The Republicans’ Agenda for Their House Majority: ‘A Path of Pettiness’

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  • Hakeem Jeffries and a New Day for Democrats in Congress
  • Mentally Ill and on the Street
  • Not for Kids Only

Republicans are on track to have no people of color leading committees — a jarring shift from House Democrats.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “New House Leaders as the Republicans Prepare to Take Over” (news article, Nov. 26):

House Republicans, newly emboldened by the majority they barely achieved in the recent midterm elections, have wasted no time in enthusiastically embracing a counterproductive and vindictive agenda, frivolously targeting the Biden administration, with plans to give high priority to impeachment and investigations of the pandemic, immigration, Afghanistan and the president’s son as soon as the new Congress is sworn in.

Denied support in the midterms by an electorate that voted to reject extremism, the new Republican House majority is now bent on punishing an administration that has been successful in restoring domestic stability and our standing internationally, and has made substantial gains in rescuing the country from the chaos it inherited.

Marginalizing the urgent work of Congress that affects the lives of most Americans — which includes taking action on debt, prescription drug prices, the economy and gun control — congressional Republicans instead are poised to shamelessly follow a path of pettiness and irrelevance in their unprincipled quest to placate a far-right base.

Expending energy and time on investigations and impeachments by vindictive Republicans to score political points is a deliberate distraction from their inability to offer a legislative agenda with real-life benefits.

Roger Hirschberg
South Burlington, Vt.

To the Editor:

Like Lucy with the football, Republicans again played their gullible supporters for suckers.

Running on the issues of crime, inflation and border security, the Republicans have now morphed their agenda into plans for investigating Hunter Biden, decreasing funding for climate change and Ukraine, and impeaching the president and cabinet members. Not exactly the kitchen table issues most Americans believe will improve their lives or help the country.

As the House committees pursue their sordid investigations, it would be delicious irony for Democrats to use the Republican playbook on subpoenas: Stall through the courts, then defy outright. Let the Republican House hold them in contempt of Congress. With everything else on its plate, the Justice Department may get around to prosecuting sometime during the Pete Buttigieg administration.

Howard Flantzer
Kendall Park, N.J.

To the Editor:

Your article discusses the investigations the Republicans have planned. There is virtually no mention of policy or how the party intends to govern.

Republicans campaign on the premise that government doesn’t work. It now appears that they are set to prove it.

Nic Baker
Roseville, Minn.

To the Editor:

There have been numerous articles on how Republican extremists are holding the vote on Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House hostage to concessions to their positions.

There is a simple solution that would actually be welcomed by many of us. Mr. McCarthy’s party has the seats; he deserves to be speaker. So why can’t Democrats vote for him and isolate the far right — and prevent concessions that would increase its power?

John Stockton
Harrison, N.Y.

Hakeem Jeffries and a New Day for Democrats in Congress

Representative Hakeem Jeffries played down the divisions within his caucus and expressed confidence in his ability.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Showing Unity, Democrats Pick Jeffries as Minority Leader” (news article, Dec. 1):

Bravo to the Democratic Party in its election of Representative Hakeem Jeffries as leader of its congressional membership. With a unified and unmistakably clear voice, the party has announced its support for and confidence in a trusted steward of the party’s fortress and symbol of its promising future.

Mr. Jeffries has combined his calming and measured speech with conviction to deliver a message that inspires and rallies the disparate elements of his party. His demeanor is perfect for the need to address increasingly combative political adversaries while being shepherd to an impatient flock.

Kudos to the current leadership for showcasing the immense talent of the party, trusting the instincts of political experience and ensuring a smooth generational shift.

Kenneth Williams
Baldwin, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was certainly right to propose new and younger leadership for Democrats in the House of Representatives. But the idea that both the Senate majority leader and the head of the House Democratic caucus will likely come from New York reflects unusually foolish decision-making, even for Democrats.

Especially when one considers that it was the stupid and arrogant Democratic decisions in the redistricting process in New York — their proposed map was rejected by a court and redrawn to favor Republicans in several districts — that enabled the Republicans to flip a sufficient number of House seats in the state to take over that chamber.

Where were Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries and their acolytes when the Democrats were so busy shooting themselves — and their constituents — in the foot?

Paul Lauter
Leonia, N.J.

Mentally Ill and on the Street

Mayor Eric Adams issued a directive to police officers and emergency medical workers this week authorizing them to take people to hospitals who have severe mental illness and pose a danger to themselves, whether or not they are willing to go.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

To the Editor:

“Agreeing There’s a Crisis, but Not on a Response” (news article, Dec. 1) illustrates the challenges related to Mayor Eric Adams’s bold proposals to solve a longstanding problem both in New York and around the country. Big ideas can inspire, but if too unrealistic can add to a feeling of hopelessness.

Those of us familiar with hospitals know that New York emergency rooms are already overcrowded and that thousands of psychiatric beds have been steadily eliminated for decades. If we cannot currently hospitalize those on the streets with severe and chronic mental illness who present a danger to themselves and others, how can we now involuntarily hospitalize those who are calm and not posing a risk to others?

I think we need to start with those who would more clearly need and benefit from psychiatric treatment. Medications help agitation secondary to paranoia from delusions and hallucinations.

For those who have always resisted psychiatric care that could benefit them, but for whom we would not previously seek involuntary treatment, maybe we can work harder in securing community services for food, shelter and health care.

Since the Covid pandemic, so many people now want to work in their own homes. Perhaps there are ways to convert unused office space to satisfy some of these needs of our homeless.

Jeffrey B. Freedman
New York
The writer is a psychiatrist.

Not for Kids Only

To the Editor:

The cover says, “This section should not be read by grown-ups.”

I confess. I read The New York Times for Kids section on Sunday, Nov. 27. I’m definitely a grown-up with a grandchild too young to read, so there is no excuse. That delicious illustration of the layer cake on the cover was too much to resist.

Inside, while I won’t say that I wished I were a kid again, I didn’t see why such delights should be restricted to children only. I read the whole section cover to cover and was both informed and entertained.

As an avid yet often frustrated solver of crossword puzzles, it didn’t hurt that I aced all three in record time.

Michelle Braverman

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