Capitol Hill mourns another police death after Friday attack
Republicans call for baseball boycott as Georgia voting law fight intensifies
Another tragedy for police on Capitol Hill. Republicans denounce Major League Baseball after it punishes Georgia for election law changes. This is a special Saturday edition of “Regular Order” for April 3, 2021.
CAPITOL VIOLENCE. A quiet Good Friday suddenly became a painful one at the U.S. Capitol, when a vehicle struck two police officers at a security checkpoint. One of the officers, William “Billy” Evans, died from his injuries, as police shot the suspect to death. The suspect’s car hit the officers, and then crashed into existing security barriers at the Senate-side entrance leading to Capitol Plaza.
PELOSI. “At a time of such suffering, no words are adequate," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday night in a note to fellow lawmakers in Congress. "May the Good Friday assault on the Capitol intensify the imperative for the spirit of the Holy Season to be a source of renewal for you and your family."
SUICIDE BY COP? As I type this, we don’t know exactly why this happened. The motive remains unclear. But I do know that Capitol Police and the Secret Service here in D.C. have to deal with a lot of people who are having mental health issues. And sometimes those can result in violence. We saw that in 2013 when a Connecticut woman was shot and killed by police near the Capitol.
SECURITY. Republicans have bitterly condemned the temporary fencing which is still in place around the immediate Capitol grounds, labeling it “Fort Pelosi.” The Senate barricade where this incident occurred was upgraded many years ago, as photos show the suspect’s car was stopped by hardened vehicle barriers.
ALL-STAR GAME. The fight continues over election law changes made by Republicans in Georgia as the All-Star Game and MLB Draft are being yanked out of Atlanta. "Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," said Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.
GOP RETALIATION. When Delta opposed Georgia’s election changes, Republicans threatened to punish the airline in the state legislature. GOP lawmakers in Congress had the same reaction to baseball’s move. “Boycott the MLB,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA). Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said he would move to strip baseball’s anti-trust exemption.
DEMOCRATS. Sen. Jon Ossoff - who won in Georgia despite all sorts of GOP claims of election fraud in 2020 - denounced Republicans over the MLB move. "The leadership of Georgia's Republican Party is out of control," Ossoff in a statement about the All-Star Game decision. "Georgia is hemorrhaging business and jobs because of their disastrous new Jim Crow voting law."
SIDELINES. Democratic voting activist Stacey Abrams was more nuanced. "I respect boycotts, although I don't want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs," Abrams wrote in a statement. But she said the right answer is not silence about GOP efforts in Georgia and other states. "Our corporate community must get off the sidelines."
BIDEN. “The President has made his view clear that he believes, that he has major concerns about the bill passed in Georgia. He has consistently argued it should be easier and not harder to vote. And he believes that making it a criminal act to deliver water to people waiting in line is not making it easier,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday.
THE GEORGIA LAW. What did Georgia Republicans do that created such a controversy? Georgia Public Radio has a very good review. The New York Times has an in-depth review. This is not an argument about voter ID on absentee ballots. It’s a far, far larger matter than just that.
READ IT. Once again, here’s a link to the new Georgia election law.
MISINFORMATION. President Biden was wrong when he claimed the Georgia law 'ends voting hours early,' as Republicans have repeatedly pointed to that answer at a late March news conference. But, the bill does give less leeway to more urban areas, which typically have longer early in-person voting hours.
VOTER ID. Republicans emphasize this part a lot. The bill does strengthen ID requirements for voting absentee. But it’s nothing draconian.
OTHER DETAILS. The new law limits drop boxes. It bans mobile voting places. It blocks local elections officials from sending out absentee ballot *applications* to all voters.
POWER. This may be the biggest item. The new Georgia law lets the GOP legislature suspend county elections officials. It gives the legislature more power over the state election board. And it strips the Secretary of State - who dared to stand in the way of Donald Trump - of a vote on the election board.
EARLY VOTING. Georgia Republicans at first tried to get rid of Sunday early voting - which was seen as a direct attack on African-American voters - but that was dropped from the final version. Instead, the final law could expand early voting mainly in more rural areas.
FINALLY. One other notable item - this election law does not allow absentee / mail / early in-person votes to be tabulated before Election Day. That kind of early work is why Florida is all done by 10 pm on Election Night, while Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other states were counting for days, amid all sorts of unfounded GOP accusations about fraud.
WATERGAETZ. The top spokesman for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) resigned on Friday, after several days of increasingly crazy stories about the Florida Republican. Gaetz continues to claim he's the victim. "The extortion of my family by a former DOJ official is REAL," he tweeted.
RADIO SILENCE. If you watched Fox News, you wouldn't know that Gaetz was in any trouble. The Gaetz story suddenly disappeared on Fox News, in the aftermath of his mind-bending interview with Tucker Carlson early in the week. And GOP lawmakers are staying quiet about the Florida Republican as well.
RAP SHEET. A former Salt Lake City Police officer has been arrested for his role in the January 6 attack. "We stormed the Capitol, I am in here now!" he wrote. Here's a 16-count indictment involving five men charged in the attack. You can review many of the Capitol cases at this Justice Department website.
MUSE OF HISTORY. April 3, 1874. On this date in 1874, some Senators were aggravated to be working on Good Friday. Sen. Henry Anthony of Rhode Island - a newspaper man by trade - insisted on forcing the Senate to adjourn until after Easter. Others wanted to debate an important financial measure. "Let us give up Friday and meet here on Saturday," said Sen. Thomas Ferry of Michigan. The Senate voted 30-28 against adjourning, and continued with debate. But by 3:30 pm, things had changed, as the Senate adjourned, because of 'a large number of gentlemen in the Senate who have an engagement at four o'clock.' The Senate reconvened on Monday, after Easter.
The House meets on Monday. Next votes are expected April 13.
The Senate meets on Monday. Next votes are expected on April 12.
President Biden is at Camp David. Schedule link.
See the archive at http://jamiedupree.substack.com