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Posts tagged ‘Mitch McConnell’

McConnell Wins Senate GOP Leadership Vote After Rick Scott Challenge


By: ARJUN SINGH, CONTRIBUTOR | November 16, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/11/16/mcconnell-wins-senate-gop-leadership-vote-after-rick-scott-challenge/

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Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been reelected the Leader of the Senate Republican Conference after a last-minute challenge from his colleague, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, on Wednesday. McConnell won the support of 37 members of the conference to continue as leader of the Senate GOP, a role he has held since 2007. He will continue as the Senate Minority Leader in the 118th Congress after Republicans failed to oust Democrats from the Senate majority in this year’s midterm elections.

McConnell had been challenged by Sen. Rick Scott, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for the job after Scott announced on Tuesday, during a luncheon with other GOP Senators, that he would do so. The move, part of a long-running feud between Scott and McConnell, caught many members of the conference by surprise.

The McConnell-Scott feud stems from a dispute over the funding of battleground Senate candidates in this year’s midterm election. McConnell’s affiliated Super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), raised and spent over $250 million this electoral cycle to elect Republicans, and was the top outside spender (i.e., not contributing directly to candidate committees, but spending independently to influence the race) on Senate elections in the United States. The SLF withdrew funding from Republican Senate candidates in New Hampshire and Arizona, which were widely seen as critical-to-win races for the GOP to gain a majority in the Senate. Both Republican candidates, Blake Masters in Arizona and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, lost to Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly and Maggie Hassan even as pre-election polls showed them in close races. The SLF also spent significant amounts of money in Alaska, seeking to defend Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a close McConnell ally who was being challenged by Republican candidate Kelly Tshibaka in the general election under the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting system. Tshibaka and the Alaska Republican Party later criticized the SLF for wasting resources on opposing her candidacy.

McConnell had openly mused that “there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” in an appearance in Kentucky in August, which was widely reported. He lamented that “candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” which was interpreted as criticism of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed candidates who won GOP Senate primaries in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada yet, later, lost the general election. Shortly after McConnell’s comments, Scott acknowledged in an interview with Politico that he had a “strategic disagreement” with McConnell about funding races, and later implicitly criticized him for “treasonous…trash-talking our Republican candidates” in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner.

Scott’s bid to become Senate Republicans’ leader had been endorsed by Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, while Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said that he does not support McConnell’s continuance in office, though he didn’t expressly endorse Scott. Other GOP Senators, such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, had called for the vote to be delayed until after Georgia’s Senate runoff election.

McConnell and Scott’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon by A.F. Branco


A.F. Branco Cartoon – Payday

A.F. BRANCO | on November 16, 2022 | https://comicallyincorrect.com/a-f-branco-cartoon-payday/

Mitch McConnell stabbed America in the back in order to keep his job as GOP leader in the Senate.

Mictch McConnell Payoff
Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2022.

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A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including NewsMax, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Rep. Devin Nunes, Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Chris Salcedo, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and President Donald Trump.

Democrats Have Arrested, Prosecuted, And Raided Their Enemies. There’s Only One Way to Make Them Stop


BY: CHRISTOPHER BEDFORD | AUGUST 10, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/08/10/democrats-have-arrested-prosecuted-and-raided-their-enemies-theres-only-one-way-to-make-them-stop/

President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff in June 2022. White House/Adam Schultz.

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Arrests and convictions over contempt of Congress. Police enforcement of bureaucratic and relatively obscure archivist laws. FBI raids on former presidents (and future political opponents?). In their rage, the Democratic Congress and administration have written a vicious battle plan — one that conservatives will do well to follow when they return to power if they’re at all serious about restoring any semblance of respect for law in our country. In weeks past, there’s little reason to believe conservatives are; but Monday night’s raid might finally have changed that.

Just over one year after President Joe Biden’s election to the White House, his Department of Justice arrested Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former political director. Bannon was arrested for contempt of Congress, or, refusing to answer a congressional subpoena. After he was convicted last month, Bannon became the first American to face a prison sentence for contempt since the House Un-American Activities Committee sent 10 uncooperative, suspected Hollywood communists to prison in 1948. In the more than 70 years between the Hollywood Ten’s sentencings and Bannon’s conviction, contempt of Congress had devolved into more of a political tool used to investigate the other party, but rarely brought to its legal conclusion.

While Democrats tried to prosecute contempt of Congress twice during the Reagan years, the administration only let one prosecution come to pass (in which the defendant was ultimately found innocent of contempt). Decades later, when Republicans tried to bring a similar case against President Barack Obama’s obstinate attorney general, Eric Holder declined to prosecute himself, citing executive privilege. Two years later, when Republicans sought answers from the IRS’s Lois Lerner over her targeting of political opponents, Holder also declined to prosecute. Later, when Democrats tried to bring criminal contempt charges against Trump’s secretary of commerce and attorney general, Bill Barr similarly declined to prosecute himself.

Criminal enforcement is extremely rare because the reality is Congress can refer who they like, but the administration prosecutes whomever the administration chooses to prosecute.

The Biden administration has made clear they’ll prosecute their political opponents every chance they get. That means that despite Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s threat to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland accountable in the next Congress, he will only be empowered to hold Garland accountable under a Republican administration (unless he complies with Republican congressional oversight, which he won’t).

True: Arresting an administration official after he’s left office is a dangerous precedent, but it’s one Democrats gleefully set this past year. And contempt of Congress is far from the only weapon the administration has wielded against their out-of-power opponents: Tuesday’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s home, for example, reportedly centered on his handling of classified information (and the Watergate-era Presidential Records Act).

While politicians such as Hillary Clinton have been accused of similar crimes, prosecution is extremely rare — and focuses on the most egregious cases. For example, Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger, was prosecuted in 2004 for stealing and destroying classified documents on the Clinton administration’s handling of terrorism prior to his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Gen. David Petraeus was similarly charged for sharing classified documents with his mistress. Neither Berger nor Petraeus was charged with so much as a felony, instead pleading guilty to misdemeanors. Neither Berger nor Petraeus’s homes were ever raided, either, and, neither man ever served a day in prison. Most importantly, neither was a former president of the opposing party — nor a potential political opponent in the next general election.

That’s what makes the FBI’s raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home so shocking — so disconcerting that voices from former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the liberal Bloomberg editorial board to D.C.-groupthink mouthpiece Playbook have all voiced their unease.

These liberals’ unease stands in contrast with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who ignored a reporter’s Tuesday afternoon question on the subject and didn’t issue so much as a peep of concern for the first 23 hours after the raid was publicized. He was joined in his silence by Senate Republican Whip John Thune (who issued a statement at the same time, Tuesday night), Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (who remained silent as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday), and the Senate’s premier “thoughtful conservative” cosplayer, Ben Sasse. Why the silence? While after five years of increasingly unrealistic (and unproven) conspiracies and accusations against the former president, some Republicans still somehow trust the FBI. The reality is that others, such as McConnell, are pleased by the raid. But regardless of their private thoughts and motivations, their impotent silence in the face of the Biden administration’s charges, arrests, and raids on its political opponents exposes their inability to handle the crisis the American state finds itself in.

While over the coming years, still other Republicans will cite this dead norm or that gutted precedent as they hesitate to use the Democrats’ own battle plans back on them, one-sided disarmament is no strategy at all. The only way to fight back is to make the kinds of people who’ve weaponized and undermined the American state suffer for their actions. They’ve arrested their enemies, revived obscure rules as pretexts for partisan attacks, and raided their opponents’ homes, and they won’t be sorry until they’ve felt the same pain.

They aren’t sorry at all — yet.


Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, a founding partner of RightForge, vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at The Daily Caller News Foundation and National Journalism Center, and the author of “The Art of the Donald.” His work has been featured in The American Mind, National Review, the New York Post and the Daily Caller, where he led the Daily Caller News Foundation and spent eight years. A frequent guest on Fox News and Fox Business, he was raised in Massachusetts and lives across the river from D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

A Biden Climate Emergency Would Unleash Unconstitutional Actions


BY: CHUCK DEVORE | JULY 21, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/21/a-biden-climate-emergency-would-unleash-unconstitutional-actions/

Earth

Biden is considering invoking considerable powers, but executive actions taken for a ‘climate emergency’ would be unconstitutional.

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The left is pressuring President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and his consideration of this declaration is a sign of desperation and weakness. Executive actions taken as a result of a “climate emergency” would die in the U.S. Supreme Court (more on that later).  

The reason Biden may declare a climate emergency is simple: His green agenda has stalled. Persistent inflation, led by rising energy costs, and a nation likely in recession, has reduced the likelihood that a narrowly divided Congress will approve the application of additional environmental leaches to an anemic economy.

It appears green dreams are the ultimate First World luxury good — it’s all fun and games until the average family shells out $5,000 a year more for gas, food, electricity, and rent. Yet the left demands more. Elected representatives are a roadblock. The people don’t know what’s best for them. The Vanguard of the Proletariat have met and decided that if Congress won’t act, then an array of administrative acronyms led by the dogmatic theoreticians of the White House — none of whom who have run a business — will.

The powers Biden is considering invoking are considerable, though none of them were intended by Congress to do what administration is preparing to do. Even a short summary is terrifyingly breathtaking in ambition and disingenuous creativity.

Burdensome Regulations

In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule to require “climate-related disclosures for investors.” This rule, if finalized, would deal further hammer blows to the domestic oil and gas industry — just after Biden was forced to go hat in hand to Saudi Arabia to beg Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for more oil. It would do that by requiring publicly traded companies to detail their greenhouse gas emissions, including those of their suppliers, whether they are publicly traded or not. In other words, privately held firms, family-owned companies, and individual proprietorships would be burdened with costly reporting requirements, causing more money to be put into paperwork and less money to be put into productive activity.

Next, just because the Supreme Court rolled back regulatory power in June’s West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision doesn’t mean that the EPA won’t still be used to achieve climate goals in ways Congress never authorized. For instance, it’s expected that the EPA will issue new particulate thresholds that would have the practical effect of regulating all combustion for energy and transportation purposes. Particulates are small particles that, in today’s era of clean air, are mostly generated by farming, wildfires, and construction activities — modern combustion is remarkably clean. However, because ambient levels of particulates are very hard to push below a certain level, there will always be an excuse to squeeze for more until every vehicle powered by hydrocarbons is removed from the road or curbed by fees. Put another way, it’s a war on using hydrocarbons to make energy or power vehicles.

Misuse of the Law

The declaration of a climate emergency would also embolden the Biden administration to invoke Section 202 of the Federal Power Act. This law, clearly intended by Congress to be used only in time of war or an emergency due to an increased demand for electricity or a shortage of electricity, will be used to shift electrical power from regions that have responsibly planned for their power needs to states that have gone green and, as a result, have made their grids vulnerable to the vicissitudes of weather. This means that the federal government could literally divert power contracted for by Arizona and shift it to California — a version of this happened a year ago. Essentially, a maximalist use of Section 202 will allow leftwing Biden appointees to turn the power off wherever they choose — all for environmental justice and the planet, of course.

Finally, Biden’s environmental zealots are looking to the Defense Production Act (DPA) to commandeer any part of the economy they feel should be drafted into the fight against climate change. Former President Donald Trump used the DPA to order 3M to produce N95 masks and General Motors to produce ventilators for the federal government. Biden invoked it for Covid-19 purposes as well and then improbably expanded its use to (try to) address the baby formula shortage. With the DPA now unleashed for decidedly non-war applications, the ability to muck with all aspects of the economy for the “climate emergency” are endless.

Administrative State in Retreat

Fortunately, due to the unlikely success of the duo of Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the federal bench was well-provisioned with constitutionally minded jurists. As a result, the unbridled powers of the administrative state have been in retreat.

Former six-term Indiana Republican Congressman John Hostettler, vice president of federal affairs with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, observes that, “Justice Alito’s concurrence in Gundy v. United States was a clear signal that he is willing to put an end to the administrative state if the right case comes before the Supreme Court. And the left knows it.”

Hostettler was referring to Justice Samuel Alito’s 2019 opinion, which was characterized by his colleague, Justice Neil Gorsuch, as “not join[ing] either the [court] plurality’s constitutional or statutory analysis,” In it, Alito stated:

The Constitution confers on Congress certain “legislative [p]owers,” Art. I, §1, and does not permit Congress to delegate them to another branch of the Government…. Nevertheless, since 1935, the Court has uniformly rejected nondelegation arguments and has upheld provisions that authorized agencies to adopt important rules pursuant to extraordinarily capacious standards….


If a majority of this Court were willing to reconsider the approach we have taken for the past 84 years, I would support that effort. But because a majority is not willing to do that, it would be freakish to single out the provision at issue here for special treatment.

Moreover, Hostettler maintains, “Given the addition of the likely votes of Justices [Brett] Kavanaugh and [Amy Coney] Barrett, there’s even more cause for optimism that the High Court is likely to do what Congress seems unable to accomplish. That optimism was bolstered with the outcome in West Virginia v. EPA. Although West Virginia wasn’t the nondelegation case that Alito’s previous pronouncement called for, it’s close enough to stiffen the resolve of Constitutionalists to come up with the right case so that the Court’s majority can further cement its direction on the ‘major question’ doctrine — the concept that if an agency seeks to regulate on a ‘major question’ the statute must clearly grant that express authority.”

For this reason, Hostettler is confident that the Biden administration’s climate emergency overreach would “do to the expansive power of the administrative state what Dobbs did to Roe v. Wade.”

In war there are casualties — and Biden’s climate war threatens to claim the once-mighty power of unelected bureaucrats and left-wing appointees to rule our lives without our votes.  


Chuck DeVore is vice president of national initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a former California legislator, special assistant for foreign affairs in the Reagan-era Pentagon, and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve. He’s the author of two books, “The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America,” and “China Attacks,” a novel.

The 14 Republicans Who Voted to Advance Democrats’ Gun Control Wish List Just Betrayed Their Base


REPORTED BY: JORDAN BOYD | JUNE 22, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/06/22/the-14-republicans-who-voted-to-advance-democrats-gun-control-wish-list-just-betrayed-their-base/

Mitch McConnell Axios interview

GOP leadership handed thousands of voters’ constitutional rights on a silver platter to Democrats by pushing the bill.

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Fourteen Republican senators betrayed their voter base on Tuesday night when they voted to advance a gun control bill that concedes key constitutional ground to Democrats and their gun-grabbing wish list.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, his pick for lead negotiator Sen. John Cornyn, and nine GOPers committed to passing restrictive gun legislation last week. When the “bipartisan” group of senators finally produced the rushed bill’s text, Republican Sens. Joni Ernst, Todd Young, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lisa Murkowski joined the legislation’s authors (except for Sen. Pat Toomey, who was absent) to ram it through the upper chamber and then to the House of Representatives as soon as possible.

At a time when inflation exacerbated by federal spending is at all-time highs, more than a dozen Republican senators voted to proceed with legislation that funnels billions of dollars to states and government agencies, including the FBI, under the guise of stopping future deadly shootings like the one in Uvalde where 19 children and two teachers died after a shooter entered an elementary school through a backdoor and was not stopped by law enforcement until an hour later.

In reality, the bill is littered with vague language about “dating partners” and red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate guns from someone the government deems a danger to the public or themselves, which could be easily exploited by partisan bureaucrats.

The senators promoting this bill have provided little evidence that provisions such as “enhancing” background checks on gun buyers under 21 years of age will actually deter criminals from committing crimes that are already illegal yet it’s been hailed by Democrats and their cronies in the corrupt corporate media as the biggest firearm legislation since 1994.

That’s why pro-Second Amendment groups such as the National Rifle Association strongly opposed the legislation as soon as the full text was released.

“This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians,” the NRA said in a statement. “This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”

Polling suggests that a plurality of American voters also believe red flag laws, like those encouraged by bullies in Congress, can and will be abused by the government and could even be used to root out political enemies. Specifically, more than 72 percent of Republican voters oppose red flag laws on the grounds that they could be easily turned against anyone who disagrees with the regime.

Some of those voters with strong convictions against gun restrictions were likely in states such as Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Louisiana, Missouri, Utah, Ohio, West Virginia, Iowa, Alaska, and Indiana, many of which are Republican-controlled. But instead of their interests being accurately represented by the politicians sworn to consider their concerns in Washington, thousands of voters’ constitutional rights were handed on a silver platter to Democrats by GOP leadership.

Congressional Democrats like Murphy and their allies in corporate media have already admitted that they received “considerably more than [Democrats] hoped for initially.”

That’s why Cornyn was loudly booed and heckled for the duration of his speech at the Lone Star State’s GOP convention last week. Despite facing significant backlash from his home state, Cornyn showed no remorse for failing to protect Texas constituents’ Second Amendment rights.

Instead, he doubled down and smeared the people who elected him to office as a “mob.”

This lack of remorse from Cornyn and other Republicans is not only shameful but alarming. As I noted in my column on this gun bill last week, “If Republicans were willing to cave on the Second Amendment, how much emotional manipulation will it take for them to surrender on other key conservative issues?”

While a significant portion of the gun control bill is a nothing-burger focused on more inflation-fueling funding and only some gun-grabbing, Republican willingness to support it is an act of betrayal against Americans and the Constitution. It shows that the politicians already in or slated for GOP leadership are willing to give concession after concession to Democrats without regard for the voters who elected them.


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.

Senate Republicans Trash Rick Scott for Telling Voters How He’ll Work for Them


REPORTED BY: RACHEL BOVARD | MARCH 03, 2022

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/senate-republicans-trash-rick-scott-for-telling-voters-how-hell-work-for-them-2656832919.html/

Rick Scott and Donald Trump

Sen. Rick Scott recently did what no one else in the Republican Senate thought important: he released an agenda ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Up to this point, Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, appeared content to proudly run on no strategy at all, convinced that simply pointing at Democrats and shrieking about how bad they are will crown them victorious.

As a point of electoral politics, this is not completely irrational. Polling shows Democratic policy failures and broad cultural overreaches are driving voters to Republicans in record numbers. But as I’ve written previously, a content-free campaign only gets you so far. In many cases, the voters now identifying with Republicans are non-traditional GOP voters. To get them to stick around—that is, to actually expand the base of the party while continuing to motivate traditional base voters—you have to tell them what you’re for, what you’re going to do. And then you have to go and do it.

Establishment politicians dislike agendas because they’re a measure of accountability. An agenda is a tangible reminder of what a majority said they were going to do. On the contrary, traditional establishment rhetoric routinely plays down expectations about what’s possible, makes vague hand gestures about “the long game” (usually undefined), and generally avoids anything that would force them to roll up their sleeves and attempt to legislate on the hard things—that is, what their base voters care about.

What the establishment prefers to do is what McConnell has always done: run on nothing except how bad the other guy is. But the absence of an agenda is a tacit acknowledgment of an agenda. And the agenda-in-the-absence-of-an-agenda is always the same: Wall Street wins, and so do lobbyists on K Street and the defense industrial base. Having no stated priorities just means the priorities are open to the highest bidder, or that the priorities of the status quo prevail.

Scott Leads, and GOP Leadership Excoriates Him

Enter Scott. Not content to follow the strategy of blandly grinning at the base while committing to addressing none of their concerns, Scott and his team wrote their own agenda—60 pages of it. The 11-point overview covers everything from border security to asserting the primacy of the nuclear family, declaring basic facts of biology, election integrity, and taking on Big Tech. It’s a broad and sweeping look at the issues, from economics to culture, that are roiling Americans all over the country.

For his efforts, Scott was not applauded, at least not in Washington. Rather, he was immediately savaged by his own leadership. McConnell and his allies reportedly excoriated Scott in a meeting behind closed doors, followed by a press conference where McConnell, when asked about Scott’s proposal, felt the need to remind everyone that “If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader.” Someone’s feeling touchy. (The conference-wide election for majority leader will occur in the days following November’s election.)

McConnell, who ripped the Republican National Committee for justifiably censuring Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger because “we support all members of our party, regardless of their positions on some issues,” apparently doesn’t support Scott’s attempt to articulate where he stands—and where he thinks the party should stand. Instead of cultivating the creativity and leadership expressed in Scott’s effort, McConnell dismissed it as an affront to his own power.

He also took issue with one of the bullet points in Scott’s sweeping agenda, specifically the proposal that roughly 60 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax should be brought into tax parity. After feeling the need to remind everyone that he, not Scott, will be the incoming majority leader, McConnell stated, “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people….”

Fair enough. Scott unveiled a 60-page, detailed proposal, and not everyone is going to agree on the full substance. But to dismiss the full proposal because of a bullet point is an obvious attempt to kneecap the effort entirely, not provide constructive feedback. Moreover, McConnell has, in the past, supported income tax parity, telling CBS News in 2012 that “Between 45 percent and 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax at all. We have an extraordinarily progressive tax code already. It is a mess and needs to be revisited again.”

But McConnell’s flip-flop on the issue will hardly bother him, because his fixation on Scott’s agenda isn’t about the substance, it’s about the perceived affront to his own authority. McConnell notoriously rules the Senate—constructed as a body of equals—with an iron fist. Although only when it suits him.

I Can Lead, Just Not on Anything Voters Want

Just two weeks ago, McConnell and his leadership team cried helplessness in the face of four of their own members failing to show up for a vote to take down what remains of Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate. Due to Democratic absences, Republicans could have prevailed on the vote, which failed 46-47 due to Sens. Jim Inhofe, Mitt Romney, Richard Burr, and Lindsey Graham choosing to be elsewhere. Inhofe was said to be with his ailing wife. Graham had jetted off to a defense junket in Germany. Romney and Burr were simply not there. Curiously, McConnell was not outraged by this embarrassing failure of senators to heed his authority. Perhaps that was because the vote—hugely important to the GOP base—wasn’t treated as important by the Senate GOP leadership.

Wittingly or not, McConnell’s failure to lead on a midterm agenda has opened the door for senators who will. Scott should be applauded for his effort, particularly as it’s already achieving results. At the end of the press conference in which he trashed Scott’s agenda, McConnell, who has previously said voters will find out the agenda when they re-elect the Senate GOP, was forced to issue the bare outline of one: inflation, energy, defense, the border, and crime.

This has none of the detail or comprehensive thoughtfulness exhibited by Scott’s effort, but right now, it’s all GOP voters have to hang their hat on. And the fact that it exists at all is because Scott saw a leadership breach and stepped squarely into it. Good on him.


Rachel Bovard is The Federalist’s senior tech columnist and the senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute. She has more than a decade of policy experience in Washington and has served in both the House and Senate in various roles, including as a legislative director and policy director for the Senate Steering Committee under the successive chairmanships of Sen. Pat Toomey and Sen. Mike Lee. She also served as director of policy services for The Heritage Foundation.

‘It’s Hypocritical, Dangerous And Disgraceful’: Biden Slams Republicans Amid Debt Limit Debacle


Reported by SHELBY TALCOTT | SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT | October 04, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/10/04/joe-biden-slams-republicans-debt-limit-vote/

Joe Biden, debt ceiling, Republicans
[Screenshot/CNN]

President Joe Biden slammed Republicans for not helping Democrats raise the debt limit on Monday and warned that he can’t promise the country won’t reach the ceiling in a few weeks time.

“Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, but they’re threatening to use their power to prevent us from doing our job – saving the economy from a catastrophic event. I think, quite frankly, it’s hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful,” the president said at the White House.

The administration is in the midst of juggling multiple crises – the president’s bipartisan bill and his Build Back Better agenda is stalled amid Democratic infighting, Congress is nearing it’s Oct. 18 deadline to raise the debt ceiling and Panama is warning of another possible influx of migrants heading to the U.S.

WATCH:

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats should use reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are against this measure, though Schumer at first noted it’s “one option” that’s “on the table.”

“There is no chance, no chance the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible,” McConnell previously said.

Biden said that “raising the debt limit is usually a bipartisan undertaking” and said it’s only needed now “in part because of the reckless tax and spending policies under the previous Trump administration.” 

“In four years, they incurred nearly $8 trillion – in four years, $8 trillion in additional debt and bills we have to now pay off,” Biden declared. “That’s more than a quarter of the entire debt incurred now outstanding after more than 200 years. And Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president, and each time with Democrats’ support. But now they won’t raise it even though they’re responsible for more than $8 trillion in bills incurred in four years under the previous administration.”

“That’s what we’d be paying off,” he continued. “They won’t raise it even though defaulting on the debt would lead to self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff and risks jobs and retirement savings, social security benefits, salaries for service members, benefits for veterans and so much more.”

Biden voted against increasing the debt limit in 2006 during former President George W. Bush’s time in office. This vote came amid warnings from that administration that defaulting would negatively affect the economy, The New York Times reported.

“White House officials say Mr. Biden’s vote was symbolic, noting that the ability of Republicans to raise the debt ceiling was never in question,” The Times added.

When pressed by a reporter on the likelihood of reaching the debt limit, Biden issued a warning that he can’t guarantee it won’t happen.

“I can’t believe that will be the end result because the consequence is so dire. I don’t believe it. But can I guarantee it? If I could, I would, but I can’t,” the president said, adding that it’s “up to Mitch McConnell.”

The president noted he had received and read a letter sent by McConnell regarding the debt ceiling. McConnell remained steadfastly opposed to helping with the process and told Biden it’s “time” for him “to engage directly with congressional Democrats on this matter.”

“Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months’ notice to do their job,” McConnell wrote according to Politico.

McConnell noted Biden’s own past opposing raising the debt limit and declared “your view then is our view now.” Biden told reporters he plans to speak to McConnell regarding the letter. 

Congressmen Across The Board Demand Biden Respond To ‘Murderous’ Terrorist Attack, Keep Americans Safe


Reported by MICHAEL GINSBERG | GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER | August 26, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/08/26/afghanistan-terrorist-attack-isis-khorasan-joe-biden-mitch-mcconnell-chuck-schumer/

Senators Meet For Weekly Policy Luncheons On Capitol Hill
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Members of Congress in both parties are demanding that President Joe Biden respond to the ISIS-Khorasan Province terrorist attack that has killed at least 12 Americans.

The attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport made Thursday the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan since Aug. 6, 2011, and the third-deadliest day throughout the 20-year-long war. Two ISIS-Khorasan Province suicide bombers detonated explosive vests before gunmen opened fire on a crowd, U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters.

“This murderous attack offers the clearest possible reminder that terrorists will not stop fighting the United States just because our politicians grow tired of fighting them,” Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “I remain concerned that terrorists worldwide will be emboldened by our retreat, by this attack, and by the establishment of a radical Islamic terror state in Afghanistan. We need to redouble our global efforts to confront these barbarian enemies who want to kill Americans and attack our homeland.”

McConnell’s counterpart, Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, declared that “it must be made clear to the world that the terrorists who perpetrated this will be sought and be brought to justice.”

“The U.S. cannot and will not be silent in the face of these attacks – we must bring to justice the terrorists who committed these heinous acts as we work to extract others from harm’s way,” Democratic Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen added. “We must work to establish stability on the ground and remain focused on securing the safety of U.S. citizens, our troops, and our Afghan partners.”

House Minority Leader and Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to “bring Congress back before Aug. 31 so we can be briefed thoroughly by the Administration and prohibit the withdrawal of our troops until every American is safely out.”

House Republicans were briefed by Biden administration officials on Tuesday. 

Pelosi did not commit to bringing the House back from recess, but she did say that “Committees of Jurisdiction will continue to hold briefings on Afghanistan.”

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez appeared to take a shot at the Biden administration’s withdrawal policy, declaring, “We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.”

Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse urged Biden to “rip up the Aug. 31 [withdrawal] deadline and defend evacuation routes by expanding the perimeter around the Kabul airport or by retaking Bagram” Air Force Base.

Four Republicans, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Georgia Rep. Mark Green and North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker called on Biden to resign.

Senate Passes The Largest Infrastructure Package In Decades, Over A Dozen Republicans Vote In Favor


Reported by ANDREW TRUNSKY | POLITICAL REPORTER | August 10, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/08/10/senate-passes-infrastructure-package-dozen-republicans-join-dems-kyrsten-sinema-rob-portman-joe-biden/

Lawmakers Continue To Work On Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal On Capitol Hill
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Senate on Tuesday passed its bipartisan infrastructure bill, moving what would be the largest public works package in decades one step closer to becoming law months after negotiations first began. The bill, which advocates praised as the largest investment in America’s infrastructure since the construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s, passed 69-30. Nineteen Republicans joined every Democrat in voting for the package.

The legislation, titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), was on a glide path to passage after beating a Senate filibuster Sunday night, when 68 senators voted to end debate.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the bill’s lead Democratic negotiator, said Monday on the Senate floor that the bill would “make America stronger and safer, create good-paying jobs and expand economic opportunities across the country,” and praised her colleagues for their commitment to reaching an agreement. “This is what it looks like when elected leaders take a step toward healing our country’s divisions rather than feeding [them],” she added.

The IIJA costs $1.2 trillion over eight years, $550 billion of which is new government spending, and puts hundreds of billions of federal dollars toward roads, bridges, ports, broadband and more. It was led by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman on the Republican side, and was the product of negotiations among 22 senators and President Joe Biden.

“[This is] landmark and needed legislation in fixing our roads, railroads, our ports, electrical grid and more,” Portman said on the floor. “I’m proud of what was done on that … It will improve the lives of all Americans. It’s long-term spending to repair and replace and build assets that will last for decades.”

Talks first began with West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, but collapsed after she and the White House could not agree on the overall size and scope of the bill. Negotiations then shifted to the bipartisan group, but remained precarious for weeks as they struggled to compromise on how to finance the new spending and what it should cover.

It was late July when Portman announced that the group had reached agreement on the “major issues,” and that Republicans were ready to move forward. 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks after the bipartisan bill cleared its first procedural vote in July. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks after the bipartisan bill cleared its first procedural vote in July. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The bill cleared its first procedural vote hours later with the support of 17 Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a clear indication that it had the necessary support to beat a filibuster and pass. Two days later, 16 Republicans joined Democrats in officially voting to begin debate.

Senators originally sought to pass the bill last week or over the weekend, but were blocked from doing so by Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty, who refused to forgo hours of scheduled debate. He cited the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that the bill would add $256 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years, arguing that the legislation was not fully paid for, unlike what its negotiators previously said.

Hagerty’s delays earned praise from former President Donald Trump on Sunday, who had repeatedly tried to intimidate Republicans into opposing the package. In multiple email statements he disparaged McConnell for supporting the bill, calling it a “disgrace” and the “beginning of the Green New Deal,” and floated backing primary challengers against other Republicans who backed it. 

With the IIJA’s passing, senators are now set to take up their budget resolution, keeping them in Washington for another marathon session with dozens of politically tricky amendment votes and eating into their prized August recess. The mammoth resolution, unveiled by Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday, addresses priorities omitted from the infrastructure bill including health care, climate change and immigration and as outlined costs $3.5 trillion.

“This legislation in so many ways begins to address the working families of our country,” Sanders said on the Senate floor Monday. “But in one important way, maybe the most important, is as we address the needs of our people in health care and education and climate, we are going to create many millions of good-paying jobs that the American people desperately need.” 

Sen. Bernie Sanders authored Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget, which he has acknowledged will likely pass on party lines. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders authored Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget, which he has acknowledged will likely pass on party lines. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

While Republicans unanimously oppose the reconciliation package, Senate rules allow for Democrats to pass it with just a simple majority vote, meaning that it could pass strictly along party lines if their caucus all votes for it.

McConnell on Tuesday accused Democrats of playing “Russian roulette with our country” and said the budget would be the “largest peacetime tax hike on record.”

“This new reckless taxing and spending spree will fall like a hammer blow on workers and middle-class families,” McConnell said. “If all 50 Democrats want to help [Budget Committee] Chairman Sanders hurt middle-class families … well, that’s their prerogative, but we’re going to argue it out right here on the floor at some length.”

Several progressives, however, have sought to tie the bipartisan bill with the reconciliation package, with some in the House hinging their support for the former on Senate Democrats passing the latter. In an attempt to hold her narrow majority together, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that she will not bring the bipartisan bill up for a vote until the Senate passes the reconciliation package as well, despite moderates urging her to bring up the infrastructure package as soon as possible. 

Others have also been critical of the infrastructure bill, which was adopted as a substitute for the $715 billion surface transportation bill that the House passed in July, arguing that it inadequately invests in climate, housing, child care and more.

Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chair of the House Transportation Committee, reportedly called the bill “crap” after a deal was reached, lamenting the fact that it omitted large swaths of the transportation bill he authored and disregarding the White House’s endorsement of it.

“I could give a damn about the White House. We’re an independent branch of government,” he told reporters in July. “They cut this deal. I didn’t sign off on it.”

McConnell Votes In Favor Of Rand Paul’s Motion To Dismiss Trump’s Impeachment Trial, Five GOP Senators Opposed


Reported by HENRY RODGERS, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT | January 26, 2021

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/mcconnell-votes-in-favor-of-rand-pauls-motion-to-dismiss-trumps-impeachment-trial-five-gop-senators-opposed-2650145477.html/

THESE FIVE GOP SENATORS VOTED TO TABLE THE MOTION: 

  • Maine Sen. Collins

  • Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski

  • Utah Sen. Mitt Romney

  • Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse

  • Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey

In order to convict Trump in the Senate, Democrats will need 17 Republican senators to side with every Democrat. (RELATED: Schumer Says Impeachment Trial Will Move Quickly, Won’t Need A Lot Of Witnesses)

Members were sworn in for trial on Tuesday. The arguments will start the week of Feb. 8, Schumer announced.

Mitch McConnell: Capitol Rioters Were ‘Fed Lies‘ and ‘Provoked by the President’ and Others


Reported by HANNAH BLEAU | 

Read more at https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/01/19/mitch-mcconnell-capitol-rioters-were-fed-lies-and-provoked-by-the-president-and-others/

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 19: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during his weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Republicans spoke about their desire to work on their legislative agenda despite the impeachment hearings in the House. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty …

Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell said that the “mob was fed lies” and “provoked by the president and other powerful people” — effectively echoing the claims made by his Democrat colleagues, who accuse Trump of inciting the chaos that descended upon the Capitol that day.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like,” the Kentucky Republican said.

“But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation,” he continued:

 

McConnell’s remarks echo the statements made by many of his Democrat colleagues, who contend that Trump incited the violence despite the fact that he, at no point during his “Save America” speech, urged supporters to engage in lawless and violent acts. As the chaos unfolded, Trump — who at the time had access to his personal Twitter account — repeatedly called for protesters to respect law enforcement and refrain from violence.

“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” he wrote on Twitter shortly after 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Less than an hour later, the president wrote, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

However, one week later, the House impeached Trump for the second time, with the single article asserting that Trump incited members of the crowd.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transfer of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” the article states.

“He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” it adds.

Ten House Republicans joined Democrats in supporting impeachment. While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) openly opposed impeachment, he too suggested that Trump “bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”

“He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” he said on the House floor last week.

“These facts require immediate action of President Trump — accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest, and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term,” he continued.

McCarthy told House Republicans earlier this month that Trump “told him he bears some of the responsibility for the Washington, DC, riots,” as Breitbart News detailed.

McConnell has not revealed if he would vote to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, stating that he intends to “listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” He has reportedly told colleagues that their decision will be a “vote of conscience.”

Mitch McConnell Urges Senate To Override Trump’s NDAA Veto


Reported by ANDERS HAGSTROM, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT | December 29, 2020

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2020/12/29/mitch-mcconnell-trump-ndaa-veto/

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his colleagues to vote to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Tuesday.

Trump vetoed the NDAA last week, and the House of Representatives has already voted to override the veto with a two-thirds majority, making the Senate the final hurdle for approving the funding. The NDAA passed the Senate originally with a 84-13 majority on December 11, but the grounds have shifted somewhat.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to filibuster any attempt at an override on the NDAA bill until McConnell allows a vote on the $2,000 COVID-19 direct relief payments. Trump called for the increase from $600 to $2,000 last week, a proposition Democrats have endorsed but many Republicans have not. (RELATED: The Numbers In Georgia Point To Two Tossup Races)

“McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that,” Sanders told reporters Monday evening. “But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment.”

The House voted in favor of the increase to $2,000 on Monday, leaving McConnell and the Senate as the final obstacle. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to pass the $2,000 increase by unanimous consent during Tuesday session, but McConnell blocked the move.

 

Trump originally objected to the NDAA because Congress refused to include provisions in the bill that would dismantle Section 230, the law that governs how internet companies moderate third-party content. Trump also objected to provisions in the bill seeking to rename military bases currently named after Confederate figures.

Biden’s Campaign Manager Calls Republicans ‘A Bunch Of F**kers,’ Then Calls For Unity


Reported by VIRGINIA KRUTA, ASSOCIATE EDITOR | December 15, 2020

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/bidens-campaign-manager-calls-republicans-a-bunch-of-f-kers-then-calls-for-unity-2649514497.html/

Jen O’Malley Dillon referred to Republicans as “a bunch of f**kers” during a Glamour magazine interview that was published Tuesday. O’Malley Dillon, who managed former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign before taking on the same role for President-Elect Joe Biden, spoke with author Glennon Doyle about running two back-to-back campaigns with small children and what she expected as she took on her new role in the Biden administration: deputy chief of staff. (RELATED: REPORT: Biden Expected To Name 3 More Top White House Aides)

O’Malley Dillon told Doyle that one of the ways Biden had been able to connect with American voters was his focus on unity as the ultimate goal.

“The president-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity. In the primary, people would mock him, like, ‘You think you can work with Republicans?’ I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f**kers. Mitch McConnell is terrible,” she explained. “But this sense that you couldn’t wish for that, you couldn’t wish for this bipartisan ideal? He rejected that. From start to finish, he set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too.”

O’Malley Dillon also argued for more compromise in politics, saying that she knew how difficult that was in a nation so polarized.

“I get that you’re not supposed to talk politics at the holiday dinner. Well, f**k that. It’s because we don’t do that that we are in this situation now,” she said, adding, “I also think, as in love, compromise is a good thing. The atmosphere in the world now is like, ‘Oh, if you compromise, you don’t believe in something.’ No, it’s: I believe in it so much that I’m going to work to find a path we can both go down together.”

WATCH: Mitch McConnell EXCORIATES Dems’ Election Hypocrisy


Reported by Leonardo Briceno, The Post Millennial |

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell heatedly criticized Democrats in congress for their reaction to conservative’s skepticism of the 2020 presidential election. A presumed confidence in the election and an expectation for the immediate acceptance of its results is, in McConnell’s view, a matter of hypocrisy.

McConnell pointed out that Democrats have spent the last four years questioning the validity of the presidential election that put Trump in office—even in going so far as to blame Russian involvement for the President’s victory in 2016.

Now that a number of conservative voices—including legal challenges from the Trump campaign—have expressed concerns about the legitimacy of the vote, McConnell says Democrats don’t have a leg to stand on if they’re going to try to criticize that concern.

“Let’s not have any lecture about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept the preliminary election results from the same characters who spend four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election and who insinuated this election would be illegitimate too,” McConnell said.

Recounts have been requested by the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. These recounts have been largely criticized by leftward political figures as illegitimate attempts by Donald Trump to hang on to the presidency.

The Kentucky senator debunked Democratic claims that Donald Trump’s legal challenge to some voting results were a threat to the integrity of the election process.

“A few legal inquiries from the President do not exactly spell the end of the republic,” McConnell said. “We will wake up on January 21 still blessed to live in the greatest nation the world has ever seen. And in no small part that is because we respect the rule of law, we trust our institutions and neither of those things is outweighed by partisans or the press.”

The official results of the presidential election will be declared by Congress in January after recounts have been conducted.

McConnell tries to unify GOP


Reported 

Friction among Senate Republicans on the next round of coronavirus relief legislation and a suddenly shaky stock market has eroded President Trump’s leverage in the ongoing standoff with Democrats.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was still searching Tuesday afternoon for 51 Republican votes for a half-trillion-dollar economic relief package that he hopes will put pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to soften their demands.

Meanwhile, the stock markets in the past week have suffered their worst one-day drops since the coronavirus first froze the U.S. economy in March. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropped 632 points and 95 points, respectively — more than 2 percent each — while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 465 points, or 4.11 percent.

While the stock markets surged upward through July and August, the start of September has brought a stark shift in sentiment. Coronavirus infections are expected to spike when the fall temperatures drop and there doesn’t appear to be a clear path to getting another federal relief package.

“Trump needs a package just because the stock market has been declining. There is a possibility that COVID infections will increase in the fall and we know the economy is a big variable in how people vote,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

“Republicans want to protect the Senate and protect the presidency and they’re going to need a deal,” he said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Congress during testimony in June that “significant uncertainty” remained in the economy and that “support would be well-placed at this time.” The recent big drop in the stock indices is a significant political development because Trump often cites Wall Street to argue that the economy is making a strong recovery.

“The Dow Jones Industrial just closed above 29,000! You are so lucky to have me as your President. With Joe Hiden’ it would crash,” Trump tweeted exuberantly on Sept. 2, just before the markets started tumbling.

Another relief package passed by Congress, especially one as large as what Pelosi and Schumer want, is expected to give another boost to the markets.

“You live by the sword and you die by the sword. If you’re claiming credit when the market is high, you have a problem when the market drops,” West said.

One Republican senator who wants a larger relief bill said the market turmoil “ought to” put pressure on the White House and colleagues to agree to more federal aid. But the lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss Trump’s motives, conceded “I’m having trouble mapping out a scenario one way or another.”

Pelosi on Tuesday seized on calls by Fed officials for more fiscal stimulus from Congress as well as divisions among Republicans to press her growing leverage.

“The chairman of the Fed and other Fed leaders around the country have said clearly that we need a stimulus, that we need a boost,” she noted in an interview with Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power.”

At the same time she slammed McConnell’s revised relief bill, which is estimated to cost around a half-trillion dollars, as “pathetic.” She pointed out it is roughly “half of what [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin has proposed.”

“They are not even in agreement. They are in disarray,” she said of Republicans.

The Senate Republican bill needs 60 votes to overcome an anticipated Democratic filibuster and pass. It will fall well short of that threshold, but McConnell is hoping to get at least a simple majority in favor of it so he can argue that Democrats are acting as obstructionists.

He said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he will schedule a vote this week and indicated to reporters in the hallway that it would happen Thursday.

“Republicans are making yet another overture,” McConnell said.

Conservatives such as Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are skeptical about spending hundreds of billions of dollars in more federal aid and are pushing for concessions from the GOP leadership. With all Democrats likely to oppose the Republican bill, McConnell can only afford three defections.

Paul on Tuesday said he would oppose the measure.

“We don’t have any money up here. I’m not for borrowing any more money,” he said.

Johnson on Tuesday afternoon said he would support the bill after McConnell and Mnuchin agreed to repurpose about $350 billion in funding from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March to new relief measures. He said the revised bill would add only $150 billion to $300 billion to the deficit, though he cautioned the numbers aren’t final yet. Johnson said he worked closely with the GOP leadership and Mnuchin to make changes to the measure to make it more appealing to conservatives but didn’t know if it would get 51 votes.

“We’ll see what all ends up happening. We’ll probably have a discussion. There might be some further arm twisting,” he said.

Hawley, a rising conservative star, is pressing for a fully refundable tax credit for homeschooling expenses such as books, technology and laboratory equipment. His proposal was not in the bill as of Tuesday afternoon and he remains undecided. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) used his leverage with Republican leaders to gain two years of tax credits for individuals and businesses that donate to nonprofit scholarship funds, a proposal designed to help subsidize private school tuition.

There are also questions as to whether more-moderate Republicans in tough reelection races such as Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) will be satisfied with the smaller price tag for the revised package, and the lack of additional federal aid for state and local governments, other than money set aside for schools.

Without the repurposed federal funding offsetting some of its cost, the package would be in the range of $500 billion to $700 billion, according to Senate GOP aides. The Republican bill, which McConnell unveiled Tuesday, would provide $300 a week in federal unemployment assistance, a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, $105 billion to help reopen classrooms and $16 billion in more money for COVID-19 testing.

Failure to win a simple majority vote for a largely symbolic bill would be another setback for the White House and Senate Republicans, who declined to put the $1.1 trillion coronavirus relief proposal they drafted in July on the Senate floor because of divisions within their conference. Plans to vote during the first week of August on proposals to extend federal unemployment assistance and to fund a second round of small-business loans were scrapped after disagreements again broke out among Republican senators.

Democrats, however, have stayed unified behind their own proposal, the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed in May, as well as a trimmed-down $2.2 trillion proposal that Pelosi and Schumer offered to White House negotiators in late August.

Pelosi and Schumer on Monday said McConnell’s bill was “headed nowhere” and dismissed it as a “political” gesture.

Trump appointments blitz a ‘shock wave’ to liberal 9th Circuit


Reported by Madison Dibble | February 24, 2020 12:41 PM

President Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate have taken the reliably liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and tilted it to the Right. The 9th Circuit is the largest circuit court, covering many of the West Coast states, including California, Hawaii, and Arizona. The court just received its 10th judge from the Trump administration, effectively changing the court’s liberal makeup into a more ideologically diverse lineup. In just three years, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump joined forces to place more justices to lifetime appointments on the 9th Circuit than President Barack Obama did in his eight years in office.

One judge from the circuit said the rapid influx of Trump appointees had been jarring, telling the Los Angeles Times, “Ten new people at once sends a shock wave through the system.”

Many of Trump’s appointments have been praised by their peers on the 9th Circuit, but others appear to be rattled. For instance, Judge Daniel Collins has been criticized for his “combative” objections to other judges on the circuit.

“Collins has definitely bulldozed his way around here already in a short time,” one judge from the 9th Circuit said. “Either he doesn’t care or doesn’t realize that he has offended half the court already.”

Democratic-appointed judges still hold a slight majority in the circuit, with 16 appointees compared with 13 Republican appointees, but 9th Circuit Judge Milan Smith Jr., an appointee of George W. Bush, said Trump’s judicial picks were about to take over.

“Trump has effectively flipped the circuit,” Smith said. “You will see a sea change in the 9th Circuit on day-to-day decisions.”

Democratic appointees have controlled the 9th Circuit Court since 1978, when federal law changed to add 10 seats to the court, allowing President Jimmy Carter to select every judge to fill the openings. President Ronald Reagan got only three nominations on the circuit, and appointees from President Bill Clinton and Obama built out the rest of the former liberal stronghold.

Because the court was reliably liberal, it was often the go-to court to challenge Trump’s policies, often forcing a review from the Supreme Court. In the early days of Trump’s presidency, the 9th Circuit struck down his “travel ban” from several Muslim-majority countries and deemed many of his immigration policies unconstitutional. The Supreme Court overturned many of the rulings from the 9th Circuit. Still, delays caused by the lower courts can hinder the president’s policies from moving forward when he wants them to begin.

In total, Trump has appointed 51 circuit court judges to lifetime appointments alongside the two justices he landed on the Supreme Court. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has joked that his motto while leading the GOP majority in the Senate is to “leave no vacancy behind.”

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon by A.F. Branco


A.F. Branco Cartoon – Hurry Up and Wait

Tortoise and the Hairbrained – Democrats in the House were urgently in a hurry to impeach President Trump only to withhold passing it on to the Senate.
Pelosi Withholds Impeachment from SenatePolitical cartoon A.F. Branco ©2019.
See more Legal Insurrection Branco cartoons, click here.

A.F. Branco 13/Month 2020 Calendar here.

A.F. Branco Coffee Table Book “Make America Laugh again”

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  • Will impeaching the President backfire on Democrats in the next election?

A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into the cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including “Fox News”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and has had his toons tweeted by President Trump.

High anxiety hits Senate over raising debt ceiling


Reported

Senators are growing anxious that they might have to vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in a matter of weeks given new estimates that the government could hit its borrowing limit earlier than expected. The debt limit was exceeded earlier this year, and the Treasury Department is now taking steps known as “extraordinary measures” to prevent the government from going over its borrowing limit.

Lawmakers had hoped they would be able to avoid the politically painful vote to raise the debt ceiling until the fall — and that it could be packaged with other legislation to fund the government and set budget caps on spending. But that could be much more difficult if Treasury’s ability to prevent the government from going over its borrowing limit ends in mid-September — just days after lawmakers would be set to return from their summer recess.

“I think we need to hustle to a caps deal as soon as we possibly can and include the debt limit in it, no doubt,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The debt limit has been far from the front page and has been essentially put on the back burner as lawmakers debate the treatment of migrants at the border and battle over nominations and spending bills. Members of the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday were openly skeptical about whether their colleagues would jump on the issue.

“The question is, will anybody act until the urgency is on top of us?” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “We need to avoid the brink.”

Failing to raise the debt ceiling would be a catastrophic move that could roil worldwide financial markets. Shelby said the mere possibility that the debt ceiling could be breached in September should give “more sense of urgency” to Congress taking quick action, while Capito said it was not in “anybody’s best interest to have that fight in September up against the debt limit.”

A study released this week by the Bipartisan Policy Center said there was a “significant risk” that the government could reach its debt limit in early September unless Congress raises the cap. The estimate was a shift from its previous forecast, which estimated the debt limit could be reached in October or November, which would give Congress more breathing room.

The earlier timeline comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress in May that the debt ceiling increase could happen in “late summer.”

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said it would be “preferable” for Congress to deal with the debt ceiling before leaving for the August recess, adding that a mid-September deadline “puts a lot of pressure” on lawmakers to act.

“We could write a caps deal and attach the debt limit to it, to kind of get those issues resolved before August, which I think would be in everybody’s best interest,” Thune said.

Getting a deal done this month leaves little room for error, and few are optimistic such a timeline will be met. The House is scheduled to leave town on July 26, while the Senate is set for vacation on Aug. 2. Lawmakers would return after Labor Day, on Sept. 9, which could give them less than a week to cobble together a deal.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday didn’t rule out action on the debt ceiling this month.

“We’ll see how those conversations go. We certainly do not want any default on the part of the full faith and credit of the United States of America,” she said. “That’s never been what we’ve been about, but there are those on the Republican side who have embraced that again and again. So, we’ll see.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared confident during a weekly leadership press conference that lawmakers wouldn’t let the United States default on its debt, but he didn’t offer a clear pathway to approving a debt ceiling increase.

“Time is running out, and if we’re going to avoid having either short- or long-term CR or either a short- or long-term debt ceiling increase, it’s time that we got serious on a bipartisan basis to try to work this out and not have the kind of chaos that goes along with our inability to come together on these important issues,” McConnell said. A CR, or continuing resolution, would fund the government at current spending levels.

Asked if Congress had to raise the debt ceiling before the August recess, McConnell sidestepped the question, saying lawmakers are in close contact with Mnuchin about the timeline but that he doesn’t “think there’s any chance that we’ll allow the country to default.”

Broader budget talks on the debt ceiling and government funding unraveled last month, with the White House floating a one-year CR and debt ceiling hike. Senate Republicans are hoping to jumpstart the negotiations with new meetings as soon as this week, though nothing was on the books as of Tuesday afternoon.

The spending deal is also crucial, as spending cuts triggered by an earlier budgetary law would snap into effect in January if Congress does not approve new spending levels. The debt ceiling fight has always had an earlier deadline, but the new estimates are moving it up further.

Shelby argued that it makes sense to link the two issues but didn’t rule out that the debt ceiling could get a stand-alone vote, or be attached to another must-pass bill, in a time crunch.

“The path is a good question,” Shelby said. “You could raise the debt ceiling without getting a caps deal, but it makes more sense to me that if you can run them parallel, they are two big issues staring us in the face.”

 

Democrats plot strategy to win back Senate


Written

Democrats plot strategy to win back Senate
© Greg Nash

Democrats planning their bid to win back control of the Senate will run hard against the Washington swamp next year, repurposing one of President Trump’s most effective campaign messages from the 2016 election as their own.

Top party operatives are poll-testing messages aimed at winning over voters who are fed up with a gridlocked capital, searching for ways to build an advantage among swing voters who may still like Trump, but not the senators who are seeking reelection in 2020.

And while Democrats could not convince some of their best-known candidates to forgo long shot presidential campaigns in favor of bids for Senate seats, the party will now rely on a once-unorthodox stable of candidates with little or no experience in elected office. 

It is a strategy reminiscent of 2006 and 2018, when House Democrats ousted Republican majorities on the backs of candidates with unusual profiles. This year, the stable of Senate Democratic candidates includes more women and veterans than has been typical in recent cycles.

“In races around the country, there are strong Democrats stepping up to run who fit their states and will be a breath of fresh air with new perspectives to bring to the Senate,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

When former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) opted against challenging Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Democrats turned to M.J. Hegar, a veteran and businesswoman who lost a closer than expected bid for Congress last year. 

In Iowa, another former congressional candidate, Theresa Greenfield, is Democrats’ preferred candidate against Sen. Joni Ernst (R), though she faces a primary fight.

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally (R) will face Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut making his first run for public office. In North Carolina and Maine, Democrats recruited two state legislators to challenge Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). 

Those candidates will pitch themselves as fresh-faced outsiders who can shake up a corrupt and broken political system — even if, as is the case in Texas, Iowa and North Carolina, the favored Democratic candidate has lost a race before.

“In this race for Senate, it’s time for somebody who will stand up and fight, to build an economy that works for everybody, for the health care that each family deserves, and to reform the corrupt political system in Washington,” former North Carolina state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) said in a video announcing his bid to unseat Tillis.

Complicating matters for Democrats, only two states that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 have incumbent
Republican senators today: Maine and Colorado. To win back the Senate majority, Democrats must win states like North Carolina, Arizona, Iowa and even Texas — all states that gave Trump their electoral votes three years ago and where he remains either popular or at least competitive today.

That has Democrats also focusing on a different villain: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Several Democratic groups are testing whether portraying Republican senators as McConnell’s minions can be effective. 

Those surveys and public polls show McConnell is surprisingly well-known, and not in a good way. 

A Harvard-Harris Poll survey conducted in May pegged McConnell’s favorable rating at just 23 percent, lower than Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), at 36 percent, or Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), at 27 percent. His unfavorable rating stood at 44 percent, lower than Pelosi’s 50 percent but higher than every other politician tested except Trump, Clinton and Vice President Pence.

In a poll conducted for the Democratic group End Citizens United, Global Strategies Group found reading messages against McConnell moved voters toward Democratic candidates more effectively than messages against Trump or the Republican Congress at large.

“Mitch McConnell is beholden to special interests and he’s blocking progress on everything from making prescription drugs more affordable to addressing political corruption to making health care more affordable,” said Patrick Burgwinkle, who heads communications for End Citizens United.

McConnell appears twice in Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon’s (D) video announcing her bid against Collins. Greenfield lumped Ernst and McConnell together in her own video. In Texas, Hegar called Cornyn “that tall guy lurking behind” McConnell.

More than half of the 295 advertisements the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is currently running on Facebook show McConnell’s image or mention his name.

Attacks against national party leaders are nothing new to Republicans, who spent several cycles using Pelosi as shorthand to tie every prominent Democratic challenger to liberal San Francisco values.

Republicans aren’t convinced that McConnell will be the poison pill that they saw in Pelosi.

“You use party leaders in midterms to polarize an electorate when you have registration advantages in the state or district. In a presidential election the electorate is polarized and motivated. The middle isn’t making a decision to show up for a presidential election based upon a three-way bank shot in the side-pocket about whether a senator serves in the same conference as somebody else,” said Josh Holmes, a longtime Senate Republican strategist and top aide to McConnell.

“The reality for him is that any resource spent attacking Mitch McConnell is a resource that is not used to attack his Republican colleagues, and that’s just the way he likes it,” Holmes said.

But Democrats hope the focus on corruption can be the beginning of a discussion of other issues, too: That health care costs rise because of pressure from special interest groups or that gun safety legislation has not passed because of the power of the National Rifle Association.

Democrats “can make the case that Mitch McConnell and special interests in Washington are the ones preventing these priorities from being addressed,” Burgwinkle said.

Mitch McConnell pushes forward with rule change to speed lower-level confirmations


Reported by    Monday, April 1, 2019 at 8:30pm

No change for SCOTUS, Appeals Court, Cabinet and senior nominees, “[b]ut for most other nominations – for the hundreds of lower-level nominations that every new president makes – post-cloture debate time would be reduced from 30 hours to 2 hours.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cldpQa_kCwI

Mitch McConnell has been a bad boy (in the eyes of Democrats) according to my email inbox:

PFAW Statement on McConnell’s Threatened Rules Change: A Naked Power Grab Based on Lies and Distortions

WASHINGTON — In response to Mitch McConnell’s threat to break the Senate’s rules yet again in order to expedite GOP efforts to confirm as many of Donald Trump’s nominees as possible, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:

“There’s literally no one in the world with less credibility to accuse Democrats of obstructing the confirmation process than Mitch McConnell. His latest effort to break the Senate’s rules is a naked power grab based on lies and distortions. By attempting to speed up Republicans’ confirmation machine, Senator McConnell is trying to ensure that nominees to lifetime seats on the federal bench receive as little scrutiny as possible. That’s not because of Democratic obstruction—the Senate has confirmed almost the same number of district court nominees for Donald Trump as it did for President Obama, and far more circuit court nominees. It’s because time and again these nominees have been shown to be embarrassingly unfit. But Senator McConnell’s answer isn’t to find better nominees; it’s just to make sure there’s less transparency for the entire process.

“Judicial nominees, if confirmed, serve for life. And several of the nominees awaiting votes have frighteningly extreme records when it comes to opposing reproductive freedom, attacking the rights of LGBTQ people, undermining voting rights, and enabling torture. Rushing these nominees through the process would be profoundly irresponsible.” …

So what’s all the hysteria about?

McConnell is finally doing what has been threatened for over a year, to reduce floor “debate” time to get around Democrat obstruction where they invoke 30 hours of debate even for non-controversial non-debatable nominees. That drags out the process interminably.

McConnell explained the problem in a Politico Op-Ed, Time to Stop the Democrats’ Obstruction:

It took six months of partisan delays — and several railroad accidents — before Democrats let the Senate confirm a federal railroad administrator, even though none of them actually voted against the nominee in the end.

It’s been 354 days and counting in Senate purgatory for the president’s nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Two-hundred eighty-seven days and counting for the under secretary of state for management. Noncontroversial lower court nominees have languished for weeks and weeks — for no discernible reason — before they, too, were confirmed unanimously. These are just a few examples of the historic obstruction Senate Democrats have visited upon President Trump’s nominees for two years and counting.

Since January 2017, for the first time in memory, a minority has exploited procedure to systematically obstruct a president from staffing up his administration. This new, across-the-board obstruction is unfair to the president and, more importantly, to the American people. Left unchecked, it is guaranteed to create an unsustainable precedent that would see every future presidency of either party obstructed in the same mindless way.

The Senate needs to restore normalcy. And this week, we will vote to do just that….

… in President Trump’s first two years? We had to hold a stunning 128 cloture votes to advance nominations. Our Democratic colleagues made the Senate jump over five times as many hurdles as in the equivalent periods in the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations combined….

The all-encompassing, systematic nature of this obstruction is not part of the Senate’s important tradition of minority rights. It is a new departure from that tradition.

Here is McConnell’s statement, made on the floor of the Senate, in part:

“So today, I am filing cloture on a resolution that takes that bipartisan effort as its blueprint. This resolution from Senator Blunt and Senator Lankford would implement very similar steps and make them a permanent part of the Senate going forward. The Supreme Court, circuit courts, cabinet-level executive positions, and certain independent boards and commissions would not change.

“But for most other nominations – for the hundreds of lower-level nominations that every new president makes – post-cloture debate time would be reduced from 30 hours to 2 hours. This would keep the floor moving. It would facilitate more efficient consent agreements. And most importantly, it would allow the administration — finally, two years into its tenure — to staff numerous important positions that remain unfilled, with nominees who have been languishing.

“This resolution has come up through regular order, through the Rules Committee. And next week, we will vote on it. It deserves the same kind of bipartisan vote that Sen. Schumer and Sen. Reid’s proposal received back during the Obama Administration. I understand that many of my Democratic colleagues have indicated they would be all for this reform as long as it doesn’t go into effect until 2021, when they obviously hope someone else might be in the White House. But they’re reluctant to support it now.

“Give me a break. That is unfair on its face. My Democratic colleagues were more than happy to support a similar proposal in 2013 under President Obama. They whisper in our ears privately that they’d support it now if it took effect in 2021. But they can’t support it now, especially under these unprecedented circumstances, simply because we have a Republican president. So look, fair is fair. Members of this body should only support reforms that they would be ready to support in the minority as they are in the majority. Put another way, if my side is in the minority two years from now, I don’t think this will be unfair – it will not disadvantage us in the wake of a new Democratic president. This is a change the institution needs, a change the institution made already basically with a two-year experiment when President Obama was in office. This is a reform that every member should embrace — when their party controls the White House and when it does not control the White House.

This should help speed along the process, particularly for judicial nominees. There remain many empty seats to fill, and Republicans want as many as possible filled prior to the 2020 election, just in case.

Here are the numbers on vacancies from Carrie Severino as of March 25, 2019:

Current and known future vacancies:  167

Courts of Appeals:  10

District/Specialty Courts*: 157

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies:  66

Courts of Appeals: 6

District/Specialty Courts*:  60

 

More Politically INCORRECT Cartoons


JERRY BROUSSARD PICK OF THE DAY POLITICAL CARTOON: “FANTASTIC IMAGE BY LISA BENSON

 

 

 

Mitch McConnell Gets Bad News… Asked To Step Down


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/conservatives-demand-mcconnel-step-down-as-senate-leader/?

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been hit with a heavy vote of no confidence from conservative groups around the country. On Wednesday, leaders from several conservative organizations called on McConnell to abdicate his position, citing a list of broken promises he made to Republican voters.

They are calling on not only McConnell, but also members of his leadership team, to step down.

“You and the rest of your leadership team were given the majority because you pledged to stop the steady flow of illegal immigration,” states their letter to McConnell, according to Fox News. “You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce the size of this oppressive federal government. You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the out-of-control deficit spending that is bankrupting America. You have done nothing. You promised to repeal Obamacare, ‘root and branch.’ You have done nothing. You promised tax reform. You have done nothing.”

Disgruntled conservatives held a news conference in Washington, D.C. to address their concerns and desire to see the leadership team dissolved.

“We call on all five members of the GOP Senate leadership to step down, or for their caucus to remove them as soon as possible,” Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said at the conference.

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The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded in 2008 by former Senator Jim DeMint, has worked for years to elect more conservative GOP candidates to the upper chamber in Congress. The group has regularly clashed with the more moderate wing of GOP leadership. The SCF wasn’t the only group calling for McConnell to vacate his position.

Members from FreedomWorks, For America and the Tea Party Patriots also joined the chorus in demanding GOP Senate leaders step aside after failing to enact conservative legislation, despite voters giving the Republican Party full control of Washington, D.C. on Election Day.

This is not the first time conservatives have called on McConnell to step down as majority leader, but the ferocity of Wednesday’s press conference certainly puts an added weight on Republican lawmakers to get things done this legislative session.

The letter and press conference come as congressional Republicans are currently working to enact tax reform. GOP leaders so far have not succeeded in repealing Obamacare, failing several times to push through their own GOP health care bills. Republicans are hoping tax reform will be an issue the entire party can rally behind.

“If this was a football team, and you’d lost this many times, you’d start seriously considering firing the coaches,” said For America President David Bozell.

Despite all agreeing that they’d wish to see McConnell go, many conservative leaders are not certain who they would like to see as a replacement.

“If I had to pick someone, I’d love to draft like Pat Toomey maybe,” FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said, referring to the GOP Pennsylvania senator. “There’s a lot of different people out there who I think could unite this caucus and actually lead on some issues.”

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots group, said she could see herself supporting Georgia GOP Senator David Perdue. “I’m from Georgia, so I’m not opposed to him,” Martin explained, touting the junior senator’s extensive business background as a former CEO.

Conservative candidates are taking notice as well. As the 2018 election cycle begins to heat up, many pro-Trump candidates are hoping to gain traction by displaying stronger support for the president.

“With rare exception, GOP senators blocking Trump’s agenda are impediments we can not afford. Double that for Senate leaders,” Ron Wallace, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, said in a statement to Western Journalism.

Wallace is an insurgent candidate hoping to win the GOP primary and take on incumbent Democrat Senator Tim Kaine. Wallace is running on a pro-Trump platform and believes it’s imperative the GOP majority pass what they promised to do.

“The American People voted for Tax Cuts, Border Walls, Rapid Growth, Excellent Law Enforcement, and Better Education. I expect strong proactive policies to make those outcomes possible and deliver cost-effective solutions, by whatever means may be necessary,” he said.

House passes budget, paving way for tax reform


Reported

House passes budget, paving way for tax reform

 

The House passed its 2018 budget resolution Thursday in a party-line vote that represents a step toward its goal of sending tax-reform legislation to President Trump. In a 219-206 vote, lawmakers approved a budget resolution for 2018 that sets up a process for shielding the GOP tax bill from a filibuster in the Senate.

A total of 18 Republicans voted against the resolution, along with all the Democrats who were present.

GOP lawmakers hailed the vote as meaningful because of the tax measure.

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“We haven’t reformed this tax system since 1986. We need to pass this budget so we can help bring more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks for people across this country,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during House floor debate.

Democrats lambasted it for the same reason.

“This budget isn’t about conservative policy or reducing the size of our debt and deficits. It’s not even about American families. This budget is about one thing — using budget reconciliation to ram through giant tax giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations — and to do it without bipartisan support,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

The budget reconciliation rules would allow Republicans in the Senate to pass tax reform without any Democratic votes, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can only afford two defections. Republicans used the same strategy for ObamaCare repeal but failed, and are hoping for a better outcome on taxes.

Yet there are already signs of trouble, with some Republicans questioning whether the tax proposal would add too much to the deficit, and others balking at plans to eliminate a deduction for state and local taxes. The tax plan is now estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade, but that figure would grow if the state and local tax deduction is not eliminated.

Republicans have yet to secure a major legislative win despite having unified control of government. They hope to secure a tax win by the end of the year, which is an ambitious timeline.

The GOP tax reform framework unveiled last week would cut the top tax rate for the wealthy and lower taxes for businesses. The proposal would consolidate the current seven individual tax brackets into three, with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Committees may choose to establish a fourth rate above 35 percent for the wealthiest Americans. The current top individual rate is 39.6 percent. 

House Republicans are far behind schedule in passing the budget, which is normally approved in the spring. Thursday’s vote comes five days into the new fiscal year, and a month after the House passed all 12 of its spending bills for 2018. 

The government is operating under a temporary spending measure that runs out on December 8. Congress and Trump must strike a new deal to prevent a shutdown after that deadline. The House budget is in many ways an opening bid in that battle. 

Like the already-passed spending bills, it would increase defense spending by $72 billion, and cut nondefense spending by $5 billion. The Senate’s plan keeps overall funding levels steady.

It also includes plans for trillions of dollars in spending cuts over a decade, including from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, but does include enforcement mechanisms to enact those plans. The budget outline, for example, assumes the adoption of a House-passed ObamaCare repeal bill that has not advanced.

The House budget leaves no room for tax reform to add to the deficit. Instead, it provides instructions for $203 billion in spending cuts from welfare programs in areas such as nutritional assistance and education. 

To unlock the reconciliation rules for tax reform, lawmakers will likely have to go to conference to sort out differences with the Senate’s budget resolution. The upper chamber’s version is being marked up in committee Thursday and is expected to move to the Senate floor in two weeks. 

The Senate budget carves out $1.5 trillion in possible tax cuts for the reform effort, a figure the House is expected to agree to. The Senate is not expected to accept the $203 billion in mandatory cuts from the House budget, but House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said she will fight to keep them in. 

Senate approves resolution condemning white supremacist groups


Reported

Senate approves resolution condemning white supremacist groups

The Senate easily passed a resolution on Monday condemning white supremacist organizations and urging President Trump to speak out against hate groups. The resolution — introduced last week by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) — cleared the upper chamber by unanimous consent. 

The Senate measure formally condemns “the violence and domestic terrorist attack” that occurred last month around a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. 
 
In addition to urging Trump and the administration to publicly push back against hate groups, the resolution urges Trump and his Cabinet to “address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”
 
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Senators want Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate “all acts of violence, intimidation and domestic terrorism” by white supremacists, white nationalists or associated groups and prevent them “from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.” 

 
The resolution formally gained the backing of 55 senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), before it passed the Senate on Monday night. 
 
Trump received widespread criticism for his response to violence in Virginia last month, including saying during a press conference that both what he called “alt-left” and white nationalist groups and there were “very fine people” on both sides.
 
The rally began began as a protest against the Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but turned violent and led to the death of one counter protestor. 

Senate Republicans unveil revised healthcare bill


Reported

Senate Republican leaders on Thursday unveiled a revised version of their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as they race toward a high-stakes vote next week. The measure includes changes intended to win over additional votes, with leadership making concessions aimed at bringing both conservatives and moderates on board. (READ THE BILL HERE.)

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing a tough task in finding enough votes to pass the bill. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) appear to be firmly against the measure, and one other defection would kill the bill. Overall, McConnell appears to have shifted the revised bill more toward the conservatives than the moderates.

Importantly, the bill largely keeps the Medicaid sections the same, meaning that deeper cuts to the program will still begin in 2025, and the funds for ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid will still end in 2024. The changes to Medicaid have emerged as a top concern for moderates such as Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that those Medicaid changes in the original bill would result in 15 million fewer people being enrolled in the program and cut spending by $772 billion over 10 years.

Collins said she still plans to vote against a motion to proceed to the bill, adding that the legislation should move through the normal committee process.

“My strong inclination and current intention is to vote no on the motion to proceed,” Collins told reporters after leaving a briefing on the legislation.

“The only way I’d change my mind is if there’s something in the new bill that wasn’t discussed or that I didn’t fully understand or the CBO estimate comes out and says they fixed the Medicaid cuts, which I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

For the conservatives, the measure includes a version of an amendment from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee  (R-Utah) aimed at allowing insurers to offer plans that do not meet all of ObamaCare’s regulations, including those protecting people with pre-existing conditions and mandating that plans cover certain services, such as maternity care and mental healthcare.

Conservatives argue the change would allow healthier people to buy cheaper plans, but moderates and many healthcare experts warn that premiums would spike for the sick people remaining in the more generous insurance plans.

Cruz said he will support the bill so long as the provisions he sees as a priority are not changed in amendment votes on the floor.

“If this is the bill, I will support this bill,” Cruz told reporters after a meeting of GOP senators. “Now, if it’s amended and we lose the protections that lower premiums, my view could well change.”

Senate Republicans had vowed to not change the ObamaCare protections for people from being charged more based on their health in their bill, which is why the debate over the Cruz-Lee amendment has been heated. A Senate GOP aide said Thursday it is possible that the Cruz amendment would not be analyzed by the CBO in time for the vote next week. It is possible the Department of Health and Human Services could provide an alternative analysis.

Lee cautioned that he was not involved in the changes to the proposal, including the amendment, and would have to review the new language before deciding whether to support it. The bill does include new funding, $70 billion over seven years, aimed at easing costs for those sick people remaining in the ObamaCare plans.

However, the new measure does not boost the generosity of the tax credits, as some moderates wanted. It still replaces ObamaCare’s tax credits to help people afford insurance with a smaller, scaled-down tax credit that provides less assistance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found premium costs would increase an average of 74 percent for the most popular healthcare plan, given the reduced assistance in the GOP bill.

The new measure will leave in place two ObamaCare taxes on the wealthy, in a departure from the initial bill.

That original measure lacked the support to pass, as more moderate members pointed to the CBO’s finding that 22 million fewer people would have insurance over a decade.

Senate Republicans are now awaiting a new score of the revised legislation from the CBO, which could come early next week.

The new bill does include $45 billion to fight opioid addiction, but moderates such as Capito and Portman who hail from states where the problem is rampant have said they also want changes to the Medicaid portion of the legislation.

Portman said his position on the bill had not changed, but he did not give a clear answer on whether he’d back his party on the procedural vote.

“I’m the same position I’ve been in. I’m looking at the language,” he said.

Capito also said she doesn’t know whether she’ll vote to proceed to the bill.

“We have another meeting this afternoon on the Medicaid cuts,” she told reporters. “I need to really look at it, look at the score; I still have concerns.”

Asked if she would vote for the motion to proceed next week, she said, “Wait and see.”

In a change that could appeal to Murkowski, the bill sets aside 1 percent of the stability funds for states with costs that are 75 percent above the national average, which would benefit high-cost states like Alaska.

— This story was updated at 3:15 p.m. Alexander Bolton contributed.

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoons from TOWNHALL.COM


Pelosi: ‘Hundreds Of Thousands’ Will Die If GOP Health Care Bill Passes


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: http://www.westernjournalism.com/pelosi-hundreds-of-thousands-will-die-if-gop-health-care-bill-passes/

The California congresswoman went on to contend that Republicans should join with Democrats to fix Obamacare, not scrap it, and she argued that Republicans are currently sabotaging the law. According to Pelosi, the GOP House and Senate bills are “systemically, structurally, they are very, very harmful to the American people. They will raise costs, with fewer benefits. …They will undermine Medicare.” The minority leader likely meant to refer to “Medicaid,” because neither GOP bill seeks to change Medicare.

As reported by Western Journalism, Obamacare has failed to live up to many of the promises made by former President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Perhaps the most infamous promise broken was Obama’s claim, both before and after the bill’s passage, that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

Politifact named this promise the “Lie of the Year” in 2013, as over four million cancellation letters went out to policy holders that year, and such letters continued in the years thereafter.

Despite the insurance mandates contained in Obamacare, the former president promised that premiums would go down an average of $2,500 a year per family of four, thereby living up to the name “Affordable Care Act.” However, the opposite proved to be true, and Politifact listed Obama’s assurance as a “Promise Broken.”

The average nationwide premium cost has increased by 99 percent for individuals and 140 percent for families from 2013 through February 2017, according to an eHealth report.

Moreover, the Heritage Foundation determined that 70 percent of U.S. counties have only one or two insurers offering coverage through the Obamacare exchange. Some areas of the country could face having no insurers on the exchange at all in 2018, according to Bloomberg.

Despite the law’s major failings, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., joined with Pelosi in arguing that the only solution is to fix Obamacare.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Durbin pointed to the Republican plan to provide Medicaid funds to the states in block grants as something he could not support. He added that the Republican plan would result in 23 million less people obtaining health insurance, which is what the Congressional Budget Office projected would be the result over 10 years.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., responded, “The amount of dollars going into Medicaid continues to go up year after year. So if Senator Durbin refers to a cut, only in Washington is giving more each year, something you can conceive as a cut, if it doesn’t go up as fast as he would like it to go up.”

Under Obamacare, the Medicaid rolls grew by approximately 12 million people, thanks to new eligibility guidelines. Over 70 million are now enrolled in the program, or about one in every five Americans.

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies with the Cato Institute, told Western Journalism that even the so-called cuts designed to slow the growth of Medicaid should be viewed with skepticism.

Cannon explained that proposed legislation does not call for true block grants, but rather matching grants based on the number of Medicaid enrollees in each state. States can increase the grant cap simply by increasing the number of enrollees.

Further, Cannon noted, in both the Senate and the House plans, the restraints in the increase in Medicaid spending are not due to take effect until the 2020s, after multiple intervening federal elections. Therefore, he believes the chances of them being repealed is high, particularly since many Republican governors support Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

“This is a Medicaid expansion repeal that was designed never to take effect,” he said.

Senate confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court, giving Trump big win


The Senate on Friday confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, giving President Trump the biggest victory of his first 100 days in office. The 54-45 vote caps a bitter political battle that began with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago and resulted in the Senate triggering the “nuclear option,” breaking Democrats’ blockade and ending filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.

Three Democrats facing reelection next year in strongly pro-Trump states voted for Gorsuch: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.).

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But two Democrats facing reelection in 2018 in states Trump won by double digits — Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) — voted no, a reflection of Trump’s slumping approval rating among independents and the boiling rage of the Democratic base over his 2016 electoral victory.

Gorsuch will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s 101st associate justice on Monday. 

Chief Justice John Roberts is set to administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony at 9 a.m., and Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the oath at a public ceremony at the White House later in the morning.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said the fight will leave a scorch mark on the Senate because Republicans employed the nuclear option.

“It will make this body a more partisan place. It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court more of a partisan place,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, argued that the change to the filibuster, which Republicans made with a party-line vote Thursday, would restore the Senate to its tradition of not filibustering judicial nominees.

He praised Gorsuch’s credentials Friday as “sterling,” his record as “excellent” and his judicial temperament as “ideal.” He said he wished “that important aspects of this process had played out differently” but held out hope that “today is a new day” and that Democrats would not hold a grudge as the chamber considers other priorities this year.

“I hope my Democratic friends will take this moment to reflect and perhaps consider a turning point in their outlook going forward,” he said.

Some Democrats questioned whether it was worth getting into a showdown with McConnell over Gorsuch and losing their power to filibuster future Supreme Court nominees. These few dissenters thought it might be tougher for Republicans to change the rules if a swing seat on the court became open later on in Trump’s term, when he might have less political capital.  Democratic leaders, however, disagreed, arguing that McConnell would be just as likely like to change the rules in the future.

Democrats tried to block Gorsuch because they said his rulings tended to favor powerful interests over average people and also because they were still furious over Republicans’ treatment of Merrick Garland, whom President Obama nominated a year ago to fill the vacancy left by Scalia.

McConnell announced immediately after Scalia’s death that Garland would not receive consideration by the GOP-controlled Senate and that the winner of the presidential election should pick the nominee. Democrats argued that decision broke 230 years of precedent and would best be remedied by Gorsuch withdrawing and Trump picking a “more mainstream candidate.”

That proposal went nowhere as Republicans argued that Trump made clear during last year’s campaign that he would pick a judge from a list of 21 conservatives, on which Gorsuch was included.

A CNN exit poll showed that 56 percent of Trump voters said the Supreme Court was “the important factor” in their votes, and 46 percent said it was “an important factor.”

Gorsuch isn’t likely to change the most recent ideological balance of the court as he replaces one of its most outspoken and conservative jurists. He called Scalia a “mentor” at his confirmation hearings and, like his predecessor did, takes an “originalist” approach to the law meant to hew to the intentions of the Founding Fathers and follow legal language strictly. That approach became a sticking point for Democrats, who criticized him for relying on what they called overly literal readings of the law to decide in favor of those in power, such as a trucking company in TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board that fired a driver who refused to stay for hours with a disabled vehicle in freezing weather.

Republicans countered by touting Gorsuch’s academic and professional credentials; his clerkships with two Supreme Court justices, Anthony Kennedy and Byron White; his unanimous rating of well-qualified by the American Bar Association; and his record of deciding with the majority in 99 percent of the cases he heard.

Gorsuch appeared poised to sail through the Senate as Democrats earlier this year were more focused on Trump’s more controversial Cabinet appointees, such as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Democrats had failed to dig up any seriously damaging writings, statements or indiscretions, and even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal justice on the high court, said Gorsuch was “very easy to get along with.”

The lack of strong early resistance angered liberal groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.Org and the Services Employee International Union, which wrote a stern letter to Democratic senators early last month exhorting them to “do better.” The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group backing Gorsuch, countered pressure from the left by launching a $10 million advertising campaign to bolster his nomination. The National Rifle Association also poured in $1 million to help Gorsuch.

It became apparent Monday,  when several Democrats who were on the fence came out against his nomination, that Gorsuch would not win confirmation unless Republicans moved to eliminate the filibuster. By Monday evening, 42 Democrats and one Independent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), had announced they would block the final vote. McConnell announced the next day that he had the votes to trigger the nuclear option. 

Vice President Pence presided over the vote. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who recently underwent back surgery, missed it.

– Updated at 12:47 p.m.

Senate goes ‘nuclear’ to advance Trump Supreme Court pick


The Senate voted Thursday to move forward with Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination after Republicans took a historic step that lowers the vote threshold for high court nominees to a simple majority.  Senators voted 55-45 to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination, setting up a final confirmation vote for Friday. Thanks to a procedural move that changed Senate rules earlier Thursday, a simple majority was needed to move forward.

Democrats had successfully blocked Gorsuch’s nomination from getting 60 votes earlier, prompting Republicans to employ the “nuclear option,” which effectively ends filibusters for all Supreme Court nominees. Democrats tried to delay the rule change vote by offering motions to postpone a vote and to adjourn the chamber, but both fell short as Republicans stayed unified.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) voted with Republicans to allow President Trump’s pick to move forward.

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Republicans defended the party-line vote on the nuclear option, saying Democrats were to blame for blocking Gorsuch, who they believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued that Democrats should “come to their senses.” 

“The truth of the matter is that throughout this process, the minority led by their leader has been desperately searching for a justification for their preplanned filibuster,” he said ahead of Thursday’s votes.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added that the current stalemate was part of a decades-long Democratic effort to “politicize the courts and the confirmation process.” 

“The opposition to this particular nominee is more about the man that nominated him and the party he represents than the nominee himself,” he said. 

Republicans hinted for weeks that Trump’s nominee would be confirmed one way or another. McConnell confirmed during a leadership press conference that he had the votes to go nuclear if needed. Republicans appeared resigned to the tactics, arguing if Democrats won’t support Gorsuch — who received the American Bar Association’s highest rating — they won’t allow any GOP nominee to join the Supreme Court.

But Democrats made a last-minute pledge for Republicans to back down and change the nominee, an argument that never gained traction with GOP senators.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “When a nominee doesn’t get enough votes for confirmation the answer is not to change the rules, it’s to change the nominee.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) during an eleventh-hour press conference blasted the GOP tactics, saying it “is just wrong to pack the court through this stolen seat.” 

“That’s why it’s so important that we still in the few hours that we have left hopefully stop this really crime against the Constitution,” he said. 

Progressives groups also stepped up their attacks heading into Thursday’s vote, warning that Republicans will be to blame for going “nuclear.”  The People’s Defense — a coalition of roughly a dozen progressive groups led by NARAL Pro-Choice America — released a digital ad campaign targeting Republicans in Arizona, Alaska, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina, warning them that “history is watching.”

Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Dean Heller (Nev.), among those being targeted by outside groups, are Republicans’ two most vulnerable incumbents. Schumer echoed that from the Senate floor on Thursday, saying that Republicans “had other choices. They’ve chosen this one.” 

“The responsibility for changing the rules will fall on Republicans and Leader McConnell’s shoulders,” he said. 

Democrats remain deeply bitter of Republicans treatment of Merrick Garland, whom former President Barack Obama’s nominated to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016. GOP leaders refused to give Garland a hearing or a vote. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued that the current stalemate over the Supreme Court dates back Scalia’s death and “what we’re facing today is the fallout.” 

But the hardball tactics drew skepticism from both Republican and Democratic senators, who held around-the-clock negotiations to try to prevent the rule change but ultimately failed.

Told that by a reporter that some people think the Senate will function better without the filibuster, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fired back: “Whoever said that is a stupid idiot.” 

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) also warned that without the need for 60 votes to break a filibuster, Trump might easily appoint Attorney General Jeff Sessions or EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to the Supreme Court in the future.

“Partisanship should give way to patriotism,” said Bennet, who backed ending debate on Gorsuch’s nomination earlier Thursday but voted against it in the second vote. “If we go down this road we will undermine the minorities ability to check this administration and all those who follow.”

Senate confirms Carson to lead HUD


waving flag disclaimerAuthored

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Ben Carson to be President Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The final vote was 58-41. Carson needed a simple majority to be approved.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Warner (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) joined all Republicans in backing Carson. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) did not vote.
The former neurosurgeon wasn’t a top target for Senate Democrats. But Carson’s nomination and lack of government experience has divided the caucus.
Top Democrats — including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) — voted against Carson’s nomination earlier this week.

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But red-state Democrats, including Manchin, Donnelly and Heitkamp, voted with Republicans to support him.

Republicans have rallied around Carson’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted ahead of the vote that he would be confirmed with bipartisan support. “[He] can begin bringing much needed reforms to the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” he said from the Senate floor.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) also urged his colleagues to support Carson. “Once Dr. Carson is confirmed we can begin working on several important issues under HUD’s jurisdiction,” he said.
Carson easily cleared the Senate Banking Committee in late January, picking up the support of liberal senators elizabeth-lieawatha-warrenincluding Brown and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren defended her committee vote amid backlash from progressive outside groups, writing on a Facebook post: “Yes, he is not the nominee I wanted. But ‘the nominee I wanted’ is not the test.” Warren didn’t vote for Carson during the Senate’s procedural vote on Wednesday, and she voted against him again Thursday.
Carson’s nomination has been largely free of controversy. Senators only questioned Carson for 2 1/2 hours during his confirmation hearing, in contrast to more controversial picks — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who faced hours of intense grilling. Democrats have voiced public skepticism about Carson’s qualifications, noting that the onetime presidential candidate also previously questioned whether he was fit to run a federal agency.
“Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water,” he said in November, on the heels of rumors that he would be considered for Trump’s Cabinet.
Carson, a conservative Christian, also received some criticism for suggesting that LGBT Americans don’t deserve “extra rights.” picture2
But neither impeded his nomination. Crapo thanked Brown from the Senate floor for being willing to work with him to get Carson to the Senate floor for a vote.  It is unclear how Carson will shape the agency. He told lawmakers in his confirmation hearing that he wants to have “listening sessions” with housing officials around the country. He was also noncommittal about upholding an Obama-era rule that beefed up a fair housing law.

EXCLUSIVE: Gravy Train Flows Wide And Deep At Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Agency


waving flagAuthored by Photo of Richard Pollock Richard Pollock | Reporter | 8:51 PM 02/07/2017

Pay is flowing so generously at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that hundreds of bureaucrats there receive more than most members of Congress.

  • The Senate majority and minority leaders are paid $193,000 annually. Two hundred and one CFPB employees outdo Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer in pay.
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin receives $223,000 per year, but that’s less than what 54 CFPB employees are paid.
  • Another 170 CFPB employees earn more than the secretaries of defense and state, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. All cabinet salaries are capped at $199,700, but not at the bureau. Thirty-nine CFPB employees earn more than the $230,000 paid to Vice President Mike Pence.
  • A total of 198 CFPB employees also earn more than their ultimate boss, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin, who is paid $201,700.
  • Overall, 449 CFPB employees get at least $100,000 per year and 228 CFPB are paid more than $200,000, according to publicly available 2016 data.

These findings are part of a Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group salary analysis for the consumer agency that was founded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and then-President Barack Obama in 2011.  The agency was created under the Dodd-Frank Act to serve as a consumer agency protecting the poor against financial fraud.

Warren deliberately placed the agency inside the Federal Reserve Board. As a result, the salaries there do not have to conform to the pay scale set for federal workers at all other department and agencies.not-okay

CFPB spokesman Samuel Gilford justified the high salaries by citing Dodd-Frank’s section 1013, saying “compensation at the CFPB is set pursuant to the federal law that established the agency.”

“It’s ironic that the agency that is supposed to be looking out for the ‘little guy’ is actually padding the pockets of their own employees with exorbitant salaries,” David Williams, president of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, told TheDCNF. The top salary at CFPB is reserved for Gail Hillebrand, the associate director for consumer education. She received $259,500 in 2016.i-am-definitly-not-okay-with-that

Not only do CFPB employees earn more than most of America’s top leaders, but 240 CFPB employees earn more than all 50 governors. The highest current salary for a sitting Democratic governor is Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, who is paid $187,818, according to Ballotpedia.

CFPB now is an embattled agency with congressional calls for its elimination. Others favor sharply reorganizing it and removing CFPB from the Federal Reserve Board so it can operate like a regular agency with congressional oversight. Unlike all other federal departments and agencies, Congress cannot set its budget or enact reforms at the agency due to the Dodd-Frank restrictions.picture4

Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, told TheDCNF that it’s “outrageous” CFPB continues to “use taxpayer dollars to pay themselves lavishly. This is just another reminder that the CFPB must be reined in and held accountable to the American people. The CFPB is one of the most unaccountable agencies in the federal government.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, called CFPB, “one more secret part of Dodd Frank, hidden away from the American people’s eyes.” Norquist said the Dodd-Frank Act is “Obamacare for the financial world. The fact that 170 earn more than sitting cabinet members and many more than the Vice President just shows how out of line the CFPB is.”

Paul H. Kupiec, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, compared the salaries of federal employees at financial regulatory agencies and found that most federal bureaucrats earn more than those in the private banking sector.

Kupiec worked for a decade at the Federal Reserve, and later at FDIC, Freddie Mac and at the International Monetary Fund. He found in a 2014 study that federal workers “earned average total compensation that exceeded the average total employee compensation paid by 99.9 percent of all banks that filed regulatory reports in 2012.“As a group, those lucky enough to find employment at any of these bank regulatory agencies earned average total compensation that exceeded the average total employee compensation paid by 99.9 percent of all banks that filed regulatory reports in 2012,” he concluded.

“There’s kind of been a nuclear war in terms of salary and benefit between these agencies trying to one-up each other,” Kupiec told TheDCNF in an interview. “Nobody looks at it. And nobody stops them.”i-am-definitly-not-okay-with-that

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McConnell: If GOP unites, we will win


waving flagAuthored

McConnell: If GOP unites, we will win / © Greg Nash

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a clear and simple message for his party: Success depends on unity.

In an interview with The Hill, the Senate majority leader said he has told his GOP colleagues not to expect any help from Democrats on an array of legislative priorities.

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In contrast to past years, when McConnell had to face down rebellions from conservative colleagues — most notably Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) — the entire Senate GOP conference appears to be on the same page. How long that lasts remains uncertain, however.

“The only way you can achieve success in an environment like now, where there’s not much bipartisanship, is for us to have our act together and to work out our differences among ourselves,” McConnell said Friday.amen

During former President Obama’s administration, McConnell said he had to contend with “individuals” in the Senate and House who “just really enjoy the publicity associated with doing something the vast majority of Republicans didn’t agree with, and it was a great headline producer.”no-more-rinos-2

After a highly unusual and charged election year, McConnell is looking forward to making new laws in 2017. Against the odds, McConnell preserved his GOP majority in November and now has a willing partner in the White House. The relationship between President Trump and McConnell was tenuous at best throughout 2016. But times have changed. McConnell, who refused to answer questions about Trump in the fall, last week compared him to President Andrew Jackson, the nation’s first populist commander in chief.

Ten Senate Democrats are running for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won last year. McConnell is expecting that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer(D-N.Y.) will pull out all the stops to keep them from defecting on big votes.

“We’re not anticipating much Democratic cooperation here,” he said with a laugh.

He says most Democrats are “not interested” in working with the GOP on legislation to repeal and replace parts of ObamaCare and to overhaul the tax code. As a result, Republicans are looking to pass those bills on party-line votes under a special budgetary process that protects them from filibusters. 

“When you’re taking that path, you better have your people all lined up, because if you can’t get your own guys together, particularly in the Senate, you can’t get where you want to go,” he said.

Republicans have control of the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade, and they know they have a limited amount of time to enact major legislative initiatives such as comprehensive tax reform, which was last accomplished in 1986. At that time, Democrats and Republicans worked together to revamp the tax code. McConnell, who was a backbencher back then, said such a bipartisan endeavor is just not possible now — it’s “a different era.”

Despite the high stakes and the pressure, McConnell seemed comfortable and at ease throughout The Hill’s interview. He stayed on message and calmly dodged questions about policies Republicans have not yet decided on.

McConnell in 2015 became majority leader, his dream job ever since he worked as a junior aide to late Sen. Marlow Cook (R-Ky.).

The Senate electoral map looks quite good for Republicans, who have only eight seats up for reelection in 2018, while Democrats will have to defend 25.

But McConnell, 74, says anything can happen, chuckling over the brimming confidence of Democratic colleagues last year who thought they were a lock to win back the upper chamber. Before the election, media outlets were publishing profiles of Schumer, assuming he would be the next Senate majority leader.

“I sat here and observed on a daily basis my soon-to-be counterpart, Sen. Schumer, giving interviews on his agenda, measuring the curtains,” he recalled with a wry smile.

McConnell, who has a reputation as one of the shrewdest tacticians on Capitol Hill but sometimes draws criticism even from GOP colleagues for being too focused on politics, says he’s now entirely focused on governing.

“Rather than becoming consumed about what might happen in 2018, we need to try to succeed,” he said.

McConnell, an institutionalist who reveres the Senate, said Republicans don’t work for Trump. He pointedly noted that the Senate decides its own rules when asked about pressure from the White House to strip senators of the power to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.

Over the years, conservative groups have taken shots at McConnell on a variety of issues. But they have no complaints about his decision to not vote on Merrick Garland, Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee. Now, late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat will be filled with a conservative. Trump is scheduled to announce his pick on Tuesday (UPDATE: Tonight).

Trump and McConnell are both dealmakers, but they don’t see eye-to-eye on trade, Russian sanctions and other matters. What’s more important than their differences, McConnell said, is their shared desire to cut tax rates, simplify the tax code and reverse what he calls the “rampage” of overregulation under Obama. He says regulatory excess is the chief culprit responsible for the nation’s tepid economic recovery and scoffs at the Democratic narrative that frames Obama as a savior who turned around a national economy severely damaged by former President George W. Bush’s mismanagement.

“Obama didn’t have a single year of 3 percent growth, and the statute of limitations on blaming Bush ran out a long time ago,” he said.

Unlike Trump, McConnell rarely talks publicly about the stock market. But it has gone up because of Trump’s victory, McConnell said.

“Everybody I know who watches the market thinks the reason it has been booming is the expectation of regulatory relief and tax reform,” he said.

As partisan as the atmosphere is in Washington, McConnell knows that he’ll still need centrist Democrats to join him for the 115th Congress to be a success. He says that Republicans cannot entirely replace ObamaCare under reconciliation — the special budget process that empowers the majority party to enact legislation with only 51 votes. Some healthcare reforms, such as allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines or other policy changes that have a negligible budgetary impact must be adopted with 60 votes. That means winning over centrists such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who are up for reelection next year.

“[Red-state Democrats] will be necessary,” he concedes.

After spending the past two years playing defense, when Republicans had to defend 24 Senate seats in the 2016 election cycle, McConnell — an avid sports fan — is eager to play offense.

“I’m assuming that each of them will be calculating whether it’s to their advantage to be cooperative or not,” he said of the 10 Democrats up for reelection in pro-Trump states.

“I’m hoping that frequently they will conclude that it’s actually good for them to be helpful to us,” he said.

Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits


waving flagAuthored

Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits / © Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) are pushing for an amendment to the Constitution to place term limits on lawmakers, arguing the move will help overhaul Washington.

“The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people,” Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions.” 
 partyof-deceit-spin-and-lies
Under an amendment the two GOP lawmakers filed on Tuesday, House members would be allowed to serve three two-year terms and senators would be able to serve two six-year terms.
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DeSantis added that the measure would be a “first step toward reforming Capitol Hill.” 

GOP Sens. Deb Fischer (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and David Perdue (Ga.) are backing the proposal. Cruz and DeSantis previously pledged in a Washington Post op-ed to introduce the measure this year. stupid

According to the resolution, any congressional term before the amendment becomes law wouldn’t be taken into account when determining if a lawmaker can run for reelection or not. Trump backed term limits during his White House run, but the measure could face an uphill battle in Congress.

Neither House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has said he supports term limits, nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signaled it could come up for a vote. McConnell appeared to shut down Trump’s push after the election, telling reporters, “We have term limits — they’re called elections.”

In addition to clearing Congress, the Cruz-DeSantis proposal would also need to be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures before going into effect.

Cruz accuses McConnell of working for Dems


waving flagBy  Susan Ferrechio (@susanferrechio) 10/29/2015

Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican presidential candidate, conducted a 90-minute takedown late Thursday of his own Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who he characterized by name as a weak leader unwilling to fight for conservative causes. Cruz, a Tea Party conservative, frequently bucks Senate GOP leaders and has on at least one other occasion criticized McConnell in a Senate floor speech.

But late Thursday, he took on McConnell with renewed antipathy, using pie charts to demonstrate that the Kentucky no more rinosRepublican has bolstered the Democratic agenda rather than conservative goals during his ten-month tenure. “Why is a Republican majority leader fighting to accomplish the priorities of the Democratic minority?” Cruz asked.

Cruz criticized a broad budget and debt limit deal the Senate is scheduled to vote on early Friday, arguing that the accord gave President Obama and Democrats all that they wanted, with nothing in return for Republicans seeking to rein in spending and shrink the debt.

Many conservatives have waved off as insignificant a provision in the bill that aims to cut the cost of the nearly insolvent Social Security Disability Insurance program with heightened fraud scrutiny.

The legislation increases spending by $80 billion over two years, breaking budget caps. It also suspends the nation’s $18.1 trillion borrowing limit until March 2017.

“This means that Republican majorities in both parties will be extracting nothing significant from President Obama,” Cruz said in opposition to the bill. “This deal means that Republican leadership will have fully surrendered.”AMEN

Cruz’s drubbing didn’t stop with the budget.

Using pie charts, Cruz made the case that McConnell has helped to pass legislation opposed by the majority of Senate Republicans but supported by the majority of Democrats.

Climate change legislation and an amendment to revive the Export-Import were among the measures brought to the floor despite opposition from a majority of Republicans, Cruz noted. The provisions passed with mostly Democratic support.

Cruz said McConnell should employ an old GOP House rule to bring to the floor only legislation that has a majority of Republican Senators backing it. He said the established congressional leaders aren’t looking out for ordinary Americans but rather big corporations, who cut them checks for them at D.C. cocktail parties and reward them later with million-dollar jobs.

Cruz also targeted now former Speaker John Boehner, who retires Friday. Boehner wrote much of the budget deal Cruz opposes. “The lame duck speaker, on his way out, will no doubt land in a plush easy chair, in the Washington D.C. cartel, and will soon be making millions of dollars, living off the cartel,” Cruz said. GOPNoSpineCartoon

Cruz said Americans are onto the scheme and are tired of Republicans making promises on the campaign trail, only to shy away from big fights once elected. “That frustration is driving every day, the growing rage from the American people,” Cruz said.AMEN

McConnell has traditionally chosen to avoid responding to Cruz’s attacks and has discouraged other GOP lawmakers from defending him on the Senate floor. Most Senate Republicans support McConnell and have privately and publicly accused Cruz of using floor diatribes to raise campaign cash from the conservative base and support for his presidential bid. 

Jim Manley, a former top aide to Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Cruz had taken an unprecedented step in attacking McConnell Thursday night. “I have never, EVER, seen anything like it,” Manley said on Twitter. “McConnell should not dignify with a response, but wow.”

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