News at the US Capitol, COVID and Capitol/capitol/capital


Impeachment and censure and Amendments, oh my – Today, as the news changes almost faster than we can type, here are three things to look for: The U.S. House will begin debate today on a single charge of impeachment: “incitement of insurrection.” As of Tuesday, five House Republicans said they will support impeachment: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, New York Rep. John Katko, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington. No House Republicans supported Trump’s first impeachment. After it passes – and it almost certainly will – Speaker Nancy Pelois could, but does not have to, send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

In the meantime, Representative John Curtis and others are moving to censure the President, arguing that it is the most effective way to punish Trump in the week he has left in office. The resolution spells out that Trump “reiterated false claims that ‘‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide’,” that he also make statements that encouraged lawless action at the Capitol “such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’ and that “President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of power.” The move to censure doesn’t seem to have a lot of traction, with many calling it nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Finally, there are Amendments 25 and 14. Even though the U.S. House has passed a resolution formally calling on Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, Pence has already said will not do so. He sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi last night and said that he did not “believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution.” Meanwhile, Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri has introduced a resolution to use Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to expel members of Congress who incited Wednesday’s coup. Read John English’s explainer here

Remember COVID-19? – In the news of the riots and insurrection, we’ve almost forgotten that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Yesterday, the U.S. had the highest daily number of deaths related to the pandemic – 4,327. The nation has averaged more than 3300 deaths per day over the last week, a jump of more than 217% since mid-November. New cases are averaging a quarter-million per day.

The Capitol lockdown on Wednesday involved someone who was positive for COVID-19 and multiple lawmakers who refused to wear a mask. Now, three lawmakers have tested positive for the virus: Rep. Brad Schneider, Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. 

No word on the spread in various states as rioters return home. 

Capitol v capitol v capital – Capitol (with a capital C) is a specific building, like the Utah State Capitol or the United States Capitol. A capitol (with a lowercase c) is a building where a legislative body of government meets, like “the capitol’s second floor houses the House and Senate chambers.” The word “capital” can be used as an adjective to refer to an uppercase letter, punishment that involves execution, something that relates to wealth, like “capital gains” or something that is serious or important, like a “capital offense.” Used as a noun, “capital” can also relate to accumulated wealth, uppercase letters or a city that serves as the seat of government. Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah where laws related to capital punishment are passed on the second floor of the capitol and federal laws regarding capital gains are passed in the United States Capitol building.  Confused yet? Me too. Fingers crossed we can get it right most of the time.