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Posts tagged ‘Susan Collins’

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.

John Bolton Admits Last-Minute Impeachment Leak Was A Publicity Stunt


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URL of the original posting site: https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/20/john-bolton-admits-last-minute-impeachment-leak-was-a-publicity-stunt/

John Bolton Admits Last-Minute Impeachment Leak Was A Publicity Stunt

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton admitted Wednesday that his testimony in President Donald Trump’s recent impeachment proceedings involving Ukraine would have had no impact on the trial’s outcome even after sections of his upcoming book leaked attempting to convict the president in its final days.

“People can argue about what I should have said and what I should have done,” Bolton said at Vanderbilt University Wednesday night during a forum with his predecessor Susan Rice, according to ABC News. “I will bet you a dollar right here and now my testimony would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome.”

“I sleep at night because I have followed my conscience,” Bolton added.

Rice challenged Bolton’s decision to remain silent throughout the process despite not ever being subpoenaed by the House or Senate in the proceedings.

“It’s inconceivable to me that if I had firsthand knowledge of a gross abuse of presidential power, that I would withhold my testimony,” Rice said. “I would feel like I was shamefully violating my oath that I took to support and defend the Constitution.”

Bolton argued that the House botched the process and condemned House Democrats for having committed “impeachment malpractice.”

“The process drove Republicans who might have voted for impeachment away from the president because it was so partisan,” Bolton claimed.

Bolton’s new book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” is slated to be released next month is expected to reveal what Bolton might have said had he been forced to testify before lawmakers in the impeachment proceedings. Republicans in the Senate defeated Democrats’ efforts to bring Bolton before the upper chamber before the final vote with only Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine voting in favor of the measure.

In the final days of the trial however, sections of Bolton’s upcoming book were leaked to the New York Times, featuring Bolton accusing Trump of tying the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine with politically motivated investigations as Democrats alleged. The leak happened to come on the same day the book became available for online pre-order revealing the move as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

On Monday, Bolton accused the White House of trying to suppress details in the book in his first public remarks since the president’s exoneration at Duke University.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

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.

House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP


Reported

The House on Thursday passed legislation to overhaul the tax code, moving Republicans one step closer to achieving the top item on their legislative agenda.  The measure was approved by a vote of 227-205. No Democrats voted for the bill, while 13 Republicans broke ranks to oppose it.

Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help these middle-income families who are struggling, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said ahead of the vote.

Once the bill reached the magic number for passage, Republicans in the chamber erupted into applause. Democrats mockingly joined in, with some singing “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” like they did when the chamber passed an ObamaCare repeal bill earlier this year.

Besides Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who had concerns about the bill’s impact on the debt, all of the GOP no votes came from the states of New York, New Jersey and California.

Opposing the bill were New York Reps. Dan Donovan, John Faso, Pete Kingc, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin; New Jersey Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen , Leonard Lance , Frank LoBiondo  and Chris Smith, and California Reps. Darrell Issa , Tom McClintock 

Passage of the tax bill, which was unveiled just two weeks ago, was relatively drama-free compared to the GOP’s failed effort to repeal ObamaCare earlier this year.

The stakes are high for Republicans, who are feeling pressure to show that they can govern ahead of next year’s midterm elections. The Democratic wave in last week’s gubernatorial and state house elections in Virginia and New Jersey has only added to their anxiety.

GOP leaders are hoping to get legislation to President Trump’s desk by Christmas, an ambitious timeline given the obstacles that are mounting in the Senate.

Ahead of the House vote, Trump visited the Capitol to rally the House GOP conference in support of the bill. The president and his economic advisers have touted tax reform as the key to unlocking economic growth.

The measure approved Thursday would reduce the number of individual tax brackets, slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and eliminate a number of tax breaks and deductions.

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the bill would lower federal revenues by about $1.4 trillion over 10 years — a key finding, as the Republican budget only allows lawmakers to add $1.5 trillion to the debt during that time.

JCT said that all income groups would see a tax cut on average under the bill in 2019, but that some income groups, particularly those making $20,000 to $50,000, in some future years would see tax increases on average.

House Republicans who have labored for months on the tax bill celebrated the vote on Thursday, saying the GOP is on track to put more money in people’s pockets and spur investment in new jobs.

“For too long, this broken tax code has eroded America’s economic leadership around the world,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady  (R-Texas), the chief architect of the legislation.

Democrats denounced the bill, saying it mostly benefit wealthy individuals and corporations while increasing taxes on some in the middle class.

Rep. John Yarmuth  (D-Ky.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, brought a giant check to the House floor debate giving $500 billion to “The Wealthiest 1%” from “The American Taxpayers.” The fake check was signed, “Congressional Republicans.” 

“Hard-working families get pocket change,” Yarmuth said, holding up a handful of coins for emphasis. “But millions don’t even get that.”

The House bill would eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes and cap the property-tax deduction at $10,000, which could hurt people in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.

“I just have too many constituents who are going to see their taxes go up or not see the benefit of the tax relief,” Zeldin said.

Senate Republicans have their own tax bill, which is currently being considered by the chamber’s tax-writing committee. The Senate legislation differs from the House’s in a number of ways. Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill fully repeals the state and local tax deduction, delays the corporate tax cut until 2019 and repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate. The Senate’s bill also sunsets tax cuts for individuals after 2025, in order to comply with the “Byrd rule” that the measure can’t increase the deficit after 10 years if it is to pass with a simple majority.

No more than two Senate Republicans can vote against their bill if Democrats are united in opposition to it. Already, Sen. Ron Johnson  (R-Wis.) has said he doesn’t support either the House or the Senate bills because they provide more of a benefit to corporations than to other types of businesses. Sen. Susan Collins(R-Maine) has expressed concerns about including repeal of the individual mandate, but has not taken a hard stance yet on the measure.

Senate Republicans are aiming to vote on their tax plan during the week after the Thanksgiving holiday.

If the Senate passes its bill, it will set up a difficult conference negotiation between the two chambers over the final legislation.

– This story was updated at 2:15 p.m.

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.

GOP fights ObamaCare PR war


waving flagAuthored

Republicans are facing a new public relations war in their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The GOP Congress has repeatedly approved legislation to repeal ObamaCare, but those proposals went nowhere with President Obama in the White House. Now that Republicans also hold the White House, the challenge for the GOP is taking the long-promised action in a way that won’t backfire politically. And that’s turning out to be harder than many anticipated.complete-message

Polls show the public is divided on whether to repeal ObamaCare, which doesn’t make the task of unraveling one of the largest social programs passed in recent history any easier.

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Republicans say the key to winning the public relations battle is for their party to highlight the weaknesses of ObamaCare, a law even most Democrats admit could improve from legislative changes.

“I think the thing that, simply from a Republican standpoint, is to point out it’s a failing system,” said GOP Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who pointed to rising insurance premiums and fewer choices for consumers as significant problems that will spur public support for the GOP’s plans.

The GOP arguments are being made to a politically polarized population on edge after the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are doing everything they can to make it tougher for Republicans to take action on ObamaCare. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Republicans want to “Make America Sick Again,” playing off of President Trump’s campaign slogan. Other Democratic senators have said repealing ObamaCare will lead to the deaths of thousands of people.Leftist Propagandist

Republicans have faced angry crowds at some town halls, where people have expressed their displeasure at possibly losing health benefits. While Republicans contend that much of the opposition at the local events is being ginned up by Democrats, it appears to have had an effect. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) tells upset constituents that Republicans are aware that repealing ObamaCare must result in a “much-improved health system.” 

“We will be judged on our success in doing so,” he said.

A GOP aide to a congressman who faced a contentious town hall earlier this month said it’s about finding common ground.

“Even though they may disagree on the overall repeal of the ACA, he still believes it’s not sustainable…. From what he’s heard so far, I think he understands there is room for common ground and solutions.”

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been on a media blitz to paint ObamaCare as a disaster. But his efforts have been challenged by disunity on the GOP side. Some Republicans are now talking about repairing ObamaCare, while others are in more of a repeal or bust camp. The party still hasn’t coalesced around a replacement plan, which makes taking on Democrats tougher.

“Until everyone is on the same page, it’s very hard to combat a lot of those allegations,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist.

“If they’re not looking like they’re walking in a unified front and like they have the perfect solution, it’s going to be very hard to get public support on your side.”kick-em-out-of-office

Republicans blew past a self-imposed January 27 deadline to have repeal legislation drafted. Leaked audio of Republicans speaking at their GOP conference highlighted differences within the party. If Republicans want to get, and keep public support as they try to repeal ObamaCare, they need to appear to be on the same page, said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak.

“Republican unity is crucial. Finding a bill that Susan Collins and Jim Jordan can support and agree on is difficult,” he said, referring to two Republicans who appear to be on the opposite side of their party.

“If Republicans are divided and Democrats are unified, that’s a great way to lose this battle before it begins.”amen

Republicans believe they have a mandate to take action on ObamaCare. For evidence, just look at the election, they say.

Rep. Diane Black, who faced a fiery crowd at a townhall in Tennessee on Thursday night, doubled down on the Republican’s goal to repeal ObamaCare.

“While there were strong feelings at this forum, there is no mistaking the clear message Tennesseans sent last November at the ballot box when they sent Congressman Black and President Trump to Washington to repeal ObamaCare and put patients back in control of their healthcare choices,” her office said in a statement Friday.

“As a registered nurse, Congressman Black ran for office on a platform of providing relief from this disastrous law, and she is intent on keeping that pledge.” 

ATF Agent Attempts to Illegally Scan Gun Owner Forms of Pac N Arms Multiple Times – Threatens to Revoke Dealer’s License


http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/04/atf-agent-attempts-illegally-scan-forms-pac-n-arms-multiple-times-threatens-owner-license-revocation/#qa4bfHHbkjXsGJa8.99

Tim Brown April 2, 2014

 

Last year, Gun Owners of America warned that the “ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) is going from dealer to dealer, copying the information on these forms (4473), and feeding it into a database.” We’ve seen, in recent weeks, how this unconstitutional agency is illegally terrorizing small business owners, such as Ares Armor, and raiding their establishments to gather information on their customers, in what many people believe is part of the plan to create a national gun registry database. Now comes another story out of Maine.

According to Phil Chabot, owner of Pac N Arms, the ATF also used illegal tactics to attempt to scan information on his customers as well.

Chabot has worked with the general public and various law enforcement agencies over the past twenty-two years and has many federal agents, including DEA, FBI, Homeland Security, ATF and US Marshals as customers.

Though Chabot acknowledges that ATF conducts Industry Operations Inspections (IOI – an audit that all firearms dealers [FFLs] may be subject to, during which the ATF verifies our inventory and is supposed to verify all paperwork and record-keeping is being done correctly and is properly maintained) every five years, I have pointed out that any and all federal gun laws are unconstitutional since the states never gave any authority to the federal government when it comes to restricting arms of US citizens. Therefore the agency, in its existence, is a violation of the federal constitution.

Chabot has engaged in numerous IOIs with the ATF that, according to him, are usually “completed within a week.” However, he said the most recent audit, which took place in August of 2013, “went on over two months, and it appeared to be little more than a thinly-veiled attempt to create a registry of my clientele.”

Under 18 USC § 926, anyone in the Justice Department, including members of the ATF are categorically prohibited from seizing any records or documents other than those constituting material evidence of a violation of law.

Specifically, the law reads:

“No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.”

While the first day of the audit produced no problems, except some corrections that needed to be made on ATF’s end, Chabot said that ATF employee Wayne Bettencourt produced a handheld scanner, approximately the size and shape of a large marker, and began to go through the bound book of ATF 4473 forms and attempted to scan all the pages of the documents, which contain over 1700 forms from gun sales and transfers.

Chabot confronted Bettencourt about his illegal procedure and Bettencourt said he has the authority to do it. Chabot said he did not and told the agent that if he were willing to give him a written statement that he had that authority, he would not stop him from scanning. This was an attempt to hold the agent accountable.

According to Chabot, “Bettencourt vehemently refused to provide me with anything signed by him or other ATF authorities, and made the ridiculous claim that the records were the property of the ATF and he could do with them what he liked, and that if I kept refusing him, he would be back with an administrative warrant so that he could just take the records that I am bound by federal law to father and maintain. I again refused to allow Bettencourt to illegally copy my records, at which point he told me that I should be careful not to make the investigation about me, and that ‘my license depended on how well I worked with him.’ This was clearly a threat intended to let me know that if I did not allow him to perform the illegal activity of copying my bound books, he would retaliate and that my Federal Firearms License was at risk.”

In other words, Bettencourt seems to have been extorting Chabot in order to illegally seize customer information, ie. create a national gun registration database.

Mr. Chabot went on to say, that after he continued to refuse Bettencourt’s illegal actions, Bettencourt said he had legal investigations to conduct and didn’t want to be interfered with. However, since no warrant had been produced, Chabot stood his ground, noticing “that Bettencourt seemed to be scanning chiefly the A&D pages and especially concentrating on every woman and on every person who had purchased more than one firearm in a week.”

At that point, Chabot told the agent to stop using his scanner and told the agent to provide him with a list of the criminal cases he was alleging to be investigating. Bettencourt was unable to produce a list.

Bettencourt became angry and belligerent, angrily repeating his previous statements about taking the records through administrative warrants and threatening Chabot’s licenses. To the best of Chabot’s knowledge, Bettencourt does not have investigative authority to even allow for any type of criminal investigation, as his job encompasses records keeping compliance, not criminal investigation.

Following that issue, the audit seemed to go well. However, when Bettencourt returned on August 16, 2013 to follow up, he demanded Chabot exit his shop, told him to get a good lawyer because, in Chabot’s word, “he was going to see to it that there was an administrative warrant taken out on my business ASAP, and that he would be taking my records.”

While Bettencourt couldn’t understand his own illegal actions and that fact that Chabot was standing up for his customers and the law, he was apparently threatening Chabot’s livelihood for not allowing him to break the law and scan any records he wanted to.

Bettencourt returned again on August 29, 2013 and attempted to scan documents once again, and once again Chabot stopped him from doing so.

On October 9, 2013, Bettencourt returned once more and attempted the same illegal action. Chabot said, “I told him that not only was it illegal, but that I felt I was personally liable and ran the risk of being sued by my customers if their personal information, including social security numbers, got out. I told Bettencourt that I would allow the scanning only with a warrant or a signed statement attesting to the legality of the scanning. Bettencourt finally told me that the audit was finished and once again angrily responded that he would not be signing anything and yelled at me that he would be working toward revoking my current FFL’s and making sure the application for the FFL for my new location was denied.”

Chabot contacted Bettencourt’s supervisor in Boston, Agent Linda Champagne, who told him that if the agent didn’t get to copy or scan his records, the ATF would pursue the revocation of his current license and deny his application for the new shop he was working on. This is in clear violation of the law.

Chabot says that he has spoken to numerous agents in various federal agencies and they have all expressed concern over the cavalier attitude of the ATF. And why shouldn’t they? Anyone remember Waco? How about Ruby Ridge? Fast and Furious? Yes, all of those were the product of the ATF, an illegal and unconstitutional federal agency.

In speaking to Mr. Chabot to confirm the situation, he referred us to his attorney, Penny Dean, who asked us to postpone an interview for a couple of weeks until they have obtained certain witnesses in the matter, which we agreed to do. Our desire is not to make it more difficult for justice to be brought to bear in the matter. However, Ms. Dean did encourage us to report on Mr. Chabot’s letter to his Senator, Susan Collins, which is where the bulk of this article comes from.

Phil Chabot did tell Freedom Outpost that he does want other gun dealers to stand up against illegal actions by the ATF for the sake of their customers privacy. I applaud his efforts to stand his ground, based on the law.

Perhaps you would like to contact Agent Linda Champagne and ask her why she would extort Pac N Arms in such a fashion to illegally obtain customer’s gun records. Her number is 617-557-1200. While you are at it, maybe you would like to contact Senator Susan Collins and find out why she is not standing for her constituents against a rogue federal agency that is engaging in illegal activity against US citizens.

We’ll provide an update as soon as Mr. Chabot’s attorney gives us the go ahead for an interview. For more on how the ATF works to manufacture crime, I suggest reading the excellent article found at National

About Tim Brown

Husband to my wife. Father of 10. Jack of All Trades. Christian and lover of liberty. Residing in the U.S. occupied Great State of South Carolina.

Proof that the Democrats Own the Shutdown


http://eaglerising.com/2294/proof-democrats-shutdown/#GB1GyfA13SezL4Zg.99

By 

reid obamaWe can go back and forth on the problems that led to the most recent government shutdown and how partisan politics may be bad for America (it’s not). Both sides of the debate have cast blame upon their opponents. Republicans have taken to calling this Harry Reid’s Shutdown or President Obama’s Shutdown, while Democrats have derisively attacked the Tea Party, and placed the blame squarely at the feet of the Republican base.

Sadly for the Democrats, we now have conclusive evidence that the shutdown is completely their fault. Indeed, the evidence is so damning that we can say without a shadow of a doubt, the Democrats OWN the shutdown.

When did this happen? Why haven’t we been hearing about it in the news? Where can I see this evidence?

It’s all right here.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) offered a compromise that would give Democrats everything they said they wanted… but they turned it down. The Democrats turned down the offer they have said all along they wanted. Why? Ezra Klein answers that question for us.

…It locks in sequestration levels of spending for six months. Key Senate Democrats see that as a much larger, and more dangerous, concession than the old CR, which only agrees to it for six weeks. Democrats don’t know how they’re going to get rid of sequestration. But they don’t want to agree to it.

Klein gives two other reasons, but they’re truly horrible reasons, so this one is really their only hold-up.

The problem with this reason is that it makes no sense. The President said he wouldn’t negotiate on the shutdown. Harry Reid (D-NV) said he wouldn’t negotiate on the shutdown. They dared the House to send them a “clean” continuing resolution.

So that’s what Susan Collins did; she wrote a compromise that basically gave them a clean CR while getting rid of the medical device tax that both party’s hate. Now they want the sequester weakened? What happened to “No Negotiating?” The Sequester was already law (just like Obamacare libs) and would not have been affected by a clean Continuing Resolution, so how can the Democrats hold up opening the government over this issue?

The answer is that we were right all along — the Democrats wanted this shutdown. The Democrats own this shutdown.

See folks, the shutdown is just a political game the Democrat Party is playing with the American people. They don’t care about the out of work government employees, they don’t care about the closed-off memorials, and they don’t care about forcing us into defaulting on our debts. They only care about themselves. If it’s bad for America but good for the Democrat Party, so be it. It’s all about them.

About the author: Onan Coca

Onan is a graduate of Liberty University (2003) and earned his M.Ed. at Western Governors University in 2012. Onan lives in the Atlanta area with his wife, Leah. They have three children and enjoy the hectic pace of life in a young family. Onan and Leah are members of the Journey Church in Hiram, GA.

Website: http://www.eaglerising.com

 

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