Since his confirmation to the highest post at the Department of Justice (DOJ) early last year, Attorney General Bill Barr has been a frequent object of Democrats’ ire. Now, those on the left are turning words into actions.
According to the Washington Examiner, House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), announced on Tuesday a dozen new pieces of legislation to fund the federal government through 2021 — including several that put a target on Barr’s back.
A target on Barr’s back
According to the Examiner, the bills include provisions that would tie federal funding to new measures seeking to reign in Barr’s authority, including by preventing the attorney general “from using federal money to travel outside the Washington area.”
Barr would also be prohibited “from transferring department funding,” the Examiner reported, and the DOJ would lose $50,000 in funding previously allocated for what the Examiner described as “additional Attorney General reception and representation expenses.”
“While these provisions are intended to force Attorney General Barr to respond to congressional oversight, it would also limit his ability to travel abroad playing detective on Trump conspiracy theories,” Evan Hollander, a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, told the Examiner.
Hollander’s remark likely came in reference to the AG’s decision to travel to the United Kingdom and Italy as part of his investigation into alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the infamous Trump–Russia collusion probe.
“Seems like a bad idea”
Republicans, unsurprisingly, haven’t been happy with Dems’ latest requests. “Unfortunately, we are only on our first day of subcommittee markups, and I already have serious concerns about our path forward,” Texas Rep. Kay Granger (R) said of the proposed restrictions, as the Examiner reported. “These appropriations bills are full of controversial language and questionable funding priorities.”
Indeed, in addition to putting restrictions on the attorney general’s movements, Democrats are also trying to impose other funding conditions, including allowing undocumented immigrants to live in federally funded public housing — a move that is facing pushback from immigration advocates like the Center for Immigration Studies’ executive director, Mark Krikorian, as the Examiner notes.
“Apparently, giving taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to illegal aliens is part of the Democratic message,” Krikorian told the Examiner. “Seems like a bad idea.”
Other Democrat-designed provisions include reversing an attempt by the Trump administration to allow single-sex homeless shelters to exclude transgender individuals and halting federal money to military bases named after Confederate figures, the Examiner reported.
On at least that last point, however, President Donald Trump has made his stance clear: he’s not budging. “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,” Trump tweeted last month. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”
It seems a long road of negotiation is ahead — that is, if Dems are willing to come to the table.