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Louisiana Politics: Minority whip speaks out on impeachment

Over the past few months, Capitol Hill has been plagued with rumors and innuendo regarding multiple investigations into President Donald Trump and related chatter about possible impeachment charges.
Speaking to LaPolitics recently, U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish said that he believed that his Democratic counterparts in the House will attempt to remove Trump from office before the end of his term.
“Many have said publicly, some have pushed forward privately, but everything they’re doing shows that they are leading up to impeachment just to appease their radical left base,” he said.
The whip added that, in his view, the focus on impeachment is preventing Congress from moving forward with legislative priorities.
“When you look at what they’re spending all their days on right now, focusing on impeaching the president even though there’s no evidence to impeach. There was no collusion, but they don’t care,” Scalise said. “They’re still going down that rat hole instead of focusing on real problems like securing the border.”
Scalise also noted that he and fellow Republicans hope to see more investigations into intelligence agencies and what he views as political misuses of authority within the federal government.
“There’s going to be some investigation looking into the abuses of power within some of our intelligence agencies, and I feel it’s very important to do that because they’ve got to root out the bad apples to restore the full integrity of the FBI.” he said.

Q&A with the
state House speaker
LaPolitics: What are your thoughts and reflections as you face term limits and leave the lower chamber’s highest position behind?
Speaker Taylor Barras: It is bittersweet in a lot of ways. As frustrating and as tense as some of those debates got, I think it was important for Louisiana to have them.
And kudos to the members who were willing to roll up their sleeves and try the reform or try the spending cuts.
I mean, it takes that kind of debate, and you got to throw it out there for it to be healthy.
But I think for all of us that are term limited, when I look back to ‘08 and look forward, you know there was some significant education reform that was heavily debated.
I was on the committee that did the ethics reform back in ‘08. I was also on the House Governmental Affairs that did redistricting in 2011. I’ve had a pretty rich 12 years I have to say, and to cap it off with four years as the speaker, as exciting and packed as it was, it’s tough to walk away from, I tell you.
When you’ve been that deep in policy, it’s not that easy to walk away. That’s for sure. But you know, I’m looking forward to my next venture. We’ll see what that is between now and December.
LaPolitics: Are you taking the gavel with you? Is that going to reside on your desk at IberiaBank?
Barras: Well, you know officially I serve until January 13 next year, so I’ll come back to hand the gavel over to someone.
But I have a pretty packed summer and fall. I’m the chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference and I will host the regional conference in New Orleans in July.
So we’ll have 15 states and legislators from 15 states in New Orleans in July. I’m happy to serve as the host. I’ve got a couple of things, speakers conferences and things that I need to attend in the fall. So not hanging up the gavel just yet. I won’t be presiding over a session then, but looking forward to coming back next January and seeing the new body of elected members and of course the new speaker.
LaPolitics: What is the best piece of advice that you could offer up to the next speaker?
Barras: The qualities of the person, the character of the person can play such a vital part of the success of their speakership. Some people can do that by being very flamboyant and very demanding.
I chose the route of diplomacy and let’s get everybody around the table. We had so many 11 p.m. and midnight meetings in here it wasn’t funny. If I couldn’t get the consensus, then I wanted to understand why, and I think it takes rolling up your sleeves and going through that process. If you walk away from any of that, to me, you’re doing the body an injustice.
That takes a lot of hours, there’s no doubt about it.
But it’s been an incredible honor. We had some very frustrating moments, but I think in the end, we’ve made some good decisions. And there’s still some work to be done, but I think we’re beginning to see this ship turn a little bit finally.

They said it
“It’s not necessarily what’s best for the state of Louisiana, a lot of times it’s best for the lobbyists who are lobbying.” —State Rep. Terry Brown, I-Colfax, commenting on government relations
“It’s alive. ... I wouldn’t say it’s well. But it’s alive.” —State Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, on a sports betting bill that ultimately stalled
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