"Women of the GOP"
GOP Women Are Fighting Back
GGRWC Women's Rights
National Federation of Republican Women
Spotlight on U.S. Senate Race
need STEVE DAINES from MONTANA
MONTANA - STEVE DAINES
need DAN SULLIVAN from ALASKA
ALASKA - DAN SULLIVAN
Dan Sullivan for Senate: Results
need MITCH MCCONNELL
KENTUCKY - MITCH McCONNELL
We need DAVID PERDUE from
in the U.S. Senate!
GEORGIA - DAVID PERDUE
David Perdue on Importance of Education
We need SCOTT BROWN from NEW
in the U.S. Senate!
NEW HAMPSHIRE - SCOTT BROWN
We need ALLEN WEH from NEW MEXICO
in the U.S. Senate!
NEW MEXICO - ALLEN WEH
We need ED GILLESPIE from VIRGINIA
in the U.S. Senate!
VIRGINIA - ED GILLESPIE
We need DR. MONICA WEHBY from OREGON
in the U.S. Senate!
OREGON - Dr. Monica Wehby
"A New Voice" - Dr. Monica Wehby Announces
We need SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO
in the U.S. Senate!
WEST VIRGINIA- Shelley Moore Capito
Fighting for the Home Team
We need MIKE ROUNDS from SOUTH DAKOTA
in the U.S. Senate!
SOUTH DAKOTA - Mike Rounds
WE need TOM COTTON from ARKANSAS
in the U.S. Senate!
Tom Cotton 2014 Memorial Day Message
WE need MIKE MCFADDEN from MINNESOTA
in the U.S. Senate!
Mike McFadden Delivers Weekly Republican Address
WE need TERRI LYNN LAND from
in the U.S. Senate!
MICHIGAN - TERRI LYNN LAND
WE need THOM TILLIS from
in the U.S. Senate!
NORTH CAROLINA - THOM
Let's Clean Up Her Mess
WE need JEFF BELL from New
in the U.S. Senate!
NEW JERSEY - JEFF BELL
Senate Candidate Bell: Federal Reserve Needs To Be Reformed
National Federation of Republican Women
Spotlight on U.S. Senate Race
WE need CORY GARDNER from Colorado
in the U.S. Senate!
COLORADO - CORY GARDNER
Leading on New Generation Energy Policy
Federation of Republican Women Spotlight on
U.S. Senate Race
WE need JONI ERNST from
in the U.S. Senate!
Joni Gives The Republican Weekly Address
Republican women shine in their primaries. We are going to report on primary results featuring Republican women over the next few issues of the Capital Connection.
We would love to hear about any race involving Republican women. Please contact us at email@example.com with your information and stories.
Arkansas Attorney General
week, Leslie Rutledge came out victorious, defeating David Sterling as the
Republican Attorney General nominee. Negative campaign ads portrayed Rutledge
as allied with national Democratic figures. Standing her ground, Rutledge
denounced all the ads against her. Sterling stated he had no involvement in the
ads and ended up endorsing Rutledge after his defeat.
Currently representing the 37th district of the California State Senate, Mimi Walters has proudly served the people of California for 4 years. She now hopes to take that experience to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Etta Waterfield hopes to gain a seat with the Santa Maria City Council in November. As City Councilwoman, she seeks to create a healthy economic environment that lends itself to new jobs, bolster public safety, and hold the government accountable.
it comes to serving in Washington, Joni Ernst has an unconventional way of
dealing with politicians who support excessive spending. In a recent campaign
video entitled "Squeal," Ernst describes her previous experience with a smile.
"I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I'll
know how to cut the pork." On June 3, Ernst cleared the five-way Republican
senate primary in Iowa, becoming the state's first female Republican nominee for
the U.S. Senate. She is running as a mother, a soldier, and a conservative.
days after winning in the primary election, Darlene Senger began her "Jobs and
Business Tour." Senger took no time to rest as the months leading up to
November continued to pass by. Darlene Senger reigned victorious in a three
person primary back in March. She faces incumbent Representative Bill Foster in
the 11th congressional district of Illinois.
Just days after winning in the primary election, Darlene Senger began her "Jobs and Business Tour." Senger took no time to rest as the months leading up to November continued to pass by. Darlene Senger reigned victorious in a three person primary back in March. She faces incumbent Representative Bill Foster in the 11th congressional district of Illinois.
SHARON L. KENNEDY
Ohio Supreme Court
Sharon L. Kennedy has served for two years on the Ohio Supreme Court and is
seeking reelection this fall. In 2012, she won 85 of 88 counties with more than
57% of the vote.
JUDITH L. FRENCH
Ohio Supreme Court
Judith L. French has served on the Ohio Supreme Court since 2013. Governor John
Kasich appointed her after Justice Stratton retired. Now, French is running for
a full term in office.
In the heart of northern Virginia, Republican congressional candidate
Barbara Comstock seeks to gain the open seat of retiring Republican Congressman
Frank Wolf in Virginia's 10th
District. In April, Comstock won the Republican nomination, defeating five other
candidates with approximately 54% of the vote. She faces Democrat John W. Foust
in November in what is said to be a tight race.
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO
For more than 14 years, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito has been the voice for West Virginians and Coal miners for the 2nd district of West Virginia as the only female of the state's delegation. Committed to being accessible and responsive, she regularly travels to the 17-county districts she represents. Capito will face Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, in November. Capito was West Virginia's first female in Congress and could become the state's first female senator. In addition, Capito faces an uphill battle in the state's demographics as West Virginia has not sent a Republican to the Senate since the 1950's. When asked about this difficult battleground state, Capito replied, "I know how to run uphill, and I know how to run uphill hard."
Super Tuesday: A Post-Mortem
Yesterday, important primaries were held in six states: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. As of today, the race towards the general election starts in all of those states except Georgia, where there will be a runoff on July 22nd. Below is an analysis of the results:
Arkansas: Rep. Tom Cotton won the Republican primary and will face Democrat Senator Mark Pryor in the general election for the Arkansas U.S. Senate seat. Considered a vulnerable Democrat incumbent, Pryor has nevertheless been up in recent polls, indicating that this is going to be an interesting race to watch this summer.
Georgia: Democrat Michelle Nunn, who has never run for public office, won the Democratic nomination for senate with 75% of the vote. There were seven candidates running in the Republican primary, including Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey. Because no candidate received 50% of the vote in the Republican primary, a runoff between the top two candidates--David Perdue and Jack Kingston--will be held July 22. It is projected that Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General, will win in the runoff. The winner will face Michelle Nunn in the general election.
Idaho: Republican Governor Butch Otter won the Republican primary last night, after being challenged from the right by state Senator Russ Fulcher. Last week a video of a debate between the Republican candidates went viral because of the statements of perennial candidates Harley Brown and Walt Bayes. In case you missed it, see below:
Idaho GOP Governors Primary Debate (May 14, 2014
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won in the Republican primary over
challenger Matt Bevin 60% to 35%. Now he faces a tough challenge from Democratic
candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Republican pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby won in the primary for senate and
will face Democrat incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley in the general election.
Merkley has enthusiastically supported Obamacare, whereas Wehby has been a
staunch opponent of the law since it was launched, even appearing in an ad
opposing it in 2009 when she was on the board of the American Medical
Association. Unseating an incumbent is always difficult, but this will be a race
worth watching. Accusations of harassment by a former boyfriend and custody
issues with her ex-husband may hurt Wehby over the summer.
Republican Governor Tom Corbett is considered a very vulnerable incumbent, and
will be facing Democrat Tom Wolf in the general election. Wolf won his primary
with nearly 58% of the vote after investing $10 million of his own money into
the race. Corbett has been struggling in the polls, and if he loses he will be
the first governor to lose reelection in Pennsylvania history, according to
Address on Retirement Security
Yesterday Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made his first major policy address on
his ideas to strengthen retirement security for Americans at the National Press
Club. His speech yesterday is being seen as a step for the Senator to position
himself to run for president in 2016. He proposed three broad reforms to the
American retirement system listed below:
first goal is to make it easier for people to save more and work
longer." To do this, Senator Rubio proposed opening the Thrift Savings
Plan (TSP) to all Americans who don't have access to an employer sponsored
retirement plan. The TSP is a retirement plan open to federal employees, and as
Senator Rubio said, "it is one of the most efficient savings plans in America.
It charges fees which are a fraction of those in private defined-contribution
plans, allowing beneficiaries to save more." He also called for eliminating the
Social Security payroll tax for seniors and people who employ seniors. This
would incentivize employers to hire seniors, and give seniors more money to live
off of independent from the federal government. Senator Rubio also pointed out
that for every percentage point the employment rate of seniors rises, the
employment rate for young people rises by .21 percent.
second reform goal for guaranteeing a secure retirement for 21st century seniors
is to enact reforms that save Social Security for future generations."
On this point Senator Rubio called for reducing the growth of Social Security
benefits for wealthy retirees. He argued that doing so will make Social Security
solvent for a longer period of time.
third and final goal is also the most difficult, and that is saving
Medicare." With the Medicare trust fund set to go bankrupt by 2026,
Senator Rubio proposed a premium support system for Medicare which would give
seniors a fixed amount of money for them to either spend on a health insurance
plan within Medicare or with a private provider. If seniors choose a plan that
costs less than the fixed amount they are given by the government, they get to
keep the extra money. If they choose a plan that is more than the fixed amount
they are given, they have to supplement the cost with their private money.
Senator Rubio argued that this proposal gives seniors more freedom in picking
health care plans and will spur competition in the health care
- To read the speech in its entirety, click here.
the Scandal in the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System:
It has been reported that over 40 veterans died while waiting to see
doctors in the backlogged Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, and that
the VA there kept fake waiting lists showing veterans getting care in a
reasonable amount of time and a secret, real waiting list that showed some
veterans waiting months to be seen by a doctor. CNN has been reporting on this
40 deaths result
from VA hospital's secret waiting list
The problem of veterans having to wait months for primary care is not limited to
Arizona. Chairman of the House Committee on Veteran's Affairs, Rep. Jeff Miller
(R-FL), has set up an "Accountability Watch" page to keep tabs on incompetency
in Veteran's Affairs. Click here to access the
Accountability Watch page.
Mary Landrieu Re-Creates Senate Hearing and Passes it Off as Real in New
This month, the Landrieu campaign released an ad that tries to remind
Louisianians how the Senator fights for their oil and gas interests as chair of
the Energy and National Resources Committee. In the ad, a clip from an Energy
and Natural Resources hearing is showed but it has been completely redone.
According to Senate rules the footage from the hearing could not be used, so the
Landrieu campaign decided to film a re-enactment of the hearing. The staffers in
the background are actors, the setting a poor reproduction of a Senate hearing
room, and the network it is being showed on is fake. See the ad here:
"Will Not Rest"
See the analysis of the gaffe here:
Document Dump: Data Points
On Friday afternoon, the State Department released a statement saying the interagency review of the Keystone XL Pipeline project would be delayed because of a recent Nebraska state court decision regarding the pipeline route. This is what you need to know about this latest development:
- A February Nebraska state court ruling is currently holding up the Keystone Xl route permitting process. In February, the Nebraska state court declared that the authority to approve the pipeline route lies with the Nebraska Public Service Commission, not the Governor as previously held. This ruling is now being appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which has not set a hearing date. This ruling affects 200 miles of the proposed pipeline route.
- The State Department suspended the review process of the Keystone XL route because of the Nebraska state court ruling. In light of this Nebraska ruling, the State Department declared it will suspend its review of the permitting process for the pipeline. No date for its decision was given, prompting many to speculate that this was a political move to let the Obama administration wait until after the midterm elections to deal with this issue.
- The construction of the Keystone XL route has bipartisan support. Vulnerable Democrat Senators in midterm races who support the pipeline are upset that the administration has delayed the process once again. The Democrat senators up for re-election this year who support the pipeline are:
- Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
- Senator Mark Begich (Alaska)
- Senator Kay Hagan (North Carolina)
- Senator Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
- Senator Mark Warner (Virginia)
- Senator John Walsh (Montana)
- Support for building the pipeline has grown over the years. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed that 65 percent of Americans approve of building the pipeline, an uptick from the 59 percent of Americans who approved building the pipeline in 2012.
In Case You Missed It: David Gregory Asks DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Scultz About Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) attack on the Obama Administration's Pipeline Decision Delay
Wasserman Schultz: Politics Didn't Factor
into Obama Keystone Pipeline Delay
Equal Pay Talking
unequivocally believe that men and women should receive equal pay for equal
support the Equal Pay Act (EPA). The EPA was signed into law by President
Kennedy in 1963. It garnered 362 votes in the House and was only opposed by nine
legislation will not necessarily close the wage gap between men and women. It
has been widely noted that statistics on the wage gap are contingent on many
factors including whether the men and women surveyed are salaried employees,
paid hourly, have different levels of education, are married or single, etc.
Indeed, President Obama recently was given two "Pinocchios" by The
Washington Post fact-checkers for consistently using the 77 cent figure,
published by the U.S. Census Bureau but obtained by questionable metrics. To
read more about that, click here.
applaud companies that seek and celebrate female workers, such as IBM, Marriott,
and Ernst & Young.
support encouraging young girls to enter into fields typically dominated by
men--science, technology, engineering, and math. Work in these fields can yield
Case You Missed It:
Barbara Mikulski got into a heated monologue on the Senate floor last
Tuesday after her Paycheck Fairness Act was filibustered:
Dem Sen. Barbara Mikulski's Reaction to
The McCutcheon Ruling: Myth vs. Fact
On Wednesday, April 2, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the McCutcheon vs. Federal
Election Commission case concerning political contributions. Congress can only
regulate campaign contributions in order to protect against corruption or the
appearance of corruption--a quid pro quo arrangement between donor and political
recipient, not considered "general influence." The Federal Election Campaign Act
of 1971 (FECA) and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA, also known
as McCain-Feingold) imposed two limits on campaign contributions: a limit on how
much money a donor can give to a candidate or committee, and a limit on how many
candidates or committees a donor can give to, abiding by the limit for each
candidate. Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court struck down the aggregate
contribution limits, meaning that donors can give to as many candidates or
committees as they like while still abiding by the individual limits.
are some quick talking points on the ruling:
McCutcheon ruling does not mean democracy is for sale or that individuals can
contribute unlimited amounts of money to candidates. The ruling keeps intact
limits on how much a donor can give to a single candidate or
McCutcheon ruling simply removes the limit on how many candidates or committees
a donor can give the limited amount to.
Many on the left were quick to condemn the ruling, but were not clear in their
critiques of the ruling and therefore spread falsehoods. Below are some
instances of leftist bias obscuring the facts of the McCutcheon
Jimmy Carter: In an interview with Politico
that was posted Monday, President Jimmy Carter said that the Supreme Court has
"exacerbated" problems with last week's McCutcheon ruling, adding that during
his presidency, "There
was a spirit of harmony there, friendship. ... All of these things are gone,
primarily due to a stupid decision that the Supreme Court made on Citizens
United and that they exacerbated this past week with another
ruling," Carter said Friday. "And this massive infusion of almost unrestricted
money going into the political campaign, a lot of it is spent just on negative
commercials to tear down the reputation of your opponent and that polarization
that occurs, that didn't exist when I ran for office." He also lamented that his
grandson Jason, who is running for governor in Georgia, "won't have the ability or the massive sums of numbers
from the Koch brothers and so forth that the Republican candidates will
Washington Post: As Ken Shepherd at NewsBusterspointed out on Thursday,
Washington Post Supreme Court correspondent Robert Barnes could barely
contain his disdain for the McCutcheon decision in his coverage of the ruling,
saying that, "The Supreme Court's divisive decision Wednesday striking a
Watergate-era limit on campaign contributions was the latest milestone for
conservative justices who are disassembling a campaign finance regime they feel
violates free-speech rights."
Bernie Sanders: Senator Bernie Sanders issued this statement on the
McCutcheon ruling: "The Supreme Court is paving the way toward an oligarchic
form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Koch brothers and
Sheldon Adelson will control our political process." Michael Thielen, executive
director at the Republican National Lawyers Association, wrote in the Daily
Caller that Senator Sanders "leaves out people like George Soros and the
Hollywood moguls who fund the liberal causes he likes." Indeed, wealthy
Republicans aren't the only people who will be free of aggregate limits on
campaign contributions; wealthy Democrats are now free of the aggregate limits
on campaign contributions as well. Watch Senator
Sanders speak hyperbolically about the McCutcheon case when the oral arguments
were held in October 2013:
Senator Sanders and McCutcheon vs. FEC
The Republican National Committee:
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) Has a Special Message for NFRW Members on How You Can Ensure
a Successful November:
Jindal vs. the Obama Administration's
On Friday, March 21, Governor
Bobby Jindal (R-LA) published an op-ed in The Washington
Examiner about the Department of Education's new regulations concerning
institutional eligibility for federal funds under the Higher Education Act (HEA)
of 1965. Here's what you need to know about the new regulations and Governor
weeks ago, the Department of Education released a draft of new regulations on
"Program Integrity: Gainful Employment" concerning the eligibility of
postsecondary education programs for the federal student aid programs authorized
under title IV of HEA. These regulations, officially published today in the
Federal Register, primarily deal with community colleges.
regulations set performance metrics for post secondary education programs--mostly
community colleges, as stated above--to determine whether graduates of these
programs are finding gainful employment after graduation. If the graduates of
certain postsecondary education programs are not finding gainful employment
after graduation, the regulations would strip the program from federal student
March 13, federal officials held a
conference call with reporters about these regulations, and said that about
8,000 educational programs will be scrutinized under these new performance
metrics. Education Secretary Arne Duncan anticipated about 16 percent of the
educational programs will fail to meet the set standards.
- In a
March 21, 2014 op-ed in The Washington Examiner, Governor Jindal argued
that, "The proposed 'gainful employment' regulation--which imposes performance
metrics on colleges when it comes to their students' post-graduation employment
and earnings--sounds good in theory." But, adding that the "devil is in the
details" he says "Targeting only institutions that serve non-traditional
students means these students, who come from disproportionately low-income,
African-American, and Hispanic communities, will be harmed. Facing new mandates
that could put them out of business, some institutions may respond by avoiding
non-traditional students less likely to graduate--thus reducing education access
to those who need quality training most."
- Click here to read these new
Department of Education regulations. There is a 60 day period after regulations
have been officially published in the Federal Register where citizens are free
to make comments on the regulations. To make a comment on the new Department of
Education regulations, click here.
Jindal Stays on Message:
Last month a group of governors met at the White House to have a meeting
with President Obama. Afterwards, they held a press conference. Foreshadowing
his March fight against the new Department of Education regulations outlined
above, Governor Jindal called for setting a regulatory budget before new, costly
regulations are adopted, and a review process for old, costly regulations. See
the video below:
In Case You Missed It
at The National Press Club
Into a Real
This month, the U.S. State Department released the 2013 Country Report on Human
Rights in Afghanistan, which claims that "increased targeted violence and
endemic societal discrimination against women and girls" were some of the most
widespread and significant human rights problems in Afghanistan last year. Below
are highlights from the report, that largely looks to the standards set in the
2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Act as the barometers to determine if
women's lives have improved or not:
2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Act: In 2009, the
Elimination of Violence Against Women Act (EVAW), which took effect in
Afghanistan by presidential decree, criminalizes violence against women,
"including rape, battery, or beating, child and forced marriage; humiliation;
intimidation; and the refusal of food." The law does not have a provision
dealing with spousal rape.
displeasure with EVAW and political inertia to enforce it:
In May of
last year, a female parliamentarian brought up the law in parliament to reaffirm
its declaration of women's equal rights when a male majority used the mention of
the law to speak out against it "by saying the
women were un-Islamic," according to the State Department. Overall, "there was
limited political will to implement the law...and authorities continued to fail
to enforce it properly and successfully."
- Two structural problems with
EVAW: The report states that some people believe there are substantive
flaws with the way the law is written, such as its omission of spousal rape as a
behavior worth criminalizing, and problems with the law's implementation and
enforcement, to the extent that some prosecutors and judges in rural areas were
not even aware of the law's existence.
- Government officials are often
complicit in acts of violence against women: The report states that,
"Police response to domestic violence was limited, in part due to low reporting,
sympathetic attitudes toward perpetrators, and limited protection for victims."
Indeed, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) found that "14.6
percent of honor killings and sexual assaults were committed by police" and
"only 64 percent of cases referred to the justice sector were prosecuted or
- Forced and underage marriages are
illegal yet still occur in overwhelming numbers: The United Nations and
Human Rights Watch estimated that 70% of marriages in Afghanistan were forced
marriages in 2013, according to the report. The legal age of marriage is 16, yet
a "survey of married women between the ages of 20 and 24 found that 39 percent
had been married before the age of 18."
- Extrajudicial executions of women
and girls still take place: Extrajudicial executions by order of the
Taliban and other non-governmental groups still take place. The report cites one
example of an extrajudicial execution on April 22, 2013 when a father executed
his daughter in front of 300 witnesses in the Badghis Province, after "Four
religious scholars issued the execution order for alleged adultery and 'running
- Freedom of movement is still being
impinged upon: The report notes a religious edict that was issued in
the Baghlan Province that "banned women from leaving home without a male
relative, including when visiting medical clinics, and sought to shut down
President Kathy Brugger
On Thursday, March 13, NFRW President Kathy Brugger attended a luncheon where
Rep. Trey Gowdy from South Carolina's 4th district spoke. On Wednesday, Rep.
Gowdy gave a rousing speech on the House floor about the Enforce the Law Act, a
bill he sponsored that would allow the House or the Senate to sue the executive
branch for failing to enforce current laws. See Rep. Gowdy's speech yesterday on
the House floor below:
Rep. Gowdy's Floor Speech on the ENFORCE the Law
Contenders for the 2016 Republican
Many of the expected contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination
spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) last week,and each
speech was marked by the unique character of its deliverer. Senator Paul urged
conservatives to fight against recent violations of the fourth amendment, and
not to focus solely on violations of the first and second
CPAC 2014 - U.S. Senator Rand Paul
should adopt in
order to win elections:
Sen. Ted Cruz at CPAC: How We Win
lack of leadership:
CPAC 2014 - Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
Senator Rubio spoke about Obama's foreign policy and how
CPAC 2014 - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
for saying he was the worst
U.S. President, and said Obama now takes title:
CPAC 2014 - Gov. Bobby Jindal
soul-searching of the Republican party as a good debate, not a civil
CPAC 2014 - U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) To access all of the CPAC straw
poll results, click here.
Part Two: Talking
Case You Missed It
Today, Speaker John Boehner opened the "Stop Government Abuse" week in the
House of Representatives by speaking on the House floor about the Obama
Administration's report on ObamaCare released last Friday by the Center for
Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report was required by the "Department of
Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011" and notes that
premiums will rise for two out of three small businesses. Access the report by
GOP Letter Highlights Four Areas of Compromise: Talking
After President Obama's State of the Union (SOTU) speech on January 28, the
House Republican Leadership, including Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Eric
Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Republican Conference Chairman Cathy
McMorris Rodgers, sent a letter to President Obama highlighting four issues
where they believe there is room for compromise between the two parties. Below
are talking points taken from the letter. To access the letter in its entirety,
- Skills Training: The House passed the SKILLS Act last year,
"which would consolidate the myriad of federal job training programs to focus
resources on programs that work," according to the letter. The House Leadership
proposes that the President and Vice President urge Senate Majority Leader Reid
to take up the SKILLS Act for a vote in the Senate, citing the President's SOTU
where he averred, "I've asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board
reform of America's training programs to make sure they have one mission: train
Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need
to be filled right now."
- Natural Gas: In November, the House passed the Natural
Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, to "cut red tape to ensure that
pipelines can be built to connect our growing natural gas supplies with the new
manufacturing plants." With President Obama declaring in his SOTU that natural
gas is "the bridge fuel that can power our economy," the letter urges the Senate
and the President to progress with the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting
- Workplace Rules: The House passed the Working Families
Flexibility Act last May to strike the federal law that denies hourly
workers the option of taking compensatory time instead of overtime pay. As
President Obama urged in his SOTU, "A mother deserves a day off to care for a
sick child or sick parent without running into hardship--and you know what, a
father does, too." This letter urges a meeting between the Administration and
House leadership, since the Obama Administration's senior advisors recommended
that the President veto the bill in its current form.
- Federally-funded Research: The House passed the
Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act "which would eliminate public
funding for political party conventions and instead fund pediatric research at
the NIH." Further, "Senators Kaine, Warner, and Hatch announced they will
introduce the companion bill in the Senate..." In Obama's SOTU, he stated that
"Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions Google and
smartphones. That's why Congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts
to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery..." The
letter asks that the Administration reach out to Members of Congress to see
where funds can be redirected from low priority programs to medical
Weekly Address last week on
supporting our veterans:
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) delivers Weekly
Points: Raising the Debt Ceiling Before
we just had this issue in October, but the debt ceiling wasn't raised--just
suspended: When the government shut down over the debt limit impasse
last October, the end result was that Republicans voted on a resolution to
suspend the debt ceiling, not raise it by a dollar amount, until
February 27. This was only the second time in history the debt ceiling had been
suspended, the first time being earlier last year. Since 2012, with the debt
limit having been suspended twice, the deficit increased by $900 billion.
the difference between raising the debt ceiling and a debt ceiling
suspension? By raising the debt ceiling by a dollar amount, the
Treasury Department cannot borrow more than the amount set. When that amount is
reached, Congress is forced to have a debate about raising the debt ceiling
again and by what amount. By suspending the debt ceiling, Congress picks a date
on a calendar after which the debt ceiling has to be either raised by a dollar
amount or suspended until another assigned date. As we saw last year, when the
debt ceiling is suspended it allows the Treasury to borrow without a set limit
and it can end up borrowing more than it usually does when the debt ceiling has
been established by a dollar amount.
- Offer: With the debt limit date looming
and the House planning to go on a two week recess, on Monday night Speaker of
the House John Boehner (OH) proposed a plan to raise the debt ceiling in
exchange for a reversal of a $6 billion cut to military pensions signed into law
in the budget agreement three months ago. He is eager to get a deal passed
before the House goes on recess.
- Rebuttal: A clean resolution is what
House Democrats have been pushing for, with an aide for House Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi (CA) telling The Hill, "that 'the unified Democrat
position' is a 'clean' debt-ceiling increase without conditions. He said the
party is willing to discuss the pension fix as a stand-alone bill
Tuesday morning, February 11, Speaker Boehner's office revealed that the Speaker
will bring forth a "clean" resolution raising the debt ceiling, without
attaching policy items to the resolution. This is a reversal of his decision the
Speaker Boehner could afford to lose just 15 House Republican votes on any debt
ceiling resolution he proposes without relying on Democrats in the House to vote
for his resolution. Seeing the difficulty of reaching the 218 votes necessary to
pass the resolution he proposed last night, he offered the clean resolution this
morning. It is almost a certainty that conservative Republicans will not vote
for the clean resolution but it will pick up Democrat votes.
- Result: The
vote in the House on the clean resolution will take place Wednesday morning. It
is likely that the continued borrowing authority will be granted to Treasury
with little fanfare; a muted affair after October's government shutdown. But at
what cost? That will be clear in a few months.
Heritage Foundation yesterday on America's energy renaissance. Watch the speech
An American Energy
In his State of the Union address last week, President
Obama spoke of the gap between the average wages of men and women, saying "Women
deserve equal pay for equal work." He's
used this issue before to bolster his image and to suggest he and his party are
fighting for women. But the truth is the
president is all talk.
While he calls for equal pay for women, he
doesn't pay women equally in his own White House-at least not by the standard he
used in the State of the Union. Female staffers earn less than their male
Nowhere in America does the president have more
power to close a wage gap than in his own White House. But five years into his
administration, he hasn't. He's happy to try to score some points talking about
the issue, but he doesn't seem to have lifted a finger for the women who work
directly for him.
When confronted with this fact, the White House
says that women are indeed paid equally for equal work. They say that using
median salaries to show a wage gap is misleading. Of course, that's exactly the
standard they used in the State of the Union, when the president said women make
"77 cents for every dollar a man earns."
So is it a problem or not? Either way, wages aren't the only challenge facing women
in the White House. In 2011 Ron Suskind's book, "Confidence Men,"
documented the hostile work environment that women endured at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue during President Obama's first term in office.
The "New York Times" summed up the book's
takeaway on the subject. "In this rough-and-tumble environment...female staffers
often felt bruised," and women like former Communications Director Anita Dunn
and former Council of Economic Advisers chair Christina Romer were "talked over
in meetings by male colleagues" or "cut out altogether." Dunn reportedly told Suskind, "This place would be in
court for a hostile workplace."
"It actually fit all of the classic legal
requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women," she noted. And Romer
said she "felt like a piece of meat." It's not surprising the president's first
communications director, Ellen Moran, left after just 92 days.
Women on the staff raised their concerns with
the president at a dinner with him in his first term. He listened to their
concerns, but he didn't do anything about it. Suskind writes that the women were
disappointed and felt the president acknowledged and tolerated the problem,
instead of trying to fix it.
So as Amy Sullivan wrote in "TIME" in 2011, "Obama himself is
responsible for a work atmosphere that marginalizes and ignores women." He's
created a "boy's club" culture in the White House and apparently has no problem
with it. He just has a problem when people find out.
When "The New York Times'" Mark Leibovich was
working on a article about the "boy's club," the president was so concerned
about getting a bad reputation that he was personally dictating talking points
to be given to reporters.
The best way to counter a "boy's club" reputation, of
course, would be to treat women equally. But instead of offering women equal
time-and equal pay-the president offered talking points. He offered only
Which brings us back to the State of the Union.
Last week the president said "I believe when women succeed, America
Now, I'll agree with that! But it would be nice
if the president would prove it with his actions because repeatedly pandering to
women doesn't help anyone succeed.
The Republican National Committee provided the above article as a service to its
employees and other selected individuals. Any opinions expressed therein are
those of the article's author and do not necessarily reflect the views and
opinions of the RNC.
Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First: After securing the
border and verifying that it is secure, the document says that "there will be a
zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their
visas in the future."
Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System: As the document states, "A fully
functioning Entry-Exit System has been mandated by eight separate statutes over
the last 17 years." House Republicans are calling for laws already in place to
track those who overstay their visas to be enforced. Many undocumented
immigrants are here because they overstayed their visas.
Verification and Workplace Enforcement: House Republicans want to move
away from a paper-based employment verification system to an electronic
to the Legal Immigration System: House Republicans want to maximize on
the potential of immigrants who come to the United States and pursue degrees, as
well as to make sure that temporary workers "do not displace or disadvantage
For the "Dreamers," House Republicans want to set eligibility standards that
young people who were brought to this country illegally as children can strive
for and become legal residents and citizens.
Living Outside the Rule of Law: This standard deals with transitioning
undocumented aliens into some sort of legal status. House Republicans state that
while there will be no special path to citizenship for those who have violated
our immigration laws, there will be a path for them to live here legally if they
are "willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay
significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American
civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to
public benefits)." Further, "criminal aliens, gang members and sex offenders"
will be excluded from gaining legal status.
Talking Points: Last Night's State of
Last night President Obama gave this year's State of the Union address.
Declaring 2014 to be a 'year of action,' he proposed many of the same
initiatives that he did in last year's State of the Union address, although his
tone was much different this year.
Case You Missed It
Watch Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers offer the Republican response to President
Obama's State of the Union address last night:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers offers GOP response to SOTU
Va.--Kathy Brugger, president of the National Federation of Republican Women
(NFRW), issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama's State
of the Union address:
his State of the Union address last night President Obama set the stage for an
imperial presidency, alluding several times to taking action by executive order
when Congress does not pass the laws that he is satisfied with. A resort to
executive orders to propel his liberal agenda demonstrates how desperate the
President is to codify his legacy by any means necessary.
President alluded directly and indirectly to implementing projects in his 'year
of action' by executive orders nine times during his State of the Union address
last night. He plans to circumvent Congress by executive order when it comes to
handling the permitting process for infrastructure progress, propelling the
natural gas industry, reforming training programs, implementing nation-wide
pre-K, raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, creating a new system
for retirement savings, and action on gun control measures. As Republicans we
believe that if the changes above are going to be made, they need to be made
with proper debate and passage in Congress--not by executive power alone.
President's speech tonight serves as a reminder to Republican activists that
this year's midterm elections are vitally important and that we need to work
hard to make Republican gains in Congress."
Wage Hike: Talking Points
As Democrats seek to turn attention away from the rollout of ObamaCare and
dedicate 2014 to the theme of income inequality, discussions on raising the
minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour have been gaining ground. The
following talking points are what you need to know about raising the minimum
wage, adapted from the testimony in front of the Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee on June 25, 2013 by James Sherk, a Senior Policy Analyst in
Labor Economics at the Heritage Foundation. The testimony transcript can be read
in its entirety by clicking here. Other sources will be
noted as they are used:
we just raise the minimum wage? The last federal minimum wage hike was
voted on in 2007, and phased in throughout 2009. It raised the minimum wage from
$5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. To raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to
$10.10 an hour, as some are suggesting, would be a 40% raise. Talk in Washington
of raising the minimum wage began last year when President Obama set it as a
policy goal in his State of the Union address:
'A Wage You Can Live On'
Continuing Resolution and the Omnibus:
government shutdown ended in October with a Continuing Resolution (CR) that
funded the government through January 15. With that date approaching, the House
passed a short-term CR that will fund the government through Saturday to avoid
another shutdown while a larger, omnibus spending bill is negotiated that will
fund the government through the rest of this fiscal year. The Senate is expected
to pass the short-term CR this evening.
omnibus spending bill will have 12 parts; the omnibus will be a comprehensive
package of 12 different spending bills. Lumping 12 spending bills into one huge
bill--that currently stretches to 1,582 pages-- allows for two things: first,
political cover for lawmakers who have inserted pork projects in the bill,
because it is so large no one will really read it until after it has passed; and
second, such a big spending package mitigates the opportunity for lawmakers to
debate the merits and demerits of certain provisions that deserve to be debated,
like funding for Head Start.
omnibus spending bill is expected to cost $1.012 trillion. However, as Romina
Boccia at the Heritage Foundation pointed out last
to the budget deal that passed last month setting spending at $1.012 for 2014,
$491.7 billion will be dedicated to domestic spending and $520.5 billion will be
dedicated to defense spending. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the bill also will
include $92 billion in emergency funds for potential crises overseas. How the
spending in those categories will be allocated exactly depends on how that money
on Social Mobility at
On Monday, January 13, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Paul
Ryan (R-WI) gave speeches at the Brookings Institution on the topic of social
mobility, each articulating the view of their respective political parties.
Watch their speeches below:
Social Mobility Summit: Keynote Remarks by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- The Senate voted 60-37 for cloture on S. 1845,
or the Emergency
Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, a bill that extends emergency
unemployment benefits for three months until March 31, 2014. The bill is
sponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). The bill
may move forward for a definitive vote later this week. To read a Congressional
Research Summary of the bill, click here.
- Senators Reed and Heller, the two primary sponsors of the bill, come from
the two states with the highest unemployment levels in the nation--Rhode Island
and Nevada--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To see how states rate
in terms of unemployment levels, click here.
- The bill concerns the extension of emergency unemployment benefits, which
started in mid-2008. The standard length of time for receiving unemployment
benefits has been 26 weeks, plus an additional, permanent 13 week extension
since 1970, according to the Cato
- Today, President Obama gave a speech in the East Room of the White House
urging Congress to pass S. 1845. In his speech, he expressed disdain for the
assertion that extended unemployment benefits keep the long-term unemployed out
of the work force longer. As the Heritage Foundation points out however, in the
past three years the labor participation rate has decreased from 66.2% at the
beginning of 2008 to 63% in November 2013. See the President's speech today:
Emergency Unemployment Insurance
- The estimated cost of the S. 1845 is over $6 billion. To see the
Congressional Budget Office's score of the bill, click here. As the Cato Institute
reports, the federal
government will have to borrow all of the money needed to fund this bill, and
American taxpayers will have to pay back the borrowed money plus the interest in
the future, putting stress on working Americans.
- The Cato Institute also points out that states have the ability to extend
their own unemployment benefits if they wish to; that way states with low
unemployment rates such as North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska would not
have to carry the emergency unemployment insurance burden for states with
chronically high unemployment that may be the result of the those states' toxic
- The unemployment rate has been receding slightly: it now lies at 7.0%
according to the latest determination by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics for the month of November, the latest month data is
available. A new jobs report will be released this Friday. As The Hillreports today, if the jobs
report released this coming Friday harbors good news and S. 1845 has not passed
yet, "it could further boost Republican arguments that the program is no longer
- With President Obama's State of the Union address scheduled for January 28,
2014, and the midterm elections coming up in November, the Democrats are looking
to direct attention away from Obamacare and onto issues of income inequality as
a theme for 2014. If and when emergency unemployment benefits are dealt with,
many in Washington see a move towards raising the minimum wage brewing.
Inequality in a New Video
On Sunday, Senator Rubio released a taped speech on income inequality as a
preview to his speech on the issue on Wednesday at the Capitol. See the video
War on Poverty
Update on Female Congressional Candidates:
Deal Deadline Looming
Yesterday, December 2, was the date by which appropriators wanted a
budget deal number from the budget panel headed by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash)
and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis). No budget number has been agreed upon, although
Politicoreported that Sen. Murray
proposed $1.058 trillion in spending while Rep. Ryan proposed $967 billion in
spending for next year. The budget panel is heading for a December 13th deadline
to come up with a budget agreement. As The Hillreported, appropriators
wanted a budget deal number yesterday, however, so that an omnibus bill with 12
parts could be written and voted on before January 16.
In the event that a budget proposal does not emerge from the budget panel,
The Hill reports that House Speaker Boehner is "prepared to pass a bill
next week that would fund the government past Jan. 15 at $967 billion if no deal
is reached between Murray and
Know About the Senate Plan
Senate reauthorization of the ESEA is S. 1094, or the Strengthening America's
Schools Act of 2013, and is sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). It was
introduced on June 4, 2013.
1094 has 11 cosponsors, all Democrats: Senators Baldwin (WI), Bennet (CO), Casey
(PA), Franken (MN), Hagan (NC), Mikulski (MD), Murphy (CT), Murray (WA), Sanders
(VT), Warren (MA), Whitehouse (RI).
amendments to the ESEA on the college and career readiness of all students
addressed in Title 1, S. 1094 calls for the elimination of the requirement that
schools and local education agencies "make adequate yearly progress toward state
academic performance standards or be subject to specified improvements,
corrective active, or restructuring." This will change some aspects of No Child
Left Behind provisions.
1094 makes other changes to Title I of the ESEA, by requiring states to set
their own performance targets for high school graduation rates, to allow
students the freedom to switch from a failing school to a better-performing one
if that is not prohibited by state law, to set up grant programs to pay for the
AP and IB tests for low-income students, to set up grants for migratory children
and for the transition of foster care kids into schools, among other things.
1094 also mandates states to set up standards and systems for dealing with
English learners and homeless children, makes changes to the Race to the Top
program, and sets up a Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems
for Public Schools.
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored S. 1094 by establishing a baseline
from funding levels from previous years for existing programs that S. 1094
reauthorizes; for new programs that S. 1094 introduces, the CBO used the level
of funding proposed in President Obama's budget for FY 2014 as a baseline. The
CBO determined that S. 1094 will cost $24 billion in 2014 and $127 billion over
the 2014-2018 period. CBO also states that, "Enacting the bill also would
increase direct spending by $10 million over the 2014-2023 period; therefore,
pay-as-you-go procedures apply."
have raised concerns about S. 1094's emphasis on "sustainability." On page 1385
of the latest version of the bill, in a section about Green Ribbon schools, it
is suggested that "'The Secretary is authorized to identify and recognize
exemplary schools, programs, and individuals. Such recognition may include-
''(1) a Green Ribbon Schools program, such as the Green Ribbons School program
carried out by the Secretary under section 5411(b)(5) as of the day before the
date of enactment of the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013, that
recognizes excellence in reducing environmental impact, increasing health and
wellness, and providing sustainability education."
On the Nuclear Option
The most significant change in three decades in how the Senate approves
presidential nominees was made by Senate Democrats last week. Over the
objections of Senate Republicans, and in a 52-48 vote, Democrats in the majority
in the Senate voted to alter its rules to allow only a simple majority to
confirm all presidential nominees except Supreme Court justices. The move ended
a 38-year practice by which a single Senator could call for 60 votes to confirm
presidential nominees. Now only 51 votes are required for a confirmation.
Harry Reid and the Democrats number 55 in the Senate.
Capitol Hill observers speculate that the Democrats' action may now make
it more difficult for them to gain the support of at least the five Republicans
they will need to get 60 votes to end filibusters of legislation.
"This is the most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules
since Thomas Jefferson wrote them at the beginning of our country,'' Senator
Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said after the rule change (Bloomberg, November
22, 2013). Former Senate parliamentarian Robert Dove opined "I can't imagine a
larger change. This is an earthquake. This in my view means there are no
longer rules in the Senate."
a few short years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke forcefully against doing
exactly what his Democratic colleagues in the Senate have done. When
Republicans discussed making such a rule change in 2005, Obama said:
urge my Republican colleagues not to go through with changing these
rules. In the long run, it is not a good result for either
party. One day Democrats will be in the majority again, and this
rule change will be no fairer to a Republican minority than it is
to a Democratic minority. I sense that talk
of the nuclear option is more about power than about fairness. I believe some of my colleagues propose
this rule change because they can get away
with it rather than because they know it is good for our democracy."
Obama's about-face in 2013, now favoring the
Democratic majority seizing power, is described by him as "support[ing] the step
a majority of Senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing
Republicans fear the move could make
one of the least productive Congresses even more gridlocked, leading to an
escalation of partisan warfare which places at risk ongoing budget and spending
talks, as well as defense, food stamp and farm legislation. The move is said to
also endanger efforts at compromise regarding the nation's debt ceiling and
continued funding of government.
you thought the Senate has already ground to a near standstill, this is like
throwing sand into the gears of an already rusty machine," said Republican
strategist Ron Bonjean, who was an aide to former Majority Leader Trent Lott.
"It's really going to heighten the tensions even further, create bitter partisan
arguments and add to the acrimony that's currently in the Senate." Bloomberg
reports that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has initiated talks earlier in the week
with majority leader Reid to avoid the rule change. Of the change, McCain says,
"They have used the majority to change the rules and therefore there are no
rules. It's a sad day for the Senate."
Recesses Without a
Failed Security of ObamaCare Website
Approval Ratings for Obama Drop Drastically
The Washington Post reports that
disapproval ratings of President Obama and strong public sentiment against the
Affordable Health Care Act have "pushed Obama to the lowest point of his
presidency, with dwindling faith in his competence and in many of the personal
attributes that have buoyed him in the past" (The Washington Post,
November 19, 2013).
Fifty-seven percent of those polled by The Washington Post and
ABC News say they oppose ObamaCare with 46 percent of that number stating they
are strongly against it. The provision of the law which requires that all
individuals obtain health insurance or pay a penalty is opposed by almost 2 to
1, with more than half indicating they strongly oppose it. Disapproval of
Obama's handling of the healthcare law's roll-out stands at 63 percent with a
majority saying they strongly disapprove.
For the first time in Obama's presidency, 55 percent of Americans polled
say they have an unfavorable impression of him with his overall approval rating
having dropped six percentage points in a month. Forty-four percent of those
polled state they strongly disapprove of the way he is handling his job--the
worst numbers of his presidency.
Budget Solutions May Include Farm Bill
A farm bill conference committee began last month along with the budget
conference committee and the top stumbling block will most likely be reconciling
the $40 billion in food stamp cuts in the House farm bill with the $4.5 billion
cut found in the Senate version.
Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE), former Governor of Nebraska and Secretary
of Agriculture under President George W. Bush, believes that farmers might be
willing to sacrifice annual direct payments which bolster their income and pay
into crop insurance programs which provide a backstop in rough years as long as
they have the risk management tools they need to succeed. Senator Johanns
states that eliminating direct payments to farmers and streamlining duplicative
conservation programs could save as much as $13 billion.
He points to the food stamp program as "the biggest sticking point in
farm bill negotiations," (The Hill, November 13, 2013). Roughly 80
percent of the farm bills in both houses go to nutrition programs, according to
Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN). The Senate bill cuts $4 billion from the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or one-half of one percent,
and the House bill cuts approximately ten times more. One method of compromise,
Senator Johanns adds, would be to crack down on States that skirt eligibility
requirements for SNAP recipients by enrolling individuals who do not qualify,
thus saving approximately $20 billion and also ensure the limited resources are
not being diluted by State programs that "lure unqualified Americans into
National Republican Congressional
The NFRW met today with members of the National Republican Congressional
Committee and other interested organizations as the NRCC laid out details of its
"Project Grow," intended to recruit and support female candidates running for
Congress and to engage women voters.
Interesting statistics were shared regarding the women's vote in the
country and female candidate numbers. While Republicans garnered the majority
of votes of married women and Caucasian women in the 2012 election cycle, they
lost most of the minority women and young women voting block. It is important to
note that 8 out of 10 voting women have children and are focused on issues
involving children and family.
Of the 1,101 GOP candidates in the last election cycle, only 109 were
women. While 58 of the 200 Congressional Democrats are women, only 19 of the 231
Republicans in Congress are women. More of an effort needs to exist to help
women candidates get to the next
level. Project grow intends to increase female voter engagement
and recruit mentors for female candidates who step forward. It has been found
that women really do need to be asked to run for office and time and energy need
to be invested to recruit more women to run.
Results from previous elections show that money was the biggest factor
in female candidate losses to males. Most big Republican donors are males and
men seem less likely to write out a 'max-donation' check to a woman than to a
man. In addition, female donors do not seem to give 'max-out' donations as
frequently as do men.
Relationships are also an impediment to recruiting women to run for
office. More voters in general seem to know men who run for office for longer
periods of time than they know women who run for office for long periods of
time. This longer term familiarity makes male candidates more attractive to
When it comes to messaging, it has been found that Republican women do
not accomplish positive messaging as easily as their opponents. We need to tell
women how bad Democrats are for them coupled with the positive message that we
do care about them and how our policies help women.
Project Grow has identified 14 women running in Congressional primaries
across the country. Training in effective messaging, engaging the women's vote
and fundraising, among other campaign training elements, are being made
available to these female candidates as they are made available to all GOP
Negotiations on Iran's Nuclear Arms
The Obama administration is pressing Senate Democrats to hold off on new
economic sanctions against Iran in an effort to succeed in diplomatic efforts.
Republicans, however, say apparent details of a proposed nuclear deal with Iran
and the failure thus far to secure an agreement show that tougher sanctions are
necessary to force Iran into abandoning its nuclear program.
The GOP push for new sanctions and the fact that talks seem to have
stalled puts Democrats in a tricky position. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said on ABC's "This Week" that "to be very
honest with you, I think the possibility of moving ahead with new sanctions ...
is possible." While Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry convinced
another Senate Committee to hold back on new sanctions earlier this month,
skepticism about delaying sanctions is coming from Democratic leaders in the
Senate such as Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).
Pressure against further delay is coming from Israel where Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the emerging framework of the agreement.
French officials also reportedly objected to Iran's continuing actions. And the
French have pointed to a report last week which states Iran is already seeing
the easing of certain sanctions because Obama's Treasury Department slowed the
designation of sanction violators in June.
There is a growing backlash of Americans whose insurance plans are being
canceled who are threatening to become a new political force opposing the law
even as the White House struggles to convince consumers they will benefit from
it, as the Washington Post reported yesterday. Unfortunately for those
whose policies are being canceled, many alternate policies come with higher
premiums and deductibles. Robert Laszewski, an industry consultant, told The
Post that the new law has resulted in an estimated 30 to 50 percent
increase in baseline costs for insurers.
On Meet the Press November 3, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt
Romney said Obama's oft repeated declaration that people would be able to keep
their existing health plans if they liked them, was a "fundamental
dishonesty." The Post explains that,
while the poor, sick and uninsured may be the winners under the Affordable Care
Act, the losers are clearly middle-income, healthy taxpayers, small business
owners and other self-employed Americans who purchase their own insurance.
Many in these groups earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies under the
law but do not make enough to absorb the financial hardship of rising premium
costs. According to The Post, even those who might qualify for
insurance support under ObamaCare have been turned off by high premiums and
deductibles and would rather just pay the fine to be imposed on all who do not
purchase health insurance.
Many Americans are upset because they do not want to be forced to buy
coverage for services they'll never need and some are finding their doctors do
not participate in any of their new insurance options. Under ObamaCare,
insurance plans must cover ten essential benefits including pediatric care,
prescription drugs, mental health services and maternity care. In general,
policies which do not carry those benefits cannot be sold after 2013.
To see Mitt Romney talk about ObamaCare on Meet the Press, click here.
Budget Talks: Tax Code Changes Possible
A Congressional budget panel was formed as part of the agreement that ended
last month's 16-day partial government shutdown. The 29 member panel, facing a
self-imposed December 13 deadline to offer ways to resolve fiscal disputes that
helped spur the shutdown, met last week.
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget
Committee, said any Democratic push to raise taxes at this time would result in
a stalemate. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) who heads her chamber's Budget
Committee, says that any agreement to trim Social Security and Medicare benefits
must be tied to added revenue. Many Democrats see tax code revisions that
include ending or modifying certain tax breaks as a way to generate
Mark J. Mazur, the Treasury Department's assistant for tax policy, is of
the opinion that the lawmakers on the panel should tackle incremental revisions
to the U.S. tax code in their attempt to achieve agreement on fiscal issues.
Since leading lawmakers in both parties have endorsed a significant revamp of
Internal Revenue Service Rules, Mazur believes an accord on even limited
modifications to tax law would help create momentum for the revamp.
Bloomberg News reports that while the Obama administration
prefers comprehensive changes in both the corporate and individual income tax
code, Mazur has pointed out that the only consensus which can be reached appears
to be on the corporate side.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and
Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) have been conferring for months on
revamp plans. Baucus announced he will release discussion drafts on overhauling
the tax code and lobbyists following his discussions believe that at least one
of his drafts will target international taxation. Camp has proposed lowering the
top corporate rate to 25 percent from 35 percent and reducing the top individual
rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent.
President Obama has also laid out a framework for a redraft of the tax
code and Mazur thinks there is a "huge amount of overlap" on proposals for
changing the corporate rate.
Budget negotiations will soon begin on Capitol Hill with House Budget Committee
Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray
(D-WA) leading the effort. The first official meeting of the 29-member
House-Senate negotiating team is scheduled for Wednesday of this week.
Representative Ryan has said that, "if we focus on some big, grand bargain
then we're going to focus on our differences," so
the chances of a grand bargain on the nation's budget are highly unlikely in
this very partisan era of divided government. Lawmakers and their aides have
cautioned that long-standing, entrenched differences over taxes and entitlement
cuts make a large-scale budget virtually impossible.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told
radio viewers on Thursday that until Republicans move off of their position
against tax increases, there is no likelihood of "a grand bargain." The
Associated Press reports that Republicans will not agree to further tax
increases on top of the 10-year, $600 billion-plus tax increase on upper-income
earners that was agreed upon in January of this year. Without higher taxes,
Democrats say they will not agree to cuts in benefit programs such as Medicare
For those reasons, Ryan says he is seeking a smaller, more achievable
objective. He is focused on alleviating another round of automatic spending
cuts involved in sequestration and replacing them with smarter, longer-term
cuts. Upcoming sequestration cuts will carve $18 billion out discretionary
spending next year--cutting the day-to-day budgets of the Pentagon and domestic
agencies in 2014 from $109 billion to $91 billion. The Pentagon will absorb more
than 60 percent of the cuts.
Both parties are reported to want to mitigate the sequester's impact.
Ryan has noted that President Obama has proposed changes to "entitlements" which
include the Medicare and Social Security programs for the elderly, Medicaid
healthcare for the poor, and certain farm subsidy programs. Senate Budget
Chairwoman Murray (D-WA) also has proposed ways in which to reduce healthcare
costs by $275 billion over ten years through new inefficiencies.
Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), another member of the
budget panel, has stated that Democrats would not agree to significant cuts in
social programs without increasing revenues by eliminating some tax cuts. Ryan,
however, has made clear his long-standing opposition to further tax revenue
increases, saying the major tax hike for the wealthiest Americans in January is
already hurting the economy.
ObamaCare: Americans Are Having
to Defund ObamaCare? Let Us
Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, wrote
an article that appeared in Forbes last week that detailed four options for
Medicaid expansion in the states: According to Cannon, "the Medicaid
expansion would account for roughly half of the law's $2 trillion of new
entitlement spending over the first 10 years." States that choose not to accept
the Medicaid expansion then are blocking the expenditure of money the federal
government built into its projected outlays for ObamaCare.
states, employers, and citizens to challenge the IRS's illegal ObamaCare
taxes: According to ObamaCare as it was written, the federal government
can only issue subsidies to states that created exchanges. The architects of the
law assumed that by withholding the susbsides for states that refuse to set up
exchanges, states would consider that an incentive to set up their own
exchanges. That did not happen, and 34 states have refused to set up their own
exchanges. Illegally, the federal government has created the exchanges in these
34 states and as Cannon writes, "the IRS is trying to impose those taxes and
issue those subsidies in those 34 states anyway. The IRS is literally trying to
spend more than $700 billion without congressional authorization..." There are
currently four lawsuits targeting the illegal taxes.
states about how to block the IRS's illegal taxes legislatively: Cannon
suggests that the 34 states who have refused to set up ObamaCare's insurance
exchanges legislatively move to suspend the licenses of insurers that accept the
illegal subsidies. This would motivate insurers not to accept the illegal
subsidies, and then employers in those states could not "be hit with the
employer-mandated penalties those subsidies trigger," according to
- Urge House investigators to subpoena all
materials related to the IRS's illegal taxes: Under Chairman Darrell
Issa, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee has been investigating
the illegal taxes mentioned above for a year. Cannon includes the video below of
a July 2013 testimony in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform
committee hearing from a political appointee responding to inquiries about the
Expansion of ObamaCare Taxes and Subsidies
the second week of a government shutdown looms ahead, it seems that a solution
will happen only as part of negotiations on the country's debt ceiling later in
Republicans in the House have voted "mini" spending bills to continue
funding the District of Columbia, national parks, medical research, federal
disaster aid and food for poor families. The Democrat-controlled Senate,
however, has chosen to ignore these bills claiming there needs to be a more
comprehensive approach. Even though snubbed by
Senate Democrats, House GOP leaders plan to act on at least eight more of the
spending bills this week dealing with, among other things, funding the
government's nuclear weapons security activities, the Food and Drug
Administration, intelligence operations and border security.
- In 2007, then-Senator Obama did not vote during the vote
to raise the debt limit.
- The March, 2006 Congressional Record quotes then-Senator
Obama as saying, "This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our
cities and States ... robbing our families and our children ... robbing our
seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted
Joe Biden voted against raising the debt limit in 2003 and 2006 and did not vote
during the vote to raise the debt limit in 2004 and 2007.
- Representative Nancy Pelosi claimed "... part of the Democrats' plan is a
call to require fiscal responsibility, following pay-as-you-go rules that
prevent deficit spending. And they note that it is under a Republican president
and Congress that the federal deficit has soared to new levels" (again, when the
debt was approximately half of today's $16.7 trillion debt). (Chicago
Republicans are correct in stating that Obama and the Democrats' refusal to
negotiate over the debt limit
is out of line with history, reality and the American public. When Obama
alleged, in Remarks at
in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 2013, that the debt ceiling has never
been used as a negotiating tactic to achieve legislative concessions saying,
"You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the
threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a
governing party, and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the
budget and have nothing to do with the debt," he ignored the truth. Since 1978,
more than half the increases in the debt limit have been accompanied by
legislation dealing with other matters, according to the Congressional Research
Service. Indeed, the Washington Post's 'Fact
Checker' gave Obama "Four Pinocchios" for his untruthful remark the day after
Obama made his statement: "Clearly, Obama's sweeping statement does not stand
up to scrutiny. Time and again, lawmakers have used the 'must pass' nature of
the debt limit to force changes in unrelated laws."
Resolution and the
As the government shutdown enters a second week, it is imperative that
Republicans do not forget that the debate over the Continuing Resolution and the
looming debate over raising the debt ceiling do not get confused.
While the fight over the debt ceiling is important, Republicans
on the ground should reinforce the fact that the debt ceiling fight and the
Continuing Resolution/Obamacare fight are two different things that happened to
come up around the same time
Phone Calls From Home to Help
Shutdown: A Timeline
N.B. This timeline was taken from
the Tuesday, October 1st NYTimes.com edition and expanded on here. Click here to see the original
Continuing Resolution Has to Fund
All At the Same Time."
House ought to pass several
On the Conflict in Syria and US
Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry commented that the Syrian government could
avoid a US military strike targeting its chemical weapons arsenal if the
government agreed to "Turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full
and total accounting...but he [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] isn't about to
do it, and it can't be done."
statement did open the door for the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to
propose that the Syrian government turn over its chemical weapon stockpiles to
the UN. In Washington, Obama told NBC news that if the Syrian government
released its chemical weapons stockpile to the UN, it could deter US military
President Obama Over Syria Crisis
Black's No Subsidies
For a Vote
Today, Speaker Boehner will take up Congresswoman Black's (R-TN) No Subsidies
Without Verification Act (HR 2775). This bill will prohibit federal subsidies to
be given to those who claim to qualify for them under ObamaCare until those
claims can be verified.
According to ObamaCare as it was originally written and passed, individuals
who claimed to meet the income level required to qualify for federal subsidies
to buy insurance had to be audited if the income they reported was significantly
lower than what was noted on federal records. On Friday, July 5th, 2013, the
Department of Health and Human Services released more than 600 pages of new
regulations, including a rule change on the audits the government will conduct
when an individual claims a much lower income when applying for the federal
subsidy than what is on federal records. Now an audit will only occur on "a
statistically significant sample of cases," as The Washington
Post reported. In other words, because the audit system will not be
in place by the time the law states people can start claiming federal subsidies
to buy insurance, the government will accept claims based on the honor system,
until an audit system is set up, maybe in 2015. The penalty for fraudulently
claiming a lower income to receive a federal subsidy to buy insurance can be up
to $25,000--if and when the claim is determined to be fraudulent.
Rep. Black's bill stops the payment of ObamaCare's federal subsidy to buy
insurance until the system to audit fraudulent claims is in place. To read the
bill, click here. See her speak about
the bill on the House floor about the bill earlier this summer:
Black Speaks on Bill to End Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidies
of the conflict; makeup of Syria: The Syrian civil conflict began in
2011, with Syrian opposition forces fighting the Syrian government headed by
Bashar al-Assad. Syria is comprised of 74% Sunni Muslims, 16% other Muslims
(Alawite, Druze, Shiite), and 10% Christians with some small Jewish communities
mostly in Damascus and Aleppo, according to the Congressional Research Service
report released in June
2013. Assad is an Alawite, a sect of Shia Islam.
regime: Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad, ruled Syria from 1970
until his death in 2000, when his son took over. Collectively, there has been 43
years of Assad rule in Syria. Because Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite, and
therefore a part of a sect of Shia Islam, the Syrian government under his rule
has an agreement with Hezbollah, the powerful Shia political movement in
is the opposition? The opposition forces fighting against the Syrian
government may be united in destroying the Assad regime, but there are different
opposition groups motivated by different causes. The Congressional Research
Service identified 26 opposition groups and the relations between them in the
June report linked above. Chief among the opposition groups is the National
Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, which was formed in
November 2012 in Qatar. The president is Syrian National Council President
George Sabra, who is a Christian. The Syrian National Council is another group
that was formed in Turkey in October 2011. It is now largely a part of the
National Coalition. The Free Syrian Army is another large opposition group,
considered to have a more Islamist focus. The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria is
another rebel group, rising again after being crushed by the Assad regime in the
late 1970's and early 1980's.
there a tie with al-Qaeda and the Syrian rebels? Yes. The al-Nusra
Front, a part of the Syrian opposition, is affiliated with and funded by
al-Qaeda. On December 11, 2012, the State Department identified the al-Nusra
Front as an al-Qaeda affiliated group. There is tension between al-Nusra and the
Islamic State of Iraq stemming from an April 2013 announcement by Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, that al-Nusra is a direct
extension of al-Qaeda in Iraq and that the two groups were merging together. The
next month, Abu Mohammad al Golani, the leader of al-Nusra, declared the group's
allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. Internal disputes
notwithstanding, the al- Nusra Front is a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria and a
significant part of the Syrian opposition force.
the August 21 chemical attack: In the early hours of the morning on
August 21, an estimated 12 areas in the suburbs of Damascus were targeted by
chemical weapons. It is estimated that 1,429 people were killed, including 426
children, according to the unclassified summaryof the
chemical attack released by the U.S. government on August 30. According to the
report, the government cannot confirm that the Syrian government carried out the
chemical weapons attack, but instead states, "We assess with high confidence
that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against
opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21....Our high confidence
assessment is the strongest position that the U.S. Intelligence Community can
take short of confirmation. We will continue to seek additional information to
close gaps in our understanding of what took place." It should be noted that
Syria has the largest arsenal of chemical weapons in the world, and the
Congressional Research Serviceestimates it would take
over 75,000 troops to neutralize that arsenal.
it been proven that the Syrian government launched a chemical attack on August
21? No, it has not been proven, and even the Obama administration's
summary stops short of saying it can be proven. The report states further, "We
assess that the opposition has not used chemical weapons." However, 12 members
of the al-Nusra Front werearrested in May 2013 in
Turkey with possession of a 2kg cylinder of sarin gas, using it to prepare for
an attack. Sarin gas can be used as a chemical weapon, and the victims of the
August 21 chemical attack were exposed to sarin, according to the Obama
administration's report. UN chemical weapons expert Carla Del Ponte investigated
the use of chemical weapons in Syria earlier this year and determined that it
was the rebel forces, not the Syrian government, that was utilizing chemical
weapons at the time. Carla Del Ponte's investigation contradicts the Obama
administration's summary of the August 21 chemical attack, and its assertion
quoted above that the rebel forces have not used chemical weapons.
of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel appeared before a Senate panel yesterday to make
the case for limited military intervention in Syria against the Assad regime's
alleged use of chemical weapons. According to Article 1, Section 8 of the
Constitution, Congress shall have the power to "declare war, grant letters of
marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water." When
pressed by Senator Rand Paul on whether President Obama would act in Syria
anyway if he did not receive authorization from Congress to do so, Kerry was
Gets "Owned" at Syria Military Action
Hearing - 9/3/2013
The Obama administration has issued an executive order which appears to be a
grant of amnesty by default. Congress has not passed immigration legislation,
but that has not stopped the Obama administration from issuing its own amnesty
Blacks Lag in Economy Despite Obama's Promises
Having the nation's first black president in office for the past 4 1/2 years
has done very little to improve the lot of black Americans, who experienced
greater unemployment than whites in the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and a
slower recovery since then. Obama himself has conceded that black unemployment,
at 12.6 percent nationwide, remains nearly twice the level of white
unemployment, The Washington Times, 8/29/13. In addition, blacks lost more wealth as a
result of foreclosures on their homes than whites did during the economic
housing crisis, leaving them further behind economically.
Moreover, programs such as Head Start, with proven records of helping
minority children attain education and jobs, are being slashed by Obama's
federal budget sequester this year. Many of the programs and protections in the
expanded safety net that Obama enacted in his $800 billion stimulus bill in his
first months in office have expired, leaving blacks and others without jobs
going backward with little to fall back on.
All signs are that black economic progress has stalled or gone backward
in recent years, with little prospect for major change. While black poverty
rates stood at less than 20 percent in the 1990's, they have risen up to 28
percent in 2011. Median income for black households has dropped 10.9 percent
since the economic recovery according to one critic, Kevin Gray, author of
The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama. " Mr.
Gray states, "Obama hasn't done much of substance or impact to ease, let alone
end, the depression in the black community." Critics on the right are also
pointing out the Obama administration's failures saying, "While Obama can speak
beautiful words about Dr. King's legacy, the truth of the matter is that the
black community has seen more regression over Obama's presidency than at
probably any time since the March on Washington," according to Kevin Martin of
Project 21, a conservative black group.
What You Need to Know
this August recess, the push is being made by some Republicans to defund
ObamaCare when Congress comes back in September. Here is what you need to know
about this brewing funding fight:
The 2013 fiscal year ends on September 30, and in order to prevent a funding
gap, Congress needs to appropriate funds for the government to continue
operating. Further, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote aletter to Speaker Boehner
yesterday informing him that the debt ceiling will have been reached by
action so far: Some Republicans, like Senator Mike Lee (R-IA) and
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), see this upcoming appropriations process as an
opportunity to defund ObamaCare. On July 11, 2013, Senator Cruz introduced the
Defund ObamaCare Act, S. 1292, which has 29 Republican co-sponsors. The 16
Republican Senators who chose not to co-sponsor the bill are: Senators Chiesa
(NJ), Coats (IN), Coburn (OK), Cochran (MS), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Crapo
(ID), Flake (AZ), Hatch (UT), Hoeven (ND), Johnson (WI), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ),
Murkowski (AK), Sessions (AL), and Shelby (AL). Representative Tom Graves (R-GA)
has introduced similar legislation in the House, the Defund ObamaCare Act of
2013, or HR 2682. It was also introduced on July 11, 2013, and has 138
ObamaCare be defunded through an appropriations bill? Yes. By refusing
to appropriate funds to implement and enforce ObamaCare, the law would remain
intact but the processes required to implement the bill's provisions, like the
exchange marketplace, could not continue being implemented and the various
mandates the law created could not be enforced.
about the difference between mandatory and discretionary spending? A
defunding measure in an appropriations bill can stop discretionary spending and
some mandatory spending, and there are two good examples of this being done
recently: one, the Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortion by amending
the Medicaid entitlement program and has been attached to appropriation bills
since 1976; second, Congress already defunded the co-op health insurance program
which was part of ObamaCare in section 1857 of the Continuing Resolution passed
in April 2011. The Heritage Foundation states that, "Congress routinely enacts
changes to mandatory spending as part of its annual appropriations
process....the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recognizes these changes when
analyzing spending bills and scores them as CHiMPS--changes in mandatory program
spending." To read more about this issue, clickhere.
a fight over defunding ObamaCare lead to a government shutdown? If
Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill that defunded ObamaCare but kept
in tact other government spending, President Obama could veto the bill, in which
case it would have to be re-passed by Congress with a 2/3 majority. In the
interim, though, if the new fiscal year has started and funds have not been
appropriated to continue the operations of the government, agencies "do not have
budget authority available for obligation for things like salaries or rent.
Under the Antideficiency Act, the agency may obligate funds in certain
'excepted' areas, but these obligations are highly restricted. As a consequence,
the agency must shut down non-exempted activities until budget authority is
provided" according to the Congressional Research Service's August 6, 2013
report titled Shutdown of the Federal
Government: Causes Processes, and Effects. The last government shutdowns
occurred in 1995-1996, for 5 and 21 days respectively. From 1977-1980, there
were six funding gaps, or shutdowns, that lasted from 8 to 17 days. From
1981-1995, there were nine shutdowns that lasted up to three days. If
Republicans unite and pursue defunding ObamaCare, it could be that an
appropriations impasse arises.
Republicans have enough votes to defund ObamaCare? Not yet, as Senator
Cruz admitted this week on State of the Union with Candy Crowley:
Ted Cruz on Defunding Obamacare, the
Armed Services and Homeland Security Committee
Armed Services and Homeland Security Committee
Have you read a good book lately? Have you shared a great book lately? For the NFRW, September is the month we celebrate
reading and the sharing of books. We focus
on the important work of furthering literacy in our country. Why literacy? Having a literate citizenry is essential
to ensuring governance that respects
freedom. John Adams certainly believed this: "Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the
The United States is the best example of a free people living an ideal. But
we are faced with changes and fret about the loss of our freedom. How could this
happen? Around the water cooler, we blame our changing culture on Low
Information Voters -- those who do not know enough to acknowledge an untruth let
alone to challenge it.
We believe freedom can be strengthened through literacy and you can do something to promote Literacy. The NFRW Barbara Bush
Literacy Program is celebrated in
September. Participation in this project awards points to clubs for Achievement Awards and provides a chance in a drawing
for prizes provided by the Barbara Bush
Foundation. During September, federated clubs are invited:
- to report an ongoing project that promotes literacy on an official form.
- NFRW and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy are partners working to improve literacy in our nation. The BBF has a
list of groups that have projects that
would welcome support from our Federation
- Official entry form for the Barbara Bush Literacy Program. Clubs have until October 31 to submit the completed official
- Congratulations to our Second Place Winner, # 43: Greater Kingsport Republican Women's Club of Kingsport,TN, Gail Patton,
The Heritage Foundation has pointed out that in 2013, federal spending
approached $3.5 trillion or approximately $27,700 for every American household.
All across America, people balance their budgets, rein in spending and pay down
their debts. Below are examples of how the government can't seem to abide by
spent $4.1 million on a lavish conference in 2010 for 2,609 of its employees in
Anaheim, California. Expenses included $50,000 for line dancing and "Star Trek"
parody videos, $64,000 in conference "swag" for the employees plus free meals,
cocktails and hotel upgrades.
2010, 117,000 people who double-dipped into Social Security's disability
insurance program and the federal unemployment insurance program received $850
million in cash benefits.
2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $300,000 promoting caviar
produced in Idaho.
prisoners in Pennsylvania collected weekly unemployment benefits over a
four-month period, costing taxpayers $7 million.
Transportation Security Administration let 5,700 pieces of unused security
equipment worth $184 million sit in a Dallas, Texas warehouse which costs $3.5
million annually to lease. Taxpayers lost another $23 million in depreciation
costs because most of the machines had been housed there for nine months or
Amtrak recovered only 44 cents of every dollar of its food and beverage costs on
long-distance routes which already annually lose money.
oval office is getting a facelift and while it is out-of-commission, the
president will need a pseudo-Oval Office, all to the tune of $376 million.
U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research spent $681,387 on a study to
confirm that a man carrying a firearm appears taller, stronger and
toUSASpending.gov, a website
dedicated to unveiling government spending, the Department of Health and Human
Services failed to report $800 billion in spending on time.
The Taxpayer's Share of the National Debt:
GOP Prepares Food Stamp
After an original Farm Bill containing food stamp program (SNAP) provisions failed on the House floor earlier this summer, House Republican leaders split the legislation and passed only the portion relating to farm programs.
Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Marlin Stultzman (R-IN) are among legislators who have helped design a food stamp bill that would cut food stamps by as much as $4 billion annually, reducing the nearly $80 billion-a-year program by as much as five percent. Fox News reports that House conservatives want to cut the program which they claim has doubled in cost since 2008.
Noem and Stultzman have said the legislation will find savings by tightening eligibility standards and imposing new work requirements. It would reduce the rolls by requiring drug testing and barring convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles from obtaining benefits. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has agreed to try to advance the bill as early as next month, explains that the bill will include common-sense approaches such as work requirements and job training requirements for those receiving assistance who able-bodied adults without children.
Noem adds that talking about program policies and not just dollars, "shows that you really care about adding integrity into the program." According to Stultzman, "most people will agree that if you are an able bodied adult without kids you should find your way off food stamps."
While current federal law requires recipients to eventually work or receive work training, waivers issued by the federal Department of Agriculture have allowed States to set aside those work requirements.
The Senate has passed its own Farm Bill which keeps the SNAP and farm programs together and cuts SNAP by approximately $400 million a year, or about half a percent.
With no Farm Bill passed by both Houses of Congress, current farm law will expire at the end of September. Food stamp dollars will continue after that date but certain farm programs will be in danger. An extension of current farm programs was agreed upon earlier in the year to avert a dairy subsidy crisis but another extension will not be allowed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says an extension would not pass anyway since many members do not want to continue certain subsidies that were eliminated in both the House and the Senate bills.
Government Shutdown Looms After
101 Million Americans Received Food Aid Last Year
U. S. Department of Agriculture statistics show nearly one-third of Americans received government-funded food aid in 2012. With roughly a dozen federal food assistance programs operating today, 59 percent of American households participate in one of the four largest food assistance programs - food stamps, school breakfasts, school lunches, and WIC - and end up receiving benefits from two or more programs.
In general, the federal government funds roughly 80 welfare programs including 12 educational assistance programs and 11 housing assistance programs at a cost of nearly $1 trillion a year.
For decades, the federal government has been pouring taxpayer dollars into an increasing number of welfare programs in an attempt to tackle poverty. Yet this system has proven ineffective at helping individuals and families reach self-sufficiency.
The size of today's welfare system clearly demonstrates the need for both opportunity-based economic policies and critical positive reforms to promote self-sufficiency through work, personal responsibility and human dignity.
About The REINS Act
"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section I.
Many believe that, in the case of the most burdensome federal regulations, excessive delegation to the Executive Branch of Congress' constitutional responsibility for making the law of the land has taken place.
To restore Congressional accountability for the regulatory process, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act will be debated this week in the House. The REINS Act would require Congress to take an up-or-down, stand-alone vote and for the president to sign off on all new major rules before they can be enforced on the American people, job-creating small businesses or State and local governments.
Major rules would be defined as those that have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. Last year, 100 such major rules were finalized by the Executive Branch.
A recent study commissioned by the Small Business Administration found that annual regulatory compliance costs in the United States hit $1.75 trillion in 2008. A staggering figure when compared to the total collected from income taxes that year ($1.449 trillion).
The Common Core State Standards Initiative
- The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCS) is a set of K-12 standards developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to form a set of academic standards to be used in common across all states.
- CCS moves control of the school curriculum from local schools and states to the federal level with only 15% of additional content being left to the school's discretion. However, this additional content will not be covered on national tests.
- 45 states have adopted CCS.
- 5 states (Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Alaska) have rejected the standards.
- 2 states (Alabama and Indiana) are actively working to repeal the CCS.
- Most states adopted CCS to be eligible for Race to the Top funding or No Child Left Behind waivers. There are several states, however, that have implemented part of the standards and have yet to see their additional funding.
- States were asked to accept the CCS standards in late 2009 before they were even published in March 2010. Now, in 2013, the Math and English Language Arts standards are published while the science and social studies standards have yet to be released.
- States are now discovering that the standards are lacking.
- In fact, some members of the Common Core Validation Committee refused to sign off on CCS because they considered the English and Math standards to be poor.
- There is also concern about the fact that CCS has not been tested and there is no proof that new standards will improve student achievement.
- Provides course alignment across teachers, grades, and nearly all states.
- Thus, students moving from state to state will not have to catch up or be held back. However, this affects less than 2% of students.
- This curriculum reduces a teacher's ability to differentiate between gifted and struggling learners.
- Student performance on standardized tests is linked to teacher evaluation.
- The ACT and SAT are now linked to Common Core Standards so homeschoolers and private schools will have to acknowledge CCS in some ways.
- The data collected on the student by the teacher can include medical, psychological, and religious information, as well as the political and religious ideology of the parents. This information will also be available to different organizations such as the Department of Labor, private corporations, and potential employers.
- There is some question on the legality of the CCS as the curriculum was approved by the state boards of education and no legislative vote was taken.
For more information regarding the Common Core Standards, please visit:
Tax Code Reform Proposed
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and the committee's top Republican, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have proposed to scrap all tax breaks and start fresh in an effort to simplify the tax code and lower rates. Grover Norquist, the influential anti-tax activist, has announced his support for the proposal.
Farm Bill Update
Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of the farm bill and now Senate Democrats are accusing House Republican leaders of blocking the next step, a conference committee, in the process of reconciling their competing proposals. Senate Democrats report they have only 24 scheduled legislative days until current farm subsidies expire on September 30.
The accusations include the claim that Republicans are delaying in sending their farm bill to the Senate so that a conference can begin, and the delay is caused by hesitation over the food stamp program according to Senate Democrats. House Republicans refused to approve a farm bill unless it stripped funding for food stamps and focused only on farm subsidies. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has stated the House would work with "dispatch" to pass a food stamp bill but did not say whether the House will block a conference committee until such a bill is passed.
Democrats believe they would have an advantage in a farm bill/food stamp conference committee if a conference committee convenes right away and pressure builds to pass a final farm bill quickly. They want the conference to begin before the House can take a position on how much food stamps should be cut since members of the House previously passed Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) non-binding 2014 budget resolution calling for $135 billion in food stamp cuts while the Senate farm bill cut only $4 billion.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is joined by farm lobbyists in claiming they will not support a mere extension of the 2008 farm commodity subsidies because the 2008 plan "leaves out big, important pieces of farm policy and keeps subsidies that we all agree should be eliminated." She warned, however, that the House should not attempt to pass a bill that contains anything like Ryan's 2014 budget cuts to food stamps claiming "that is so extreme."
House Votes On ObamaCare Delays
On the ObamaCare-Employer-Mandate Delay and What That Means for the Future of ObamaCare
Last week, the Obama administration decided to delay the imposition of ObamaCare's employer mandate from taking effect in 2014 until 2015. Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, has been following the progress of ObamaCare's implementation since the law was passed. The following bullet points are derived from his recent work in the process of making sense of the ObamaCare law and why the delay of the employer mandate is significant:
- The employer mandate is an essential thread in the fabric of ObamaCare. The law requires employers to report the health insurance benefits they offer their employees so that the federal government can gauge whether the employees of that company are eligible for subsidies to buy health insurance. The subsidies the federal government awards will be for those employees making up to 400 percent of the poverty level. By delaying the requirement to report the benefits offered to an employee by an employer, the federal government cannot gauge if an employee is eligible for the subsidies to purchase insurance on her own that Obamacare promises. Without being able to determine who is eligible for subsidies and awarding them as the law demands, an employee may be unable to purchase insurance without the help of the subsidy, and then may qualify for the unaffordability exemption from the individual mandate. Cannonarguesthat if this happens, "fewer workers will purchase health insurance and premiums will rise further, which could ultimately end in an adverse selection death spiral." On the other hand, "The administration can't exactly solve this problem by offering credits and subsidies to everyone who applies, either. Not only would this increase the cost of the law, but it would also lead to a backlash in 2015 when some people have their subsidies revoked."
- Soon after the administration decided to delay the imposition of ObamaCare's employer mandate, the administration asked the fourth circuit court to block the Liberty University v. Geithner case (dealing with the employer mandate) because of the delay. Yesterday, the administration asked for delays to the Pruitt v. Sebelius and Hailbig v. Sebelius cases, both dealing with the employer mandate.
- ObamaCare very clearly states that the employer mandate will take effect on January 1, 2014, and Congress has not given the Treasury Department the authority to waive the mandate and the penalties. The administration, by delaying the mandate by executive fiat, is violating the law. As Cannonpoints out, the only provision in the bill that allows the Treasury Secretary to waive the employer mandate is Section 1332. This section states that the employer mandate can be waived only for a specific state after 2017, if that state passes a law to provide health insurance to its residents without incurring costs on the federal government. Aside from Section 1332, in no circumstance is it permissible for the Treasury Secretary to waive the employer mandate.
- ObamaCare very clearly states that employers must report certain information about the coverage they are offering employees and the employees that take advantage of the benefits starting January 1, 2014. Again, Congress has not given the Treasury Department the authority to waive and delay the reporting provisions in the law.
- Given the many problems some states are having with setting up their state health care exchanges before the October 1 deadline, the fact that the Obama administration has delayed the employer mandate "suggests that, from the Obama administration's uniquely informed vantage point, the chaos that will result from its delay will be less than what would result from implementing it when the law requires....if this is the path of least resistance, then ObamaCare itself must be even more chaotic," accordingto Cannon
Anniversary of the Supreme Court Ruling
- On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. This law, along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, represents the most significant government expansion and regulatory overall of the U.S. healthcare system since Medicare and Medicaid were passed in 1965. This law is momentous because it addresses two large issues: health insurance for all and Medicaid expansion in each state. The constitutionality of this law is the cause of much debate, however, even though Friday, June 28, 2013 marked the one year anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's ruling that it was, in part, constitutional. So what was ruled constitutional and what wasn't?
- The second issue addressed in Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid, the state administered albeit federal program that provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient health coverage for low-income individuals and families. According to the Supreme Court's ruling, the Affordable Care Act expands the scope of the Medicaid program and increases the number of individuals the states must cover, along with an increase of federal funding to cover the expansion costs for the states. According to the law, if a state does not comply, it may lose not only the federal funding for those requirements, but all of its federal Medicaid funds. The Supreme Court found this to be unconstitutional and ruled that states may now choose to expand their Medicaid program for additional federal funding or choose not to expand its Medicaid program while still maintaining their current federal funds. In essence, the ruling makes the Medicaid expansion voluntary with no federal retribution on the states' decision.
- What can be done? According to Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law," meaning that no appropriations can lawfully be made without the House of Representatives approving them. House Republicans should refuse to appropriate money to fund Obamacare; Obama cannot take money from the Treasury to implement Obamacare without the approval of the House of Representatives. House Republicans could take steps to defund Obamacare should they choose to do so.
- Yesterday evening the Senate voted 67 to 27 to invoke cloture on the Corker-Hoeven amendment sponsored by Senator Corker (R-TN) and Senator Hoeven (R-ND). Fifteen Republican Senators joined all of the voting Democrat Senators in supporting the measure, while four senators--two Democrat, two Republican--missed the vote due to flight delays. It is assumed that missing Democrat Senators Udall (D-CO) and Brown (D-OH) would have voted for invoking cloture on the amendment, bringing the yeas to 69. The two missing Republican Senators were Isakson (R-GA) and Chambliss (R-GA).
- The Corker-Hoeven amendment provides $30 billion more for certain border security measures than was allocated in the original version of the immigration bill--primarily for 700 miles of pedestrian fencing and more border patrol agents. The original bill allocated $8 billion for border security provisions. Senator McCain said the amendment would ensure a 90% effective control rate of illegal border crossings, even though the original bill required a 90% effective control rate anyway.
- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made sure his youth worker program provision was included in the amendment.This provision orders the Department of Labor to grant $1.5 billion to states to provide summer and year-round employment for youths ages 16-24, as well as to provide child care and transportation for those youths while they work. Each state would be allocated $7.5 from the $1.5 billion umbrella. Sanders claims this provision would create 400,000 jobs for the summers of 2014 and 2015. To be eligible for a job created by this program, a youth must be living in a household with income up to 200 percent above the poverty level, which for a family of four is $47,100. This program was modeled after President Obama's American Jobs Act, and would be paid for by incurring a $10 fee on employers who hire guest workers and international workers who receive green cards.
- Senator Begich (D-AK) ensured there was a provision in the Corker-Hoeven amendment for the Alaskan seafood industry that would put seafood processing back on the J-1 visa program, which allows Alaskan seafood manufacturers to employ guest workers up to four months, and opens the industry up to hire W-visa workers, who can stay and work for up to three years.
- Before last night's vote to invoke cloture on the Corker-Hoeven amendment, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) has allowed only 9 amendments to be voted on in this immigration debate, while 372 amendments have been introduced. By contrast, 46 amendments received roll-call votes in the 2007 immigration debate.
- Senator Sessions (R-AL), has raised concerns about a part of the immigration bill that amends the rule about passport offenses. The bill waits for the unlawful production, issuance, or distribution of three or more passports before a crime is charged. He asked FBI Director Robert Mueller to look into the issue in a hearing last week.
Supportive Bias of Gay Marriage Media Coverage
A content study released by the Pew Research Center reveals that news organizations are far more likely to present a supportive view of same-sex marriage
In fact, the level of support conveyed in the news media that was examined went
Supportive Bias of Gay Marriage Media Coverage
As the ultimate campaigner, Barack Obama has deepened the country's Party and racial divide through his near-complete absence from more than 25 percent of all States. His travel destinations as president have given on-going priority to Democratic-leaning and swing States which, some claim, continues the polarization and divisive nature of our political atmosphere. The New York Times reports that even political partisans aligned with Obama disparage his lack of effort in bringing together America's demographic groups and regions.
Donna Brazile, an African-American Democratic strategist and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee is quoted as saying "Every president should make an attempt to bridge the divide ... I wouldn't give him high marks."
About the Farm Bill:
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored both the Senate and House versions of the farm bill, and has determined that the Senate version will cost $955 billion from 2014-2023. Given the CBO's current spending baseline, it was determined that this bill would trim just $18 billion over the 2014-2023 period. Senator Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also asked the CBO to score the bill as if the sequester had not taken effect. The CBO determined that if the sequester had not taken effect, this bill would have trimmed $24.4 billion from the current spending baseline, instead of $18 billion. However, this is largely irrelevant, considering the sequester did go into effect and is law. The sequester trimmed $593 million in spending for mandatory agricultural programs in 2013 alone. To see the CBO's letter to Senator Stabenow, click here.
- About 80% of the cost of this bill rests on funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as the food stamp program. Provisions for the food stamp program were originally added to farm bills of previous years in order to attract the votes of urban members of congress who might otherwise not have an interest in a farm bill.
- This bill establishes three new trust funds for certain industries: the Pima Cotton Trust Fund, for money to go to "nationally recognized associations established for the promotion of pima cotton for use in textile and apparel goods" (pages 1145-1147 of the bill); the Agriculture Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund, for the creation of which no reason is given (1147); and the Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund, for money to go to "entities concerning diseases and pests that affect the citrus industry..." (1147). This last trust fund also calls for the creation of a Citrus Advisory Board, but not more than 5% of total expenditures from this trust fund can be used for the creation of the advisory board.
- With the Senate version of the farm bill having been passed last night, now it is up to the House to pass its own farm bill legislation.
The May Jobs Report
CBS Money Watch and Fox News report that there has been less than robust job growth as outlined in the Labor Department's May Jobs Report--the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. A senior economist expressed concern that the unemployment rate for adult African American males over 20 years of age jumped to 13.5 percent from an average of 12.7 percent over the past three months. In May the Hispanic unemployment rate also increased.
Over the past year, employment has grown at the same rate as the U.S. adult population and employment growth that maintains a constant employment-to-population ratio is not ideal. The Federal Reserve reports it expects high unemployment into 2015.
Manufacturers cut 8,000 jobs and the federal government cut 14,000 jobs in May. It was the third straight month of cuts in those industries. News agencies state that factory output may have been slowed by cuts in defense spending. Factory activity shrank in May for the first time since November of 2012.
Steep government cuts and higher Social Security taxes might slow economic growth further. The Social Security tax increase is costing a typical household that earns $50,000 approximately $1,000 this year. For a household with two high earners, the tax increase is costing up to $4,500.
Other recent figures put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are:
- Since Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment has nearly doubled.
The Fight Against Common Core
Two competing forces are pushing America's K-12 education system today: one in an effort to infuse education choice into a long stagnant system, empowering parents with the ability to send their child to a school which meets her unique learning needs and the other an effort to further centralize education through Common Core national standards and tests.
The Heritage Foundation points out that school choice empowers parents to direct their child's share of education funding, giving them options beyond a government-assigned school and curriculum. Choice is seen as somewhat of a revolution in the public school arena because it funds children instead of physical school buildings and administrations and allows dollars to follow children to any school - or education option - that meets their unique learning needs.
Across the country, education choice options have been proliferating rapidly in the form of vouchers, tuition tax credits, special needs scholarships and education savings accounts. Choice pressures public schools with a much-needed competitive atmosphere. Choice helps kids: education choice represents the type of innovation and freedom that will provide long-overdue reform to the K-12 system and holds the potential to truly raise the educational outcomes for every child across America. Choice is growing in strength: seventeen states and Washington, D.C. now have private school choice programs and more states are currently considering implementing choice options.
Common Core, on the other hand, is an effort to centralize education by dictating the standards and assessments that determine the curriculum taught in every public school across the country.Common Core assumes that top-down uniform standards and assessments - driven by federal bureaucrats and national organizations - are preferable to State and local reform efforts guided by input from parents, teachers and taxpayers.
Common Core documents provide no evidence that the program will improve academic outcomes or boost international competitiveness. However, the Obama administration has pushed States to adopt the national standards and assessments in exchange for offers of billions of dollars in federal funding.
American education is at a crossroads, where one path leads toward further centralization and greater federal control and the other path leads toward robust education choice, including school choice and choice in curricula. State and local leaders who believe in limited government should resist national standards and tests as a challenge to educational freedom in America and this latest federal overreach.
To date, only Texas and Alaska are not members of Common Core; Virginia and Nebraska are initiative members but will not adopt the standards; Minnesota adopted the English standards only; Indiana has put a legal pause on the law until further review has been conducted. All other states have formally adopted the Common Core standards. For the standards in those states to be repealed, a law would have to be passed in each of those state legislatures.
Students Are Subsidizing Obamacare
As Dick Morris reported in The Hill last week, the Congressional Budget Office reports that $8.7 billion of the money collected in student loan interest payments actually goes to pay for ObamaCare. The CBO estimates that the interest rate on these loans could be reduced from 6.8 percent to only 5.30 percent were the monies not being used to subsidize the healthcare law and other federal programs.
There are 16 million American students who now have student loans; they are paying for ObamaCare out of their meager incomes just at the point when they graduate from college and need funds to start their lives, buy their first homes, and start a family. In addition, the very law they are funding will impose fines on them if they do not purchase health insurance. The federal government borrows funds for the student loan program at 2.8 percent and then lends it to the students 6.8 percent, a markup of four percent. Undoubtedly, few students are aware of this financial exploitation.
Current Senate Immigration Bill
On May 23, 2013, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) issued a statement ensuring that "the House remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system," but made clear they "will not simply take up and accept the bill that is emerging in the Senate if it passes."
The House leaders insisted that "the House ... will ... produce its own legislation" after a "robust debate and amendment process." Calling border security, the immigration processes, and enforcement mechanisms "dysfunctional," the statement reiterated the House leadership's goal of enactment of legislation "that actually solves these problems."
According to the Washington Times, during the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama accused Republican challenger Mitt Romney of "betting against America" for investing in off-shore accounts that allegedly shielded him from paying U.S. taxes.
By that definition, Obama's recent pick for Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, has bet against America as well. On financial disclosure forms, Ms. Pritzker stated that she received $53.6 million in income in 2012 from a trust in the Bahamas. Ms. Pritzker, whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain, served as Finance Chair for Obama's 2008 campaign. Her personal fortune is estimated at $1.85 billion.
As Prtizker's nomination hearing begins in the Senate next week, questions about the fact that her family has placed monies offshore for decades are sure to be raised in light of the administration's apparent hypocrisy in slamming Mr. Romney over tax havens and then nominating two people for his second term Cabinet who hold such investments. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also had an account in the Cayman Islands.
Even before 2012, Mr. Obama proposed closing tax loopholes for companies with overseas subsidiaries characterizing such actions as dodging responsibility "while ordinary Americans pick up the slack." One of Obama's campaign ads questioned Mr. Romney's patriotism by noting he had money in accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. A spokesman for the White House would not address Republican accusations of hypocrisy against Mr. Obama.
National Affordable Care Act Spurs Lawsuits
President Obama's Affordable Care Act -- popularly known as Obamacare -- has spurred religiously devout business owners and non-profit entities with a religious affiliation to wage legal battles against the law's mandate that they provide employees with contraceptive coverage. As many as 60 cases have been filed nation-wide objecting to the impending mandate which requires employers to provide no-cost coverage of all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
An appeals court in Chicago heard arguments in two cases brought by business owners last week, as did an appeals court in Denver. Two other courts are set to hear similar cases in the next week. The company owners and non-profits claim their religious beliefs take precedence over the new federal requirement. Religious-affiliated non-profit corporations and institutions have asserted that the Obama administration is waging war on religious groups by insisting on the contraceptive mandate and cite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) which prohibits the federal government from imposing a "substantial burden" on a person's exercise of religion unless there is a "compelling governmental interest" and the measure is the least restrictive method of achieving the interest.
U.S. Justice Department lawyers make the federal government's argument that secular, for-profit corporations are not entitled to the RFRA protections that apply to "persons" as mentioned in the law. They argue that if Congress had intended to include corporations in the RFRA, it would have done so explicitly. Those lawyers go on to add that while business owners may have personal religious beliefs, that does not free their corporations from having to comply with federal laws. Proponents of the mandate also claim that being forced to provide contraceptive coverage does not force business owners to use contraceptives - only to offer insurance plans that cover them - a distinction they say is no different from having an employee use her paycheck to pay for a procedure that the employer disapproves of.
A Quick Update on the IRS Scandal:
- Outgoing acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned earlier last week, stating that "As the acting commissioner, what happens in the IRS - whether I was personally involved or not - stops at my desk. I should be held accountable." He testified in front of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.
- In the House Ways and Means hearing, Miller admitted to planting a question in the audience at a conference May 10th aided by a deputy at the IRS, Lois Lerner. The question was asked by Lerner's friend in a way that would expose the targeting of conservative applicants for 501(c)(4) status.
- In response to Republican Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois's question of why Miller did not come forward to the Ways and Means Committee earlier to reveal the situation, Miller responded that agency officials wanted to wait for the results of an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for the Tax Administration's report. Miller was first briefed on the targeting of conservative groups as early as May 3, 2012. Miller admitted in a letter to members of Congress that those under him at the IRS knew that conservative groups were being targeted as early as June 2011. Lois Lerner discovered the targeting on June 29, 2011.
In the past three weeks, the first three parts of the Senate immigration bill released by the "gang of eight" last month have been analyzed. The bill is divided into four parts, dealing with border security, immigrant visas, interior enforcement, and non-immigrant visa programs. Last week, Title III of the bill, concerning interior enforcement, was analyzed. This week, Title IV, the last title of the bill, will be analyzed, as it deals with changes to existing law concerning non-immigrant visas. Title IV is the most innocuous section of the bill, primarily because it does not deal with illegal immigration. Talking points are below:
- The first type of visa Title IV covers is the H-1B visa, which allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations for a duration of 3 years and up to a maximum of 6 years. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree (658).
- This Title calls for current law on H-1B's to be amended so that the exact number of applicants for H-1B visas accepted per year will be determined by how many were granted the previous fiscal year, multiplied by the High Skilled Jobs Demand Index for a given fiscal year. However, the number of H-1B visas granted will not exceed 10,000 more or less than the previous fiscal year (659).
- Calculating criteria aside, the bill states that in total, no more than 110,000 H-1B visas will be granted for the first fiscal year after the date this bill is enacted (658). For any fiscal year after that, the number of H-1B visas granted shall not be less than 110,000 or more than 180,000 (659).
- An employer who sponsors an H-1B applicant must pay a $500 fee to the STEM program, which stands for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, and that fund will be established as a separate account apart from the general treasury (667-668).
- According to section 4212 of this Title, the number of non-immigrant nurses allowed to apply for visas to work in health professional shortage areas will be reduced from 500 to 300 (688).
- Ninety days after this bill is passed, the Secretary of Labor will set up a public website where open positions can be posted for job applications from H-1B holders (703).
- This Title calls for cutting down the number of H1-B and L non-immigrants that are hired by American employers. (N.B. An L non-immigrant visa status allows someone who works for an international company with offices in the US to work here.) It says that the number of H1-B non-immigrants and L non-immigrants working for an American employer may not exceed "75 percent of the total number of employees for fiscal year 2015...65 percent of the total number of employees, for fiscal year 2016...[and] 50 percent of the total number of employees, for each fiscal year after fiscal year 2016" (715).
- The Title also concerns the W visa program, which is a program for lower-skilled workers. The Title states that an employer can only hire a W visa recipient if they cannot find an eligible US citizen to fill the open position. The Title also stipulates the kind of advertising the employer has to use in order to find appropriate workers who are "ready, willing, and able to fill such a position..." (797). The W visa status can last for the duration of three years, and may be extended in three year intervals. Overall, this Title of the bill seeks to reduce the number of W visas granted over time.
Immigration Bill: Third in a Series
In the past two weeks, the first two parts of the Senate immigration bill released by the "gang of eight" last month have been analyzed. The bill is divided into four parts, dealing with border security, immigrant visas, interior enforcement, and non-immigrant visa programs. Last week, Title II of the bill concerning immigrant visas was analyzed, and the eligibility requirements for an unlawful immigrant to apply for and receive provisional immigrant status are generous. Indeed, there are three groups of unlawful immigrants whose applications will be accepted almost prima facie: mothers with children, the disabled, and the elderly. This week, Title III will be analyzed, dealing with interior enforcement of immigration laws:
- A great deal of interior enforcement mechanisms and procedures will rest on the implementation of the Employment Verification System (E-Verify). This title outlines the parameters and timeline of how E-Verify will become a program of required use by employers across the country.
- First, the Title makes clear that the bill does not prohibit someone from hiring an individual with provisional immigrant status if he or she was previously an unlawful immigrant (396).
- The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will set up and be in charge of operating the E-Verify system. DHS will take care of the work flow the system creates, any fraud detected by the system, and the security of the system (420).
- Federal government agencies will have to use E-Verify, and they can start on the day this bill is passed or 90 days after the bill is passed (421).
- Federal government contractors will have to begin using E-Verify as well (422).
- One year after the date the Secretary of DHS publishes the regulations for implementing E-Verify, she can direct any person or employer involved in the "critical infrastructure" to participate in E-Verify. The "critical infrastructure" is defined in the Patriot Act of 2001 as "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters."
- Employers with more than 5,000 employees must implement E-Verify no later than two years after the regulations to do so are published. After they implement the system, all new hires and employees with expiring temporary employment authorization documents will have to be run through the system (423).
- Employers with more than 500 employees must implement E-Verify no later than 3 years after the regulations to do so are published (423-424).
- All other employers have up to four years to implement E-Verify after the regulations to do so are published (424). Employees that perform agricultural labor are excluded from being run through the system until four years after the Legal Workforce Act is enacted (424). The Legal Workforce Act of 2013 was re-introduced in the House of Representatives on April 26, 2013 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R.-TX), and referred to committee for further review. Only 11% of bills make it out of committee review.
- Tribal governments get five years to implement E-Verify, after the regulations to do so have been published (425).
- Employers can also implement E-Verify voluntarily (426).
- If it has been proven that an employer has hired unauthorized immigrants, the employer may be required to run current employees, not just new hires, through the system (426).
- If an employee has received a "nonconfirmation" notice through E-Verify, and chooses not to contest the nonconfirmation, it will not be considered an admission of guilt (437). In other words, if an employee is not verified through the system as someone who can lawfully work in the United States, and the employee chooses not to fight it, he or she will not be considered guilty of violating any law.
- Individuals will be able to "self-verify" by contacting the appropriate agency (448).
- If an employer is found to routinely hire unlawful immigrants, he or she has to pay civil penalties and fines that increase by degrees depending on how many times they have been proven to hire unlawful immigrants or fail to use E-Verify (480-482).
- This bill will allow millions of current unlawful immigrants to one day be citizens and therefore eligible for social security benefits. Therefore, Title III of the bill also mandates the Social Security Administration to issue new Social Security cards that are fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant five years after this bill is passed (504-505). This will cost $1 billion for FY 2014, or until the funds are used.
What You Need to Know About the Senate
99.5% of Illegal Immigrant Youth Get
Last summer President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals non-deportation program and, since then, the administration has approved 99.5 percent of applications by those who have applied for legal status (Washington Times, April 23, 2013). Obama's policy allows children who were brought here illegally to remain and work in the U.S. on provisional legal status with no fear of deportation although they have no pathway to citizenship. The policy applies to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before age 16 years and who were not yet 31 when the program was begun. To qualify, applicants must have graduated from high school or earned an equivalency degree or served in the military but who have no serious criminal record.
Through the first 7 and ½ months of the program, the U.S. and Citizenship and Immigration Services approved 268,316 illegal immigrant youth for tentative legal status under the program and denied 1,377 applications. Denied applicants are given time to submit more information or appeal their denial while approvals go through immediately. Through the end of March, 2013, the department had received 472,004 applications and had settled nearly 270,000 of them.
Last week, the "gang of eight" released the comprehensive immigration bill they have been working on since January. It stands at 844 pages and was released in the wee hours of the morning last Wednesday, April 17th; the first hearing on the bill was held on Friday in the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The second hearing was held yesterday, and the third hearing is being held today. The markup, when the committees debate, amend, and rewrite legislation, is scheduled for May. The bill is divided into four titles, and each week for the next three weeks the different titles will be outlined here in detail with the pages in the bill the bullet points refer to in parentheses. The formal name of the bill is "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," and Section I of the bill states the purpose of the Act: "to control the flow of legal immigration, and to eliminate illegal immigration, which is some cases has become a threat to our national security" (8). The following notes are taken from the Introduction and Title I of the bill, which is titled "Border Security":
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be taking care of border security, working with the Departments of Justice, Agriculture, and Interior as stipulated in Title I.
- DHS will aim for a 90% effective control rate of securing the border, which is found by dividing the number of apprehensions and turn backs by the total number of illegal entries in a given fiscal year (9).
- Undocumented aliens can begin applying for provisional immigrant status as soon as the Secretary of DHS submits to Congress the notice of commencement of the department's border security plan. In other words, the border does not have to be secure first before the undocumented can apply for more permanent status (11).
- According to page 13, the Secretary of DHS can permit registered provisional immigrants to apply for lawful permanent residence if either ten years have passed from the passage of this bill or the border security plan is being implemented, whichever comes first.
- If the effective control rate hasn't been achieved in 5 years, a Southern Border Security Commission will be arranged (14).
- The Secretary of DHS has to present a progress report on border security to Congress on May 15 and November 15 of every fiscal year (22).
- The bill states that 180 days after it is passed, the Secretary of DHS will establish a strategy for determining how to fence the border, including what areas should be double-fenced, and what areas should be virtually fenced. No reference is made in this title of the bill to completing or enhancing the 2006 Secure the Fence Act that President Bush signed into law, which mandated that 700 miles of the 1,969 mile southern border be fenced. As of April 2009, 613 miles had been fenced with 14 feet high chain link fencing.
- The border security initiatives of this bill are funded in part by $6.5 billion in initial costs plus $100 million in start-up costs, allocated from the general treasury to a new trust fund called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund (25). Of the $6.5 billion, $3 billion is used in 5 years to fund the Secretary of DHS' border security strategy, $2 billion will be used in 10 years for programs and activities, and $1.5 billion will be used in 5 years for the fencing strategy mentioned above. The bill also states that various (visa) fees and penalties will be used to continually fund the trust fund (27-29). It should be noted that these are only the initial and start-up costs of Title I of this bill. Many other sections in this title end in "There are authorized to be appropriated, from the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund under section 6(a)(1), such sums as may be necessary to carry out this action," meaning it will be hard to accurately financially score this bill because its authors do not know how much what they are proposing will cost.
- From 2014-2017, the number of Border Patrol agents at the southern border will be increased by 3,500, but some of that number can be Border Patrol agents re-assigned from the northern border (33).
- The number of border crossing prosecutions in the Tucson, Arizona border area will increase to 210 a day, and the funding of this operation will come from the Comprehensive Immigration Trust Fund (36).
- On federal land, which is defined as that land in the border region in the State of Arizona, whichever Secretary has jurisdiction over that land (whether Secretary of Agriculture or Secretary of the Interior) will hold sway in border security proceedings involving any land over which they preside (40). The Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior will confer with the Secretary of DHS to prepare and publish in the Federal Register a programmatic environmental impact statement on the border security initiatives on federal land (41). If they deem that some of the border security measures will negatively impact the environment on those federal lands, then the border security plan may need to be amended (41).
- 180 days after this bill is passed, the Secretary of DHS in collaboration with the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice will issue the policies concerning force they will use when implementing new border security initiatives (48).
- Border security agents and immigration enforcement agents will be trained (in part) by the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, concerning stops, interrogations, searches, seizures, arrests, detentions, privacy rights, social and cultural sensitivity, and environmental concerns (49-50).
- Clickhereto access the full text of the bill.
NFRW Capital Connection
NFRW Discusses Margaret Thatcher's Legacy With the BBC
On April 8, 2013, NFRW was a guest on the live BBC show, "World Have Your Say," in an interview regarding the legacy of Margaret Thatcher. NFRW President Rae Chornenky discussed Thatcher's legacy in transforming the British economy at a time of divisive economic struggle for the UK by radically cutting taxes and public spending and reducing the power of public trade unions. Chornenky referred to Thatcher's strength and confidence in her beliefs in free-market principles and the rights of the individual versus big government and marveled that it was no wonder she was the longest serving prime minister in Britain's post-war era. Prime Minister Thatcher's term of service made it much easier internationally for women to ascend to positions of business and government leadership.
Poll Shows Voters See Republicans as Similar to
A recent survey of North Star Research for USA Today and the Bipartisan Policy Center asked voters to place themselves and the two major American political parties on a 1 to 7, liberal-to-conservative scale.
The results show voters feel ideologically closer to the Republican Party than to the Democratic Party. The average respondent placed himself or herself on the scale at 4.44, just slightly right of center. Most placed Republicans on the right and Democrats on the left, but Democrats were further to the left than Republicans were to the right. The average respondent was at least a full point on the 7-point scale to the left of where they placed Republicans but more than a point and 2/3 to the right of where they placed Democrats.
Fifty percent of voters felt closer ideologically to the GOP whereas 41 percent were closer to Democrats: a nine point advantage for Republicans. Yet, generally in other polls it is Republicans who are more likely to be seen as "extreme." A CNN/ORC poll in December found 53 percent saying the GOP was "too extreme," compared to only 37 percent who expressed that view about Democrats.
A February Pew poll, asking a different question, had a similar 52 percent of respondents calling Republicans "too extreme," while 39 percent applied that label to Democrats.
Job Growth Hits Low Pace
NBC News Economy Watch reported last week that, under the Obama administration, Labor Department statistics show the U.S. economy created only 88,000 non-farm jobs in March, "much lower than the 195,000 - 200,000 expected and well below February's 254,000 increase." March's job creation total was the lowest in nine months and was well below the 200,000 new jobs analysts polled by Reuters had expected.
While the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent from February's 7.7 percent, a slower pace of growth in payrolls marked a steep reversal of the recent trend which appeared to be an uptick in the pace of recovery in the labor market. The slower payroll growth pace comes after Washington increased taxes in January and after the sequester's across-the-board federal budget cuts began in March. The figures reported include the fact that the share of the population that is either employed or is looking for work is at 63.3 percent, the lowest since 1979.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that 21.7 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed or simply cannot find work. Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for women has increased from 6.9 percent to 7.6 percent. The African American unemployment rate has increased from 12.7 percent to 13.3 percent.
NFRW Capital Connection
Recruiting Women Candidates for Office:
In a recent edition of the Capital Connection, Omaha, Nebraska mayoral candidate Jean Stothert was featured as a female candidate who had endured much maligning and some of the worst examples of sexism in politics.
The Associated Press now reports that as the only woman in the race for mayor, candidate Stouthert, a conservative Republican city councilwoman, has not only come in first in the primary election race in a crowded field of candidates, but she garnered 32 percent of the vote compared to 24 percent for the incumbent Democrat mayor. The race between Stouthert and the incumbent Democrat to lead Nebraska's largest city will be decided in the May 14 general election.
Stouthert's first place finish is very impressive where there were nearly 111,850 registered Democrats eligible to vote compared with approximately 99,700 Republicans and 62,800 nonpartisan and third-party voters.
Pew Research Poll: The Republican Party is Most Associated With "Strong Principles"
In late February, Pew Research polled 1,504 adults about which political Party they associated with the following negative phrases: "out of touch with the American people" and "too extreme;" and the following positive phrases: "open to change," "strong principles," and "looks out for the country's future." The Republican Party was associated with both negative phrases and only with one of the positive phrases, while the Democratic Party was associated with two out of the three positive phrases: "open to change" and "looks out for the country's future." The one positive phrase that the Republican Party was associated with is the most important of all: "strong principles."
Indeed, 62% of Independents polled said the Republican Party has strong principles, "the most positive measure for any party trait tested," according to the report. Further, "Even about half of Democrats (52%) say the Republican Party has strong principles," says the report--even if 52% is slightly more than half.
The poll also shows that the Republican Party is not that far behind the Democratic Party when it comes to whether the Party is looking out for the country's future-45% polled said the Republican Party was looking out for the future of the country more than the Democratic Party, while 51% polled said the Democratic Party was looking out for the future of the country more.
To see the report, clickhere.
Their 2012 survey of 1,020 male and 1,097 female college students ages 18 to 25 "reveals that young women and men are not equally politically ambitious." Of those surveyed, males were twice as likely as women to have thought about running for office "many times," whereas women were 20 percentage points more likely than men never to have considered it. When asked about future plans to run for office, women were more than 50 percent more likely to assert that they would never run, articulating absolutely no interest in a future candidacy.
When asked about jobs they would most like to hold in the future, the study shows that when presented with four job possibilities, business owner, teacher, mayor of a city or town, and salesperson, and told to assume each paid the same amount of money, men were nearly twice as likely as women to select mayor as their preferred job.
Of significant interest is the fact that young women and men were equally likely to have participated in the political activities about which they were asked. From voting to e-mailing about a cause or issue, to posting about or following a politician or political issue, there were comparable rates of activism between males and females. The difference was found where women were more likely than men to aspire to volunteer to improve their communities rather than to make it their career.
The 25 page study concludes with the authors' statistical findings that five factors hinder young women's political ambition: 1) young men are more likely than young women to be socialized by their parents to think about politics as a possible career path; 2) from their school experiences to their peer associations to their media habits, young women tend to be exposed to less political information and discussion than do young men; 3) young men are more likely than young women to have played organized sports and care about winning; 4) Young women are less likely than young men to receive encouragement to run for office - from anyone; and 5) young women are less likely than young men to think they will be qualified to run for office, even once they are established in their careers.
The need to close the gender gap in elected office in America, and the long-stated NFRW objective of recruiting female candidates to run for office, make the findings of this study particularly important. If women are less likely to receive encouragement to run for office and are more likely to doubt their political qualifications; and if seeds for an eventual candidacy are planted early in life, young women need to be exposed to environments that trigger and sustain political interest and ambition and encourage them to consider running for office later in life. Clickhereto access the study.
The House-Passed Paul Ryan Budget
more than merely balance.
We are reminded that it helps improve the lives of Americans by fixing the tax code and lowering rates so that there are more jobs and higher wages for the American people. It supports the Keystone pipeline and American-made energy which translates into more jobs for Americans and lower energy prices. The House budget repeals ObamaCare and supports patient-centered reforms which means more jobs and lower health care costs for all. The House budget's protection of Medicare will result in more secure retirement for older Americans and the cutting of waste it envisions means more fairness towards, and accountability in behalf of, hard-working taxpayers.
The day before the Ryan budget was passed, the House voted on the Republican Study Committee budget, which got less media attention but is not without merit. The RSC budget balances in 2017, six years before the Ryan budget does, and its Medicare reforms would take effect sooner. The RSC budget also cuts discretionary spending to $950 billion, which was the 2008 level, repeals ObamaCare, prohibits federal funding of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, raises the full retirement age for Social Security for those currently 54 and younger (the current Ryan budget does not address Social Security at all), and allows taxpayers the option of paying their current tax rate or choosing between two lower, flatter tax rates of 25% or 15%. The RSC budget was defeated 132 to 104, with 171 Democrats voting "present." House Democrats wanted to vote "present" to force the House Republicans to have to adopt the RSC budget, which is the more conservative of the two Republican budget proposals.
Why Recruiting Women Candidates for Office can be Difficult
The NFRW continues to emphasize that one of its main goals is recruiting women to run for political office. One Federation member in Nebraska, Jean Stothert, a current member of the Omaha City Council and candidate for Mayor of Omaha, has witnessed first-hand the difficulties a female candidate for office can encounter.
Jean has been a conservative voice on the Omaha, Nebraska, City Council for the past 3 ½ years, fighting the Democratic mayor's increased fees and taxes as well as his close relationship with unions. Needless to say, unions are not supporting Jean's candidacy.
Poll Shows Party Preferences of Voters on Budget Issues
A strong majority of voters recently polled indicated they prefer Republican fiscal policies but more of those polled seem to trust the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party on budgetary issues. Of the 1,000 respondents in The Hill/Pulse Opinion Poll on March 14, 2013, 65% answered that budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending and only 24% stated that budget deficits should be reduced by raising taxes.
When asked which Party they trust more on budgetary issues, 35% of those polled trust the Democratic Party more while 30% trust Republicans more. Thirty four percent said they trust neither Party more than the other and 2% were not sure.
Fifty five percent chose a budget plan which cuts $5 trillion in spending, includes no new taxes and balances the budget in ten years. The poll report states that this plan is, in essence, "the path recommended by House budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis) last week." Only 28% chose a budget which includes nearly $1 trillion in tax hikes and $100 billion in infrastructure spending and lowers the deficit but does not balance the budget - the plan put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash) last week. Seventeen percent were not sure which of the two budget plans they preferred.
Additionally, when asked whether the healthcare reform law ("Obamacare") should be fully implemented, fully repealed or neither, 45% of respondents believed it should be fully repealed (part of the Ryan plan) and only 37% believed it should be fully implemented. Fourteen percent chose "neither" as their answer.
Republican National Committee Issues Party Status Report
Yesterday, the RNC released its most comprehensive postmortem election report and plan for the future. The "Growth and Opportunity Project" report is the result of a four-month study during which five appointed co-chairs traveled the country gathering input from more than 52,000 stakeholders and experts in what has been called the most public and most comprehensive review of any major political party in history. Click here to access the report.
Explaining that there is no one solution in finding what works with voters, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, March 18, at which the National Federation of Republican Women President was present, unveiled over 219 recommendations in this unprecedented effort to re-tool the Republican Party and improve Republican campaigns. Priebus echoed Republican Party principles which begin with making available to all the promise of opportunity and announced that "our principles are firm;" principles of freedom and growth and opportunity. He reminded the audience that Republicans champion issues such as lifting people out of poverty, providing for families to have more take-home pay, immigration reform, and school choice, recognizing that our students must have better schools.
According to Priebus, focus groups described the Party as "narrow-minded, out of touch, and stuffy old men," resulting in seven categories of recommendations presented by the project: messaging, demographic partners, campaign mechanics, friends and allies (third party groups), fundraising, campaign finance, and the primary process. As to the last, the project plan recommends shortening the primary process, staging fewer candidate debates and holding more primaries which tend to attract more mainstream voters as opposed to caucuses, and holding the Republican National Convention earlier in the year. Recommendations were made which are specific to earning a greater percentage of the Hispanic vote, the Asian and Pacific Islander American vote, the African American vote, women's vote, and the youth vote.
On Friday, March 1, the sequester cuts went into effect after Congress failed to adopt a plan to stop them. In its February report, Budget and Economic Outlook for Fiscal Years 2013-2023, the Congressional Budget Office noted that the sequester cuts $44 billion from government spending this year, with $35 billion being cut from discretionary outlays and $9 billion being cut from mandatory spending. As pointed out by CNSNews.com, the federal government borrowed $253.5 billion in the month of February alone, which is six times as much as the sequester cuts this year. On Meet the Press March 3, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH.) spoke about how certain claims about the effect of the sequester were exaggerated, specifically citing the layoffs of air traffic controllers that the Department of Homeland Security had claimed were impending. "Look at the fact that they claimed all these air traffic controllers were going to be laid off, but then it was found out they really didn't have to," Speaker Boehner said. After the first post-sequester weekend, the Wall Street Journal reportedthat the only real delays were at Miami International Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, but "officials representing a dozen major airports said there were few if any unusual flight delays or lines at security or customs checkpoints." The Federal Aviation Administration has claimed it may have to cut overnight shifts at control towers at small and medium airports, however not only would most commercial flights be unaffected but air traffic controllers are not necessary for a safe landing. Despite the Department of Homeland Security's warnings of what the sequester cuts would do to the agency, on February 22, 2013, the agency signed a one-year, $50 million contract with VF Imagewear, Inc., to provide new uniforms for TSA employees. Because the North American Free Trade Agreement mandates products in Mexico and other Latin American countries be considered for such contracts, some of the TSA uniforms will be manufactured in Mexico. To read more about this, clickhere.
National Federation of Republican Women
Urges Federal Government to Tackle Immigration Reform
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) is urging the federal government to expeditiously reform our nation's immigration system and to pass legislation and appropriate funds that will secure U.S. borders, create a viable guest worker program, and provide a path to legal residency or citizenship for those brought to this country illegally as minors.
The NFRW laid out its position in a resolution adopted by its board of directors on March 9. Read the full resolution.
The resolution maintains that the federal government has "refused to commit the resources necessary to adequately secure our physical borders" and has "failed to modernize (our immigration) system with available technology." These failures have led to an increase in illegal immigration and an extremely dangerous border environment.
The resolution recognizes the need for a viable guest worker program that "documents guest workers and their families and requires them to pass health and criminal background checks, to be self-supporting, including the purchase of health and other required insurance, to pay taxes and to demonstrate a working knowledge of English in a reasonable amount of time in order to obtain permanent legal resident status."
In addition, the resolution urges the federal government "to expeditiously establish criteria for young people in this country illegally through no fault of their own to earn legal resident status or citizenship when they demonstrate English fluency and knowledge of American civics, comply with all health requirements, have no criminal record, graduate from an accredited high school, and pursue a college degree, trade certification or enter into military service."
The resolution was proposed by the Texas Federation of Republican Women, which put together a committee of members who spent close to a year methodically researching the issue and carefully drafting the language of the resolution. The committee heard from and evaluated the positions of experts, recent immigrants, business and land owners, advocates, adversaries and law enforcement officials.
"The NFRW is committed to being at the forefront of finding solutions to our nation's most pressing issues," NFRW President Rae Lynne Chornenky says. "We are pleased that our members spent significant time researching, studying and evaluating immigration reform proposals, and provided the framework for this resolution."
Founded in 1938, the NFRW has thousands of active members in local clubs across the nation and in several U.S. territories, making it one of the largest women’s political organizations in the country. The grassroots organization works to promote the principles and objectives of the Republican Party, elect Republican candidates, inform the public through political education and activity, and increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 9, 2013
ARLINGTON, Va. – Republican women leaders from across the nation unanimously adopted a resolution on March 9 urging President Barack Obama to immediately reopen the White House for public tours.
The group of women was gathered for the National Federation of Republican Women’s spring board meeting. More than 150 attended.
“President Obama clearly is not serious about solving our spending and budgetary problems,” NFRW President Rae Lynne Chornenky says. “The NFRW is appalled that he is denying schoolchildren and other Americans access to the ‘people’s house’ in an effort to score political points on the sequester. Fortunately, the public can see through this charade.”
Board meeting attendees also adopted resolutions supporting the Hobby Lobby court case on constitutional religious freedom, as well as immigration reform that includes a plan to secure the U.S. border, create a viable guest worker program, and provide a path to legal residency or citizenship for minors brought to this country illegally.
They participated in a number of other activities and heard from several speakers – including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, CNN political commentator Alex Castellanos, and conservative activist KCarl Smith – who discussed bold and innovative ideas for revitalizing the GOP in anticipation of the 2014 midterm elections.
Founded in 1938, the NFRW has thousands of active members in local clubs across the nation and in several U.S. territories, making it one of the largest women’s political organizations in the country. The grassroots organization works to promote the principles and objectives of the Republican Party, elect Republican candidates, inform the public through political education and activity, and increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government.
February 26, 2013
An Update on Wasteful Spending in Washington from the
As Washington Democrats make dire predictions about the impact of President Obama's sequester, Republicans are pointing out some seemingly obvious examples of needed spending reductions:
The President would raise your taxes for the second time in eight weeks, rather than consider these bipartisan alternatives:
The Army's media relations division did not respond to NBC's interview request when NBC sought a comment on the work being done by TroopsDirect.
February 19, 2013
Obama Calls for Congress to Stop the Sequester
Today, surrounding himself with emergency first responders, President Obama urged Congress to offset the sequester with "targeted" spending cuts instead of the sequester as it is, calling it the "meat-cleaver approach." The sequester is set to take effect in 10 days. Speaker of the House John Boehner fired back by saying, "Today the president advanced an argument Republicans have been making for a year: his sequester is the wrong way to cut spending. That's why the House has twice passed legislation to replace it with common sense cuts and reforms that won't threaten public safety, national security, or our economy. But once again, the president offered no credible plan that can pass Congress--only more calls for higher taxes."
As noted in the Political Briefing last week, the sequester was the brain-child of the Obama administration during the debt-ceiling talks in 2011. The sequester, is a series of cuts that affect some domestic discretionary spending. However, the sequester amounts to $44 billion in cuts this year, which is equivalent to what the federal government spends in 4.5 days.
- What is the sequester? The sequester was an idea brought forth by the Obama administration during debt ceiling talks involving the "super committee" of 2011. The sequester was the administration's threat over the super committee to bring about budget cuts of 1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years. The sequester was supposed to be so distasteful to both Democrats and Republicans that it would serve as an impetus to achieve the administration's desire for specific budget cuts. The super committee failed, and the sequester stayed.
- When will it go into effect? It was originally supposed to take effect in January of 2013, but the fiscal cliff deal postponed the date until March 1, 2013.
- What happens if it takes effect? If the sequester goes into effect on March 1, it will set off a series of automatic cuts to defense and entitlement programs that equal $965 billion over the next ten years. But what do "cuts" mean in this case? As Michael Tanner observes in National Review Online, "the sequester is a 'cut' to federal spending only in the Washington sense of 'any reduction from baseline increases is a cut.' In reality, even if the sequester goes through, the federal government will spend $2.14 trillion more in 2022 than it does today." Further, "the sequester would reduce the growth in domestic discretionary spending by $309 billion over ten years. But annual spending on these programs will increase by $90 billion over that period." In other words, even with the sequester "cuts," we are going to spend more money on domestic programs in 2022 than we do today.
- What is the budget baseline and how does it relate to the sequester? The budget baseline is what the Congressional Budget Office determines federal revenues, outlays, surpluses, and deficits will be assuming future budgets will equal the current budget times the inflation rate times the population growth rate. The current budget baseline says that the government will spend $44.8 trillion between 2013 and 2022. The sequester will cut this number by $1.16 trillion, barely 2.6 percent of the what the government plans to spend until 2022.
- How much would it cut government spending this year? While the sequester cuts $965 billion over the next ten years, it would cut spending by $44 billion in 2013. The expected budget for 2013 is $3.97 trillion, so an $44 billion cut amounts to 1.2% of the budget. The federal government spends $44 billion in approximately 4.5 days.
- Some Republicans are worried about the cuts to defense, what about those? Yes, the sequester will cut the budget for the Department of Defense, but in inflation-adjusted terms, the rate of spending will never go below 2007 levels. As Tanner points out, "By 2015 [defense spending] will rise again, surpassing 2012 levels, ($554 billion) by 2019 and reaching $589 billion by 2021....By comparison, the United States spent, in 2013 dollars, an average of just $435 billion per year on defense during the Cold War (1948-1990), when we faced a much greater conventional threat." Further, the cuts to defense do not effect war spending, only base defense spending. Next year's budget for the Defense Department is $552 billion, and the sequester will require a $55 billion cut from that budget, amounting to 10%. These cuts do not effect war spending. Defense Secretary Panetta has already ordered the first steps towards readying the Defense Department to deal with the cuts, by "freezing civilian hiring, delaying certain contract awards and curtailing nonessential facility maintenance." Again, the sequester has not and will not impose drastic cuts to necessary defense spending.
- How will the cuts affect GDP? The Wall Street Journal estimates the cuts amount to 0.5% of GDP.
- Besides some defense spending, what other programs are exempted from the sequester? Apart from war spending at the Department of Defense, other programs exempted from the sequester include Social Security, Medicaid, the children's health insurance program, refundable tax credits, supplemental security income, the food stamp program, and veteran's health benefits. Medicare, however, is not exempted, and will see a 2% cut in Medicare payments to insurance plans and doctors who accept Medicare.
- Deeming the sequester "a pittance," Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) pointed out that "even with the sequester, spending goes up $7 trillion or $8 trillion over the next ten years." The sequester cuts are standing law, and the only cuts to spending that have been agreed to in this administration.
Obama Promises Not to Raise Deficit "By a Single Dime" Yet Proposes 29 New Programs in the State of the Union Speech
In yesterday's State of the Union speech, President Obama said that he would not propose anything that raised the deficit "by a single dime." But as CNSNews.com reports, the president then went on to propose 29 new programs. Speaking after the speech, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis)notedthe CBO's finding that publicly-held debt rose from 36% of the economy in the Bush years to 73% so far in the Obama years.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
U.S. Senator Gives Powerful Republican Response to Obama's State of Union
Gun Control: Interesting Facts
Ron Dreher, editorialist for the American Conservative, on January 30, 2013 wrote "Never Mind the Facts, Let's Pass Gun Laws." In it he states:
1) Strict gun control laws have done nothing to stem the tide of homicidal violence in Chicago, a city with strict gun control laws;
3) The Sandy Hook shooter could have killed as many children with pistols as with his 'assault rifle;'
5) A survey cited by the Justice Department reports 80 percent of inmates imprisoned for a crime involving a gun say they got the gun through family, friends or illegal means; which is to say they did not go through the channels that would have allowed gun control to prevent them from obtaining the weapon.
Mr. Dreher cites Chicago's gun control laws banning civilian gun ranges, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, gun shops and handguns (overturned in 2010 by the U.S. Supreme Court) and its position as "the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public." Nevertheless, Chicago, he documents, has experienced gun violence which resulted in more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings thus far in 2013.
Politico reports that not only has a recent survey of insurers found that ObamaCare may actually triple premiums for some young and healthy men, but the law would make "the premium for a relatively bare-bones policy for a 27-year-old male nonsmoker ... nearly 190 percent higher." When the law takes effect in 2014, a young male who currently has a plan that does not include all of ObamaCare's required benefits, will almost certainly see increased premiums according to The Washington Post's Fact Checker, 08/10/12. The RNC cites Obama's speeches made while he was a U.S. Senator and details from FactCheck.org that show Obama broke his promise to make "health care affordable and available to every single American." In addition, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected 23 million persons will remain uninsured - some because they cannot afford coverage. (D'Angelo Gore, "Promises, Promises," FactCheck.org, 01/14/12).
January 29, 2013
Education for Sustainability
NFRW member and author Holly Swanson, Director of Operation Green Out!, submits that the radical agenda of the organization Second Nature, the organization she says Senator John Kerry founded in 1993, is an issue of concern in his confirmation as Secretary of State. Ms. Swanson is the author of two books on this subject, the first of which is Set Up and Sold Out, Find Out What Green Really Means.
In a press release issued January 25, 2013, Swanson's Operation Green Out! pointed out that not only does Senator Kerry's Second Nature organization push the "agenda of the education for sustainability movement into America's schools" and "mirrors Green Party goals," Second Nature co-founder Anthony Cortese has also been documented in Ms. Swanson's latest book,
Immigration Agreement in the Senate
Yesterday eight senators representing both political parties released the framework for comprehensive immigration legislation they will pen in the upcoming months. The "gang of eight," which includes Republican Senators McCain, Graham, Rubio, and Flake, and Democratic Senators Schumer, Durbin, Menendez, and Bennet, plan to have legislation written by March for consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The framework these senators centered their reform proposal around is based on four legislative pillars:
Texas Federation of Republican Women
In January of 2013, the Board of Directors at the Texas Federation of Republican Women stated, according to their website, that the Board "overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on the federal government to immediately pass and fund legislation to reform the current immigration system."
TFRW Carolyn Hodges is quoted as saying: "Our goal was to arrive at a reasonable statement, one that actually had the opportunity to be implemented; one that would look at a complete solution for the entire issue. We wanted a policy statement that would encourage good legislation and serve as a deterrent for poor piecemeal legislation."
The resolution resulted from the work of a committee appointed to evaluate the current immigration system and collect data from experts in the field, immigrants themselves, business and land owners, law enforcement and adversaries of system reform. The number of alleged illegal immigrants in this country and the "antiquated system" of admitting and regulating potential immigrants led to the conclusion that the outdated system only encourages illegal immigration.
Citing the federal government's refusal to secure our borders and the loss of life as a result, the TFRW document points out the fact that the federal government "has an urgent obligation to address the issue of immigration in this country." First, funds necessary to finally secure the borders of the United States must be allocated and invested.
The TFRW also calls on the federal government to not only implement a technologically state-of-the-art immigration system but also to create a guest worker program that would enable the government to document individuals and families who are in this country; requiring them to pass health and criminal background checks, to pay taxes, and be self-supporting, and to purchase health and other required insurances. Criteria is also suggested to allow young people who were brought into this country illegally to qualify for legal resident status by gaining English fluency and knowledge of American civics, having no criminal record, complying with health requirements, graduating from high school and either pursuing a college degree or entering into military service.
To read the full text of the resolution, clickhere.
Federal Regulations Cost Reached $518
Last week, the RNC Research arm released a list of how much President Obama's first four years cost in terms of deficits, regulations, stimulus spending, and the underemployed and unemployed individuals. The following are a few of those figures:
To access the full list, click here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 3, 2013
CONTACT: Lisa Ziriax
405-596-3873 or firstname.lastname@example.org
National Federation of Republican Women
Congratulates Speaker Boehner on Reelection
November 1, 2012
October 25, 2012
"Women Vote Like the Future Depends On It"
As women are disproportionately penalized in the Obama economy and unable to find work, average incomes have gone down dramatically. When the president signed the so-called "stimulus," the average household income fell by $4,019.
While House Republicans have worked to enact a solution to the unemployment crisis, dozens of bipartisan bills are being blocked by Senator Harry Reid in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Among the 38 jobs bills that are being blocked by the Senate are the efforts of House Republicans to stop the president's small business tax hike that will destroy an additional 700,000 jobs.
Republicans are focused on protecting taxpayers and helping small businesses grow and create more and better paying jobs for all Americans struggling during the worst employment crisis since the great Depression.
NFRW Member's Letter to the Editor Published in the Washington Times
October 18, 2012
Democrat Efforts to Vilify Romney's
'Binders Full of Women' Comment Show Desperation
In the final stretch before election day, there are Get Out the Vote initiatives that are easy to get involved in. The NFRW has made GOTV post cards available on our website that are easy to print out and send to your neighbors. Sending these out reminds people to vote Republican on November 6. You can put your club name in the box on the bottom left corner so the recipients can know to contact your club if they would like more information. If you don't have time to visit your local Romney headquarters to participate in phone banking, the Romney campaign has launched a program that allows people to make phone calls from home, from their own phones. To set up an account to make phone calls, go to the Romney website's call from home page where you will be prompted to form a username and password. You will then be taken to your account page where you can watch a tutorial on how to use the phone from home system, and then click on the "begin calling" tab. You will enter the number of the phone you are using, which will not be shared on the caller ID of the person you are calling. One at a time, you will be given a voter name and number to call, as well as scripts for a live pickup or a voice mail. You can either dial the number yourself or click "call now" for the website to connect the call on your phone. To read a thorough description of this process, clickhere. In the final weeks before the November election, it is crucial to motivate people to vote. According to The Kitchen Cabinet data, 18% of people who think they are registered to vote are not. Registration deadlines vary by state, and some deadlines are fast approaching. You can check your registration status and the status of an eligible voter you know here. If you know of someone who is eligible to vote and is not registered, you are given the option of sending them an email to encourage their registration. Check out everything you need to know about voting in your state, including registration deadlineshere. Every vote counts!
NFRW Joins With the Palladian View for Victory in November
NFRW members may join the efforts of the Palladian View team of committeed Republican women to join with them in our shared effort to take our country back. We must commit all of our resources to make certain the States listed below turn from blue to red to ensure Barack Obama is a one-term president.
Palladian View is mobilizing a team of 100 Republican women from around the country to go door-to-door getting out the vote for Romney-Ryan and the Republican ticket in three battleground states: North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia.
- Travel to NC: October 3, Block Walking: October 4-6
- Travel to FL: October 17, Block Walking: October 18-23
- Travel to VA: October 24, Block Walking: October 25-28
To learn more about the illegal IRS action concerning state exchanges under Obamacare, watch Michael Cannon'spresentationon Capitol Hill last week.
For more reading on this issue:
NFRW Campaign Committee Introduces: Women Swing the Vote 2012, Part 2
In honor of National Voter Registration Week, which stretches from September 16 through the 23rd, and National Get Out the Vote week, which stretches from October 7th through the 13th, the NFRW publishes the second part of the Campaign Committee's Women Swing the Vote 2012. The complete document can be found on the NFRW website.
Swing the Vote in the Swing States:
If you are fortunate enough to live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, or Wisconsin, you will probably have an opportunity to see Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on tour. These are important swing states for our candidates and a chance for you and your club to shine.
Put a group of club members together to attend a Romney-Ryan rally when they come to your state. Make signs such as: FLORIDA FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN, and WOMEN SWING THE VOTE FOR ROMNEY-RYAN. It is your chance to let the country know that women DO support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Go to MittRomney.com and study the candidates' stand on the issues in case you are asked why women are supporting the Republican ticket. You never know when a microphone may pop up.
Letters to the Editor:
Letters to the editor of your local newspaper can be a very powerful tool to express your conservative ideas. As you may know, women's issues have been at the forefront this election year. The so called "War on Women" needs to be addressed. As a women's organization our main focus should be women and what this President has done to them.
1.) 800,000 more women are in poverty since Obama took office.
3.) Four times more men than women are getting jobs.
5.) 7.5 million women are in severe poverty.
Romney and Ryan have the economic intellect to grasp women's issues and bring women back to opportunity and prosperity. We need to write about the conservative woman's viewpoint and what it means to this election. Letters to the Editor are a great way to get our message out. Research on the MittRomney.com website and submit your letters to your local newspaper.
Women 4 Women Swing the Vote:
If your local club has 100% participation in this program you will receive an Outstanding Participation Certificate from the NFRW. Each member of a participating club will acquire 4 voter registration forms from their local election commission and sign up at least 4 new voters. 100% participation will be considered 4 times your paid membership. Example: if you have 50 paid members in your club you will have to register 200 new voters to be eligible for a certificate.
Your club president or a club member can pick up enough registration forms for everyone in your group since the election commission is always happy to hand them out. Those clubs with 100% participation should send their names to their state presidents. The presidents will report the club names and addresses to the NFRW Campaign Committee Chairwoman, Shirley Ward, at email@example.com to receive their certificates.
Opening Day Breakfast:
1) On the first day of early voting in your state, plan a breakfast at a restaurant near the voting location. You can also tail gate a breakfast with coffee and donuts at the location of early voting. Invite your club and guests to participate and go to vote in a large group to encourage early voting.
2) Be sure to notify your local newspaper of the event and take pictures to write your own article later.
3) Some of your club members can call local phone numbers to make sure that people have taken advantage of early voting. Exciting voters about voting can make a big difference in the outcome of an election.
4) Be sure that Romney signs are located around early voting locations and you may also put up a canopy if it is 30 feet away from the entrance of the polling place. You can serve candy or coffee and donuts to the public on the first day of early voting. Use your club sign. Dare to make a difference!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 12, 2012
National Federation of Republican Women Stands
With Romney in Condemning Attacks on Embassies
Obama Administration Sending Mixed Message That Conveys Weakness
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rae Lynne Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), issued the following statement regarding the attacks on American embassies in Egypt and Libya:
"The NFRW joins Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in condemning the attacks against American embassies in Egypt and in Libya and asks all Americans to keep the families and loved ones of those slain in their thoughts and prayers.
"Under the Obama administration, we have witnessed a foreign policy of indecision and weakness, as well as a decline in American influence and respect. The administration did stand by the statement out of Egypt, which sounds akin to an apology.
"For media to criticize Governor Romney for immediately condemning the breach of the American embassies and senseless murders is ridiculous. Not only did the Obama administration wait to respond to the violent murders by Egyptian protesters, but it once again sent a mixed message of American leadership's failure to be decisive and resolute. Storming U.S. missions and committing murderous acts of violence is never acceptable, no matter the reason. Any response that does not immediately and decisively make that clear conveys weakness.
"Governor Romney was justified in taking an immediate stand in the face of these tragedies. It is never too soon to stand up for American values."
Founded in 1938, the NFRW has thousands of active members in local clubs across the nation and in several U.S. territories, making it one of the largest women’s political organizations in the country. The grassroots organization works to promote the principles and objectives of the Republican Party, elect Republican candidates, inform the public through political education and activity, and increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government.