Posts tagged ‘Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’
Posted August 10, 2017 03:39 PM by Chris Pandolfo
Is the time of Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as majority leader in the U.S. Senate coming to an end? If not an end, certainly a turning point.
The American people believe, rightly, that the Congress under the leadership of McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., hasn’t done much. Nearly seven in 10 Americans (68 percent) judge the Republican-controlled Congress a failure, according to a new CNN poll. The approval rating of Republican leadership has fallen to a dismal 24 percent.
And why shouldn’t Americans think Congress has failed? The Republicans broke their number one campaign promise from the past seven years in their unwillingness to repeal Obamacare. In more than six months of unified Republican government, the GOP has yet to deliver on the core pieces of President Trump’s legislative agenda.
President Trump has noticed. As McConnell chastised the president for having unrealistic expectations of what the Senate could accomplish, Trump took to Twitter to remind Senator McConnell that he only expects Republicans to keep promises they’ve made for years.
And it wasn’t just on Twitter:
Can McConnell do it? Even as the president criticizes Sen. McConnell’s lame excuses, other Republicans are beginning to show signs of irritation with the majority leader.
“I like Mitch, but for eight years, we’ve been saying we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s not like we made this up overnight. We have been working on repealing Obamacare all year,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. told Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show” Wednesday.
“There is no way to sugarcoat this. The Republican Party promised for eight years to repeal and replace Obamacare, we failed, and if we give up, shame on us,” Graham said.
Dissatisfaction with the process leading up to the GOP’s failed attempt at the fake repeal of Obamacare brought together Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and John McCain, R-Ariz. in criticism of McConnell’s leadership.
Candidates for the U.S. Senate Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., and former Judge Roy Moore have both taken shots at McConnell, with Moore blasting “Mitch McConnell’s D.C. slime machine” and Brooks calling for McConnell to step down from leadership.
McConnell’s failures are demonstrable, and his plan for future legislative success is unclear. This fall, Republicans in Congress will face several challenges as the debt limit, funding for the government, and tax reform dominate the business of the Senate.
What is McConnell’s plan?
So far, it seems Republicans will pass a clean debt limit increase without extracting a single policy concession from the Left. And as long as McConnell adamantly refuses to consider a government shutdown, Democrats hold all the negotiating power over the budget. President Trump and the Republicans capitulated once already on government funding back in April — what is McConnell’s plan to secure funding for Trump’s priorities in the face of Democratic obstruction? And where does tax reform fit between what will be long, protracted fights on government spending and the debt limit as conservative opposition to growing government mounts?
If McConnell doesn’t come up with answers to these questions fast, he may find President Trump calling for him to step down. As the president himself said Friday when asked if he thinks McConnell should go:
“Well, I’ll tell you what, if he doesn’t get repeal and replace done, if he doesn’t get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question.”
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
Reported by Michael Bastasch, 11/18/2015
URL of the original posting site: http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/18/sen-inhofes-81st-birthday-present-senate-votes-to-repeal-epas-global-warming-rules/#ixzz3rt5AuZsC
The Senate passed two resolutions under the Congressional Review Act Tuesday night repealing the key plank of the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming regulatory agenda.
Senators also happened to pass CRA resolutions against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe’s 81st birthday. Inhofe has been a lead Republican against the EPA’s climate regulations and even wrote a book calling global warming the “greatest hoax.”
“It brings me great joy for the Senate to come together in a majority, bipartisan vote to disapprove of this economically disastrous carbon mandate from the administration,” Inhofe said in a statement on the CRA votes.
President Barack Obama is almost certain to veto the legislation to repeal key parts of his Climate Action Plan, but senators hope these symbolic votes will show the president the majority of Americans oppose his regulations which could raise energy prices.
“This vote sends a clear signal to the international community that the American people will not stand in support for an agreement that would result in double-digit electricity prices in 40 states, put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and have no meaningful impact on global warming,” Inhofe said. “In this country, it is Congress who writes the laws, not EPA.”
CRA bills were introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Both bills passed in a 52 to 46 vote — a CRA bill only needs 51 votes to pass and allows Congress to block major regulations from taking affect.
Environmentalists and most Democrats came out against Tuesday’s CRA votes. Activists said the CRA bills were pointless because Obama would veto them and the international community is already set to agree to a global climate treaty next month.
“The GOP leadership has no plan to address dangerous carbon pollution and is hell-bent on blocking any progress on the central environmental challenge of our time,” David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.
“With the international community poised to take unprecedented steps to combat climate change, it’s time for climate deniers to stop trying to block responsible leaders from protecting our health, our planet and the future of all our children,” Doniger said.
World leaders are set to meet in Paris this month for a United Nations climate summit that’s expected to yield a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. The White House and environmentalist allies are pushing hard for some sort of agreement to cut global carbon dioxide emissions.
Much of the hope surrounding the Paris talks hinges on the fact that China and the U.S. have pledged to address global warming. China, however, has not pledged to make any actual cuts to emissions until after 2030. The U.S., on the other hand, has promised to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Politicians and environmentalists are still optimistic about a treaty despite news that all the individual countries’ commitments taken together will have no measurable impact on global warming, according to climate modelers.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of problems plaguing any climate treaty. American opposition could also derail any meaningful U.N. agreement. Inhofe noted that “27 states, 24 national trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives, 10 major companies and 3 labor unions representing 878,000 members are now challenging the final rule in court.”
“This rule faces a dead end road with these entities requesting a judicial stay that will put the rule on hold early next year,” Inhofe said. “There will be no possibility of legislative resurrection once the courts render the final judgments on the president’s carbon mandates.”
Kelsey Harkness / @kelseyjharkness / August 31, 2015
As the war on Planned Parenthood heats up, so does the Republican divide on how to best go about taking away the organization’s federal funding. Leadership in both chambers of Congress signaled they’re willing to go only so far in their fight to strip the organization of its government dollars—putting them at odds with conservatives who are willing to do whatever it takes. Given past support for pro-life legislation like the 20-week abortion ban, a defund bill would likely make its way through the House unscathed. Republicans in the Senate, however, lack the 60 votes needed to pass pro-life legislation, forcing those who want to take away Planned Parenthood’s $500-million government funding to get more creative.
Here are the four ways the Senate could go about ending taxpayer funding for the group, which has come under scrutiny after the release of a series of videos that show top officials discussing the sale of body parts from aborted babies for research. Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing.
1. Standalone Legislation
At the beginning of August, just before the Senate left for its summer recess, a bill to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance. The legislation had the support of 53 senators, with one pro-life senator absent from the vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., voted no, a move that allows him to bring the bill back for a vote this fall.
This move signals the possibility that McConnell will bring back the same legislation when Congress returns, but conservatives aren’t crazy about the idea. Even if the bill made it through the House and the Senate, President Obama would likely veto a standalone measure that defunds Planned Parenthood.
This makes any standalone vote more symbolic of the desire to defund Planned Parenthood than practical, because the measure will never be signed into law, therefore the organization would continue to receive its federal funding.
Instead, conservatives who are serious about stripping Planned Parenthood of its government funding say the initiative must be attached to a larger matter.
2. Attaching Planned Parenthood to Continuing Resolution
Every year, Congress must consider a range of what’s considered “must-pass” pieces of legislation. Congress routinely attaches unrelated measures that may not be able to pass on their own to “must-pass bills” in order to pressure acceptance of those measures by Congress and the president. This is why year-end spending bills that prevent a government shutdown are often packed with unrelated measures.
Last year, the spending bill—formally known as a Continuing Resolution—passed with dozens of unrelated measures, such as banning the Obama administration from transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S.
Seeing as government spending runs dry on Oct. 1, conservatives see a ripe opportunity to attach a defund bill to that measure.
“It’s real simple,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told The Daily Signal. “You pass the appropriations bill at the amount that everyone’s agreed to. Most likely it will be a CR [continuing resolution] … but you simply say the money that would have gone to Planned Parenthood, we’re going to put in these community health centers. And there’s your bill.”
Jordan was referring to the thousands of community health clinics that provide women’s health care for free or at affordable costs and are qualified to receive federal funding.
The problem with this route is that if Democrats object to the inclusion of such measure—which they’ve signaled to be the case—it could lead to a government shutdown. If Oct. 1 arrives and the president hasn’t yet signed a spending bill, all discretionary spending in the government that isn’t used to protect life or property becomes frozen. If this occurs, Congress will play the blame game. Democrats will say Republicans are prioritizing the defunding of Planned Parenthood over the funding of the entire government, while Republicans will say Democrats are prioritizing the funding of Planned Parenthood over the funding of the entire government.
In 2013, when the government shut down over the Affordable Care Act, many thought Republicans bore the brunt of the blame. Heading into the 2016 election cycle, GOP leaders appear desperate to avoid a similar situation.
House Speaker John Boehner told press he wants the multiple House investigations into Planned Parenthood to play out before stripping the group of its federal funding. McConnell said bluntly the GOP shouldn’t shut down the government over the issue. “We’ve been down this path before,” he said in August. “This is a tactic that’s been tried going back to the ’90s, frequently by Republican majorities that always have the same ending: that the focus is on the fact that the government is shut down, not on what the underlying issue that is being protested is.”
But Jordan, who represents a group of conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, argues that’s not the case. “No one is for a government shutdown except, it seems, Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” he said. “The clear question is, what’s more important, Mr. Obama: funding Planned Parenthood or paying our troops? What’s more important, Mr. Reid: funding an organization that’s engaged in what looks like criminal activity or funding our veterans?”
3. Attaching Planned Parenthood to Must-Pass Legislation
If conservatives are unable to cast the blame on Democrats and Obama, they have one more opportunity to attach a defund bill to must-pass legislation this fall. In October, Congress is likely to take on the Highway Trust Fund bill, which is another piece of must-pass legislation. As leader of the Senate, McConnell controls the legislative agenda of their respective chambers and gets to decide whether amendments will be allowed in certain pieces of legislation.
In July, for example, when the Senate was voting on a highway bill, McConnell blocked an early attempt to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. At the same time, he attached an amendment resurrecting the controversial Export-Import Bank. Because McConnell’s in charge of procedural rules, those who disagreed with the move couldn’t do anything about it.
For this reason, conservatives would prefer attaching the defund amendment to the must-pass spending bill.
If all other attempts fail, conservatives could invoke a little-known budget strategy at the end of the year called reconciliation. Once the GOP sets the budget for its overall spending levels each year, the Senate is allowed to make policy changes within that budget for standalone measures using reconciliation. To do so under reconciliation, they need only 51 votes instead of the typical 60 needed to pass legislation, clearing an easier path to the president’s desk.
But because this works only for standalone measures, conservatives believe that it would be an easy veto for Obama and, similar to a standalone bill, more symbolic than realistic.
In this case, there’s no risk of a government shutdown, but with less risk comes less reward.
URL of the original posting site: http://www.lifenews.com/2015/07/24/senate-will-vote-soon-on-bill-to-immediately-de-fund-planned-parenthood-abortion-biz
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell started a fast-track process Friday on legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding in the wake of two controversial videos showing officials discussing delivery of fetal parts.
The Republican leader began “Rule 14,” which will let the legislation skip the committee process and be placed on the Senate calendar so it can be brought up for a floor vote.
McConnell has been asked by pro-life senators to allow a vote on an amendment to an unrelated highway funding bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood, but the pro-life Senate Republican leader appears to want to avoid a debate about putting forward an unrelated amendment so lawmakers don’t vote against it on that basis alone.
Specifically, the Senate bill, Defund Planned Parenthood Act, would set a one-year moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding from the government, unless the organization ceases performing abortions, his office informed LifeNews.com. This would allow more federal dollars to go toward organizations like community health centers, which serve low-income populations and provide direct health care to women across the country without also killing unborn children in abortions.
“The recent videos uncovering Planned Parenthood’s inhumane abortion practices have hit a nerve with many Americans,” said Lankford. “While the government investigates Planned Parenthood to determine if their practice of adapting their abortion procedures to harvest the organs of children violates federal law, they should not continue to receive taxpayer money. Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million in taxpayer money every year.”
“This is a sensitive topic for many and I am aware our nation is divided on the issue of abortion, but it is common sense that we shouldn’t force taxpayers to assist the harvesting of human organs,” he said. “Although abortion services account for about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities, serving about 10 percent of its clients, they perform over 300,000 abortions a year.”
Last Thursday, Lankford delivered a passionate speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate about Planned Parenthood. Lankford also wrote an op-ed calling for Congress to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and take up the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1553) to ban abortions after five months.
Meanwhile, more than 80 members of the House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would immediately de-fund Planned Parenthood. Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and 80 original cosponsors introduced H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would immediately halt all sources of Federal funding to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for a one year period.
Black, a Tennessee Republican and a nurse for more than 40 years, told LifeNews that the shocking video provides yet another reason to ensure the Planned Parenthood abortion company does not receive taxpayer dollars.
Since 2013, Congressman Black has sponsored H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would combat one of Planned Parenthood’s major government revenue streams by withholding Title X grants from any health care provider that performs abortions or gives funds to organizations that do. However, a nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) study released earlier this year found that Planned Parenthood also received $1.2 billion from Medicaid over a three year window – making it clear that legislation is needed to combat any possible source of federal funding for the scandal-ridden abortion mill.
House Republicans previously approved bills to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business but the Senate has not recently voted for the bill because Democrats have prevented its passage.
In 2011, House members voted 241-185 for a resolution that would prohibit the Planned Parenthood abortion business from qualifying for family planning funds. The vote saw almost all Republicans supporting de-funding while Democrats generally opposed it. That was the second vote taken to de-fund the abortion giant. An earlier vote in 2011 saw the House de-funded Planned Parenthood on a 240-185 margin.
Last year, Planned Parenthood Federation of America rleased its 2013-2014 Annual Report.The report indicates Planned Parenthood did 327,653 abortions in 2013, an increase over the 327,166 abortions it did in 2012.
While it remains America’s biggest abortion corporation, the “nonprofit” continued to make money — bringing in $305.4 million last year and $305.3 million this year. Planned Parenthood continued to receive over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money, as it took in $540 million in 2012 and $528 million in 2013.
Black told LifeNews in a statement: While Planned Parenthood and its counterparts like to repeat the company line that federal dollars do not directly fund abortions, commonsense tells us differently. According to Planned Parenthood’s own annual report, the organization performed 327, 653 abortions in 2013 alone – all the while receiving more than $528 million in funding from Uncle Sam. The sad truth is they are not alone. Similar organizations continue to threaten the lives of the unborn while cashing in on our tax dollars. My legislation will stop this shameful practice in its tracks.”
Some other takeaways from Planned Parenthood’s own figures:
- In 2013, abortions made up 94% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services.
- For every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 174 abortions.
- While abortions rose, Planned Parenthood adoption referrals dropped 14% in one year, and prenatal care services dropped 4%.
- Planned Parenthood’s cancer prevention services are down 17% over one year, and contraceptive services dropped by 4%.
- During fiscal year 2013-2014, Planned Parenthood received more than $528 million in taxpayer funding, or more than $1.4 million per day, in the form of government grants, contracts, and Medicaid reimbursements.
- Taxpayer funding accounts for 41% of Planned Parenthood’s overall revenue.
- Planned Parenthood reported more than $127 million in excess revenue, and more than $1.4 billion in net assets.