SARATOGA — As Republicans continue to hit a brick wall in getting legislation through a left-leaning U.S. Senate and President Joe Biden’s administration, U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyoming, says conservatives in America are losing confidence in their elected leaders.
During a town hall in Saratoga on Wednesday night, Hageman also acknowledged getting conservative legislation passed through today’s Congress and administration is a difficult task.
“What we have is one-half of one-third in the government,” Hageman said of conservative representation. “That’s all we have right now.”
Republicans hold a 10-seat majority in the lower house of the 118th Congress. This majority has allowed the party’s members to pass legislation that would have had almost no chance under the Democrat-held 117th Congress.
Republicans technically have a majority in the Senate as well, but the three Independents in that body caucus with the Democrats and tend to lean to the left politically.
It would be difficult to argue that Democrats don’t hold a lot of power these days on Capitol Hill, with Biden running the executive branch and possessing the power to veto any bill that comes to his desk.
Hageman said it’s an uphill battle for Republicans, which is why she sees many of the investigations and hearings House Republicans are hosting now as setting the stage for a future GOP presidential administration. She stands behind the Republican bills passing out of the House even if many of them aren’t passing into law.
“We are showing the American people that we can govern because the fact is, these bills are good bills,” she told Cowboy State Daily.
A Long Fight Ahead
Hageman also told the roughly 50 people in Saratoga that she believes “things need to get worse before they can get better.”
“And I still feel that way,” she said. “I hate to say that, especially with young people in the room, but I say that because in some ways our prosperity has killed us.”
Hageman believes America’s prosperity has ushered in a culture of entitlement and victimhood. It was a sentiment that had some members of the audience voicing agreement, saying God is purposely exposing America’s flaws to itself.
Hageman’s comments hit home with an almost completely supportive audience. Her rural background matches the culture of Saratoga, a town of fewer than 2,000 people at the western foot of the Snowy Range mountains.
Former state legislator Teense Willford worked with Hageman’s father in the Wyoming Legislature, James Hageman, from 1993-2002. Willford remembered meeting Harriet Hageman when he was the chair of the Select Water Committee.
“That’s what we need in Wyoming is somebody who knows something about water,” he said, drawing some “amens” from the crowd.
But Hageman has expanded her purview much wider than water and natural resource issues during her six months in office. She spent at least half of Wednesday’s town hall discussing national issues.
Hageman has built a reputation during her six months in office for speaking out against what she says is an out-of-control federal government and corrupt Department of Justice.
She told Cowboy State Daily investigations and hearings are one a key focus point of the 118th Congress. Hageman has used her position to question and publicly call out leading members of Biden’s administration.
“I’m asking these questions for the DOI (Department of the Interior) and the Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service and all that because I think that they should be accountable to the American public for the policy decisions that they’re making,” she said.
As a member of three Judiciary subcommittees, Hageman has participated in hearings on the Durham Report, requests made by members of the Biden administration and Twitter staff to censor posts and deposed former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former director of the CIA John Brennan. Hageman said she views this work as getting back to the country’s constitutional foundations.
“What we have been focusing a lot on are First Amendment issues,” she said. We’ve been pushing back and attempting to expose the incredible overreach of the federal government, the FBI, the Department of Justice,” she said. “The surveillance- their effort to suppress people’s First Amendment rights.”
Many of those who came to see her in Saratoga expressed frustration with what they view as a government that tramples on individual rights and operates without checks and balances.
One man stood up and said he supports investigations of government officials, but he also wants to see more punitive measures for them than having them fired from their jobs or impeached.
“When are they going to shackle them up and lead them out into the hall of shame?” he asked.
Former Carbon County Republican Party Committeeman Joey Correnti asked Hageman if a motion to impeach Biden is brought to the House floor, will she respect the constitutional due process and share all relevant evidence with the public, and if there is evidence of a criminal act, she will push to have it prosecuted in a court of law.
Hageman said she would and said that any impeachment proceeding must publicly disclose all relevant evidence.
“It’s the American people that’s the jury,” she said.
Hageman said any move to impeach has to be done properly, which wasn’t the case when fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, tried it earlier this year.
“Somebody went out on the floor and said, ‘We’re going to impeach Joe Biden.’ We don’t have the evidence,” she said. “We don’t have the photographs and the video, all of the things that you need to make a case. We’re going to have to build our case.”
She said an impeachment effort needs to be well thought-out rather than the culmination of a middle school dispute.
Too Many Sacrifices
One resident brought up the idea of stripping officials of their federal pensions for wrongdoing and fining them their salaries.
Hageman said she agrees with all those ideas, but said Republicans are mostly limited to investigations at this time because of their smaller numbers on Capitol Hill.
She also wants to address some of these issues through legislative action, but once again, the numbers might not allow it.
“We’ve got to be drafting legislation to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” she said, adding that citizens are protected from the government, not the other way around.
She also believes Americans are being asked to make too many sacrifices in the name of climate change and that no consideration is being made for opportunity costs that are lost as a result. Hageman compared it to the ancient Mayans making sacrifices to their sun God.
“And I know who we can sacrifice,” Willford interjected, referring to Biden.
Hageman said the new revelations about Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s international dealings have been startling.
“He (Joe Biden) has been so totally compromised by what are our world enemies,” she said.
Hageman supports a bill that would prohibit seniors from being taxed on their Social Security.
Nancy Ford expressed concern that Social Security might get cut someday.
“As a taxpaying American citizen, I get really tired of hearing that from the Congress that has a problem getting their act together and doing great things for this country,” she said.
Hageman said this was a phony talking point brought up during the debt ceiling discussions and that laws would have to be changed to make any cuts to Social Security.
But she said the main way Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid funding issues will be resolved is to get more people in the workforce. Currently, the Baby Boomer generation makes up a larger portion of the population than the younger generations who are still primarily unretired.
She also said there will have to be conversations about increasing the age of admittance into Social Security.
Hageman also blamed Obamacare for exacerbating funding issues, but Ford said if it weren’t for Obamacare, she wouldn’t be able to get insurance coverage because of her pre-existing medical conditions.
Hageman touted her bipartisan effort to extend the amount of time Native Americans can lease land on their reservations from the current 25 years to 99 years. She has sponsored a bill to address this she said is supported by the Secretary of the Interior and Democrats in the House and Senate.
“Who is going to invest in hard infrastructure if the longest lease you can get is 25 years?” she questioned. “If the longest lease you can get is 25 years, who’s going to build a convenience store or a distillery or a hotel with a 25-year lease?”
Although she didn’t vote to support the debt ceiling bill earlier this month, Hageman said there are some good things in it, such as critical changes made to the National Environmental Policy Act. It was because of this collaboration that she didn’t loudly criticize the bill.
“I actually am probably the only one that got something done in terms of that bill that was very very positive I think, in terms of the state of Wyoming especially,” she said.
In March, Hageman was also part of a GOP-led effort to overrule the Washington, D.C., city council's rewrite of the criminal code for the nation's capital, which Biden supported.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.