The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

What you missed in politics over break

The past month and a half has been a busy time for politics from the local to the national level. (Photos courtesy of Lehigh Valley Ramblings, Associated Press, Getty, Consolidated News Photos and The Morning Call)

In the six weeks between the end of the fall semester and this week’s publication, the political world has seen some dramatic developments. Here is everything you need to know about politics, from Easton to the East Portico, that you may have missed over your busy break.

Classified documents galore

After hundreds of classified documents were found in Donald Trump’s Florida residence in August, Democrats were quick to condemn the breach in government protocol and endangerment of national security brought about by the Republican former president. Now scrutiny has turned toward President Joe Biden, a Democrat, who took dozens of classified documents from the Obama White House to his personal office and Delaware home after the end of his vice presidency in 2017. Biden’s attorneys have cooperated with the Justice Department’s investigation (which was handed over to a special counsel, like the investigation into Trump), but the drip-drip nature of the “Car-a-Lago” controversy – and the Biden administration’s hushed approach to it – has harmed the president’s trustworthy brand. The FBI searched Biden’s vacation house on Wednesday but found no additional documents. With several classified documents having also been found in Republican former Vice President Mike Pence’s home in mid-January, the National Archives has asked all former presidents and vice presidents to review their files for classified material.

McCarthy’s House

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) only gained the gavel after a dramatic 15-round voting showdown on the House floor, his speakership held up by 20 hard-right holdouts. McCarthy’s Republican objectors demanded – and received – several changes to House rules and influential committee assignments to mold the House’s agenda more in their political vision. One of McCarthy’s first actions as speaker was to remove two prominent Democratic congressmen from their perches on the Intelligence Committee, citing abuses of power. The speaker has similarly used his narrow majority to pass bills designed to chip away at the hiring of Internal Revenue Service agents and restrict abortion, Republican priorities considered dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate. With the government hitting its debt ceiling and McCarthy’s party hell-bent on blocking further elevations of borrowing limits without spending cuts, the House and the White House are set to tussle over the purse for the next few months with a possible default looming.

George Santos, storyteller

U.S. Representative George Santos was elected to Congress as a breath of fresh air for the Republican Party. After his election, however, it was revealed that the Republican from Long Island, N.Y. had lied about much of his life story – his Jewish heritage, his mother’s 9/11-related death and the entirety of his educational and professional background have all been shown to be fabrications. In the intervening month, Santos was found to have lied about being a star volleyball player and appearing on Disney Channel, in addition to revelations about his past as a drag queen. The congressman’s local Republican Party and several of his Republican House colleagues have called on him to resign amid a slew of investigations, but the fabulist has resolutely refused, opting instead to step down from his committee assignments on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania House hullabaloo

Democrats pulled an upset in November after taking the Pennsylvania House by a single seat, the first time the party has controlled the chamber in a dozen years. Three Democratic representatives-elect did not take their seats, however – two were concurrently elected to higher office and one died – putting into contention who held the majority. After separate contested swearings-in of the House majority leader by the two parties, Democrats and Republicans eventually joined forces to elect Mark Rozzi, a low-key, moderate Democrat, as speaker. Rozzi, who promised to wield the gavel as an independent, has been unable to govern through partisan gridlock, and deadlines for constitutional amendments to be put before voters were missed because of inter-party squabbling; the House will now stand in recess until late February when three special elections in safely Democratic districts are expected to cement the Democratic majority.

Closer to home

The Northampton County Council was unable to conduct any business at its meeting last month due to a lapse in its agenda being published; January’s agenda items were moved to a meeting held yesterday. The Easton City Council, meanwhile, has been busy approving new building projects and debating the expansion of parking meter hours; the parking meter vote has twice been delayed due to concerns from locals. Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr., who offered the most recent amendment to the parking ordinance, will be facing a challenger this November in Easton councilman Peter Melan; both men are Democrats.

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About the Contributor
Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.

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