Archive for the ‘2 – Capitol Hill News’ Category
BY JORDAIN CARNEY – 02/16/17 11:09 AM EST
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The chamber voted 51-49 to approve Mulvaney. He needed a simple majority to be confirmed. With a 52-seat majority, Republicans had little room for error to confirm Mulvaney after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he would vote against him.
The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman on Wednesday stressed that his opposition wasn’t personal, but he accused Mulvaney of working to “torpedo” the Senate’s efforts to increase defense spending. “Voting in favor of Congressman Mulvaney’s nomination would be asking Secretary Mattis to spend less time fighting our enemies overseas and more time fighting inside-the-beltway budget battles with an OMB director,” McCain said from the Senate floor. Democrats also blasted Mulvaney ahead of the vote over his position on defense spending, his stances on an entitlement reform and his opposition to a 2013 bill to avoid a government shutdown. THE HILL – read ON >>>>>
Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 01:14 PM
The Trump administration has offered the job of White House national security adviser, vacated by former U.S. intelligence official Michael Flynn, to Vice Admiral Robert Harward, said two U.S. officials familiar with the matter on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear if Harward, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command who has Navy SEAL combat experience, had accepted the offer, according to sources. A White House spokesperson had no immediate comment.
Flynn resigned on Monday after revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before President Donald Trump took office. Losing his national security adviser so soon after taking office is an embarrassment for the new Republican president, who has made national security a top priority.
Harward, a Rhode Island native who went to school in Tehran before the Shah was toppled in 1979, did a tour on the National Security Council under former Republican President George W. Bush, working on counterterrorism. He also has combat experience on SEAL teams and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Harward now works as an executive for defense contractor Lockheed Martin, with responsibility for its business in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. NEWSMAX – Read On>>>>>
BY LYDIA WHEELER – 02/15/17 03:52 PM EST
Andy Puzder on Wednesday withdrew his nomination to be President Trump’s Labor secretary, avoiding what would have been a rocky confirmation battle.
“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for secretary of Labor. I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America’s workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity,” he said in a statement.
Puzder thanked his family and backers who voiced support for “the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as secretary of Labor.” “While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the president and his highly qualified team,” Puzder said. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was scheduled to consider Puzder’s nomination Thursday in a hearing that had previously been delayed five times.
Top GOP members reportedly urged the White House to withdraw Puzder’s nomination, according to CNN.
Puzder, the CEO of the fast-food conglomerate that owns the burger chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has been under attack by Democrats and outside groups for weeks for admitting he hired an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and past allegations that he abused his ex-wife and treated employees poorly. THE HILL – Read On >>>>>
The spotlight is back on FBI Director James Comey thanks to Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser.
Comey, whom Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign blamed for her loss in last year’s presidential election, is now reportedly presiding over an investigation that appears to have implicated one of President Trump’s top aides. Republicans and Democrats alike are watching closely, putting pressure on the bureau for a public accounting. Democrats want to know exactly what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — and on whose orders — amid ongoing scrutiny into a widespread influence campaign by Moscow intended to help install Trump in the White House.
“The much bigger issue is, what is the connection with Russia and the Trump administration? It’s not only how far up does it go — was the campaign in collusion?” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Republicans have been more muted about a probe into a Republican president and instead have attempted to shift focus to the wiretap that reportedly exposed Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak to the FBI — and the subsequent press leaks that revealed the wiretaps.
“I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who was a member of the Trump transition team executive committee, told The Washington Post. THE HILL – Read ON>>>>>
February 13, 2017
If you thought President Trump hit the ground running, you should see Jeff Sessions. The new attorney general was probably still unpacking his office when he got to work turning the page at the Justice Department after eight years of scandal. First up? The Obama bathroom mandate for public schools.
Less than 48 hours after his confirmation, Sessions’s DOJ made it clear the agency was under new management by refusing to defend the controversial order to let students of both sexes use any locker room, shower, or restroom they want. Since last May when President Obama shocked the country with his decree, the issue has been working its way through the courts — thanks to a huge pushback from states like Texas. By summer’s end, a federal judge agreed with parents: the Obama administration had overstepped its boundaries. In a huge win for the Constitution and common sense, Reed O’Connor blocked the rule from taking effect, at least temporarily. Frustrated, the Obama attorneys asked the court to lift its ban in every state except the 13 who sued the government over it. O’Connor refused, insisting:
“It is clear from Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit precedent that this Court has the power to issue a nationwide injunction where appropriate. Both Title IX and Title VII rely on the consistent, uniform application of national standards in education and workplace policy. A nationwide injunction is necessary because the alleged violation extends nationwide,” he wrote. “Should the Court only limit the injunction to the plaintiff states who are a party to this cause of action, the Court risks a ‘substantial likelihood that a geographically-limited injunction would be ineffective.”
Not surprisingly, the Obama administration appealed. But thanks to the Trump team’s quick thinking, the court date originally scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled. “The parties are currently considering how best to proceed,” Justice officials wrote. Of course, most Americans hope that “proceeding” includes the formal withdrawal of an edict that’s already had a deleterious effect on girls’ privacy and safety. From Virginia to Oklahoma, the groundswell of opposition exploded. While some districts may have waffled on the rule, parents refused to take the government’s coercion lying down. In Palatine, Illinois, where girls were so afraid to change in the locker room that they wore their gym clothes under their school clothes, the Trump administration’s move is a positive step. No child’s innocence should be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. As even some Democrats will tell you, the federal government has absolutely no right to strip parents and local schools of their rights to provide a safe learning environment for children.
Donald Trump argued before the election that the federal government had no business forcing extreme bathroom and shower policies on schools. “The state should make the decision,” he argued. Hopefully, the new White House will give them that opportunity by overturning Obama’s order — once and for all.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Trump: ‘Real story’ of Flynn resignation is illegal leaks
President Trump on Tuesday said the “real story” of national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation was “illegal leaks,” rather than reports Flynn misled senior White House officials about his conversations with Russia. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal with N.Korea etc?” Trump tweeted. The White House announced Flynn’s resignation Monday night, the culmination of weeks of controversy surrounding alleged communications with Russia. Flynn had initially denied speaking with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during the transition about sanctions levied by President Obama, but admitted this week that he may have done so and “inadvertently” told Vice President Pence and others otherwise.
News reports based on anonymous sourcing from within the reaches of government disclosed those communications. During the campaign, Trump signaled affection for leaks that hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton. In October, he told the crowd at a campaign rally “I love WikiLeaks” as the group continued to release hacked emails from Clinton’s top aides.
THE HILL – Read On>>>>>
A little over a week ago, the world was introduced to Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Ten days later, after multiple meetings with Senators, Republican and Democrat alike, the support for Judge Gorsuch is incredible.
Here are just some of the positive things Senators had to say after meeting with Judge Gorsuch:
* “I would encourage all of my fellow Senators to meet with him, give him a fair shake. He deserves that.” –Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
* “I know he has a stellar record from the standpoint of his pedigree, how he came up through his education process, everything about him.” –Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
“ *I will push for a hearing and I will push for a vote.” –Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
In all, eight Democrat senators have stated publicly that Judge Gorsuch deserves a hearing and a vote. Judge Gorsuch is bringing Senators together on both sides of the aisle.
There is no better choice to carry on Justice Antonin Scalia’s incredible legacy of protecting our freedoms.
In the coming weeks, as Judge Gorsuch meets with more Senators and continues the nomination process, he will need our support.
Support Judge Gorsuch
Senate confirms Sessions as attorney general
The Senate voted Wednesday night to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general, capping a vicious debate that left Democrats and Republicans alike seething at times. No Republicans went against Sessions in the 52-47 vote. Sen. Joe Manchin(D-W.Va.) was the only Democrat to back Sessions. While Republicans broke out into applause after the vote closed, Democrats largely stood silently. A handful of Democratic senators — including Manchin, Sen. Joe Donnelly (W.Va.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.) — went over and shook Sessions’s hand after the vote. Sen. Tom Carper(D-Del.), who didn’t support Sessions, hugged him on the Senate floor.
The fight over Sessions escalated this week, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.) read a letter that Coretta Scott King had written in 1986 that accused Sessions, a U.S. attorney at the time, of using the power of his office to prevent blacks from voting. THE HILL Read On>>>>>
PAUL RYAN JUST THREW TRUMP UNDER THE BUS WITH THIS RECENT COMMENTS
I think I see where this new Administration is headed, not the fault of the president; it is our Progressive Congressional leaders!
Skeptical McConnell distances from Trump on Russia, travel ban
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has labored mightily to avoid criticizing President Trump, but two weeks into the new administration, it’s getting harder to downplay their differences. On Sunday, McConnell told CNN he disagreed with Trump’s view of Russian President Vladimir Putin, questioned the president’s claim of massive voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election and cautioned against the administration going too far with restrictions on travel from predominantly Muslim countries.
McConnell also chided Trump, albeit tacitly, for lambasting a federal judge who ruled against his executive order temporarily banning visitors from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Syria from entering the U.S. The majority leader is adept at deflecting questions and sticking to his talking points when it comes to possible differences with the president.
He prefers to emphasize their shared goals, including the repeal of ObamaCare, comprehensive tax reform and broad regulatory reform. But Sunday on “State of the Union,” McConnell highlighted several splits with the Trump administration. THEHILL – Read ON>>>>>
BY CRISTINA MARCOS – 02/04/17 03:58 PM EST
The last several days have brought a slew of victories for evangelicals, many of whom set aside their reservations about Trump to back him during the presidential campaign.
From the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, to Trump’s affirmation of support for allowing tax-exempt churches to engage in politics, to the appointment of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to an education task force, evangelicals are seeing the new president quickly deliver on a number of fronts.
“I never doubted his sincerity or his commitment. There were, obviously, those who did. Not just in the evangelical community or in the faith community, but more broadly,” said Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
“Certainly even for those doubters, this week has laid any of those concerns to rest.”
Trump, a thrice-married business mogul who once expressed support for abortion rights, hardly fit the mold of a conventional conservative candidate.THE HILL – Read On>>>>>
by CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER February 2, 2017 8:00 PM @KRAUTHAMMER
Senate Democrats have Reid to thank for being powerless to block Gorsuch’s nomination.
There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the High Court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media.
And, of course, Harry Reid. God bless Harry Reid.
It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the Court. In 2013, as then–Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as cabinet) and judicial, for all district- and circuit-court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.
NATIONAL REVIEW – CLICK HERE TO READ ON>>>>>
Rex Tillerson: ‘Hi, I’m The New Guy’
Rex Tillerson delivered his first speech as Donald Trump’s secretary of state Thursday morning in Washington, D.C.The former Exxon CEO noted that before receiving the call from President Trump, he thought he’d “be entering retirement this spring after four decades of business experience.” “[Tillerson’s wife] Renda [St. Claire] and I were ready to head off to the ranch and enjoy our grandchildren,” he continued. “But when I came back from my first meeting with President Trump and he asked me to do this, Renda said, ‘you didn’t know it but you’ve been in a 41-year training program for this job.’”
“So despite our own dreams, she said you’re supposed to do this,” Tillerson added. “Well, my first day is here, I’m on the job.”
“Hi, I’m the new guy.”