WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Emmer, R-6th District, who was elected House Majority Whip, was not the only one in his family to be promoted in this Congress.
Emmer’s son, Jack Emmer, 31, has recently been hired as counsel to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, the panel tasked with many GOP investigations into the Biden administration. Jack Emmer is likely to be kept quite busy by the flurry of hearings the committee plans to hold in the coming months and the flood of subpoenas it plans to issue to Biden administration officials.
But all that work may be worth it.
Jack Emmer, a graduate of Delano High School and the University of Minnesota Law School, began his Capitol Hill career in 2017 as a staff assistant for Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., with a salary of about $33,000.
According to Legistorm, his last job in Congress was working as a legal fellow for three months in 2020 for Emmer pal, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., on the House Financial Services Committee.
Now, Jack Emmer has a full-time job as a lawyer of a high-profile panel, and although his salary has not been made public yet, it is expected to greatly exceed what he earned in his last jobs in Congress.
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee has already held a hearing on allegations Twitter suppressed a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, a hearing that resulted in more smoke than fire.
The committee has also scheduled a hearing on what GOP lawmakers maintain is a “Biden border crisis,” and also plans to grill former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci and other Department of Health and Human Services officials about the origins of the coronavirus.
Some GOP lawmakers say the origin of the deadly virus is the result of the study of bat coronaviruses at the virology institute in Wuhan, China. But Fauci and other scientists have maintained that it’s more likely the virus spilled over through an intermediate animal into people.
Emmer releases digital currency bill
While the U.S. House has been in recess for two week, Tom Emmer has not been idle. He has drafted a bill that would limit the Federal Reserve’s ability to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a complement to existing forms of money, like the dollars in your wallet.
To Emmer, government-issued digital currency threatens to give the federal government the ability to track what Americans spend their money on.
“Any digital version of the dollar must uphold our American values of privacy, individual sovereignty and free market competitiveness,” Emmersaid in a statement. “Anything less opens the door to the development of a dangerous surveillance tool.”
So Emmer wants to bar the Federal Reserve from issuing digital currency directly to individuals.
But digital rights advocate Fight for the Future knocked Emmer’s bill, saying private financial companies are already guilty of “invasive surveillance,” and should not be the only ones to offer digital money.
“Rep. Emmer is correct that a poorly-built digital dollar would cement surveillance and extremely concerning economic controls into our daily lives,” said Fight for the Future spokeswoman Lia Holland. “We also agree on the need for the government to be transparent about CBDC projects — but where this bill falls short is in positioning the private sector as the sole option for intermediating digital dollar transactions. From Wells Fargo to Venmo, invasive surveillance and censorious morality policing is rampant — and it is putting vulnerable communities including activists and abortion patients in danger.”
Holland also said “a digital dollar that is sufficiently well built and privacy-preserving” should be offered by anyone, including the federal government.
A similar bill Emmer offered in the last Congress, in which Democrats controlled the House, failed to move. This time, the GOP has a narrow majority in the House, but the crypto issue has not split along party lines. So far, Emmer’s bill has the support of only nine Republican House members, including four from the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus.
Tina Smith sound alarm on Texas abortion case
Medication abortion is currently legal in 37 states, including Minnesota, but soon may not be.
A lawsuit filed in Texas by an anti-abortion group is seeking to outlaw the medication that is used to induce abortions in early pregnancy by invalidating the process the Food and Drug Administration used to evaluate and eventually greenlight one of the drugs used to induce abortion, mifepristone.
Used in combination with another drug, misoprostol, mifepristone accounts for more than half of U.S. abortions.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is considering the lawsuit brought by anti-abortion groups, including the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland this week Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., predicted that the FDA has already lost the case. Why? Because Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, is a former Christian advocate who has provoked controversy with remarks about LGBTQ rights and immigration.
“Judge Kacsmaryk has proven in his brief time on the bench to be extreme and outside the legal mainstream,” Smith wrote in her letter to Merrick.
A former Planned Parenthood executive, Smith urged Garland to appeal what she expected to be an adverse decision from Kacsmaryk for abortion rights across the country.
“I write in anticipation of a deeply dangerous verdict (in the case) currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. This case has the potential or even likelihood to prevent essential, lifesaving reproductive health care for millions of women,” Smith wrote. “I am gravely concerned about the potential outcome of this case and urge you and the Department of Justice to prepare to quickly appeal the case, should the decision undermine access to medication abortion in any way, in addition to any other measures you may take in response.”
Garland is likely to appeal the case, even without Smith’s prodding. But this case may eventually wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing a number of states to ban abortion or impose stringent regulations on the procedure.