Understanding Why President Trump Has Not Received Legislative Action From Congress…

There are many new commentators at CTH, and even more new people taking notice of politics for perhaps the first time in their lives.   There is also some confusion noticed between two distinct groups who appear to be talking above and around each other.  Two groups trying to communicate from two entirely divergent sets of understanding.

Perhaps it is valuable to reset the larger frames of reference and provide clarity.

Many, heck, most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past.

There is not a single congress person who writes legislation or laws.

In 2017 not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct.  This simply doesn’t happen.

Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body.  Here’s how it works.

Outside groups often called “special interest groups” are entities that represent their interests in legislative constructs.  These groups are often corporations, banks, financial groups or businesses; or smaller groups of people with a similar business connection who come together and form a larger group under an umbrella of interest specific to their like-minded affiliation.

Sometimes the groups are social interest groups; activists like climate groups, environmental interests etc.   The social interest groups are usually non-profit constructs who depend on the expenditures of government to sustain their cause or need.

The for-profit groups (mostly business) have a purpose in Washington DC to shape policy, legislation and laws favorable to their interests.   They have fully staffed offices just like any business would – only their business is getting legislation for their unique interests.

These groups are filled with highly-paid lawyers who represent the interests of the entity and actually write laws and legislation briefs.  In the modern era this is actually the origination of the laws that we eventually see passed by congress.  Within the walls of these buildings within Washington DC is where the ‘sausage’ is actually made.

Again, no elected official is usually part of this law origination process.

Once the corporation or representative organizational entity has written the law they want to see passed they hand it off to the lobbyists.  The lobbyists are people who have deep contacts within the political bodies of the legislative branch, usually former House/Senate staff or former House/Senate politicians themselves.

The lobbyist takes the written brief, the legislative construct, and it’s their job to go to congress and sell it.

“Selling it” means finding politicians who will accept the brief, sponsor their bill and eventually get it to a vote and passage.   The lobbyist does this by visiting the politician in their office, or, most currently familiar, by inviting the politician to an event they are hosting.  The event is called a junket when it involves travel.

Often the lobbying “event” might be a weekend trip to a ski resort, or a “conference” that takes place at a resort.  The actual sales pitch for the bill is usually not too long and the majority of the time is just like a mini vacation etc.

The size of the indulgences within the event, the amount of money the lobbyist is spending, is customarily related to the scale of the bill the sponsoring business entity needs to get support for.   If the sponsoring business or interest group can gain a lot of financial benefit for the legislation they spend a lot on the indulgences.

Recap:  Corporations (special interest group) writes the law.  Lobbyists take the law and go find politician(s) to support it.  Politicians get support from their peers using tenure and status etc.  Eventually, if things go according to norm, the legislation gets a vote.

Within every step of the process there are expense account lunches, dinners, trips, venue tickets and a host of other customary way-points to generate/leverage a successful outcome.

But the important part to remember is that the origination of the entire system is EXTERNAL to congress.

Congress does not write laws or legislation, special interest groups do.  Lobbyists are paid, some very well paid, to get politicians to go along with the need of the legislative group.

When you are voting for a Congressional Rep or a U.S. Senator you are not voting for a person who will write laws.  Your rep only votes on legislation to approve or disapprove of constructs that are written by outside groups and sold to them through lobbyists who work for those outside groups.

While all of this is happening the same outside groups who write the laws are providing money for the campaigns of the politicians they need to pass them.  This construct sets up the quid-pro-quo of influence, although much of it is fraught with plausible deniability.

This is the way legislation is created.

If your frame of reference is not established in this basic understanding you can often fall into the trap of viewing a politician, or political vote, through a false prism.  The modern origin of all legislative constructs is not within congress.

“we’ll have to pass the bill to, well, find out what is in the bill” etc.  ~ Nancy Pelosi 2009

“We rely upon the stupidity of the American voter” ~ Johnathan Gruber 2011, 2012

Now, think about this reality against the backdrop of the 2016 Presidential Election.  The entire system within DC was not structurally set-up to receive a Donald Trump presidency.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election, her Oval Office desk would be filled with legislation passed by congress which she would be signing.  Heck, she’d have writer’s cramp from all of the special interest legislation that would be flowing to her desk.

Why?  Simply because the authors of the legislation, the special interest and lobbying groups, were spending millions to fund her campaign.  President Hillary Clinton would be signing K-Street constructed special interest legislation to repay all of those donors/investors.  Congress would be fast-tracking the passage because the same interest groups also fund the members of congress.

President Donald Trump winning the election threw a monkey wrench into the entire DC system…. The modern legislative machine is frozen in place.

The “America First” policies represented by candidate Donald Trump are not within the legislative constructs coming from the authors of the legislation.   Congress has no bills to advance because all of the myriad of bills and briefs written are not in line with President Trump policy.

That’s why congress has not passed any legislation for President Trump to sign.

There’s no entity within DC writing legislation that is in-line with President Trump’s economic and foreign policy agenda.  Exactly the opposite is true.  All of the DC legislative briefs and constructs are antithetical to Trump policy.

There are hundreds of file boxes filled with thousands of legislative constructs that became worthless when Donald Trump won the election.

Those legislative constructs (briefs) representing tens of millions of dollars worth of time and influence and are now just sitting there piled up in boxes under desks and in closets amid K-Street and the congressional offices.

Any current legislation must be in-line with an entire new political perspective, and there’s no-one, no special interest or lobbying group, currently occupying DC office space with any interest in synergy with Trump policy.

Think about the larger ramifications within that truism.

That is also why there’s so much opposition.

No legislation by outside interests means no work for lobbyists who sell it.   No work means no money.  No money means no expense accounts.  No expenses means politicians paying for their own indulgences etc.

However, no K-Street expenditures -because of the futility of it- also means more money available for opposition and activist activity.

Lastly, when you understand this reality you begin to see the difference between legislation with a traditional purpose and faux-legislation with a political agenda.

Remember, politicians don’t write laws – outside groups do.

If you asked a DC Senator or House Member to actually write a law they’d look back at you like a cow just licked them on the forehead.  The politician would have no clue what you are asking them to do, and would immediately look to their staff as their closest reference point (the go-betweens) for outside lobbyist assistance.

This helps to understand when Senator Rand Paul, Mike Lee or Ted Cruz are “pitching” a “bill they’ve written”, it’s a gimmick – a ruse – a pure fundraising ploy.  Nothing more.  That’s why the bills they talk about (ie. El Chappo, Clean Repeal etc.) never actually materialize…. they are raising money, not legislation.

And that’s why Trump’s legislative inbox is empty.

Staffers with nothing to do…

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This entry was posted in Big Government, Big Stupid Government, Budget, Decepticons, Dem Hypocrisy, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Transition, Economy, Education, Election 2016, Election 2017, Election 2018, Election 2020, Environmentalism, Legislation, Live Streaming, media bias, Mike pence, Mitch McConnell, President Trump, Professional Idiots, propaganda, Sean Spicer, Tea Party, Trade Deal, Typical Prog Behavior, Uncategorized, US Treasury. Bookmark the permalink.

450 Responses to Understanding Why President Trump Has Not Received Legislative Action From Congress…

  1. tony says:

    i cannot thank you enough for this great article. i want to save this for my son when he gets to the point in school when they talk about how laws are made.

    Liked by 5 people

    • F104 says:

      I totally agree Tony. I had some idea but no idea that the system was this far gone. Thank you soo much Sundance. One thing I have thought from the beginning of Trump’s win is that the only way he can get anything done is to press charges against some three or four of the higher ups in the Congress and Senate. I don’t think it would be hard at all to do quite frankly folks. At that point, I believe we would start to see some real fast movement on Trumps policies. One question though for anyone, Can’t Trump just have his own people write the legislation???

      Liked by 1 person

      • tony says:

        can you imagine if Trump came out and said that he was having some of his people write some legislation and that it was going to be presented to congress for consideration. the msm would go 24/7 on it how thats not the way its done and have legal people daily bashing it.
        then Trump could show how previous legislation got done and say whats the difference?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Pied Piper says:

      I know we need legislation to FIX (repeal) some things but it’s not a bad thing, in my view, if no BRAND NEW legislation pops into existence for a few years.

      Like

  2. Duhders says:

    Sundance is like Toto in Wizard of Oz, revealing who is behind the curtain and annoying the evil – beware of the wicked witches of the East Sundance, beware.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. deanbrh says:

    My gut knew all this but my head refused to believe it because it minimized my influence to maximum sub-zero. Thanks for making it crystal-clear, Sundance. WOW!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Billy Dunn says:

      We can only hope that GOD will deliver Divine Justice to these traitorous rats.
      Somehow, someway i believe it will happen.

      Like

    • DD More says:

      Gives new meaning to why K Street was running scared back in March, 2016.

      “Trump is a Washington outsider.” Since Trump has no experience as a politician, not a single D.C. lobbying firm has any ties to Donald Trump.
      “More than $4 billion in lobbying business could be lost overnight should Donald Trump become president,” says Burkman. “Decades of relationship-building in politics could be lost. And make no mistake every lobbyist in the town is worried.”
      Lobbyists routinely use money to gain access and buy influence. They leverage their connections for wealthy clients who want access. But The Donald has said he won’t accept their money.
      “Since Trump has no plans to accept contributions in the general election, lobbyists may be robbed of their biggest weapon–money–in a presidential election year,” adds Burkman. “Literally 30-thousand jobs could be lost if Trump is sworn in. Washington as we know it, and how business is conducted, will change instantly.”
      Burkman says he and his fellow lobbyist delegation will try to convince Trump to accept donations in the general election.

      http://www.prnewschannel.com/2016/03/17/d-c-lobbyists-prepare-for-trump-presidency-fear-it-will-mean-the-end-of-life-as-we-know-it/

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ― Upton Sinclair

      Liked by 2 people

      • deanbrh says:

        DD Moore, thanks for the interesting link, which makes me wonder about Trump’s safety and also about how, with soooo much riding on the election, all the moneyed people involved miscalculated the amount of fraud needed to counteract a Trump Presidency. By the way, any chance Burkman was the murderer of Seth Richards? He potesteth so much.

        Like

  4. The front page of CTH won’t load but searching via google I can jump in via “prior articles”. Sundance’s latest must have hit a nerve.

    Like

  5. Lady S says:

    Very informative! Thank you.

    Like

  6. dumbplumber says:

    Gives you real respect for politics and politicians doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. daughnworks247 says:

    Other side of the coin. Legislation is not that hard to do, depending on subject. Getting the various legislators to agree is the tough part.
    Average citizens, like you and me, can be involved.

    In high school, I was a student council president and drafted for a ceremonial Governor’s Advisory Board for Education. I packed up and took daddy’s company car to the state capitol for a week. Our assignment was to create legislation, we didn’t understand the “ceremonial” part. We agreed early on 5 major items, wrote the legislation, redrafted, and pushed the legislation through in subsequent trips to the capitol. We actively lobbied and called various legislators. I remember dad complaining about the long distance phone bills. It was my first taste and a small bite at the apple.

    In college, junior year, I worked full time but took night classes. I was pressured to enter a state beauty contest by my company. I was mortified but agreed. During contest week, I had a bad attitude (terrified) until we got to the interview section. One of the judges, who was a CEO, asked how I would recruit companies to the state. My eyes lit up and I rambled on for quite a while. The CEO engaged me repeatedly, asking how I would get a certain item approved. I said I would lobby the legislature, of course. My grandfather was in the state capitol at least once a month, and I knew our Senators and Congressman. “That’s how you do it”, I said. Miracle of miracles, I took second place in the beauty contest but more importantly, I got an interview with the CEO’s company — part of my job description was to lobby the state house. I quit school because the job was so good. Second bite at the apple and I liked it.

    In my early 20’s, I leapfrogged jobs to Merrill Lynch but no business owner really wants to entrust their company pension to a 22 year old female. I was frustrated. The successful salespeople kept complaining about tax code and I thought, “How hard can it be?”. I started reading tax code, became an “expert” in defined benefit, defined contribution, deferred comp, and played “secretary” on sales calls to the 40 year old guys who were graying the temples. Call me a secretary if you want, I split the commission and laughed all the way to the bank. I also cultivated 63 attorneys/accountants on the eastern seaboard who worked in my area of tax law, giving them the prototype docs, for entree to their customers. Life was good.
    Then, life changed.
    Florida was considering a new legal specialty in tax law and created a “council” to draft credentials required. Down in the weeds, one task of the council was “review” of current legislation and creation of new state legislation. Merrill had a slot on the board and the boss sent me to Orlando for a week. I was neither an attorney nor a CPA but I went. The other six guys were savvy, old, Manhattan-type lawyers and I was the youngest by 40 years. Completely outclassed, I went back to “safe” role as their secretary. They dictated and I wrote, learning on the fly. Creating the tax law specialty was easy and quickly approved by state legislature. We then met once a month to review tax legislation but we worked non-stop. We became a somewhat trusted source for the state legislature. It was a deep dive and an trial-by-fire education like no other. The older guys did not want to travel, therefore I became the messenger from the old guys to the legislators. Often, I had to tell the legislators what to do. They really are not as smart as you think.
    We don’t think about it but almost every law impacts taxes in some way, which gave us broad purview.
    One of the things we did was take a 3-4% contingency fee on all fire insurance premium written within the state and applied it to a defined benefit pension plan for the firemen within that municipality. Long story, tedious up and down negotiation, but it worked.
    Later on and in conjunction with the SAME model, using the 3-4% contingency fee, was adopted in 35 states for high risk health insurance pools.
    Today, 30 years later, I turn on the tv and see Paul Ryan talking about going back to high risk health insurance pools,
    …. and everything that’s old is new again.

    Don’t think legislation is difficult. Just read it slowly and dissect every sentence. Don’t ever think you cannot have an impact. Get involved. Yes, it’s almost impossible to act alone. We do need to be part of a larger “braintrust” or influencing body/group to have any credibility. By comparison, I am the village idiot on this page. Treepers are long on experience and broad on intel. 99% of the people here are smarter than any Congressional aide and would give a veteran lobbyist a run for their money.

    So, do we need a formal think tank? Maybe the baby-boomer’s version of /pol/? We spent the last 2+ years getting Trump elected. It would be a shame to walk away when our country needs help.

    Liked by 6 people

    • BillofRights says:

      Yes. We really need a coherent vision for the 5-10-25 year future. Focus on what type of civilization we want, not what we don’t-want. We need to start with an ideal, and then work with reality to get closer to the civilization we want..
      Start with educating our children to be critical thinkers, free to question and debate any and all ideas. We need clean strong minds to deal with the undeniable changes coming in our future..
      I like the idea of a think tank. And your post is quite an interesting read.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. jstanley01 says:

    So they got as far as, “Congress shall make no law…,” and decided, “That sounds like a great idea!”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Walt says:

    I can tell you from personal experience that the system Sundance describes is how its done in my state legislature. You catch on quick when you have to explain to the sponsor of a bill you’re opposing what’s actually IN his bill and he has no clue. And the average state bill is pretty simple: You can read it in five or ten minutes.

    Sponsors often do not even READ their bills. They listen to and repeat a sales pitch. Committees SOMETIMES actually think through a bill but more often they simply weigh the horsepower on each side after hearing the sales pitch. And if the governor gets into the game? That’s it. The legislature doesn’t give a rip for the bill OR the citizens if the governor has a view.

    Then there was the chairman of one of the most powerful committees who laughed about how “We pass unconstitutional bills all the time.”

    The states are probably somewhat better than the U.S. Congress — we have a number of serious people, not too many who are actually corrupt and neither of those can be said for the Congress.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anyone else notice in the selfie-staff photo everyone looks under 25? There is no way they could have the experience or have developed the skills to write thousand page legislation.

    Like

  11. Vikki Lynn says:

    in other-words it’s crony capitalism

    Like

  12. Judith Ishkanian says:

    Thank you for your excellent explanation of how Congress works. One look at Paul Ryan illustrates how the system works!

    Like

  13. Paul Murphy says:

    A little cynical, but overall a reasonable explanation for what we see happening.

    One question: why aren’t the conservative leaning foundations drafting legislation and selling that to the congresscritters?

    Like

  14. It used to be “taxation without representation.” Now it’s “representation without representation.”

    Like

  15. Gary Harding says:

    This made me mad as hell!
    We MUST help our POTUS DRAIN THE SWAMP! I wonder if he even knows this is how the game is played.

    Like

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