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Trump’s list: 289 accomplishments in just 20 months, ‘relentless’ promise-keeping



Reported by Paul Bedard  | October 12, 2018 08:43 AM

The Trump administration’s often overlooked list of achievements has surpassed those of former President Ronald Reagan at this time and more than doubled since the last tally of accomplishments after his first year in office, giving President Trump a solid platform to run for re-election on.

As Trump nears the two-year mark of his historic election and conducts political rallies around the country, during which he talks up his wins in hopes it will energize Republican voters, the administration has counted up 289 accomplishments in 18 categories, capped by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

They include 173 major wins, such as adding more than 4 million jobs, and another 116 smaller victories, some with outsize importance, such as the 83 percent one-year increase in arrests of MS-13 gang members.

“Trump’s successes in reducing the cost of taxes and regulations, rebuilding our military, avoiding wars of choice and changing the courts rival those of all previous Republican presidents,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

“Trump has an advantage over Ronald Reagan: He has a Reagan Republican House and Senate while Reagan had a [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill House and a pre-Reagan Republican Senate. Reagan and [former GOP Speaker] Newt Gingrich were the ice breakers that allowed Trump’s victories to grow in number and significance,”he added.

Unlike the Year One list which included many proposals and orders still to be acted on, the new collection includes dozens of actions already in place, signed legislation, and enforced executive orders.

For example, while the Year One list bragged about the administration’s efforts to rewrite the much-maligned NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico, the Year Two list said: “Negotiated an historic U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to replace NAFTA.”

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In December, Secrets reported on the first list of White House accomplishments.

And shockingly the NAFTA achievement is presented as a sidebar to the larger achievement that reads, “President Trump is negotiating and renegotiating better trade deals, achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade for the United States.”Under that umbrella are eight trade deals cut with Japan, South Korea, Europe and China.

“President Trump is a truly unique leader in American history. He’s a kid from Queens who became an international business leader and made billions by getting things when no one said he could,” said Trump’s 2016 campaign pollster John McLaughlin.

“They told him he couldn’t be president and beat the establishment and he did. For two years the establishment is telling him he can’t do things in Washington and he’s succeeding in spite of them. He never retreats. He doesn’t back up. He’s relentless. He just wins,”he added.

Comparing the two years shows that the latest has an expanded group of economic achievements while the pro-life category was folded into the health care section.  Along the way, there have been some disappointments, such as failing to replace Obamacare, fund a big infrastructure plan, and build the border wall.

But the White House believes that despite a lack of media coverage of his accomplishments, supporters know about them and will head to the voting polls to help the GOP maintain control of the House and keep the president on what CNN dubbed a “winning streak.”

In the Washington Post Friday, former Bush speechwriter and columnist Marc Thiessen agreed and said that Trump has proven to be successful at keeping his campaign promises. He wrote, “The fact is, in his first two years, Trump has compiled a remarkable record of presidential promise-keeping.”

The list:

Economic Growth

  • 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter of 2018.
  • For the first time in more than a decade, growth is projected to exceed 3 percent over the calendar year.

Jobs

  • 4 million new jobs have been created since the election, and more than 3.5 million since Trump took office.
  • More Americans are employed now than ever before in our history.
  • Jobless claims at lowest level in nearly five decades.
  • The economy has achieved the longest positive job-growth streak on record.
  • Job openings are at an all-time high and outnumber job seekers for the first time on record.
  • Unemployment claims at 50 year low
  • African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American unemployment rates have all recently reached record lows.
    • African-American unemployment hit a record low of 5.9 percent in May 2018.
    • Hispanic unemployment at 4.5 percent.
    • Asian-American unemployment at record low of 2 percent.
  • Women’s unemployment recently at lowest rate in nearly 65 years.
    • Female unemployment dropped to 3.6 percent in May 2018, the lowest since October 1953.
  • Youth unemployment recently reached its lowest level in more than 50 years.
    • July 2018’s youth unemployment rate of 9.2 percent was the lowest since July 1966.
  • Veterans’ unemployment recently hit its lowest level in nearly two decades.
    • July 2018’s veterans’ unemployment rate of 3.0 percent matched the lowest rate since May 2001.
  • Unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma recently reached a record low.
  • Rate for disabled Americans recently hit a record low.
  • Blue-collar jobs recently grew at the fastest rate in more than three decades.
  • Poll found that 85 percent of blue-collar workers believe their lives are headed “in the right direction.”
    • 68 percent reported receiving a pay increase in the past year.
  • Last year, job satisfaction among American workers hit its highest level since 2005.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans rate now as a good time to find a quality job.
    • Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percent.
  • Added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the election.
    • Manufacturing employment is growing at its fastest pace in more than two decades.
  • 100,000 new jobs supporting the production & transport of oil & natural gas.

American Income

  • Median household income rose to $61,372 in 2017, a post-recession high.
  • Wages up in August by their fastest rate since June 2009.
  • Paychecks rose by 3.3 percent between 2016 and 2017, the most in a decade.
  • Council of Economic Advisers found that real wage compensation has grown by 1.4 percent over the past year.
  • Some 3.9 million Americans off food stamps since the election.
  • Median income for Hispanic-Americans rose by 3.7 percent and surpassed $50,000 for the first time ever in history.
    • Home-ownership among Hispanics is at the highest rate in nearly a decade.
  • Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels ever recorded.

American Optimism

  • Small business optimism has hit historic highs.
    • NFIB’s small business optimism index broke a 35 year-old record in August.
    • SurveyMonkey/CNBC’s small business confidence survey for Q3 of 2018 matched its all-time high.
  • Manufacturers are more confident than ever.
    • 95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future, the highest ever.
  • Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high.
  • 12 percent of Americans rate the economy as the most significant problem facing our country, the lowest level on record.
  • Confidence in the economy is near a two-decade high, with 51 percent rating the economy as good or excellent.

American Business

  • Investment is flooding back into the United States due to the tax cuts.
    • Over $450 billion dollars has already poured back into the U.S., including more than $300 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Retail sales have surged. Commerce Department figures from August show that retail sales increased 0.5 percent in July 2018, an increase of 6.4 percent from July 2017.
  • ISM’s index of manufacturing scored its highest reading in 14 years.
  • Worker productivity is the highest it has been in more than three years.
  • Steel and aluminum producers are re-opening.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ have all notched record highs.
    • Dow hit record highs 70 times in 2017 alone, the most ever recorded in one year.

Deregulation

  • Achieved massive deregulation at a rapid pace, completing 22 deregulatory actions to every one regulatory action during his first year in office.
  • Signed legislation to roll back costly and harmful provisions of Dodd-Frank, providing relief to credit unions, and community and regional banks.
  • Federal agencies achieved more than $8 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings.
  • Rolled back Obama’s burdensome Waters of the U.S. rule.
  • Used the Congressional Review Act to repeal regulations more times than in history.

Tax Cuts

  • Biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs act into law
    • Provided more than $5.5 trillion in gross tax cuts, nearly 60 percent of which will go to families.
    • Increased the exemption for the death tax to help save Family Farms & Small Business.
    • Nearly doubled the standard deduction for individuals and families.
    • Enabled vast majority of American families will be able to file their taxes on a single page by claiming the standard deduction.
    • Doubled the child tax credit to help lessen the financial burden of raising a family.
    • Lowered America’s corporate tax rate from the highest in the developed world to allow American businesses to compete and win.
    • Small businesses can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.
    • Cut dozens of special interest tax breaks and closed loopholes for the wealthy.
  • 9 in 10 American workers are expected see an increase in their paychecks thanks to the tax cuts, according to the Treasury Department.
  • More than 6 million of American workers have received wage increases, bonuses, and increased benefits thanks to tax cuts.
  • Over 100 utility companies have lowered electric, gas, or water rates thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Ernst & Young found 89 percent of companies planned to increase worker compensation thanks to the Trump tax cuts.
  • Established opportunity zones to spur investment in left behind communities.

Worker Development

  • Established a National Council for the American Worker to develop a national strategy for training and retraining America’s workers for high-demand industries.
  • Employers have signed Trump’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” committing to train or retrain more than 4.2 million workers and students.
  • Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
  • Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.

Domestic Infrastructure

  • Proposed infrastructure plan would utilize $200 billion in Federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment across the country.
  • Executive order expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects.
  • Federal agencies have signed the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) streamlining the federal permitting process for infrastructure projects.
  • Rural prosperity task force and signed an executive order to help expand broadband access in rural areas.

Health Care

  • Signed an executive order to help minimize the financial burden felt by American households Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
  • Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
  • Signed Right-to-Try legislation, expanding health care options for terminally ill patients.
  • Enacted changes to the Medicare 340B program, saving seniors an estimated $320 million on drugs in 2018 alone.
  • FDA set a new record for generic drug approvals in 2017, saving consumers nearly $9 billion.
  • Released a blueprint to drive down drug prices for American patients, leading multiple major drug companies to announce they will freeze or reverse price increases.
  • Expanded short-term, limited-duration health plans.
  • Let more employers to form Association Health Plans, enabling more small businesses to join together and affordably provide health insurance to their employees.
  • Cut Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate penalty.
  • Signed legislation repealing Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, also known as the “death panels.”
  • USDA invested more than $1 billion in rural health care in 2017, improving access to health care for 2.5 million people in rural communities across 41 states
  • Proposed Title X rule to help ensure taxpayers do not fund the abortion industry in violation of the law.
  • Reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy to keep foreign aid from supporting the global abortion industry.
  • HHS formed a new division over protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.
  • Overturned Obama administration’s midnight regulation prohibiting states from defunding certain abortion facilities.
  • Signed executive order to help ensure that religious organizations are not forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs by complying with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate or shutting their doors.

Combating Opioids

  • Chaired meeting the 73rd General Session of the United Nations discussing the worldwide drug problem with international leaders.
  • Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, introducing new measures to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities.
  • $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
  • DEA conducted a surge in April 2018 that arrested 28 medical professions and revoked 147 registrations for prescribing too many opioids.
  • Brought the “Prescribed to Death” memorial to President’s Park near the White House, helping raise awareness about the human toll of the opioid crisis.
  • Helped reduce high-dose opioid prescriptions by 16 percent in 2017.
  • Opioid Summit on the administration-wide efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
  • Launched a national public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction.
  • Created a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis which recommended a number of pathways to tackle the opioid crisis.
  • Led two National Prescription Drug Take Back Days in 2017 and 2018, collecting a record number of expired and unneeded prescription drugs each time.
  • $485 million targeted grants in FY 2017 to help areas hit hardest by the opioid crisis.
  • Signed INTERDICT Act, strengthening efforts to detect and intercept synthetic opioids before they reach our communities.
  • DOJ secured its first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers.
  • Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, aimed at disrupting online illicit opioid sales.
  • Declared the opioid crisis a Nationwide Public Health Emergency in October 2017.

Law and Order

  • More U.S. Circuit Court judges confirmed in the first year in office than ever.
  • Confirmed more than two dozen U. S. Circuit Court judges.
  • Followed through on the promise to nominate judges to the Supreme Court who will adhere to the Constitution
    • Nominated and confirmed Justice Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
  • Signed an executive order directing the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who commit crimes against law enforcement officers.
  • Launched an evaluation of grant programs to make sure they prioritize the protection and safety of law enforcement officers.
  • Established a task force to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across Signed an executive order to focus more federal resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels.
  • Signed an executive order to focus more federal resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels.
  • Violent crime decreased in 2017 according to FBI statistics.
  • $137 million in grants through the COPS Hiring Program to preserve jobs, increase community policing capacities, and support crime prevention efforts.
  • Enhanced and updated the Project Safe Neighborhoods to help reduce violent crime.
  • Signed legislation making it easier to target websites that enable sex trafficking and strengthened penalties for people who promote or facilitate prostitution.
  • Created an interagency task force working around the clock to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and prevent human trafficking.
  • Conducted Operation Cross Country XI to combat human trafficking, rescuing 84 children and arresting 120 human traffickers.
  • Encouraged federal prosecutors to use the death penalty when possible in the fight against the trafficking of deadly drugs.
  • New rule effectively banning bump stock sales in the United States.

Border Security and Immigration

  • Secured $1.6 billion for border wall construction in the March 2018 omnibus bill.
  • Construction of a 14-mile section of border wall began near San Diego.
  • Worked to protect American communities from the threat posed by the vile MS-13 gang.
    • ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division arrested 796 MS-13 members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the prior year.
    • Justice worked with partners in Central America to secure criminal charges against more than 4,000 MS-13 members.
    • Border Patrol agents arrested 228 illegal aliens affiliated with MS-13 in FY 2017.
  • Fighting to stop the scourge of illegal drugs at our border.
    • ICE HSI seized more than 980,000 pounds of narcotics in FY 2017, including 2,370 pounds of fentanyl and 6,967 pounds of heroin.
    • ICE HSI dedicated nearly 630,000 investigative hours towards halting the illegal import of fentanyl.
    • ICE HSI made 11,691 narcotics-related arrests in FY 2017.
    • Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand introduced new measures to keep dangerous drugs out the United States.
    • Signed the INTERDICT Act into law, enhancing efforts to detect and intercept synthetic opioids.
    • DOJ secured its first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers.
    • DOJ launched their Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, aimed at disrupting online illicit opioid sales.
  • Released an immigration framework that includes the resources required to secure our borders and close legal loopholes, and repeatedly called on Congress to fix our broken immigration laws.
  • Authorized the deployment of the National Guard to help secure the border.
  • Enhanced vetting of individuals entering the U.S. from countries that don’t meet security standards, helping to ensure individuals who pose a threat to our country are identified before they enter.
    • These procedures were upheld in a June 2018 Supreme Court hearing.
  • ICE removed over 226,000 illegal aliens from the United States in 2017.
    • ICE rescued or identified over 500 human trafficking victims and over 900 child exploitation victims in 2017 alone.
  • In 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested more than 127,000 aliens with criminal convictions or charges, responsible for
    • Over 76,000 with dangerous drug offenses.
    • More than 48,000 with assault offenses.
    • More than 11,000 with weapons offenses.
    • More than 5,000 with sexual assault offenses.
    • More than 2,000 with kidnapping offenses.
    • Over 1,800 with homicide offenses.
  • Created the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office in order to support the victims and families affected by illegal alien crime.
  • More than doubled the number of counties participating in the 287(g) program, which allows jails to detain criminal aliens until they are transferred to ICE custody.

Trade

  • Negotiating and renegotiating better trade deals, achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade for the United States.
    • Agreed to work with the European Union towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsides.
    • Deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
    • Litigated multiple WTO disputes targeting unfair trade practices and upholding our right to enact fair trade laws.
    • Finalized a revised trade agreement with South Korea, which includes provisions to increase American automobile exports.
    • Negotiated an historic U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to replace NAFTA.
    • Agreement to begin trade negotiations for a U.S.-Japan trade agreement.
    • Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
    • Established a Trade and Investment Working Group with the United Kingdom, laying the groundwork for post-Brexit trade.
  • Enacted steel and aluminum tariffs to protect our vital steel and aluminum producers and strengthen our national security.
  • Conducted 82 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in 2017 alone.
  • Confronting China’s unfair trade practices after years of Washington looking the other way.
    • 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China and later imposed an additional 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
    • Conducted an investigation into Chinese forced technology transfers, unfair licensing practices, and intellectual property theft.
    • Imposed safeguard tariffs to protect domestic washing machines and solar products manufacturers hurt by China’s trade policies
  • Withdrew from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
  • Secured access to new markets for America’s farmers.
    • Recent deal with Mexico included new improvements enabling food and agriculture to trade more fairly.
    • Recent agreement with the E.U. will reduce barriers and increase trade of American soybeans to Europe.
    • Won a WTO dispute regarding Indonesia’s unfair restriction of U.S. agricultural exports.
    • Defended American Tuna fisherman and packagers before the WTO
    • Opened up Argentina to American pork experts for the first time in a quarter-century
    • American beef exports have returned to china for the first time in more than a decade
  • OK’d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.

Energy

  • Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete construction.
  • Opened up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration.
  • Coal exports up over 60 percent in 2017.
  • Rolled back the “stream protection rule” to prevent it from harming America’s coal industry.
  • Cancelled Obama’s anti-coal Clean Power Plan and proposed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule as a replacement.
  • Withdrew from the job-killing Paris climate agreement, which would have cost the U.S. nearly $3 trillion and led to 6.5 million fewer industrial sector jobs by 2040.
  • U.S. oil production has achieved its highest level in American history
  • United States is now the largest crude oil producer in the world.
  • U.S. has become a net natural gas exporter for the first time in six decades.
  • Action to expedite the identification and extraction of critical minerals that are vital to the nation’s security and economic prosperity.
  • Took action to reform National Ambient Air Quality Standards, benefitting American manufacturers.
  • Rescinded Obama’s hydraulic fracturing rule, which was expected to cost the industry $32 million per year.
  • Proposed an expansion of offshore drilling as part of an all-of-the above energy strategy
    • Held a lease sale for offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2018.
  • Got EU to increase its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States.
  • Issued permits for the New Burgos Pipeline that will cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Foreign Policy

  • Moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
  • Withdrew from Iran deal and immediately began the process of re-imposing sanctions that had been lifted or waived.
    • Treasury has issued sanctions targeting Iranian activities and entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force
    • Since enacting sanctions, Iran’s crude exports have fallen off, the value of Iran’s currency has plummeted, and international companies have pulled out of the country.
    • All nuclear-related sanctions will be back in full force by early November 2018.
  • Historic summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-Un, bringing beginnings of peace and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula.
    • The two leaders have exchanged letters and high-level officials from both sides have met resulting in tremendous progress.
    • North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests.
    • Negotiated the return of the remains of missing-in-action soldiers from the Korean War.
  • Imposed strong sanctions on Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro and his inner circle.
  • Executive order preventing those in the U.S. from carrying out certain transactions with the Venezuelan regime, including prohibiting the purchase of the regime’s debt.
  • Responded to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.
    • Rolled out sanctions targeting individuals and entities tied to Syria’s chemical weapons program.
    • Directed strikes in April 2017 against a Syrian airfield used in a chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.
    • Joined allies in launching airstrikes in April 2018 against targets associated with Syria’s chemical weapons use.
  • New Cuba policy that enhanced compliance with U.S. law and held the Cuban regime accountable for political oppression and human rights abuses.
    • Treasury and State are working to channel economic activity away from the Cuban regime, particularly the military.
  • Changed the rules of engagement, empowering commanders to take the fight to ISIS.
    • ISIS has lost virtually all of its territory, more than half of which has been lost under Trump.
    • ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital city, Raqqah, was liberated in October 2017.
    • All Iraqi territory had been liberated from ISIS.
  • More than a dozen American hostages have been freed from captivity all of the world.
  • Action to combat Russia’s malign activities, including their efforts to undermine the sanctity of United States elections.
    • Expelled dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, WA.
    • Banned the use of Kaspersky Labs software on government computers, due to the company’s ties to Russian intelligence.
    • Imposed sanctions against five Russian entities and three individuals for enabling Russia’s military and intelligence units to increase Russia’s offensive cyber capabilities.
    • Sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs, and 12 companies they own or control, who profit from Russia’s destabilizing activities.
    • Sanctioned 100 targets in response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine.
    • Enhanced support for Ukraine’s Armed Forces to help Ukraine better defend itself.
  • Helped win U.S. bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
  • Helped win U.S.-Mexico-Canada’s united bid for 2026 World Cup.

Defense

  • Executive order keeping the detention facilities at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay open.
  • $700 billion in military funding for FY 2018 and $716 billion for FY 2019.
  • Largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.
  • Ordered a Nuclear Posture Review to ensure America’s nuclear forces are up to date and serve as a credible deterrent.
  • Released America’s first fully articulated cyber strategy in 15 years.
  • New strategy on national biodefense, which better prepares the nation to defend against biological threats.
  • Administration has announced that it will use whatever means necessary to protect American citizens and servicemen from unjust prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
  • Released an America first National Security Strategy.
  • Put in motion the launch of a Space Force as a new branch of the military and relaunched the National Space Council.
  • Encouraged North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to increase defense spending to their agree-upon levels.
    • In 2017 alone, there was an increase of more than 4.8 percent in defense spending amongst NATO allies.
    • Every member state has increased defense spending.
    • Eight NATO allies will reach the 2 percent benchmark by the end of 2018 and 15 allies are on trade to do so by 2024.
    • NATO allies spent over $42 billion dollars more on defense since 2016.
  • Executive order to help military spouses find employment as their families deploy domestically and abroad.

Veterans affairs

  • Signed the VA Accountability Act and expanded VA telehealth services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
  • Delivered more appeals decisions – 81,000 – to veterans in a single year than ever before.
  • Strengthened protections for individuals who come forward and identify programs occurring within the VA.
  • Signed legislation that provided $86.5 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the largest dollar amount in history for the VA.
  • VA MISSION Act, enacting sweeping reform to the VA system that:
    • Consolidated and strengthened VA community care programs.
    • Funding for the Veterans Choice program.
    • Expanded eligibility for the Family Caregivers Program.
    • Gave veterans more access to walk-in care.
    • Strengthened the VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality healthcare professionals.
    • Enabled the VA to modernize its assets and infrastructure.
  • Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act in 2017, which authorized $2.1 billion in addition funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
  • Worked to shift veterans’ electronic medical records to the same system used by the Department of Defense, a decades old priority.
  • Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
  • Increased transparency and accountability at the VA by launching an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with access to wait time and quality of care data.
  • Signed legislation to modernize the claims and appeal process at the VA.
  • Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, providing enhanced educational benefits to veterans, service members, and their family members.
    • Lifted a 15-year limit on veterans’ access to their educational benefits.
  • Created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
  • VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
  • Signed the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act, increasing the number of VA employees that can assist justice-involved veterans.

Blasey Ford Caves: Legal Team Shuts Down Further Investigation into Kavanaugh



Reported By Bryan Chai | October 7, 2018 at 9:58am

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/ct/blasey-ford-caves-legal-team-shuts-investigation-kavanaugh/

Christine Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Christine Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (ABC News screen shot)

And so the Brett Kavanaugh scandal has ended — not with a bang, but a whimper. That could change, of course, if Democrats continue their crusade to remove the judge should they take the Senate after midterms. But as far as the original accuser goes? Christine Blasey Ford is throwing in the towel.

Ford’s lawyers have told CNN that their client “absolutely does not want him (Kavanaugh) impeached if Democrats take control of Congress.”

Debra Katz, one of Ford’s attorneys, told CNN that Ford has done everything she originally sought to do.

“Professor Ford has not asked for (Democrats to continue investigating Kavanaugh.) What she did was to come forward and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and agree to cooperate with any investigation by the FBI and that’s what she sought to do here,” Katz said.

Ford was thrust into the national spotlight after she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a party while the two were in high school. Countless accusations and investigations ultimately yielded nothing, and Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th Supreme Court justice on Saturday after a 50-48 Senate vote.

Some prominent Democrats, such as House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerry Nadler, have made no secret of Democrats’ desires to further investigate Kavanaugh should Democrats have a successful midterm.

“If he is on the Supreme Court, and the Senate hasn’t investigated, then the House will have to,” Nadler told ABC News George Stephanopoulos. “We would have to investigate any credible allegations of perjury and other things that haven’t been properly looked into before.”

Nadler’s statements fly directly in the face of Ford’s desires. Considering the accusations that Democrats willfully ignored Ford’s request for anonymity, it’s not exactly surprising that Democrats might ignore her requests again.

“She does not want (Kavanaugh) to be impeached?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Ford’s lawyers.

“No,” Katz bluntly responded.

It’s totally understandable that Ford wants this ordeal finished and tucked away. Another Ford lawyer, Lisa Banks, stressed that Ford wanted closure but had no regrets.

“I don’t think she has any regrets. I think she feels like she did the right thing,” Banks said.

“And this was what she wanted to do, which was provide this information to the committee so they could make the best decision possible. And I think she still feels that was the right thing to do, so I don’t think she has any regrets.”

Katz hinted that she wasn’t thrilled with how everything played out, but still supported Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s handling of the accusations.

“What I can speak to is when victims of sexual assault and violence go to their Congress people — when they go to their senators and they ask for their information to be confidential, I think that that’s a request that needs to be respected,” Katz said.

“Victims get to control when and how and where their allegations get made public,” she added. “Now, if we want to look at all the things that went wrong in this process, there are many. There are many issues that need to be addressed. But I think Sen. Feinstein respected the process of her constituents, and I think that was the right thing to do.”

It’s certainly up for debate whether or not Feinstein actually “respected the process of her constituents.”

But if Democrats continue the assault on Kavanaugh, they most certainly will not be respecting Ford’s request for this to end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

If I could have two television shows and two movies on a desert island, they’d be “The Office,” (the American version) “Breaking Bad,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Die Hard.” I love sports, video games, comics, movies and television. And I guess my job, too.

Opinion: Scenes from the Kavanaugh Clash — And What the Media Badly Missed


Commentary By Amy Swearer | October 7, 2018 at 3:56pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/opinion-scenes-kavanaugh-clash-media-badly-missed/

Friday morning, as the Senate prepared to vote to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, I took a field trip with some of our interns. It wasn’t anything intensive — just a lap around the Capitol to observe the anti-Kavanaugh protests.

One of our female interns carried a sign. It was a simple sign with four words: “I stand with Brett.”

I somewhat expected those words to attract attention — they are, after all, words so contrary to the sentiments expressed by the majority of individuals who held signs around the Capitol this week.

What I did not expect was the type of attention it would draw and from what type of people.

You see, we were mostly ignored by the large groups of screaming, borderline-hysterical, anti-Kavanaugh protesters. Occasionally, a lone individual would heap some abuse our way, often in the form of telling us we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. But overall, it appeared they had bigger fights to pick than with four fairly innocuous young adults who kept a respectful distance.

No, the attention we attracted was from people largely overlooked amid the shouting. And they were almost unanimously supportive.

Normal, everyday people — tourists from all areas of the country, couples pushing strollers, families with teenage daughters, middle-aged friends, elderly women out for a walk — all quietly, calmly approaching us for a word of thanks.

We could not go 50 yards without being stopped by someone expressing their gratitude or asking if we had any extra signs. I can’t tell you how many wanted to take pictures with the sign. I gave up counting the thumbs ups and smiles. I can’t tell you the number of ways we were thanked by different individuals.

What I do know is that the amount of encouragement received by people who would otherwise have stayed silent in the shadow of the larger anti-Kavanaugh mobs gave me hope.

More than anything, I was heartened by the women. For too many women, “I stand with Brett” is a phrase we’ve been told we mustn’t utter in public. It’s a conclusion we’ve been told we mustn’t reach. A rationale we’ve been told we mustn’t embrace.

And so many women have stayed silent. We’ve quietly absorbed the abuse aimed at us. Without retort, we have stood by and refrained from engaging in a prolonged ideological battle we fear we’ll fight alone.

But inside, we know. We know that there is not and has never been a shred of corroboration for the claims of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. We know that “Believe all women” is an irrational and untenable ideology that undermines every argument that we should be treated equally to men. We know that a good man has been forced to go to war for his honor and his family because he is being slandered on the altar of social justice run amok.

For dozens of women today, these four words printed on poster board were their voice, and they let us know it.

Reason and truth do not always belong to the loudest in the room. Sometimes, they belong to the whisperers the world barely acknowledges, and castigates when it does.

So let me unequivocally state today what so many of us have long known, but have too often refused to say publicly: Women, it’s OK.

It’s OK to not believe other women when the evidence is contrary to their claims.

It’s OK to adhere to basic concepts of rationality and fairness when making a judgment about a man accused of sexual misconduct.

It’s OK to stand with Kavanaugh if your reason so implores you.

These are things we need not only whisper in private. We can say them out loud, and boldly. Behind our whispers is a mighty roar to let others know they are not alone in thinking for themselves.

Amy Swearer is a legal policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

A version of this Op-Ed appeared Friday on The Daily Signal website under the headline “The Power of ‘I Stand With Brett.’”

Teacher Learns Harsh Lesson After Calling for Kavanaugh Assassination


Reported By Cillian Zeal | October 9, 2018 at 6:58am

A Minnesota teacher who called for the death of Brett Kavanaugh on Twitter has been suspended with pay after the threat was reported to the FBI, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The unnamed teacher, who goes by the Twitter handle @lookitsSammm, got her fifteen minutes of viral infamy after the minatory tweet on Saturday, according to the Star Tribune.

“So whose (sic) going to take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?” @lookitsSammm wrote.

As expressing political rage goes, this wasn’t a particularly great idea, particularly when it happened just hours after Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate:

The not-good-idea-iness factor of this whole thing was significantly heightened by the fact that the tweeter was a Rosemount, Minnesota, educator — and there are bigger issues with that than the fact a teacher doesn’t know the difference between “whose” and “who’s.”

“The teacher, listed as an instructor at the Intermediate School District 917’s Alliance Education Center, has since deleted her Twitter account but her tweet was captured and shared by scores of users who said they reported it to the FBI and U.S. Secret Service,” the Star Tribune reported.

As an aside here, I can understand deleting a tweet after it becomes clear you’ve said something cretinous (or possibly illegal). No, it’s not going to stop the whirlwind of problems you’ve invited upon yourself, but I suppose it at least shows some good sense. Deleting your account, however, just makes you look very guilty. For every soi-disant Twitter politics expert who could see themselves typing out something this addle-pated in the future, please keep this in mind when you eventually decide to say something profoundly asinine and/or felonious.

So, back to @lookitsSammm. Mark Zuzek, the superintendent of Intermediate School District 917, acknowledged they’d received a complaint regarding her social media musings and that she was “on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” according to a statement on the center’s website.

“Pursuant with the data practices act, we are limited to providing additional information regarding this matter,” Zuzek added in the statement.

In an ideal universe, that “investigation” would consist of this:

Superintendent Zuzek: So, uh, did you tweet this garbage?

@lookitsSammm: That depends on what the definition of “tweet” is.

Superintendent Zuzek: Is there any possible way I can verbalize an ellipsis? No?

@lookitsSammm: [heavy sigh] I have my First Amendment rights, Superintendent Zuzek. I, for one, believe all survivors, and you should, too. I was merely–

Superintendent Zuzek: Good luck with your next job.

My ideal world, alas, is one where teachers unions aren’t 100 percent insane and that clearly isn’t going to exist anytime soon. That being said, one can likely guess that once the wearisome process concludes, it’ll probably conclude with @lookitsSammm @lookingforanewjob.

Of course, our unidentified educator has a bit more to worry about than her employment status. There’s also a law enforcement investigation to consider.

“It is unclear whether the teacher will be charged with a crime or what law enforcement agency is responsible for investigating the tweet,” the Star Tribune noted.

“While Twitter users wrote that they reported the tweet to the FBI and Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for protecting the federal judiciary. The U.S. Supreme Court also has a small federal police force in Washington, D.C.”

An FBI spokesman for the Minneapolis office said that the bureau was aware of the remarks, the Star Tribune reported. While this could end up resulting in absolutely nothing, I’ve found it’s generally not good to have federal authorities aware of anything you happen to be doing, particularly if it involves encouraging assassination.

Regardless, the federal attention is going to make a harsh lesson in itself. Combined with complications at work, it all just might be enough to teach this teacher something to remember.

Yes, I get that this was supposed to be a joke and that nobody is likely to be goaded into taking a shot at a Supreme Court justice in 280 characters or less, especially from a random Minnesota teacher.

With that in mind, nobody finds jokes about murdering people particularly funny. Much more importantly for @lookitsSammm, that includes both her employer and law enforcement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Writing under a pseudonym, Cillian Zeal is a conservative writer who is currently living abroad in a country that doesn’t value free speech and exercising it would put him in danger.

Lindsey Graham Pulls Out Piece of Paper, Issues Incredible Challenge to Chuck Schumer


Reported By Benjamin Arie | October 7, 2018 at

7:19pm

Lindsey Graham is on a roll. For years, he was seen by many Republicans as sort of “conservative lite,” a fairly moderate politician who wasn’t particularly passionate or exciting. All that seems to have changed with the Brett Kavanaugh kerfuffle. The South Carolina senator appears to have taken a few classes in cool, and his heartfelt defense of the embattled Supreme Court nominee caught the attention of conservatives everywhere.

On Sunday, Graham kept that energy going. During an appearance on Chris Wallace’s much-watched program, the senator issued a direct challenge to his Democrat counterpart in the Senate.

As the cameras rolled, Graham held up a piece of paper that listed all of the names on President Trump’s shortlist for the Supreme Court.

“There are twenty-something people on this list,” the Republican challenged Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Name five, name three, name one that would be okay with you.”

His point was clear: The last-minute attempt to block and smear Kavanaugh had nothing to do with that nominee specifically. Instead, Democrats are intent on obstructing any of Trump’s potential nominees, all of whom are well-respected names. Kavanaugh just happened to have drawn the short straw.

The senator pushed back against liberals who are pretending that the newest Supreme Court member is some sort of far-right radical.

“Brett Kavanaugh was a mainstream judge,” Graham explained, according to The Daily Caller.

“I would’ve chosen him if I had been president, Bush supported him, everybody running for president on our side believe that Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch were outstanding conservative jurists,” the senator continued.

Graham was just getting warmed up. He pointed out that when Democrats held the White House, Republicans didn’t try to derail all of their Supreme Court picks … yet that is exactly what the left is doing now at every opportunity.

“So, Chuck, if you want someone new? Look at this list and see anybody you agree to, but what you want to do, Senator Schumer, is to overturn the election,” the Republican challenged.

“If you want to pick judges, then you need to win the White House. When Obama won, I voted for two judges that he picked,” Graham continued.

Those two judges, of course, were Kagan and Sotomayor, both women. A number of Republicans, including Graham, voted for them.

“So Chuck Schumer, name one person on this list you think is acceptable,” Graham challenged.

The South Carolina senator is right: Liberals want to have it both ways. They whine about civility and bipartisanship, but then act shockingly uncivil and refuse to extend olive branches at every turn.

Dragging a family man and widely-respected judge through the mud for political reasons may be a new low point in American politics. The American people are paying close attention … and like Senator Graham, they’re quickly losing patience for these antics.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Benjamin Arie has been a political junkie since the hotly contested 2000 election. Ben settled on journalism after realizing he could get paid to rant. He cut his teeth on car accidents and house fires as a small-town reporter in Michigan before becoming a full-time political writer.

Scalia’s Daughter-in-Law Goes Nuclear on Democrats over Kavanaugh


Reported By Benjamin Arie | October 6, 2018 at

7:17am

Democrats desperately hoped that their antics surrounding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh would keep him off the Supreme Court … but their actions seem to have seriously backfired. Instead of stopping the conservative judge, liberals appear to have unified the right.

Recent polls show that voters are re-energized to support Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, and a majority of citizens of all backgrounds disapprove of how Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in particular, handled the unproven accusations against Kavanaugh.

Now, it looks like the left’s treatment of Kavanaugh may be repelling political moderates and independents. That’s the message of Adele Scalia, the daughter-in-law of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in early 2016.

The former justice may have been known as a conservative, but Adele Scalia is not.

“I’ve always considered myself politically moderate: I am unapologetically pro-life, but my views on affirmative action, Black Lives Matter, and gun control made me sympathize strongly with Democratic perspectives and occasionally led to arguments with my husband and father-in-law,” she wrote in an Op-Ed piece published by The Federalist.

Scalia checks many of the identity politics boxes revered by modern liberals. She’s a female, of course, and is also a “person of color” who immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago. As she pointed out herself in her article, she was never completely comfortable with the Republican party for a variety of reasons.

All that changed thanks to the appalling treatment of Kavanaugh by Democrats, and their rejection of evidence or presumption of innocence in favor of a political witch hunt.

“I have become a unicorn,” Scalia wrote.

“All it took was Democrats’ treatment of Brett Kavanaugh over the last few weeks to turn me into that elusive creature: a minority, immigrant woman who supports Republicans,” the former attorney and stay-at-home mother said.

Mincing no words, Scalia declared that what she saw happen over the last few weeks “convinced me that Democrats are not who they claim to be.”

“The party that established itself as a champion for the voiceless, powerless, and wrongfully accused, betrayed its values and launched a vicious attack on Kavanaugh that left him voiceless, powerless, and completely incapable of defending himself,” she wrote.

Scalia pointed out something that a few others have also noticed: Despite constantly pretending to stand for the rights of the accused when it comes to urban minorities, the left betrayed those principles when it came to a conservative white male.

“Against all logic and good faith, they released uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct to the public, counting on the backdrop of the ‘Me Too’ movement to make them that much harder to criticize or ignore. I still cannot reconcile these actions with the social and criminal justice reform platforms that Democrats campaign on,” she wrote.

Then she revealed something that should be a red alert to Democrats: For the first time since legally entering the country, Scalia feels compelled to officially become a full citizen so she can vote … for Republicans.

“These events opened my eyes to the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party,” Scalia declared, summarizing the problem.

The left just created a new minority, female immigrant conservative voter — and there could be many more previously undecided voters who have been motivated by the kangaroo court of last two weeks.

Well done, Democrats.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Benjamin Arie has been a political junkie since the hotly contested 2000 election. Ben settled on journalism after realizing he could get paid to rant. He cut his teeth on car accidents and house fires as a small-town reporter in Michigan before becoming a full-time political writer.

Ford Ex-Boyfriend Devastates Her Testimony. Alleges Fraud, Polygraph Coaching


Reported By Lisa Payne-Naeger | October 3, 2018 at

7:36am

Tables have certainly turned on the left.

If the Democrats’ strategy was to manufacture a past that comes back to haunt opponents, their game plan to derail the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should have included accusers and witnesses who had untainted histories of their own.

Unfortunately for chief accuser Christine Blasey Ford, a man from her own past has gone public to allege some major holes in her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Those digging deep into Kavanaugh’s personal history to unearth any kind of scandal may have just been thwarted by a page from their own playbook.

Fox News reported late Tuesday that a man has come forward to contradict many of the statements Ford made in her testimony last week.

The man, an ex-boyfriend of Ford, said she never told him of an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh in all of the six years that they dated.

Further, in the sworn statement, the man contradicts Ford’s testimony that she never helped anyone prepare for polygraph examinations or had a fear of flying or tight spaces and limited exits.

“In a written declaration released Tuesday and obtained by Fox News, an ex-boyfriend of Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, directly contradicts her testimony under oath last week that she had never helped anyone prepare for a polygraph examination,” Fox News reported.

“The former boyfriend, whose name was redacted in the declaration, also said Ford neither mentioned Kavanaugh nor mentioned she was a victim of sexual misconduct during the time they were dating from about 1992 to 1998. He said he saw Ford going to great lengths to help a woman he believed was her ‘life-long best friend’ prepare for a potential polygraph test. He added that the woman, Monica McLean, had been interviewing for jobs with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office.

“He further claimed that Ford never voiced any fear of flying (even while aboard a propeller plane) and seemingly had no problem living in a ‘very small,’ 500 sq. ft. apartment with one door — apparently contradicting her claims that she could not testify promptly in D.C. because she felt uncomfortable traveling on planes, as well as her suggestion that her memories of Kavanuagh’s alleged assault prompted her to feel unsafe living in a closed space or one without a second front door.”

All of those statements contradict, or cast serious question on, Ford’s testimony to the committee deciding Kavanaugh’s fate.

In particular, during her testimony, Ford was questioned about her experience with polygraphs several times by the prosecutor hired by committee Republicans. She denied ever helping anyone prepare to take a polygraph.

According to Fox, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Ford’s attorneys demanding they release: “therapist notes and other key materials, and suggested she was intentionally less than truthful about her experience with polygraph examinations during Thursday’s dramatic Senate hearing.”

This isn’t the first time differing statements have come from friends of Ford who knew her back in the day.

On Sept. 22, as Mairead McArdle noted at National Review, longtime Ford friend Leland Ingham Keyser denied statements that she attended the party in which Ford alleges the assault by Kavanaugh took place.

Howard Walsh, an attorney for Keyser said in a written statement: “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

Perjury is a serious crime, and at this point I would wonder if Ford isn’t getting a little nervous as figures from her past emerge to shoot down her testimony and paint a picture of a very non-credible individual.

As speculation surrounds the coming conclusion of the FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavenaugh, I wonder if there will be any consequence toward those who came forward with such questionable accusations against the judge.

It shouldn’t be so easy to lie under oath. And the left shouldn’t assume that their obstruction tactics will go unchallenged anymore.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An enthusiastic grassroots Tea Party activist, Lisa Payne-Naeger has spent the better part of the last decade lobbying for educational and family issues in her state legislature, and as a keyboard warrior hoping to help along the revolution that empowers the people to retake control of their, out-of-control, government.

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