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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Culberson Sets the Record Straight on CRomnibus

U.S. Representative John Culberson (R-TX) sent out an email to set the record straight on the passage of the Omnibus bill, referred to as CRomnibus, as false information continues to be spread on the facts of the content of this bill.

My office has received a tremendous number of phone calls and emails from constituents who believe I should have voted against the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill. However, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about the bill, and I believe a yes vote was the right vote for both Texas and our nation. I am sending you accurate information in this email so you can decide for yourself.
 1.  All Republican Members of Congress share the same goal – to totally defund and repeal President Obama’s illegal amnesty and to repeal and replace Obamacare. Our only difference is in the tactics we believe will work best.
2.  It is not true that the omnibus funds President Obama’s illegal amnesty. 
3.  It is not true that the omnibus fully funds Obamacare.
4.  If the House had passed a short term Continuing Resolution, we would have almost certainly lost all of the good provisions that House conservatives won in this legislation. Plus a Continuing Resolution means the President can continue to do everything just as he has been. We need to stop President Obama as quickly as possible, and I do not want him to keep doing things the same way.
Former Texas Senator Phil Gramm often said that liberals achieve so much because they’re satisfied with small incremental gains. He often told me that conservatives must advance our legislative agenda, even if it’s just two or three feet at a time. This bill does that. As a college football fan, I know it is always a bad idea to punt the ball and get nothing if you are in field goal range. Particularly since we will have a Republican Senate in less than three weeks and can immediately get to work to go after the rest of President Obama's destructive agenda.
I am frankly amazed we forced Obama to cut overall federal spending and to implement the additional spending restrictions House conservatives won in this bill. The final omnibus bill is the product of nearly 100 House committee hearings and markups, more than 400 amendments offered by members during 79 hours of floor debate, and is based on eleven individual House Republican appropriation bills. So all House Republicans participated at length in creating almost all of this bill. 
I am writing today to reassure you that I will always keep my word to you. My good name is my most valuable possession, and my reputation as your representative in Congress is built on trust. I have given you links within this email so you can verify everything I have told you. Above all, I want you to know that I treasure your trust, and I will always work hard to earn it. 
You have my word that I will do everything in my power as your representative to stop Barack Obama from doing more damage to this great nation, and that I will not rest until we have undone his illegal amnesty and repealed and replaced Obamacare. I will always do the right thing for the right reasons, and I will keep working to cut spending and taxes, to balance our budget, and to restore the 10th Amendment to get the federal government out of our lives, so that Texans truly run Texas.
The House Appropriations Committee released this statement.

THIS is a good piece explaining the win for conservatives in Congress. Is it a perfect bill? No. There is no such thing as perfect in governing.  

There’s some grumbling on the right, of course, but that is to be expected. It’s not a perfect vehicle and not, one hopes, what would have been put forward if there had been a Republican president in office ready to sign legislation sent up Pennsylvania Avenue by a Republican House and Senate. Nevertheless it is a strategic victory that strengthens the hand of the GOP, even at the expense of what are arguably tactical setbacks.
Listeners to talk radio need to stop being willing advocates for those who make a very handsome living off  dividing the voters in the Republican party.  They are paid dividers - professional complainers.

Culberson made the right decision to support the passage of this bill.  It was the right thing to do.  Those criticizing the elected officials who voted to pass the bill refuse to accept the reality of a minority Republican party.  That all will change in January, with the new majority Republican party in Congress.

In January, Republicans will right the process of appropriations and do it the correct way.  While Democrats have controlled the Senate and the White House, the elimination of the normal appropriations process brought about the prospect of government shutdowns, which Republicans are blamed for and only recovered from the last one because of the utter failure of the Obamacare website failure.  Do not believe any "conservative" who states that government shutdown was a win for Republicans. It wasn't.

Sometimes a bit of experience in working inside the legislative process comes in handy.  Culberson's choice to support the CRomnibus brought as big of wins for the Republicans as was possible.

Want a more perfect bill to the liking of conservatives?  Stop the divisions within the Republican party and work harder on unity.  Work harder to support and elect our nominees to higher offices.  Stop staying home if you are not 100% happy.  Start acting like a winner.







Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cornyn Succeeds In Purple Heart Medals For Ft Hood Victims

The terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas executed by Nidal Malik Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist and Medical Corps officer, was carried out in 2009.  Originally described by this President's White House as "workplace violence" it was later determined to be, in fact, a terrorist's attack on U.S. soldiers.  

Senator Cornyn has been a champion for the families of the victims of this attack.  One area in particular, awarding the Purple Heart medal to victims of the attack, is now a reality. Senator Cornyn wrote the legislation for the Senate bill which has now been voted into law.  On the House side, Rep John Carter, (R-TX31) and Rep Roger Williams (R-TX25) ushered the bill through for passage.

Here is some background provided by Senator Cornyn's office which speaks to why the process took so long to move through Congress:
Existing criteria for the Purple Heart provide for the medal to be awarded to service members killed or wounded “as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States.” The provision in the FY2015 Defense Authorization bill would update the definition of “international terrorist attack” to include a terrorist attack that was inspired or motivated by al Qaeda or another U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, and one prior to which the attacker was in communication with the terrorist group. The provision would be retroactively effective as of September 11, 2001, and would require fresh reviews of the 2009 Ft. Hood attack and other attacks since 9/11. For the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart—the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom—the measure would require a determination of whether it should be awarded to any civilians who were killed or wounded in the 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood. Sen. Cornyn and Reps. Carter and Williams previously introduced similar legislation, the Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act, in both 2009 and 2011, and the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act, in 2013.

The bill now goes to the President's desk for signature.  The Department of Defense will then be able to make the awards so long overdue.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Landrieu Delivers Farewell Speech to U.S. Senate

Today soon to be former Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) delivered her farewell speech to the U.S.Senate.  She was mostly gracious in acknowledging those who supported her and helped her along the way, both in her own party and in the Republican Party.  She did, however, feel the need to give a parting smack to former president Bush when it was time for her to talk about Hurricane Katrina.  She wants to keep alive the notion that somehow he is to blame for the failures of New Orleans.

"President Bush was not that forward leaning. I will just leave it at that. There will be more about it in my book." Senator Mary Landrieu criticized the former president in his actions post Hurricane Katrina, mostly about the money she was trying to get appropriated to the state.

Here is the speech.

She said several times that she has been an elected official since the age of 23. That's more than long enough for her.  She fell victim to her own campaign boasting long ago as she believes she is a legendary figure from Louisiana.  The fact is, she traded on her family name and political patronage.  This does not make her unique, certainly not in a state like Louisiana.


Sunday, December 07, 2014

Landrieu Loss Lights Up Louisiana

Saturday night brought election defeats in Louisiana for both U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in her bid for a 4th term and former Governor Edwin Edwards, who was running for a congressional seat. It is a new day in the state in which I grew up.

A wide coalition of conservatives from across the country fanned out and took on the task of working  the ground game on behalf of Rep Bill Cassidy.  National Federation of Republican Women, Texas Federation of Republican Women, tea party activists, and a newly formed group called the Black Conservatives Fund  were among the coalition. Though Landrieu's defeat was commonly thought to be a sure thing, Cassidy's trouncing of her on Election Day would not have been so spectacular without the Black Conservatives Fund.

Leading the way into new inroads for the Republican Party in black communities, members of the Black Conservative Fund organized in April, 2014. From their website:

The Black Conservatives Fund is a political action committee committed to turning out the black vote and elect black conservatives at every level of government. We provide direct contributions in addition to running TV and radio ads, conducting get-out-the vote drives, and funding any other activities our endorsed candidates need. We are first and foremost a CONSERVATIVE political action committee.  We are committed to assisting candidates who support reining in the size and scope of government, protecting our nation through a strong military, and promoting American values – especially the right to life.
We believe that despite the election of Barack Obama, the conservative movement has a golden opportunity to expand our coalition by supporting black conservative candidates whenever possible.
You may not have heard of this PAC but you will.  Perhaps best known among the founding members is Anita MonCrief, the ACORN whistleblower . The PAC is comprised of the next wave of conservative activists working to take on the black community and spread the word of the Republican Party and its principles of smaller government and strong national defense.  Their mission is to promote and support black candidates at all levels of government.

Defeat was obvious early into the evening.

CNN called the race for her Republican opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy a little over a half hour after the polls closed. Republicans picked up nine Senate seats this election cycle and will have control of 54 seats in the chamber next year.
Once seen as Democrats' strongest incumbent, Landrieu ended up such a long-shot in her runoff with Cassidy that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee cut its investment in the state, a move that Landrieu decried as leaving "a soldier on the field."
In her concession speech, Landrieu touted her own "record of courage, honesty and integrity and delivering for the state when it mattered the most."
The senator also said she didn't regret her vote for Obamacare, which the GOP used to attack her and every other vulnerable Democratic senator this cycle.
"This is something to be proud of, and I'm glad we fought for it," she said, touting some of the benefits of the law.


Mary Landrieu said of Obamacare: "If they don't like it, they can unelect us." So, the voters of Louisiana did just that.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Obama Flies to Vegas to Mock Republican Criticism

Essentially, what President Obama told Congress - the GOP led House of Representatives specifically - that they took too long to act on his cause du jour.  He decided to scuttle any hopes of changing course when the new Republican led Congress takes office in January.  He has now made it perfectly clear that he is going it alone. If his agenda is not moving quickly enough, he'll just amp up his use of executive orders (or in the case of immigration policy, a memo) and that will be that.

Remember, this is the man who ran for president calling himself a constitutional scholar.

The next Republican president could do an Obama move and move unilaterally on an issue important to that White House for political gain. It is amazing that Democrats seem to forget that Republicans remember bad behavior and what is to stop going forward unilaterally then?

The polls show the American people are uneasy about Mr. Obama’s unilateral law-making, and liberals should be too. Mr. Obama is setting a precedent that Republican Presidents could also use to overcome a Democratic majority. How about an order to the IRS not to collect capital-gains taxes on inflated gains from property held for more than a decade? That policy would be broadly popular and also address a basic lack of fairness. Mr. Obama’s rule-by-regulation has already been rebuked more than once by the Supreme Court. His “I, Barack” immigration decree is another abuse that will roil American politics and erode public confidence in the basic precepts of self-government.
How about a general gutting of the IRS code and substituting it with whatever the idea of the month was at that time?  Would that happen without a squawk from the tax crazy Democrats?

It is time for a calm, studious course of action against the executive memo President Obama announced Thursday night.  Most importantly, Republicans have to ignore the impulse to take the bait - don't cry impeachment or government shutdown.  Instead, Republicans have to get to work and coordinate between the House and Senate for bills to be voted on taking apart the action, even if it is piece by piece. The media and Democrats (some would argue that it is redundant) are chomping at the bit to claim Republican divisions.  The party has to pull together and remain unified in order to do the work necessary now.

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), a moderate from the Philadelphia exurbs, said the leadership is asking his colleagues to “not play into the president’s hands.”“The president wants to see an angry and intemperate response, thinking the Republicans will do something that leads to a shutdown,” Dent said. “Don’t take the bait, and don’t have a hysterical reaction. We can be strong, rational and measured.”
President Obama flew to Las Vegas Friday morning to rally with Harry Reid and union supporters. Predictably, he was full of himself in his speech and mocked Republicans, as is his habit.

Nothing new policy-wise there. A predictably warm reception for the president’s big rollout speech for immigration reform.
  • The president reassured the crowd he was not backing down despite talk of his having overstepped his executive powers or accusations that he had sabotaged the democracy. “I will never give up,” he said.
  • The president borderline mocked Republicans for not advancing immigration legislation. “Pass a bill,” he repeated. “Pass a bill!” He said he had been willing to wash House speaker John Boehner’s car or walk his dog if he would bring a vote on the Senate immigration bill.

Let's be strong, rational and measured. It won't be easy. Long hours and hard work will be necessary from our elected officials.  Let's encourage them to work together and just do it. We can't give up, either.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama Grants Amnesty To Millions - A Bypass Of Congress

Some months ago, President Obama said "I am the President of the United States. I am not an emperor. My job is to execute the laws of the United States" in response to increased pressure from immigration reform groups pressuring him to grant amnesty to millions in this country here illegally. There are many more examples of President Obama declaring that action taken solely by him, as in executive action, would be an unconstitutional move. 

Go here for more examples of his flip flop: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/barack-obama-hecklers-immigration_n_4338945.html 

http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/16/shock-flashback-obama-says-illegal-immigration-hurts-blue-collar-americans-strains-welfare-video/?advD=1248,657950

Thursday night, President Obama gave an executive action statement on television.  The big alphabet networks - ABC, NBC, and CBS all declined to give him a spot in prime time to make the announcement.  Instead he was shown on cable networks.  Oh, and he was shown on Univision.  Univision was expecting a large audience Thursday all along - it was the night of the Latin Grammy awards. This was the only yes Team Obama really wanted.

The justification for the boldness used in pursuing executive action and bypassing Congress from Team Obama is that President Reagan and President GHW Bush did it.  For Republicans to object is hypocritical, they say. Prosecutorial discretion is allowed under the Constitution and it was  used by Reagan and GHW Bush for a targeted group of people.  Obama is writing his own requirements for legalization.  It is to come from Congress, according to the Constitution.  

These Reagan and Bush 41 executive actions were obviously different than what Obama is doing now. They were trying to implement a complicated amnesty that Congress had already passed. Congress’ action was a form of immigration relief that obviously fit within our constitutional system. Moreover, Congress left a gap when it came to immediate family members, including minor children, of individuals who qualified for the amnesty. Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 forbore from deporting people in that select group.
Obama, in contrast to Reagan and Bush 41, is not trying to implement a lawfully created amnesty. There has been no congressional amnesty. In fact, there has been no immigration action from Congress in the past few years except the post-9/11 REAL ID Act of 2005, which made it harder, not easier, for aliens to qualify for immigration relief. More than that, Congress declined to pass a legalization of the type Obama is issuing during both Obama’s term and in a hotly-contested bill during President Bush 43′s term.Thus, Obama is clearly contravening both ordinary practice and the wishes of Congress—as expressed in statute—by declaring an amnesty himself. This is nothing like Reagan’s or Bush’s attempts to implement Congress’ amnesty. The progressive media’s claims otherwise are blatant lies, relying on their readers’ ignorance of events in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Such attempts should be rejected wherever they are found.If Obama wants to justify his lawless immigration action, he will have to do it some other way than citing (blaming, more like) prior Republican presidents. They, to their credit, were trying to implement Congress’ will. Obama, on the other hand, has declared that his government will act despite Congress, or, I suspect, to spite Congress. Such pettiness finds no support in the presidencies of Reagan and Bush.

This executive action will be called a memo. Just as DACA (Dreamer Act) was a memo at the eleventh hour before the 2012 election (his re-election) and before that, the Morton memo in 2011 that commanded ICE Director Morton to not deport certain people.  This is how Obama operates. It is all about politics, not compassion.  It is cynical and unlawful.  It is shameful.

The good news is that most Americans polled believe in immigration reforms but do not agree that this is the way to do it.  The bad news is we are stuck with this until a new person is in the White House, if then.

None of this was necessary.  It was the ultimate poking a finger in the eye of his opposition, mostly Republicans, after a truly dismal showing for the Democrats on election night.  As with Obamacare, I think this stunt will prove to be bad news for future elections for the Democrats.  

In January, the new GOP controlled Congress must remain calm and focused. Coordinate calendars and bills between the House and Senate and pass common sense, realistic immigration reform - one step at a time, if necessary.  They must prove they can lead now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hail Mary Turned Into Fail Mary for Landrieu's Keystone Pipeline XL Vote

Instead of a Hail Mary we watched a Fail Mary come about as the U.S. Senate denied passage of the Keystone Pipeline XL by one vote Tuesday afternoon.  One vote.  

Safe to say that Rep Bill Cassidy can now begin measuring the room for furniture arrangement as he will be the next Senator from the great state of Louisiana.  It is high time that the Bayou State be relieved of the burden of Senator Mary Landrieu.  She has been on the taxpayer's payroll for one decade too many.  Soon she will be free to accept a nice cushy lobbyist job in Washington, D.C. like the rest the career politicians once they fall out of favor with the voters back home.

Mary Landrieu told voters that she had to be re-elected because she has seniority in the Senate.  She said she has power and is chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  She has been unable to convince Senate Majority Harry Reid to bring the Keystone Pipeline XL vote to the floor all these years the bill has languished on his desk, but never mind that. 

To be fair, Landrieu is one of the more conservative Democrats left in Washington, D.C.  but she's still a Democrat and she votes for their agenda.  At crucial times, she goes with the more liberal faction of the party - she voted in favor of Obamacare after a promise of receiving increased taxpayer money for Medicaid in Louisiana - so under pressure she truly votes in her own best interest, not for what the people of Louisiana are telling her.  

So, because Rep Cassidy is up over Landrieu in the polls in their run-off race, the Democrats in Washington, D.C. decided Landrieu's re-election chances would improve if a vote on the Keystone Pipeline XL finally happened.  With a strong message sent from President Obama that he would not sign the bill into law, but in fact veto it, many Democrats felt more secure in voting yes.  Americans strongly favor the pipeline but anti fossil fuel billionaire Tom Steyer has bought the support of many Democrats in office as he pushes his climate change alarmist agenda.  Democrats abandoned Landrieu and the vote failed.

The vote will happen again in the Senate.  In January, when a new Congress convenes - this one with a strong Republican majority in both the House and Senate - the vote will be brought up and pass.  This vote could have happened several months ago or it could have just waited until January but it proceeded Tuesday as a Hail Mary for Landrieu's campaign.  She lost.

Rep Bill Cassidy brought the most recent Keystone Pipeline XL bill to a vote in the House and it passed.  He will continue to campaign for the Senate seat as the victor of this battle between the two chambers of Congress.  The American people wait.

Landrieu has conducted a dismal campaign to date laden with mistakes.  Her last resort has been to go negative against Cassidy.  Now the Washington Post calls the Keystone Pipeline XL vote her final indignity.  Ouch.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has participated in a keg stand. She has run this desperate ad. She lost an energy committee chairmanship that she often touted, when the GOP took the Senate on Nov. 4. She has clashed -- in front of reporters -- with a leader of her party. That same party basicallyabandoned her in her runoff campaign for a fourth term.But on Tuesday, she suffered the biggest indignity of her 2014 campaign, and possibly of her political career.Landrieu, reduced to a relatively pointless gambit to demonstrate her clout in Washington, failed to secure the 60 votes required to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. She came up one vote shy.This was basically Landrieu's final play. With no party funding for her campaign, she has been drubbed on the airwaves -- as in, exponentially so. And even before that, few gave her much hope in her runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
.Bye girl, bye.