Anna Eshoo and Lynn Woolsey to the House of Representatives.

Robin Swanson, a California political strategist who has worked for the state’s top Democratic politicians, is optimistic that California is ready for another wave of women.

“We’re long overdue for another Year of the Woman,” she said.

More Democratic retirements around the corner

The remaining members of the class of 1992 are now among the oldest members of Congress and are, obviously, more likely to retire.

When asked about a possible retirement in 2016, Napolitano’s office was unambiguous. “Congresswoman Napolitano is not retiring,” said Jerry O’Donnell, her press secretary. “She plans to run for re-election.”  Despite her advancing years, Napolitano isn’t slowing down. Last week, she reintroduced H.R. 291, “W21: Water in the 21st Century,” a plan to provide “new incentives and investments to help local water agencies, residents and businesses to conserve, recycle and manage limited water supplies.”

A spokesperson for Capps was less emphatic, saying it was still too early to know whether the eight-term Central Coast congresswoman would call it quits this term.

“It’s been less than two weeks since the 114th Congress began, so her focus isn’t on 2016 yet,” said Capps’ spokesperson Chris Meagher. Her focus is “on representing the people of the Central Coast and fighting for the issues they care about.”

Intra-party challengers not waiting for retirements

Even if Capps and Napolitano decide to seek reelection, they could face upstart intra-party challengers —  thanks to California’s Top Two primary system. Older House Democrats have faced spirited challengers from younger politicians in the last two election cycles.

In 2012, then 80-year-old Rep. Pete Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat and 31-year-old challenger Eric Swalwell. Last November, Ro Khanna came within a few points of knocking off 73-year-old Rep. Mike Honda.

Age was a clear factor in both races, where the younger challengers portrayed the seasoned veterans as out-of-touch, especially on technological issues. Honda, according to emails obtained by San Jose Inside, needed his government staff’s help to “set up his personal Netflix account.”

In 2016, state-level politicians eager to move up California’s political food chain could get impatient, knowing un-elected Democratic challengers, such as Swalwell and Khanna, have cut in line.

Shift in Congressional demographics: 113th to 114th Congress

The 113th Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service:

  • An overwhelming majority of Members of Congress with a college education.
  • The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business and law.
  • Most Members identify as Christians, and Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation.
  • Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented.

In the 114th Congress, according to The Hill:

  • There is a record number of female lawmakers at 104, alongside 430 men, following the departure of former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).
  • Lawmakers have an average age of 57. The Senate is older than the House, with an average age of 61 to the lower chamber’s 57.
  • Democrats on average are older than Republicans in both chambers, at 62 to 60 in the Senate and 59 to 54 in the House.

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

CARTOON: Red Senate


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Red State cartoon

Cromnibus Spending Bill

cromnibus cartoon

RJ Matson, Roll Call

GOP Can’t Find Bridge For Troubled Water Bill

The fate of a bipartisan drought bill passed Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives is as cloudy as California skies in recent days. The bill was crafted by GOP congressmen with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., although she opposed the final version.

But even if the bill didn’t face certain drowning in the U.S. Senate, President Obama has pledged to veto it. So drought relief floats into 2015, when Republicans will add to their control of the House the control of the Senate.

What happened? Acrimony between Democrats and Republicans in the House poisoned the well in the Senate. Every California Democrat in the House whose district includes parts of the Delta region voted to reject the bill. As the Sacramento Bee reported, “These Democrats say they were cut out from the negotiations. At one point, Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said House Republicans refused to brief California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer when she insisted on inviting House Democrats.”

Behind closed doors earlier this year, Feinstein secretly had carried out painstaking negotiations with California’s Republican delegation to the House of Representatives. Last month, Democrats and environmental activists pushed Feinstein to abandon her own water bill.

Last-minute labors

Despite the problems in the Senate and over the  objections of environmentalists, California Republicans introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. It was sponsored by Rep. David Valadao of Hanford, who was joined by Rep. Doug LaMalfa of Redding, Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. McCarthy has made the bill a top priority as the 2014 legislative session hastened to a close.

The bill cleared the minimum bar for bipartisanship by including Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, among its co-sponsors.

But Feinstein’s troubles with Democrats drowned out bipartisanship. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has forcefully condemned the new bill. According to KPCC:

“LaMalfa says the legislation reflects agreements on particular issues they reached with Senator Feinstein.

“‘Some of our other Senators are standing in the way of that,’ says LaMalfa, a reference to Boxer, who heads the Senate environment committee.”

But Feinstein will be expected by Democrats to use her power in the Senate to sink the House bill — even though it includes language from the draft legislation she negotiated with the California Republicans in the first place.

Hoping to navigate the controversy without further embarrassment, Feinstein was restrained in her comments. “It’s my hope that we’ll reach agreement on legislation that can pass both the House and the Senate and enact a bill that moves water to Californians suffering from the drought and helps all of the state while not waiving environmental protections,” she said, according to the Bee.

As the San Francisco Chronicle observed, however, Feinstein made clear she favored acting quickly because of her diminished clout in next year’s Congress, when Democrats switch from majority to minority status.

Remarkably, Sen. Boxer had co-sponsored with Feinstein the Senate bill that became the basis of Feinstein’s negotiations with California’s House Republicans. But environmentalists and other liberal activists will find it harder to criticize Feinstein or Boxer as their legislative influence fades.

Troubled waters

For Republicans, that has put drought relief on the agenda for 2015.

Obama likely will be inclined to veto a bill next year as well. But he will face an emboldened Republican majority and a weakened delegation of California Democrats.

He also will have much on his agenda in other areas over which to battle Republicans: the budget, taxes, immigration, wars and crime.

As President Clinton  showed when Republicans took control of Congress in 1995, sometimes it’s easier for a president to cut deals with the other party when it’s in the majority, than to deal with intramural struggles within his own party.

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles from Washington, despite the recent rains, California still needs drought relief.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Santa Cromnibus

santa cromnibus

 

Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch