Meet Your 2018 Legislative Badasses Of The Year: Kamala Harris And Pramila Jayapal!
Happy New Year, Wonkeroos, and welcome to another goddamn year of Trump, only this time around we'll have House Democrats IN POWER, to make Trump's life more interesting and also demand his tax returns. It's time for our traditional midnight post, the awarding of our coveted Legislative Badass of the Year Award, which this year we've decided to award jointly for badassery in the US Senate, to Kamala Harris of California, and in the House of Representatives, to Pramila Jayapal of Washington (the state, not the only semi-represented city/district, and hey, let's FIX THAT). Both are relative newcomers to Congress, having been elected to their respective seats in 2016, but holy Left Coast, have they made a splash all year. Let us hope they manage to somehow be even more impressive in 2019.
But first, a quick wow, double-wow! for our runner up, Nancy Pelosi, who'll be sworn in Wednesday as speaker of the House again. She made Donald Trump look like more of a putz than usual when he met with her and Chuck Schumer before the shutdown, which as you may recall Trump said would be all on him, at least before he rejected a bipartisan deal to keep the government open because it HAD NOT WALL. Then pretend chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tried to make the weird case that Pelosi and the Democrats really were causing the shutdown, because while Schumer is the sort of ball-less wonder who might cave to Trump's demand for WALL, he is now Pelosi's slave and will do her bidding.
OK, fine, he actually said other words, but we prefer our paraphrase (and by "our" we mean Rebecca's in the Sekrit Chatcave). All of which is simply to say that anyone who has Mick Mulvaney in that much of a lather before she even has the gavel is quite damn all right by us, thank you very much. Also, Mick? The title is "Leader Pelosi," or in two days, "Speaker Pelosi." Silly little man. Also too, you should buy our brand new Nancy Pelosi "Ride or Die" tee shirt to ring in the New Year with a badass.
But on to our Bicameral Badasses! First, let us say excellent things about Pramila Jayapal, who in case you're wondering is the first Indian-American to serve in Congress, but who also first showed up on Wonkette's radar way back in 2010 when she was organizing immigrants in the Evergreen State to get involved in political campaigns. As she said at the time, "Immigrants really do matter [...] If we can't vote ourselves, we're gonna knock on doors, or get family members to vote." This angered some anti-immigrant dicks who worried immigrants would steal Americans' volunteer phone-banking and sign waving jerbs.
Jayapal was one of the foremost congressional opponents of Donald Trump's family separation policy, and along with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee she visited with women held in a federal prison near the SeaTac airport, who told her immigration officials had mocked them for wanting their kids back:
"Just the abuse that they endured, being called filthy and stinky and being mocked for crying," Jayapal told The [Washington] Post. "One woman said 'I want to be with my children' and the Border Patrol agent said: 'You will never see your children again. Families don't exist here. You won't have a family anymore.' "
Of course, as a measure of how the Trump Crew responds to such congressional oversight, the only part of Jayapal's account that the White House bothered responding to was the bit where she said the prisoners said they'd been held in "fenced cages" that they called "the dog kennel." No, no, no, Congress lady, those are chain link fencing, not "cages," so everything is JUST FINE, and please enjoy your coffee as the room burns down around you.
More recently, Jayapal helped several members of the scary caravan cross the border -- yes, legally, at a port of entry -- to ask for asylum. She said the administration had "manufactured" the slowdown for asylum claims, and that if it's a "crisis," it's one of Trump's own making.
"I have a 21-year-old, and I sat there talking to these kids who are 16 and 17-years-old with gunshots—" Jayapal said, choking up on that last word. "I don't know how we're doing this."
We should add that requests for asylum are the sort of routine government function that used to not require literal intervention from a member of Congress, but that's the America we live in now
But there's much more to Jayapal than her excellent work on immigration. She's also a co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus and supports that "Green New Deal" plan the kids are all big on these days. And along with Kamala Harris in the Senate, Jayapal has introduced the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, to finally bring some work protections to a class of workers who have been left out of labor laws for entirely too long. And darned if she didn't also shamelessly lobby for Legislative Badass of the Year, to boot!
Thank heavens our heads are not turned merely by retweets from awesome members of Congress, because this award is so fuckin' golden, we don't just give it away.
Which brings us to Jayapal's partner in Badassery, Senator Kamala Harris, aka Holy Shitballs We Hope She's Running. Yr Wonkette is already an official Kamala 2020 Fanblog, and we've liked her ever since she was attorney general of California, kicking the asses of scammy for-profit colleges. Plus, she made poor shriveldick Ben Shapiro mad by getting named in a Maxim list of "hot" ladies, despite the science fact that women over 40 cannot be hot, especially if they didn't defend California's gay marriage ban.
Just how wonderful is Kamala Harris? She advocated for the end of cash bail in California, and then introduced a bill to end it on the federal level. She cosponsored a bill to end the shackling of pregnant women in federal custody, which we can't even believe is a thing. She wants to replace ICE with something saner -- for which the White House officially mansplained at her that MS-13 is very bad. Harris was not one bit impressed, because she knows from prosecuting gangs:
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings? Harris was a star, calling out Kavanaugh's bullshit pretense that he won't vote to overturn Roe and reminding Kavanaugh to consider very carefully whether he'd ever talked about the Russia investigation with anyone at Trump's lawyer's law firm.
And we would be remiss not to mention the time she reduced former attorney general Jeff Sessions to a pile of rubble and butterscotches during a Senate hearing, because PORE OLD JEFF CAIN'T KEEP UP WITH LADIES WHAT TALK SO FAST! That happened in 2017, but it should be included because we said so:
Harris has also introduced legislation to
address racial disparities in rates of maternal deaths, because excuse us, it's 2018 and black women should not be dying while having babies! She even has this crazy idea that since tax policy has created enormous wealth disparities since the days of Ronald Reagan, it's damn well time to use the tax code to help someone other than the already rich, for chrissakes.
And yeesh, that's just 2018. Kamala Harris for president, or if she chooses not to run, then by Crom for Senate Democratic leader. Happy New Year, and may your 2019 be Kamalalicious!
Yr Wonkette is entirely funded by reader donations. Want to support the active-est in activist journamalism, plus fart jokes? Send us money now, please!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.