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Archive for the ‘2 – Capitol Hill News’ Category


GOP immigration bill stirs tension among Hispanic conservatives

A press event meant to tout conservative Hispanic support for a hard-line immigration bill instead brought into sharp relief the deep divisions among Latino Republicans on the issue.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and main sponsor of the Securing America’s Future Act, hosted the event Tuesday, inviting conservative Hispanic groups to speak in support of his bill, which would provide protections for so-called “Dreamers.”

The legislation would also fund President Trump’s border wall, end the diversity visa lottery program, limit family-based visas, create a new, controversial agriculture guest worker program, allow the administration to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities and require employers to use the E-Verify program to check the immigration status of their workers.

Read the full story here



Saudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concerns

Nuclear nonproliferation advocates are sounding the alarm about a potential nuclear energy deal between Saudi Arabia and the United States, saying the exceptions the kingdom is seeking could lead to nuclear proliferation in a volatile region.

At issue is a deal that would allow the United States to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration has already started negotiations, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry reportedly meeting with senior Saudi officials in London last month.

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GOP pushes for ‘phase two’ of tax cuts

Republicans are increasingly talking about “phase two” of tax cuts — including a permanent extension of the new law’s individual tax cuts — in an effort to highlight their signature legislative accomplishment and force Democrats to take tough votes. While Republicans could struggle to pass another tax bill this year, conservatives said that an effort to cement the new individual rates would be both smart policy and smart politics.
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Lawmakers rally to defend Mueller after McCabe exit

Lawmakers on Sunday rallied to the defense of special counsel Robert Mueller after concerns were raised over his job security, following the abrupt firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Friday that he fired the FBI’s No. 2 official in a move that roiled Washington, D.C., and spurred a series of tweets from President Trump denouncing Mueller, McCabe and former FBI director James Comey.

McCabe said his firing was an attempt to undermine the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between members of Trump’s campaign and Moscow. The president, in a series of tweets, targeted Mueller’s investigation over the weekend, further alarming many lawmakers.

Democrats on Sunday were calling for proactive measures to protect Mueller and his investigation. Republicans insisted Trump has no intention of firing the special counsel, although the White House also acknowledged Trump is “frustrated.”

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White House: Chuck Schumer’s ‘Historic’
Obstruction Will Block Some Trump Admin
Nominees for More than a Decade

Sen. Chuck Schumerby MICHELLE MOONS16 Mar 2018Washington, DC1,398

Legislative Director Marc Short took the White House briefing podium on Friday to call out “historic obstruction” by Democrats for requiring 30 hours of debate over Trump administration nominees at a rate far beyond that which prior administrations faced.  Short repeatedly pointed to Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for “…the historic obstruction that we have faced by Sen. [Chuck] Schumer and Senate Democrats in confirming our nominees to enable us to fill out our White House.”
“The Senate obviously has the constitutional responsibility for advice and consent,” said Short who then proceeded to describe “what that looks like in real life.”  After the President selects a nominee, that person goes through an FBI background check, “they work with the office of government ethics to deconflict financial issues,” and after this extensive process the nominee is submitted to the U.S. Senate.
There the individual goes through “several additional evaluations” including meetings with members and staff from both sides of the aisle. The nominee is then submitted to a committee hearing and vote, after which the nominee is submitted for a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.  “Traditionally the Senate routinely confirms an administration’s nominees once out of committee,” said Short. “What Sen. Schumer has done, is to require cloture votes to essentially slow down the process and to obstruct.”
Short then recounted the pace and history of Senate confirmations and cloture or “filibuster” of them under the four previous administrations. In the first 14 months of the Trump administration, the Senate had 79 cloture votes on Trump administration nominees.  He contrasted the 79 cloture votes under Trump to a combined 17 cloture votes in the same time period under all of the four prior administrations, or five times as many. Under President George H.W. Bush’s entire four-year term “he faced one cloture vote,” said Short. In four years President Bill Clinton faced just ten total cloture votes. In his entire first term, President George W. Bush faced four cloture votes. President Barack Obama endured 17 total cloture votes in his first four-year term in office. That’s a total of 32 combined over the entire first terms of the prior four presidents.
“Sen. Schumer is essentially weaponizing a Senate procedure in demanding cloture votes on our nominees that he even eventually supports,” Short emphasized. “Eleven of the President’s nominees have been confirmed without a single dissenting vote, yet still forced to go through 30 hours of debate to essentially slow down the Senate calendar, simply for the purpose of obstruction.” Short pointed to some Senate Democrats who have called out the obstruction as “ridiculous,” though he did not name which ones he was referring to.
“At this rate, the United States Senate would take eleven and a half years to confirm our nominees,” explained Short.
Short went on to list several nominees who have been waiting for confirmation for substantial periods of time, as of Friday: Deputy Secretary of Labor nominee Patrick Pizzella (nominated 269 days prior), Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency nominee Andrew Wheeler (nominated 152 days prior), Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control nominee Yleem Poblete (nominated 298 days prior), Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis nominee Isabel Patelunas (nominated 270 days prior), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner nominee Kevin McAleenan (nominated 298 days prior).
Pizzella moved out of committee last October and had been confirmed for a position in the George W. Bush administration “by unanimous voice vote.” Wheeler passed out of committee last November. Poblete was previously staff director for the Foreign Affairs Committee. Patelunas was passed out of committee last July. McAleenan just got through a cloture vote last week and is expected to be confirmed this coming Monday.
“This level of obstruction is beyond historic,” charged Short.
In July of 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informed Senators that he would extend the legislative calendar for two weeks to push through efforts to repeal Obamacare, raise the debt limit, and confirm nominees. Politico reported McConnell’s words, putting the blame on Democrats for the delay.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

Trump removes Tillerson at State


Trump removes Tillerson at State

President Trump has removed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a move that stunned Washington with its timing.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted shortly after initial reports of the news.  “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”
The news was first reported by The Washington Post.
Tillerson and Trump have had a tempestuous relationship, so it was not shocking that Tillerson would be removed.  At the same time, the timing of Tillerson’s firing was a surprise given the diplomatic workload at the moment.   Trump on Thursday shocked the world by accepting an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, which would make him the first U.S. president to even meet with a North Korea leader.
Trump and Tillerson had repeatedly clashed, most famously when the secretary of State reportedly referred to Trump in private as a “moron.”  The report clearly got under Trump’s skin, and the president responded by challenging his secretary of State to an IQ test.
There were also differences in rhetoric, including on Monday, when Tillerson pointed the finger at Moscow over the poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in London. The White House earlier in the day had notably not blamed Russia for the incident, despite claims from Great Britain’s prime minister.



Huge News: Trey Gowdy Just Got Tools To
Hold Obama & Holder To Accountable
For Major Scandal – Fast & Furious

US President Barack Obama (R) talks to outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder at the portrait unveiling ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, DC on February 27, 2015. The event marks Holder’s anticipated departure after more than six years of service. (YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

By Gary Maher –  March 7, 2018

 The Justice Department announced Wednesday it would hand over documents related to the Obama-era Fast and Furious gun scandal to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  Former President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder had previously refused to produce documents requested by Oversight, documents which former Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz at the time called “critical” to pursuing the investigation.
The original Fast and Furious operation — conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — somehow allowed nearly 2,000 firearms to find their way into the hands of Mexican cartel members.   Firearms connected to the program were found at multiple crime scenes in both the United States and Mexico, including the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. 
“The Department of Justice under my watch is committed to transparency and the rule of law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in Wednesday a statement accompanying the announcement. “This settlement agreement is an important step to make sure that the public finally receives all the facts related to Operation Fast and Furious.”   Current Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the release.

Heads up, liberals! Jeff Sessions has THIS ace up his sleeve

Heads up, liberals! Jeff Sessions
has THIS ace up his sleeve

MARCH 2, 2018

The Trump administration is looking for ways to deal with a recurring frustration: liberal federal judges who have gone rogue and put the brakes on one major administration policy after another.

But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a plan.
The administration is telling the Supreme Court in a case about President Donald Trump’s travel ban that judges are increasingly using what are called nationwide injunctions to stop “a federal policy everywhere.”   The Justice Department says the high court should “reject the deeply misguided practice,” which has also been used against the administration’s crackdown on “sanctuary cities,” President Donald Trump’s announced ban on transgender military service members and, most recently, the effort to end legal protections for illegal immigrants.
Sessions has become the administration’s leading critic of the injunctions. Sessions said Tuesday they have been used 20 times in Trump’s first year in office, “as many as President Obama had in eight years.”   Legal scholars have attributed the rise of these broad judicial orders to a corresponding increase in executive action. In 2014, Obama acted to protect illegal immigrant parents of U.S. children after Congress refused to grant amnesty. Similarly, Trump unilaterally sought to impose travel restrictions on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, identified by the Obama admnistration as Islamic “terror hot spots,” a week after taking offic
The issue has a decidedly partisan tinge. Since Trump has been president, Democrats and liberal interests have filed lawsuits in places where they think federal judges will be receptive, like California, Hawaii and Washington.   “It does run the risk of politicizing the judiciary,” said Amanda Frost, a law professor at American University, who has nonetheless defended the practice. “In an executive branch that often engages in unilateral, sweeping actions that are often implemented without notice, it’s vital to have a check on its authority.”
But Sessions has taken a dim view of the judges who ruled against the administration. Speaking of that matter, Sessions said this week that “one judge blocked the entire federal government from carrying out its lawful duty.” Last year, he referred to a federal judge in Hawaii who prevented the enforcement of the travel restrictions as a “judge sitting on an island in the Pacific.”  Trump himself reacted to an early court ruling against the travel policy by tweeting his criticism of the “so-called judge” who issued it.  Some legal scholars said the administration is on firm ground in complaining about judicial overreach. “The judge doesn’t have authority to do that,” said Samuel Bray, a UCLA law professor who is moving to the Notre Dame Law School. “Judges decide cases. The cases are brought by parties and the judges are supposed to give remedies to those parties.”
The limits on a judge’s power remain even in the face of a potentially unconstitutional policy, Bray said. “There’s not an immediate solution to everything,” he said, “but our system is set up for deciding one case at a time.”  Cases typically reach the Supreme Court after lower courts disagree about an important issue and the justices step in to set a uniform nationwide legal rule.
The orders judges have been issuing that apply everywhere have the effect of short-circuiting the legal process, forcing the high court to step in sometimes before the issues are fleshed out.  The travel ban case is the first time the administration has raised the injunction issue at the Supreme Court, but it’s no sure thing that the justices will address it when they rule. They would first have to find that Trump overstepped federal immigration law or violated the Constitution when he imposed the travel restrictions. Only then would the appropriate remedy be at issue.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said at a hearing in November that he raised the issue with Chief Justice John Roberts and other judges. “There may be some hope they’ll do something,” Goodlatte said.


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