Mercer County Republican Candidate News, Patriotic & Political - REP. WOMEN SPEAK OUT - Princeton Junction, NJ
Mercer County Republican Candidate News & Voter Information -


National Federation of Republican Women 
Spotlight on U.S. Senate Race

 in the U.S. Senate!

SOUTH DAKOTA - Mike Rounds


 in the U.S. Senate!


Tom Cotton 2014 Memorial Day Message

 in the U.S. Senate!


Mike McFadden Delivers Weekly Republican Address


 in the U.S. Senate!


WE need THOM TILLIS from North Carolina
 in the U.S. Senate!


Let's Clean Up Her Mess


WE need JEFF BELL from New Jersey
 in the U.S. Senate!


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!


Leading on New Generation Energy Policy 

National Federation of Republican Women Spotlight on U.S. Senate Race

WE need JONI ERNST from Iowa
 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 with your information and stories.


Arkansas Attorney General

Last 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.



When 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.


As a dedicated student, role model, small business owner, and community leader, Mariannette Miller-Meeks possesses the necessary background to succeed as the Republican candidate for Iowa's 2nd congressional district. She faces Democratic candidate Dave Loebsack in November.


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.

Ohio Supreme Court

Justice 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.  
Ohio Supreme Court

Justice 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.

West Virginia

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)

Kentucky: 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. 

Oregon: 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.

Pennsylvania: 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 The Washington Post

Senator Rubio Makes Major Policy
 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:

  1. "The 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.
  2.  "Our 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.
  3. "Our 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 market.
  4. To read the speech in its entirety, click here.  

Benghazi Select Committee Coming Together

 The House of Representatives will vote on having a select committee convene about the Benghazi attack this week. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) named Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a former federal prosecutor, to head the select committee. Here's what you need to know about this committee and why Benghazi is in the news again: 

  • On April 29, 2014, Judicial Watch released documents given to the organization through a Freedom of Information Act request dating from last year. The released document package from the State Department is 112 pages long and can be accessed here.  
  • One email from Ben Rhodes, who is President Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, is considered particularly interesting as it details goals and "Top-lines" for Susan Rice, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, to use on the Sunday morning talk shows after the 9/11 Benghazi attack. It can be found on page 14 of the document package.
  • There have been several separate investigations on the Benghazi attack, but not since the documents Judicial Watch obtained were released. The House will vote on a resolution establishing a select committee to investigate this attack hopefully by the end of the week. 
  • Rep. Gowdy told Greta Van Susteren that the select committee will address three central questions: why the security around the consulate in Benghazi was low, why more aid wasn't provided during the attack, and why the government can't be trusted to answer questions about the attack since it happened. See his appearance on On the Record:  
Uncovering the Truth of Benghazi Scandal with Trey Gowdy

On 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 story extensively:  

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. 

ICYMI: Mary Landrieu Re-Creates Senate Hearing and Passes it Off as Real in New Ad:

       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:  

CNN: Landrieu Ad With Fake Footage Is "Blowing Up In Her Face" 


Keystone XL Pipeline Delay buried in Friday
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

Issue of the Day:
Equal Pay Talking Points

  Last Tuesday, April 8, Senate Republicans filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md), 53-44. In this midterm election year Democrats will continue to push the issue of equal pay legislation and it's important to be aware of the facts. Below are talking points on the issue of equal pay adapted and expanded from Katie Packer Gage's April 8 opinion piece on Packer Gage was the deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential run. To read the original piece titled "Equal pay or opportunity for outrage?" click here
  1. Republicans unequivocally believe that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. 
  2. Republicans 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 Democrats. 
  3. New 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.
  4. Republicans applaud companies that seek and celebrate female workers, such as IBM, Marriott, and Ernst & Young. 
  5. Republicans support encouraging young girls to enter into fields typically dominated by men--science, technology, engineering, and math. Work in these fields can yield high earnings.

In Case You Missed It:
"I am Volcanic" Barbara Mikulski

      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
Paycheck Fairness Act's Failure

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.
Here are some quick talking points on the ruling:
  • The 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 committee.
  • The 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 ruling: 
  • President 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 enjoy."  
  • The 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." 
  • Senator 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

A Victory for McCutcheon and
The Republican National Committee:

The Republican National Committee, along with Shaun McCutcheon, filed the complaint on aggregate contribution limits before the District Court. See the RNC's statement on the McCutcheon ruling below: 
           "Today's Court decision in McCutcheon v FEC is an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees and a vindication for all those who support robust, transparent political discourse. I am proud that the RNC led the way in bringing this case and pleased that the Court agreed that limits on how many candidates or committees a person may support unconstitutionally burden core First Amendment political activities. When free speech is allowed to flourish, our democracy is stronger."

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) Has a Special Message for NFRW Members on How You Can Ensure a Successful November:

Lynn Jenkins
Addresses 2014 NFRW
Spring Board Meeting

Bobby Jindal vs. the Obama Administration's
New Department of Education Rules

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 Jindal's response: 
  • Two 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. 
  • The 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 aid. 
  • On 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.

Governor 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: 

Jindal, Malloy Spar

In Case You Missed It

  On Tuesday, March 18, Democrat Congresswoman and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Debbie Wasserman Schultz debuted the DNC's report on the Republican National Committee's Growth and Opportunity Project, released one year ago yesterday. See her speech at the National Press Club by clicking here. Watch the unveiling of the Growth and Opportunity Project one year ago below: 

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
at The National Press Club

Insights Into a Real
War on Women

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:
  • The 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. 
  • Male 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 protections for 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 adjudicated correctly." 
  • 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 away.'"
  • 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 cosmetic shops."

NFRW President Kathy Brugger
Attends Luncheon with Congressman
Trey Gowdy

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 Act

       The Enforce the Law Act passed the House yesterday, 233 to 181. At the luncheon, Rep. Gowdy urged Republicans to stick to their message and focus on being good messengers. He said that if Republicans are waiting for another Lincoln or Reagan, they will be waiting for a long time, because men like that are rare. Instead, he said that Republicans should focus on being good messengers within their own spheres of influence. He recounted the story of Arland Williams, a man who initially survived Air Florida Flight 90's crash into the Potomac River on January 13, 1982. Arland was given more than one chance to save his own life by pulling himself out of the water with a rope from a rescuer, but he instead passed the rope on to others stranded in the water until he drowned. Rep. Gowdy said he thinks of Arland every time he flies into the DC area and looks to him as an example of being a leader in one's sphere of influence.

Expected Contenders for the 2016 Republican
Presidential Nomination Speak at CPAC

        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 amendments.

CPAC 2014 - U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Senator Cruz gave a ten point agenda he thinks Republicans
should adopt in order to win elections:

Sen. Ted Cruz at CPAC: How We Win

        Governor Christie, who was not invited to CPAC last year, focused on
Obama's lack of leadership:

CPAC 2014 - Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)

Senator Rubio spoke about Obama's foreign policy and how
it's harming the United States:

CPAC 2014 - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Governor Jindal apologized to President Jimmy Carter
for saying he was the worst U.S. President, and said Obama now takes title:

CPAC 2014 - Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)

Finally, Congressman Paul Ryan focused on the 2014 elections and the
soul-searching of the Republican party as a good debate, not a civil war:

CPAC 2014 - U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)

CPAC Straw Poll Results

  • The Results of The Washington Times/CPAC 2014 Straw Poll
    • What topics were polled? The straw poll covered personal core beliefs, the job approval rating for President Obama and Republicans in Congress, the preferred method for fixing the budget deficit, the USA's role in the world, NSA's use of data collection, views on marijuana, and who should be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016. 
    • Who was polled? 2,456 CPAC registrants representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia voted in the straw poll. Forty-six percent of straw poll participants were between the ages of 18-25; eighteen percent were between the ages of 26-40; fifteen percent were between the ages of 41 and 55; eleven percent were between the ages of 56-65; and nine percent were over the age of 65. Sixty-three percent of the poll participants were male, and 37 percent were female. 
    • On personal core beliefs: When asked about "personal core beliefs," 78 percent of the poll participants said their most important goal "is to promote individual freedom by reducing the size and scope of government and its intrusion into the lives of its citizens." Just 7 percent of those polled said their most important goal "is to secure and guarantee American safety at home and abroad regardless of the cost or the size of government."
    • On Obama's Job Performance: Ninety-eight percent of those polled disapproved of Obama's job performance as president, compared to 79 percent in 2012. 
    • On Republicans in Congress: Fifty-one percent of those polled said they disapproved of the job Republicans are doing in Congress, the first time in the past two years where more have disapproved of Republicans in Congress than approved. 
    •  On the Preferred Method to Fix the Budget: Seventy-eight percent of those polled agreed that the budget deficit should be mitigated by spending cuts only, as opposed to 18 percent who thought a combination of spending cuts and tax increases should be used,1 percent who thought tax increases only should be used, and 4 percent who did not choose one of the three available answers.
    • On the USA's role in the world: Fifty-two percent of those polled thought that, "Nearly 70 years after the end of WWII, it's time for our European, Asian, and other allies to provide for their own defense." Thirty-seven percent thought that "As the world's only superpower, the US needs to continue to bear the responsibility of protecting our allies in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world." Ten percent did not choose either option. 
    • On the NSA's use of data collection: Seventy-eight percent oppose the NSA's use of data collection such as phone -tapping and reading of emails to combat global terrorism. Nineteen percent favored the NSA's data collecting tactics and 4 percent did not choose either option. 
    • On participant's view of marijuana: Forty-one percent of those polled think "Marijuana should be legalized for recreational and medical use and taxed." Thirty-one percent thought marijuana should remain illegal, and 21 percent thought "marijuana should be legalized only for medical purposes when prescribed by a doctor." 
    • On who should be the GOP Presidential Nominee (the top five picks): Thirty-one percent of those polled picked Senator Rand Paul, 11 percent chose Senator Ted Cruz, 9 percent chose Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, 8 percent chose Governor Chris Christie, and 7 percent chose Governor Scott Walker.

To access all of the CPAC straw poll results, click here

Will Congress Hike the Minimum Wage This Year?
Part Two: Talking Points

  • On February 18, the Congressional Budget Office released a report titled "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income" that may take the wind out of the sails of members of Congress who want to raise the minimum wage this year, because it highlights the damage a minimum wage hike to $10.10 will do to the economy and low wage workers.
  • Late last year, the White House expressed support for a Senate Democrat proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. President Obama mentioned the proposal, the Harkin/Miller bill (S. 460, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013), in his State of the Union speech last month. The CBO report released on February 18 analyzes the effects of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour based on the provisions in the Harkin/Miller bill. 
  • The current minimum wage by federal standards is $7.25 an hour. The Harkin/Miller bill would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in 2015 by 95 cent increments. 
  • The last change in minimum wage took effect in July 2007, when it was raised from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour in July 2009.
  • As the CBO report notes, as of last month, 21 states and the District of Columbia have raised the minimum wage higher than the federal standard on their own initiative.
  • According to the CBO, the minimum wage hike proposed in the Harkin/Miller bill would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers. The report notes, however, that "the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO's assessment, there is a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers." The report names the 500,000 figure the "central estimate" of workers who will lose their jobs as a result of the minimum wage hike, and a slight decrease in workers who will lose their jobs to 1.0 million workers who will lose their jobs as the "likely range."
  • The report also notes that those minimum wage workers who will take home more real income if the Harkin/Miller bill passes are in two different living situations: low wage earners who are not living beneath the poverty threshold, and low wage earners who are members of low-income families living under the poverty threshold. Only 19% of the low-income families will be taking home higher, real wages if the bill passes. At the same time, three groups of people will see a reduction in real income--people who become jobless as a result of the minimum wage increase, business owners, and consumers facing higher prices. 
  • An increase of minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would result in an overall rise in real income by $2 billion once all increases and decreases are taken into account. 
  • An increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift 900,000 people above the poverty threshold out of 45 million who live under the poverty threshold. 
  • The minimum wage hike may come up in the next Senate work period, in March.

In 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 clicking here.   

Speaker's Minute: New ObamaCare Report & Stop Government Abuse

House GOP Letter Highlights Four Areas of Compromise: Talking Points

   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, click here

  • 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 Reform Act
  • 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 research.

In Case You Missed It

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) gave the Republican
Weekly Address last week on supporting our veterans:

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) delivers Weekly
GOP Address on supporting our veterans

Talking Points: Raising the Debt Ceiling Before
February 27

  • Yes, 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.
  • What's 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 only."  
  • Counter-Offer: 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 night before. 
  • 218: 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.

In Case You Missed It

        Senator Cruz addressed the Conservative Policy Summit organized by the
Heritage Foundation yesterday on America's energy renaissance. Watch the speech here:

Sen. Ted Cruz at 2014 Conservative Policy Summit:
An American Energy Renaissance

Obama Panders to Women But Treats Them Unfairly

By: RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day

The Blaze 

February 5, 2014

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 colleagues.


         Last year, the American Enterprise Institute examined payroll data and found that "in Obama's own White House, female staffers make 88 cents for every dollar a male staffer earns." That's a pay gap of 12 percent.


         In 2012 the fact-checking organization PolitiFact also ran the numbers and reached a similar conclusion at 87 cents for every dollar.


        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 words.


         Which brings us back to the State of the Union. Last week the president said "I believe when women succeed, America succeeds."


         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.


Disclaimer: 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.


Click here to read the story on The Blaze.

Are House Republicans Going to Tackle Immigration Reform This Year?

Immigration reform is back in the news, eight months after the Senate passed the Gang of Eight's bill last June but the House declined to take it up. Last Thursday, January 30, House Republicans released a one page draft consisting of six standards they will adhere to as a caucus when pursuing immigration reform. Specifics have yet to be determined but they will be under these penumbrae. Click here to access the document: 

  • Border 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."
  • Implement 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.
  • Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement: House Republicans want to move away from a paper-based employment verification system to an electronic one.
  • Reforms 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 American workers."
  • Youth: 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.
  • Individuals 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.

In Case You Missed It

           Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke about immigration reform on Candy Crowley's State of the Union this past Sunday: 

Bobby Jindal on Immigration Reform: Build high walls with broader gates

Talking Points: Last Night's State of
the Union Address and Obama's Tone Shift

  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.

  • The speech was heavy on future executive action, representing a 9 to 2 ratio compared to last year's address: This year's State of the Union address was heavy on threats of executive action circumventing Congress. Nine times the President alluded to using executive action to further his agenda. In last year's State of the Union address, he mentioned using executive action only twice
  • The President put more emphasis on some issues this year by forecasting executive action: The tone shift from last year's speech and this year's speech is apparent in the way Obama talked about actions he wants Congress to take. Last year, Obama explicitly appealed to Congress eight times to pass legislation on a range of issues including manufacturing hubs, natural gas technology, refinancing, higher education, immigration, cyber security, and gun control. This year, Obama appealed to Congress with as much frequency, but he often couple the request with a declaration of executive action on issues such as help for the natural gas industry and unemployment insurance. 
  • The President's appeals to Congress shifted in tone between last year's address and this year's: Towards the end of his address last year, Obama said, "I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress..." This year, Obama declared near the beginning of the speech that "Some [proposals] require Congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still--and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do." 
  • Another example of the tone shift is the juxtaposition of the President's appeal for gun control measures last year and this year: Last year, making the State of the Union address two months after the Newtown massacre, Obama said on the topic of gun control: "Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. Now, if you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote." In last night's State of the Union address, Obama addressed gun control by saying, "Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say 'we are not afraid,' and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook."

In 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

January 29, 2014

For Immediate Release
Lisa Ziriax

National Federation of Republican Women Alarmed by President Obama's Stress on Executive Orders in the State of the Union

Alexandria, 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:


"In 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.


The 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.


The 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."


Minimum 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:


  • Didn't 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: 

State of the Union 2013: Obama Wants Minimum Wage:
'A Wage You Can Live On'

  • When was the minimum wage first instituted? Congress instituted a minimum wage in 1938, and since then the inflation-adjusted buying power of the minimum wage has averaged at $6.16 in 2013 dollars. At some points the minimum wage has harnessed less or more buying power than that average, the low being $3.09 an hour in 1948 and $8.67 an hour in 1968. As Sherk noted in his congressional testimony, "Today's minimum wage buys more somewhat more than the minimum wage has historically, although it remains over a dollar an hour below its historical high."
  • When does Congress raise the minimum wage? Historically, Congress has voted to raise the minimum wage in relatively good economic times. Congress has never voted to raise the minimum wage with unemployment over 7.5% since the Great Depression. 
  • Who works for the minimum wage? The two groups of people who typically work for the minimum wage are teenagers or young adults who are also in school, and disadvantaged adults over the age of 25. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, Sherk calculated that three-fifths of the teenagers and young adults working minimum wage jobs are enrolled in school and only 22% live at or below the poverty line since they are usually not the breadwinners in their households; three-fourths of older workers earning minimum wage live above the poverty line, because often those workers are married or choose to work part-time. 
  • How many minimum wage workers are single moms or dads? Only 4% of minimum wage, full-time workers are single parents.
  • The minimum wage is a learning wage: Over half of Americans started their careers making within $1 of the minimum wage. Two-thirds of those making the minimum wage receive a raise within a year. 
  • States have the power to raise their minimum wage if they wish to: James Beattie at reported two weeks ago that 13 states increased their minimum wage last year, and 14 states and the District of Columbia have bills in their legislatures this year to raise the minimum wage. 
  • How many Americans only earn $7.25 an hour? Ed Feulner, former President of the Heritage Foundation, wrote last month that only 3% of American workers earn just $7.25 an hour. 
  • What are the effects of raising the minimum wage? Sherk noted, "The minimum wage especially hurts disadvantaged workers' job prospects. Higher minimum wages encourage employers to replace less-skilled workers with more productive employees. Given the choice between hiring an unskilled worker for $10.10 an hour and a worker with more experience for the same rate, companies will always choose the more experienced and productive employee." If the minimum wage is raised, more experience and educated workers will settle for minimum wage jobs, because "Higher minimum wages...make working in such jobs more attractive, drawing greater numbers of workers with outside sources of income into the labor market....[and] they crowd out urban teenagers and disadvantaged adults who would have sought the jobs at the previous wages."
  • Even Bill Gates thinks raising the minimum wage will not help disadvantaged workers

The Continuing Resolution and the Omnibus:
Talking Points on Budget Woes This Week

  • The 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. 
  • The 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. 
  • The omnibus spending bill is expected to cost $1.012 trillion. However, as Romina Boccia at the Heritage Foundation pointed out last week:

"The Ryan-Murray budget deal increases spending by $45 billion above the spending caps agreed to in 2011 by a bipartisan majority. While this new spending level presents the upper limit, it would be close to a miracle if Congress spent any less than the $1.012 trillion included in the budget deal. Instead, it is more likely that Congress will try to spend even more by exploiting budget gimmicks."

  • According 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 is appropriated.

In Case You Missed It: Ryan, Gillibrand Speak
on Social Mobility at Brookings

 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: 

Congressman Ryan: 

Social Mobility Summit: Keynote Remarks by Representative Paul Ryan

Senator Gillibrand: 

Social Mobility Summit: Keynote Remarks by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

What You Need to Know About the Unemployment Insurance Debate: Talking Points

  • 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 Institute. 
  • 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: 

President Obama Speaks on Extending
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 business climates. 
  • 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 needed."
  • 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.

Senator Rubio Addresses Income
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 below:

War on Poverty

 Update on Female Congressional Candidates:

  NFRW will be keeping tabs on the women who are running for Congress in 2014. Below are some highlights:

  • Arizona: Martha McSally, District 2. Martha is an Air Force veteran who ran for Congress and lost in 2012 to Rep. Ron Barber by less than a percentage point. This is Rep. Gabby Gifford's previous seat. Martha will likely win the Republican primary on August 26, 2014 and has a decent chance of snatching the seat from Barber considering how close she came last time. 
  • Arizona: Wendy Rogers, District 9. This district tends Democratic and Wendy will be fighting Democrat incumbent Kyrsten Sinema if she wins the primary. To do this, Wendy would have to win the primary over Vernon Parker, who was the 2012 Republican nominee for Congress in Arizona 9. Former NFL quarterback Andrew Walter is also a contender in the Republican primary.
  • California: Elizabeth Emken, District 7. Elizabeth is campaigning against Democrat incumbent Ami Bera. Before Bera won this seat in 2012, Republican Congressman Dan Lungren represented this district. Emken is an underdog in a contested primary against former Republican Congressman Doug Ose, and the former Chief of Staff for Rep. Tom McClintock, Igor Birman. 
  • California: Mimi Walters, District 45. Mimi is the front-runner in this race and a current state senator. She has personal wealth and name recognition--she ran for state treasurer a few years ago. Despite these advantages, she may come under scrutiny for an apparent flip-flop on raising taxes. 
  • Georgia: Donna Sheldon, District 10. In the Republican primary, Donna is racing against Jody Hice, a socially conservative Baptist preacher. Donna is seen as the establishment choice. 
  • Georgia: Tricia Pridemore, District 11. Tricia recently lost a race for state party chair, but she enjoys a close relationship with Governor Deal. The runoff to the Republican primary for this seat is where most people are anticipating a fight between Tricia and Bob Barr. 
  • Illinois: Darlene Senger, District 11. Darlene is the likely Republican front-runner in the primary. District 11 is heavily populated with minority communities. 
  • Minnesota: Rhonda Sivarajah, District 6. This is Rep. Bachmann's seat, and the field is crowded to replace her. Tom Emmer, a Republican who won the GOP nomination in the Governor's race, will be Rhonda's top rival in the primary.
  • New York: Nan Hayworth, District 18.So far former Rep. Hayworth is unchallenged by another Republican for a primary. This district has changed parties three times in the past four elections. 
  • New York: Elise Stefanik, District 21. Elise is a Bush administration alumnus who worked on economic policy, and is Harvard educated. 
  • West Virginia: Charlotte Lane, District 2. Charlotte is running in a crowded GOP field for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's seat (Capito is running for Sen. Rockefeller's empty Senate seat). It is difficult to tell right now who will emerge the winner in the Republican primary for district 2. 
  • Utah: Mia Love, District 4. So far Mia is the only Republican challenging Rep. Matheson for this seat. Mia lost in 2012 by 768 votes, and Matheson won even though Romney took the district with 65% of the vote.

          This is not an exhaustive list. Information on these races came from the Cook            Political Report.

Budget 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 Ryan."

Talking Points: What You Need to
Know About the Senate Plan for
Education Reform

           While this year discussions about immigration, the budget, the debt ceiling, and ObamaCare have dominated the legislative agenda, Senate Democrats put forth a plan on revising and reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Congress has not dealt with education reform this year, meaning it has not reauthorized the ESEA even though the authorization for the ESEA's programs have expired. Congress has instead continued to authorize appropriations for the ESEA as a status quo measure. The following talking points are what you need to know about the Senate Democrat's plan for amending and reauthorizing the ESEA:

  • The 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.
  • S. 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).
  • In 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.
  • S. 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.
  • S. 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.
  • The 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."
  • Some 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."

          Education reform is likely to go nowhere this year, and this bill will have to be updated for passage next year. There are also significant differences with the counterpart version in the House, H.R. 5. Nevertheless, education reform will come to be news again soon and it is good to know what the different legislative options are.

Senate Democrats Change Rules:
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."   


          Just 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:


        "I 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 business."  


              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.


            "If 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."

Budget Conference Committee
Recesses Without a Deal

         The Congressional Budget Conference Committee has recessed and will not meet again until possibly five days before their self-imposed December 13 deadline to reach a deal.


          Both the House and the Senate are on recess this week and the Senate will also be out the week of December 2, leaving the week of December 9 as the only opportunity for the conferees to meet.


          Even though the full conference committee is not meeting, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) are said to be talking privately.  Ryan stated that he and Murray have made some progress, but that fundamental disagreements exist over entitlement program reform, taxes and how far a deficit-cutting deal will go.  "We are farther than we started," Ryan reported (The Hill, November 20, 2013).


           This conference committee has met formally only twice so far, but sources note that budget agreements are not usually hammered out in group settings.  No budget conference has had two or more public meetings since 1993.


           The slow pace of the talks does have some worried about the impending sequester cuts.  Ryan has predicted that there will not be another government shutdown when January 16 arrives and says the conference committee will either come to an agreement or existing spending levels would be temporarily extended.  In the latter event, the automatic spending cuts (sequester) would still go forward.

Failed Security of ObamaCare Website

             The House Science Committee will call computer hackers to testify on Capitol Hill at committee hearings on the lax privacy safeguards when an individual logs on to the ObamaCare website, and divulging sensitive personal information


          The website requires users to input such personal information as birth dates, Social Security numbers and household incomes in order to obtain information about potential health coverage, says House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), but security experts have pointed out flaws in the site that put the personal data at risk and subject users to the threat of identity theft.


           A second flaw will be exposed by testimony from Morgan Wright, an expert in cybersecurity, who will expose operations dysfunction that could lead to fraud when consumers attempt to sign up on the insurance exchange.  Wright has said that the Obama administration could not have completely complied with privacy provisions in the Federal Information Security Management Act when it was making changes to the website just before its ill-fated launch.  "It is inconceivable that there could have been a comprehensive security review if they were still making major changes and substantial changes to it one or two days before" it went live, he says (The Hill, November 13, 2013).


          In a letter to White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, inviting Park to appear and defend the website's possible security flaws,  Chairman Smith explained that the committee "will examine concerns about the lack of privacy standards for personal information passing through the website and the threat posed to Americans if hackers on the Internet gained access to such information." 


          According to a source, The Hill reports that the White House declined to make Park available to testify. Park has been subpoenaed to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as part of a hearing on the roll out of the entire 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 unneeded federal benefits."

National Republican Congressional
Committee's Project Grow

             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 voters.


           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 primary candidates.

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.

ObamaCare Backlash

           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.

Government Waste

             On Monday, The Washington Post reported that, in the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased, and the federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who have passed away. One aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and cooling bills for more than 11,000 people who are dead. In total, glitches in the system have paid more than $700 million to the dead according to government audits performed since 2008.


           In 2011 alone, auditors found Medicare paid $23 million for services "provided" to dead people.  From 2009 to 2011, it spent $8.2 million on medical equipment "prescribed" by doctors who had been dead for at least a year. Payments to the dead in recent years have totaled more than the annual budget of the Library of Congress.


           Since the federal bureaucracy, operating on jury-rigged and outdated systems, can't seem to determine exactly which Americans are deceased, benefits for those who are deceased continue to be paid out. Critics blame both the inattention of Congress and the inertia of the bureaucracy for the oversight.  But the situation never get fixed, according to Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, because the cost is spread among all taxpayers--too wide and too thin to make anybody very mad. "In the end, " Ellis said, it's not enough of an issue to get people rallied around." 


           The problem may be said to begin with the government's "Death Master File," which, The Post writes, is kept by the Social Security Administration. But the Social Security Administration official whose division oversees this function explains, "The fact is [these records] were never intended to be 100 percent accurate."  Thus, the task of maintaining the death records used by agencies across Washington, a task that calls for near-perfection, has fallen to an agency that does not believe perfection is its job.

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 revenue. 


          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.

Congressional Budget Negotiations to Begin

           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 and Medicaid. 


         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
Their Insurance Canceled reports today that "millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under ObamaCare ... and the administration has known that for at least three years."


         Fifty to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their health insurance individually can expect to receive a cancellation letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don't meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. Robert Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms, estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to purchase a richer package of benefits under new mandates.   


         Buried in ObamaCare regulations written by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in July 2010 is an estimate that "40 to 67 percent" of insurance purchasers will not be able to keep their policy.  That means that as far back as July 2010 the administration knew that a high percentage of Americans in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans. So when Obama repeatedly assured Americans after the Affordable Care Act became law that people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it, he knew full well that millions of Americans would not be able to keep their health insurance.


          This means that when the administration made this promise they knew half the people in the market could not keep what they had.  DHHS regulations were then written so that others would not be able to be grandfathered in either.    


          Forbes reports that more Americans in three States have had their private insurance policies canceled by their providers than have applied for coverage in all fifty States under ObamaCare.  Just over 500,000 individuals have seen their policies canceled in just three States. Florida Blue, for example, is terminating approximately 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies within the State; Kaiser Permanente in California is terminating approximately half of its individual business in the State; insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping approximately 20 percent of its individual market customers while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping 45 percent of its customers. Those figures do not include the recent reports in North Carolina of Blue Cross planning to cancel a sizable portion of their plans or carriers doing the same in Illinois and Nebraska. 

How to Defund ObamaCare? Let Us
Count the Ways

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 defunding ObamaCare.
  The four ways are summarized below. Click here to read the original piece. 

  • Stop 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.

  • Get 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.

  • Educate 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 Cannon.

  • 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 illegal taxes. 

Issa Demands Treasury Docs Related to
Questionable Expansion of ObamaCare Taxes and Subsidies

What You Need to Know About the Debt Ceiling

  As the partial government shutdown enters its third week, it is important not to lose sight of why the government shutdown in the first place: the fight over funding Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution, which deals with appropriations. The debt ceiling debate happens to be occurring at the same time because in mid-October the Treasury Department will only have $30 billion to pay bills unless the debt ceiling is raised. It is important not to confuse the two debates.

  • The last big fight over the debt ceiling occurred in 2011, resulting in the passage of the Budget Control Act (BCA). BCA raised the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion to $16.4 trillion, in exchange for 2.5% cuts in spending over the next decade, called the sequester. (The idea for the sequester originated in the Obama White House as motivation for the super committee to devise a plan with other spending cuts, which was not successful). 
  • The debt ceiling, having been raised by $2.1 trillion in 2011, was reached at the beginning of this year, resulting in a suspension of the debt ceiling limit of $16.394 trillion until May 19, 2013, when Obama signed the No Budget, No Pay Act into law on February 4, 2013. 
  • What's the difference between a debt ceiling suspension and raising the debt ceiling by a dollar amount? According to Romina Boccia at the Heritage Foundation, a debt ceiling suspension means that the current debt limit is maintained, and the government continues to borrow. When the end date of the suspension is reached, the money that the government borrowed during the period of suspension is added to the debt limit and that is the new debt ceiling figure. Using numbers from the U.S. Office of Managment and Budget and the U.S. Treasury Department, the federal government borrowed $300 billion from in the debt limit suspension period from February 4 through May 19. 
  • While raising the debt ceiling at all means adding to the national debt, one can argue that raising the debt ceiling by a dollar amount may curb potential spending rather than settling for a suspension--if those are the only two options and Republicans stand firm and insist on serious cuts in mandatory spending as a condition for raising the debt ceiling by a dollar amount. If that happens, then everyone will know by what exact amount the borrowing authority of the Treasury has been raised, instead of a guessing game.

Federal Government Negotiations

As 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 the month.
          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.                 

          The Republican National Committee 'revisited the record' on raising the debt ceiling and found the following: 

  • As a U.S. Senator, as appears in the Congressional Record, Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling saying, "raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure."  He added "America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.  Americans deserve better."

  • In 2007, then-Senator Obama did not vote during the vote to raise the debt limit.      

  • In 2006, then-Senator Obama voted against the Senate resolution to increase the debt ceiling.          

  • 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 on."

  • When voting in 2006, Obama stated, "We are voting on the budget today.  It's a sad state of affairs.  We just voted to increase the debt limit ... So we've got to get our fiscal house in order here in Washington.  I'm not sure it's going to happen under the current leadership in Congress (spoken when the debt exceeded $8 trillion as opposed to the $16.7 trillion it is today).          

  • Then-Senator 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. 

  • Senator Harry Reid, in 2006, voted against increasing the debt ceiling saying, "Under the circumstances, any credible economist would tell you we should be reducing debt, not increasing it."         

  • 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 Tribune, 6/15/06)

           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 the Roundtable

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."

Two Different Fights: The Continuing
Resolution and the Debt Ceiling

 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.
The facts:

  • Fiscal Year 2013 ended on October 1, 2013. Without a budget, Congress has to pass Continuing Resolutions in order to appropriate money to fund the government. House Republicans decided to attach a measure defunding Obamacare to the Continuing Resolution (CR) to the Senate, where it was rejected. This was repeated in the last days of September before the shutdown. Ultimately, it resulted in a stalemate in Congress and a shutdown ensued, meaning that out of 4.1 government employees around 800,000 were furloughed. The origin of the CR fight is the funding for Obamacare, and it's important that Republicans stay on message as we enter into the second week of the shutdown.

  • The debt ceiling is the legal limit the federal debt can reach. It has been raised 10 times since 2001, according to the Congressional Research Service. If the debt ceiling is reached, the Treasury Department will have to prioritize payments. According to the Wall Street Journal, on October 15th, the Treasury Secretary will only have $30 billion on hand to make interest payments; on October 31, an interest payment of $5.9 billion is due; on November 1, a $50 billion payment is due for Medicare, Social Security, and military pay; on November 15th, another $30 billion interest payment is due.

          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

Make Phone Calls From Home to Help
Republican Women Candidates in New Jersey

       The Co-Chairman's office at the Republican National Committee has set up a call from home program to help out Republican women running for office this year in New Jersey. The information on the program can be reached here , and if there are any questions, direct them to the Co-Chairman's office at 202-863-5123. Please consider making a few phone calls to help Republican women get elected this year!

The Shutdown: A Timeline

N.B. This timeline was taken from the Tuesday, October 1st edition and expanded on here. Click here to see the original timeline.

  • Friday, September 20: The House votes to eliminate financing for ObamaCare, sending the Continuing Resolution (CR) to Senate with a repeal of ObamaCare. 
  • Monday, September 23: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) files a procedural motion to consider the House bill. 
  • Tuesday, September 24: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks for 21 hours and 19 minutes against proceeding with the bill. 
  • Wednesday, September 25: The Senate votes to proceed with the bill.
  • Friday, September 27: The Senate takes three votes, ending debate on the House bill, taking out the repeal of ObamaCare, and approving a substitute measure. As reported, 25 Senate Republicans voted with all of the Senate Democrats to invoke cloture on this bill. According to Senate rules on cloture, "The majority required to invoke cloture is three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn, or 60 votes if there are no vacancies in the Senate's membership." If Senate Republicans had united and voted against invoking cloture, House and Senate conservatives hoped Reid would agree to use a Senate rule that requires 60 votes for the passage of amendments. Once cloture was invoked and Reid was not pressed to agree to a 60 vote threshold, he offered an amendment to take the defunding ObamaCare measure out of the CR, now only needing a simple majority vote to do so. If Senate Republicans had remained united against invoking cloture on Friday, the fight over defunding ObamaCare would have to be fought in the Senate as well as House. To see Senator Cruz's statement after Senate Republicans invoked cloture, click here
  • Sunday, September 29: The House repeals a tax on medical devices, votes to delay ObamaCare for a year, and includes a provision allowing employers and health care providers to opt out of paying for coverage for abortion, abortifacients, and contraceptives. The bill is again ready to be taken up by the Senate.
  • Monday, September 30: The Senate takes out the changes to the ObamaCare provisions in the CR, and sends the bill back to the House. The House votes Monday evening to delay ObamaCare's individual mandate and on a measure that would cancel insurance subsidies for lawmakers and staff. The bill is set to go back to the Senate, where the Senate votes to take out the ObamaCare changes and again sends the bill back to the House. 
  • 12:00 AM, Tuesday, October 1: Government begins shutdown mode. Speaker of the House John Boehner requested a conference with the Senate but the request was denied.

Senator Cruz: "There's No Rule That a
Continuing Resolution Has to Fund
Every Bit of the Federal Government
All At the Same Time."

Ted Cruz: House ought to pass several
continuing resolutions

Senator Cruz told Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Monday that the House should focus on passing several smaller Continuing Resolutions to fund parts of the government that both Republicans and Democrats agree on funding--like National Parks.

Details of the Government Shutdown

The Heritage Foundation reports today that, regarding the so-called "government shutdown," government funding is not at issue:  it's ObamaCare.  The real story, Heritage claims, isn't the government shutdown but rather the insistence by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "to foist ObamaCare on the American people."  While the House has passed multiple bills that would fully fund government but would delay or defund ObamaCare, the Senate has continually rejected those moves.  Never mind, as Heritage points out, that Congress and the administration have gone forward with delaying major provisions of ObamaCare, giving special consideration to labor unions and Congress.  ObamaCare's health insurance exchanges open today.


        According to The Hill, White House officials have suggested that a refusal to negotiate over funding the government is their "winning strategy." White House officials have also expressed confidence that they will not have to back down in the slightest and the chances of them negotiating with Republicans are slim to none. Sources in the White House believe GOP divisions and polls showing more people would blame Republicans in Congress for a shutdown mean Obama will not have to give an inch.


       Democrats on Capitol Hill are relying on support from Senate Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine who disagrees with the House move to link the Affordable Care Act with funding federal government.  Certain Republicans in the House have also expressed support for moving a clean funding measure, which gives the White House more leverage.  Democrats are claiming Republicans have backed themselves into a corner in this debate and they now have few options remaining.  Others point to the Tea Party and say that it is a political base that can never be placated and which seeks to extract ideological concessions in order to save face.


       Republicans are stating that Obama risks losing footing as he refuses to negotiate with them.  "The president will have to explain why he sat at home and did nothing," said one spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.  A spokeswoman for the National Republican Committee went further, claiming Obama has turned into the typical politician he promised he would not be as he refuses to come to the table. 


      While debate continues, essential government services will continue.  Hans A. von Spakovsky, writing for the National Review, explains that there have been 17 funding gaps since 1977, ranging from 1 to 21 days.  From the experience of these prior shutdowns, it is clear "that crucial government services and benefits would continue.  That includes all services essential for national security and public safety (such as the military and law enforcement) as well as mandatory government payments such as Social Security and veterans' benefits."


      Justice Department legal opinions, applicable federal laws and Office of Management and Budget directives reveal that "a shutting down of the government is an entirely inaccurate description," according to an opinion issued by the Justice Department.  The Justice Department opinion states that "the federal government will not be truly 'shut down' ... because Congress itself provided that some activities of Government should continue." 


       Planes, trains and automobiles will keep running and TSA will continue patting us down.  The president can continue overseas trips to conduct foreign relations and Social Security and Medicare benefits will keep going out.  The Border Patrol continues its activities.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons will keep convicted criminals in prison and the FBI continues to function as normal.  The Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury will go on as will the IRS.  The FDA and Department of Agriculture continue their safety testing and inspection of food, plants and drugs.


      What will occur is that nonessential federal employees will be furloughed; but in the November 1995 funding gap, that amounted to only 800,000 out of a total of almost 4.5 million federal employees at the time.  In a second funding gap between December 1995 and January 1996, only about 300,000 employees were furloughed; so the vast majority of federal employees will keep working.


      National parks will most likely close and some suspect President Obama will shut down other highly visible but nonessential government offices in an effort to annoy members of the public and shift blame for the shutdown to Republicans. 

On the Conflict in Syria and US
Involvement, Part 2:

  • On 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." 
  • This 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 action: 

NBC FULL Important Interview with
President Obama Over Syria Crisis

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Monday night that he would delay the start of procedural votes on the Authorization for Military Force in Syria until the Russian proposal is determined viable or not. 
  • Obama's Authorization for Military Force would probably have failed in the House, and possibly the Senate. If the Syrian government does comply with the Russian proposal, it could prevent US involvement-- which is already unpopular according to the latestGallup poll.

Congresswoman Black's No Subsidies
Without Verification Act Coming Up
For a Vote Today

        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

On the Conflict in Syria and U.S. Involvement, Part 1:

  • Beginning 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. 
  • Assad 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 Lebanon. 
  • Who 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. 
  • Is 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.
  • On 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. 
  • Has 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.      

BBC News - Carla Del Ponte 'stupefied by Syrian opposition sarin use'

  • Secretary 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 unclear:

HEATED: Rand Paul Storms John Kerry,
Gets "Owned" at Syria Military Action Hearing - 9/3/2013

Executive Order Amounts to Grant of Amnesty

                        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 directives.  
                         The most recent directive was issued by the president to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials instructing them not to enforce immigration laws in cases where an illegal alien is the primary provider for any minor child, regardless of the child's immigration status, or is the parent or guardian of a child who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.  

                          In June of last year, the Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum instructing U.S. immigration officials how they should "enforce the nation's immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home," Heritage Foundation, 8/30/2013. This memorandum essentially served to implement, by executive fiat, major portions of the DREAM Act which has failed in Congress more than 30 times.   

                          Of the most recent Obama directive, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) made clear: "President Obama has once again abused his authority and unilaterally refused to enforce our current immigration laws by directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to stop removing broad categories of unlawful immigrants."

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 Does Defunding ObamaCare Really Mean?
What You Need to Know

During 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:

  • Background: 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 mid-October. 
  • Congressional 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 co-sponsors. 
  • Can 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. 
  • What 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.  
  • Will 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.
  • Do 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
Grassroots Tsunami, and More on CNN's State of the Union

NFRW Armed Services and Homeland Security Committee

                          The NFRW Armed Services and Homeland Security Committee is sponsoring two of its projects at the NFRW 37th Biennial Convention in Louisville, Kentucky next month. The Hugs Project and the One Touch Awakening Project (Pillow Project) are both organizations that directly help our military troops overseas.  

                          The Hugs Project began in Oklahoma in 2004 when its founder, Karen Stark, asked her doctor if she could write to his Marine son who was serving in Iraq. The trooper requested that she write to his friend, and that friend's friend, etc. Then one day, after reading about a 22 year old woman who collapsed and died of heat stroke while standing guard duty, Karen found instructions on how to make ties that can lower body temperature by more than 7+ degrees.  She went to military and troop-friendly websites to get names of our troops, so she could send them a little "hug" to keep them cool--and the rest is history. Today The Hugs Project is a world-wide organization of more than 3,000 members from every State and 58 countries. From the Oklahoma City location alone, the volunteers have sent out almost 100 care packages and many neck coolers to help make life a little better for some of America's finest young men and women. The members of this all volunteer, world-wide non-profit have sent over 600 TONS of care package items.  Go to their web site at http://www.thehugsproject.comfor more information on the items they send, such as the "Survival Bracelet" - do you know the many ways it can mean survival for your loved one?  

                        The One Touch Awakening Project (aka Pillow Project) was organized by NFRW member Susan Hafner to send a pillow to each of our troops deployed in a danger zone since they are deployed without pillows. But, more importantly, the pillows are sent to assure our troops they're appreciated and not forgotten. Along with a One Touch pillow for physical comfort, each time these troops lay their head on their pillow, they can be assured they are being supported with prayers from home.  Each pillow is sent with a card sharing the 3-fold purpose: 1) Your secret meeting place with your creator; 2) Our prayer network is praying for you and all who sleep on One Touch Pillows; and 3) A nightly reminder that "One Touch from God is greater than all the world can offer." Visit the One Touch Awakening website to find out how you can help.  

                     We are asking each State President to request a donation from their State Federation and the clubs within their States. Contributions can be sent to the national convention with club and State Federation delegates.  Look for the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committee table in the convention exhibitor area where donations will be collected.  

                      At the end of the Convention, NFRW President Rae Chornenky will present a check to each project for one-half the amount collected to apply to their items sent to servicemen and women. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to directly show support to our troops as they fight for us.

                     Please help us collect money to send supplies to them.  For more information, please visit our page on the NFRW web site at Please feel free to contact me with questions at  

Elayne Dennis, Chairman
NFRW Armed Services and Homeland Security Committee

Barbara Bush Literacy Program:
Literacy Month

          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 people." 

          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 take up a project to promote literacy during September and share the details of those projects with others on an official form. 


  • to report an ongoing project that promotes literacy on an official form.

We invite you to go to the Education and Literacy pages of the NFRW web site for more information:

On this page you will find:

  • Project ideas that have been done successfully in previous years. 

  • 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 clubs. 

  • Literacy Proclamation Template to use with recognition from community officials for National Literacy Month (September). 

  • Official entry form for the Barbara Bush Literacy Program. Clubs have until October 31 to submit the completed official form. 

Last year's winners in the Barbara Bush Literacy Program:

  • Congratulations to our First Place Winner, # 41: Lowndes County Republican Women of Steens, MS, Mitzi S. Younger, President 

  • Congratulations to our Second Place Winner, # 43: Greater Kingsport Republican Women's Club of Kingsport,TN, Gail Patton, President 

The NFRW Literacy Committee wishes to thank and congratulate all who participated in the Barbara Bush Literacy Program in 2012 and extends an 

invitation for all federated clubs to participate this September.

Carol Alexander

NFRW Literacy Committee Chairman


Democrats Plan Voting Law Changes

            Last week, the head of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) launched a 50-State initiative to promote changes Democrats claim will make it easier to cast a ballot. 


         The effort is being run by American Values First, a 501(c)(4) organization headed by the DLCC's executive director and launched last week  during a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Democrats intend to push State legislation similar to that of Colorado which now requires all voters to receive mail-in ballots.


           Legislators in seven States will also introduce bills that will tweak election laws in other ways and, in States in which Democrats have control, the measures have good chances of passing.  Democratic legislators in Maine intend to push for expanding access to absentee ballots and early voting locations and Democrats in Nevada passed bills to extend the deadline for new voters to register and to add polling places although both were vetoed by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. 


           The new push is said to come in response to Republican voter law initiatives in key States.  Republicans in North Carolina and Florida moved to cut the number of early voting days and Arizona and Florida imposed new restrictions on groups that sign up voters for absentee ballots.  Republican-led legislatures from New Hampshire to Michigan to Florida passed legislation requiring voters to show photo ID before they receive a ballot.

Government Spending in Perspective

 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 those standards.


  • IRS 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.
  • In 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.
  • In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $300,000 promoting caviar produced in Idaho.
  • 1,000 prisoners in Pennsylvania collected weekly unemployment benefits over a four-month period, costing taxpayers $7 million.
  • The 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 more.
  • Taxpayer-funded Amtrak recovered only 44 cents of every dollar of its food and beverage costs on long-distance routes which already annually lose money.
  • The 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.
  • The 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 manlier.
  • According, a website dedicated to unveiling government spending, the Department of Health and Human Services failed to report $800 billion in spending on time.

Obama's Economic Legacy

  • $25.8 Trillion:  Projected federal debt in 2023 (Office of Management and Budget)
  • $16.7 Trillion:  Current national debt (U.S. Treasury Department)
  • $1.413 Trillion:  Federal budget deficit for FY 2009 - highest in U.S. history (Congressional Budget Office)
  • $1.296 Trillion - Federal budget deficit for FY 2011 - second highest in U.S. history (CBO)
  • $1.294 Trillion: Federal budget deficit for FY 2010 - third highest in U.S. history (CBO)
  • $1.09 Trillion:  Federal budget deficit for FY 2012 - fourth highest in U.S. history (CBO)
  • $6.1 Trillion:  Added to the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Dept.)
  • $8.7 Trillion:  Amount Obama's FY 2014 budget would add to the debt through 2023 (OMB) 

The Taxpayer's Share of the National Debt:

  • $52,900:  Your share of the national debt (U.S. Treasury Dept. 8/8/13)
  • $19,315:  Increase in your share of the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Dept.) 


  • $2.6 Trillion:  true cost of Obamacare once fully implemented (Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives)
  • $1.8 Trillion:  Cost of Obamacare coverage provisions from 2014 to 2023 (CBO)
  • $819.3 Billion:  Amount of taxes in Obamacare (CBO)
  • $130 Billion:  Amount employers will pay in Obamacare mandated penalties from 2013 to 2022 (CBO)
  • 7 Million:  Number of Americans who will lose their employer-based health insurance due to Obamacare (CBO)


  • 11.5 Million:  Unemployed Americans
  • 22.2 Million: Americans unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work (Bureau of labor Statistics)
  • 14%:  Real unemployment rate (Bureau of Labor Statistics 8/2/13)

GOP Prepares Food Stamp
 Legislation to Cut the Program
           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
 Congressional Recess
             House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said Republicans have not made any determination about how they will proceed with funding the government, after the debt limit deadline of September 30. That deadline is joined with action required to raise the debt limit.
            In the past, Boehner has made clear that he demands a dollar of spending cuts for every new dollar borrowed but a vocal minority of conservative Republicans such as Senatoextending spending to keep the government open and raising the nation's debt limit.Obama has told House Democrats that the will not negotiate with Republicans over the debt Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have vowed not to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama's signature health care law is defunded.  Boehner has not indicated whether or not he would link his demands to a measure defunding Obamacare.
             Reaching a fiscal deal in Congress proves to be headed for a fight.  In many polarized  congressional districts, House members are finding their constituents prefer they clash with Obama rather than compromise. In addition, as NBC Politics has reported, the poor relationship between the Boehner-led Republican House and the Obama administration sets the stage for a confrontational showdown this fall overthe debt limit.
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 House Struggles With Immigration Reform

It was reported by
The Hill
 that a bipartisan House group appears ready to release its 500+ page comprehensive immigration reform proposal but, after four years of secretive talks, the seven members left in the group are resisting releasing their bill to avoid seeing it rejected by more conservative members who would prefer to first vote on border security enforcement measures.

           It is said that the House group wants to frame their legislation as a middle ground between the more liberal Senate bill and other partisan proposals on stricter border security and enforcement. Thus far, House Republicans have gravitated toward the piecemeal enforcement--the first approach outlined by House leadership. While one Democrat group member has stated the bill includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, Republicans in the group characterize the provision in the bill as a pathway to legal status. Regardless, the bill's process is two years longer and more arduous than the one proposed in the Senate bill.
          The effort has already won the support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Speaker John Boehner has encouraged the group's work but has not yet taken a position on the bill. The group's work has been endorsed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has kept in close contact with members of the group's negotiators and has supported their efforts in public and in private.
          Since House leadership has announced that no action on immigration legislation will be taken until the fall, the group offering the bill now has more time to work on closely reviewing the text, resolving disputes, and building support. As it stands, five different individual immigration bills have passed out of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees. In addition, House leadership recently issued a statement recommitting to a "step-by-step" approach to immigration reform which could mean that the bipartisan group's comprehensive bill could be split into pieces.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative
  Acacia M. Scott 
What is it?

  • 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.

Which states have implemented CCS?

  • 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.

Why are states repealing and rejecting the standards?

  • 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.

What is the cost?

  • The Pioneer Institute estimates that over the next seven years, CCS implementation costs will total approximately $15.8 billion across participating states.
  • In addition, states and local communities are expected to face substantial new expenditures for technology infrastructure and support.
  • It is also estimated that $350 million will be used to create the standardized tests. 

What are some pros and cons?

  • 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
        The House will vote on two key provisions of ObamaCare this week. The votes are a reaction to the administration's decision to delay a requirement until 2015 that companies offer workers health insurance plans by 2014 or face fines. While they have celebrated the setback for ObamaCare implementation, Republicans have also labeled the announced presidential delay as illegal because the ObamaCare legislation does not allow such a delay to be ordered by administrative fiat. 
        It is expected that the House will formally authorize the delayed enforcement of the employer health mandate and will also vote to delay the individual policy mandate requiring individuals to obtain health care or pay a fine.
       House Republicans argue that delaying the individual mandate is only fair as they have aggressively accused the White House of setting a double standard by giving businesses a break while leaving in place the mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance. Votes will be critical as they could put Democrats on record as opposing the second delay.
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

The Obamacare Decision: Reflections on the One Year
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 Act's first directive is that each individual must purchase health insurance from a private company. Those who do not comply with this mandate are forced to make a "shared responsibility payment," a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their yearly income, to the federal government through the Internal Revenue Service with the individual's taxes. The Supreme Court ruled that the mandate is more of a "choice" and the penalty is considered a "tax." Thus, if the tax is unpaid, it will be viewed in the same manner as tax penalties. Because of these terms, it was deemed constitutional. 

  • 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.

  • Both aspects of the law were determined constitutional which is why the law remains unsettled business and an increasing issue with Americans. A new Gallup report stated that the rate of disapproval has shifted from a 45% to a 52% rate of disapproval in the last year and a Fox News poll showed that "58 percent of voters favor repealing all or some of President Obama's signature legislative achievement." But what is the political reaction? The U.S. House of Representatives has voted thirty-seven times to either edit or completely repeal Obamacare, five bills (that were passed by the House) are currently stagnant in a Democratic Senate, and a growing number of states are declining to expand their Medicaid program. The Heritage Foundation, in an article regarding the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare, stated that the hands of the States were strengthened, not weakened, by the ruling. This appears to be true as more people realize that the Affordable Care Act is neither affordable, legal, nor what America wants. 

  • 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. 

What Will Come Next for Student Loans?
 "The president must urge his fellow Democrats to pass a market-based solution as soon as they return so that we can right this wrong and give our kids a better shot at the American dream." House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released this statement after the Senate recessed for July 4, even though they knew student loan interest rates would double on July 1.
          On May 23, 2013, the House passed HR 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, which moves all federal student loans, except Perkins loans, to a market-based interest rate. This means that the rate of interest offered on loans will be determined by the supply and demand of credit, the duration of loan, and the type of security offered.
          In 2006 the Congressional Democrats assured Americans that they would cut all student loan interest rates in half to make college more affordable. In 2007 they realized that this promise was too expensive to keep, and so they pushed for legislation that temporarily ensured low interest rates. Last year, with scheduled increases in the interest rates for subsidized Stafford loans, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (MAP-21) that included a one-year extension of the current 3.4 percent interest rate with the promise to develop a long-term solution for students. The House has done their part in passing HR 1911 and finding a long-term bipartisan solution. Even President Obama's plan, which was included in his FY 2014 Budget, includes a variation of the market-based approach to student loans and the Senate Democrats are blocking his effort. 
           Some Democratic officials have stated that when the Senate reconvenes on July 10 they will take a vote for a 1 year extension of the current rates. It may be a difficult task to bring down rates by vote once rates have risen from July 1st to July 10th. The doubling of rates between July 1st and July 10th will end up costing the average college student an additional $2,600 of interest to pay off after graduation. The increasing cost of student loans during a time of low inflation and low interest rates runs counter to the goal of promoting affordable college education for Americans. Ultimately, President Obama agrees with the same legislation the House and Senate Republicans passed, according to his budget. Students should not suffer with doubled rates because one group has failed to act.
What You Need to Know About Immigration Reform
This Week:

  • 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
 than an antagonistic view. 
          While the researchers have found, through assessing a representative sample of mainstream coverage for two months this year, that many stories either contained a balanced mix of views or no views at all, roughly five times as many stories were weighted toward support for same-sex marriage as were weighted toward opposition. 
In fact, the level of support conveyed in the news media that was examined went
 beyond the level in public opinion surveys.
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."
Pentagon Faces Budget Shortage
    The Pentagon is facing a $30 billion shortfall in its operations and maintenance accounts in 2013, according to testimony by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at an Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing. The budget shortage is due both to across-the-board cuts under sequestration and higher than expected costs for the war in Afghanistan, Hagel said.    
Grassley vs. Reid: Senate Spat
Last week, Senator Grassley (R.-IA) and Senate Majority Leader Reid (D.-NV) had a spat on the Senate floor over Reid's proposed rule requiring a 60 vote threshold for passing amendments to the immigration bill. Grassley put forth an amendment to the immigration bill that would have made the opening of the provisional immigrant status application period contingent on the Department of Homeland Security certifying that the border had been secured for six months. To kill Grassley's amendment, Reid asked that the voting threshold for amendments to this bill be set at 60, citing the "McConnell rule," which is a rather recent precedent that sets the amendment voting threshold at 60 in order to avoid filibusters. According to Riddick's Senate Procedure: Precedents and Practices, "a majority vote [51 votes], and not a two-thirds vote, is required for the adoption of the amendment..." (pg. 111). Historically, the precedent for amendment passage is a simple majority vote for germane amendments. Reid, as Senate Majority Leader, has the power to ask that this threshold be raised, and it was in this case. Grassley's amendment failed to garner the 60 votes it needed to pass, and instead it lost 57-43. Republican Senators Flake, Graham, Murkowski, Rubio, and McCain all voted with the Democrats to table the amendment. See Senators Grassley and Reid spar on the senate floor below: 
Some Things You Need to Know
About the Farm Bill:

  • Yesterday, the Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S.954, also known as the farm bill). The bill passed 66-27, with seven senators not voting. Eighteen Republican senators voted in favor of the legislation, 25 Republican senators voted against the legislation, and only three Republican senators did not vote on the farm bill--Senators McCain, Murkowski, and Paul. To see how your senators voted, clickhere

  • 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.

  • The last farm bill was passed in 2008, and it has been extended until September 30, 2013.

  • 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 gets rid of the direct payment program for farmers, but adds target price programs and revenue insurance programs.  The bill calls for the creation of an Adverse Market Payment program, which allows for payments to be made to farmers whose crop prices have fallen below the reference prices for their specific commodities. The revenue insurance program, called Agricultural Risk Coverage, provides payments to farmers if the revenue they receive from the sale of their crops comes under 88% of the standard baseline. There are two ways the Agricultural Risk Coverage payments can be determined, depending on whether the farmer chose to opt for farm or county level coverage. Some are concerned that the standard for the target prices are set unnaturally high, so that in average years most farmers will not receive revenue exceeding 88% of the standard baseline for their crops and therefore receive regular payments from the Agricultural Risk Coverage program. So while this bill does away with direct payments program, with the standard baseline for receiving insurance money so high, many farmers will receive insurance payments for losses.

  • 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.

  • The bill calls for veterans to be added to the definition of "socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers," and calls for the creation of a "Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center" (1112-1114).

  • 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:

  • The real unemployment rate, when figured to include those who are working only part-time due to economic reasons, is 13.8 percent. 

  • Since Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment has nearly doubled.                

           Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus issued a statement pointing out that "millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans are still waiting for the recovery President Obama promised years ago.  President Obama has given plenty of speeches about jobs but he's done very little to support the kind of common sense pro-growth policies Republicans have offered year after year."  For example, the Chairman points out, "the IRS has been squandering taxpayers' hard-earned dollars on luxurious million dollar trips and conferences."  It "is not fair to families struggling to pay the bills and to young people paying off student loans that the government wastes their money in this way."
             The RNC Chairman explains that "by eliminating big-government excess and unnecessary spending, while making regulations and the tax code fairer, we can encourage innovation and real economic growth ... and we hope President Obama will finally join us in our efforts ...  [to enact] sensible policies that promote job creation and spur economic opportunity for all Americans in every community."
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. 
Speaker Boehner Disparages
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."
Obama Cabinet Nominee "Bet Against America"

         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. 
Senate Immigration Bill Compromise Struck
 Today, Senators Schumer (D.-NY) and Hatch (R.-UT) struck a deal to use eight of Hatch's amendments in the Senate Immigration Bill, primarily dealing with H-1B visas. The compromise was key to gaining Hatch's vote for the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and some speculate whether Hatch's affirmative vote will prompt Senator Cornyn (R.-TX) to vote in favor of the bill as well. There are 18 Senators on the Judiciary Committee, and with Hatch as a "yes" vote the bill could pass out of committee with a 13-5 majority. The 10 Democrats on the committee are expected to vote in favor of the bill, as well as Republican Senators Graham and Flake. Republican Senators Grassley, Sessions, Cruz, and Lee are expected to vote no. Senator Cornyn is considered a swing vote. 
         The amendments that Hatch supported are opposed by the AFL-CIO, but backed by the tech industry. Hatch's accepted amendments deal with H-1B visas in two ways: first, in the original text of the Senate Immigration Bill, companies would have been banned from hiring an H-1B worker without making sure an American worker qualified for the job. Hatch's amendment ensures that this ban does not affect H-1B dependent companies. Second, the original text of the Senate Immigration Bill would have banned companies petitioning for an H-1B worker from firing a U.S. worker within 90 days of filing the petition. Hatch's amendment ensures that companies that do not rely on H-1B workers would only have to claim that they do not intend to displace U.S. workers when hiring for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) positions. The Senate Immigration Bill may pass out of committee this week.  
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. 

What You Need to Know About the Senate Immigration Bill: Fourth (And Last) in a Series
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.

What You Need to Know About the Senate
 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.

Americans Could have Been Saved in Benghazi Attack
                  Gregory Hicks, the man who became the top U.S. diplomat in Libya when Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in the Benghazi attack and who was in Tripoli at the time, has stated that a special operations team was ready to fly after Stevens was killed but before any other Americans were killed. However, as the team headed to the airport, they received a call from Special Operations Command telling them "you can't go now; you don't have authority to go now."  In fact, after Stevens had died, the Libyan Prime Minister prepared to fly their C-130 to Benghazi to carry additional military personnel as reinforcements but, with the call from the Special Operations Command, the Libyan C-130 was not able to leave until after all four Americans were dead.
            Hicks said in an April 11 interview that the administration could have saved lives that night and may have undermined subsequent criminal investigations with its talking points that contradicted accounts provided by the Libyan government.  He added his belief that the administration could have saved diplomats' lives if it had dispatched even one aircraft, noting that the naval base in Souda Bay, Crete was only an hour away.  Hicks also expressed outrage at Obama's ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's comments just five days after the attack that the attack may have been linked to a peaceful protest where, as Hicks pointed out, she contradicted Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf who told CBS News that the attack was "pre-planned, predetermined" by militants with ties to Al-Qaeda. 
Hicks and two other career diplomats with direct knowledge of the September 11, 2012 attack are scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.
What You Need to Know About the Senate
Immigration Bill: Second in a Series
           The Senate immigration bill drafted by the "gang of eight" and released on April 17th plans for comprehensive immigration reform. At 844 pages, the bill is divided into four titles on border security, immigrant visas, interior enforcement, and reforms to non-immigrant visa programs. In last week's Political Briefing, title I was examined; this week title II will be examined; next week, title III and so on. Title II stands at 336 pages, so the list below is by no means exhaustive-just a few points. The numbers in parentheses refer to pages in the bill.

  • Title II deals primarily with how illegal aliens can apply for registered provisional immigrant status. Parameters include when the application period will start and how long it will be, and what eligibility requirements aliens have to meet before they can apply and get approved for provisional immigrant status, as well as what the benefits of gaining provisional immigrant status include.
  • In this section, aliens eligible to apply for provisional immigrant status had to have been in the United States on or before December 31, 2011. Aliens have to prove they have maintained a continuous presence in the United States since at least December 31, 2011, and if they have left the United States since then, that the trip was "brief, casual, and innocent" (61).
  • Aliens can begin applying for the provisional status as soon as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notifies Congress that the commencement of the implementation of her border security strategy has begun.
  • An alien is ineligible to apply for provisional immigrant status if they have been convicted of a felony (except if the essential element of the felony was the alien's immigration status), an aggravated felony, three misdemeanors other than minor traffic offenses or where their alien status was an issue, and unlawful voting.
  • An alien admitted to the United States as a refugee will not be eligible to apply for provisional immigrant status.
  • The Secretary of DHS can waive an alien's ineligibility "for humanitarian purposes, to ensure family unity, or if such a waiver is otherwise in the public interest" (65).
  • For the spouses and children of an applicant to be eligible for provisional status as well, they had to have been in the United States since at least December 31, 2012.
  • An alien cannot apply for the provisional status unless they have satisfied any applicable federal tax liability.
  • The Secretary of DHS can only accept applications for one year after she places the notice in the Federal Register that applications are being accepted. After that one year period, she can extend the period for 18 more months if "additional time is required to process applications for registered provisional immigrant status or for other good cause..." (69).
  • If an alien is apprehended during the time window of the application period, and appears prima facie eligible for the application, he or she cannot be deported and instead must be presented with an application to apply for the provisional status. Conceivably, an alien could be pulled over for a traffic violation and leave the scene with an application for provisional immigrant status (71).
  • Any alien who has been successfully deported and has re-entered the country illegally after 2011 has to get the Secretary of DHS' consent to apply for the provisional status. However, the waivers to this rule in the bill are generous and would apply to most aliens who were successfully deported and re-entered the country after 2011, and if the Secretary decides to waive the application for an alien, it is up to her "sole and unreviewable discretion" (71).
  • From the date this bill is passed to the last day of the application period for provisional immigrant status, an alien in deportation proceedings will be absolved and given an application, if they are eligible (73).
  • From the time an alien submits the application to when it is accepted or denied by DHS, he or she cannot be considered an unauthorized alien (77). An alien who applies will be given a receipt that the application has reached DHS.
  •  Once an alien achieves provisional immigrant status, the status lasts for six years and may be extended for another six if they are "not likely to become a public charge" and if they have income that is not less than 100% of the federal poverty level (81).
  • The processing fee for the application will be determined by the Secretary of DHS, which is in addition to the $1000 penalty an alien has to pay (in one lump sum or in installments) if he or she is 21 years or older.
  • If for some reason an alien is approved for provisional status and it is determined later that fraudulent documents were used in the application process, the Secretary can revoke the provisional status (89).
  • Once an alien is approved for provisional immigrant status, he or she has to pay federal taxes, but is not eligible for certain tax credits, or welfare, and is still considered "not lawfully present" under Obamacare (91).
  • When this bill is passed, the Secretary will make sure that the information on how to apply for provisional immigrant status will be broadcast on radio, print, and social media to which aliens would likely have access (93).
  • The entirety of the DREAM Act is contained within Section 2103 of this bill (110).

99.5% of Illegal Immigrant Youth Get 
        Administration Approval for 
                Legal Status      
             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.
What You Need to Know About the Senate Immigration Bill's Border Security Provisions: First in a Series
               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
Week of April 11, 2013
Toni Anne Dashiell Elected as Texas National Committeewoman
               The National Federation of Republican Women is very pleased to congratulate Toni Anne Dashiell, former Texas Federation of Republican Women President, on her election as the Texas National Committeewoman to the Republican National Committee. An author and NFRW event presenter, Toni Anne succeeds Borah Van Dormolen, also a former Texas Federation of Republican Women President who passed away recently. 
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
 Themselves Ideologically

            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.
Gang of Eight Immigration Bill to be Released
          Senator McCain confirmed that the "Gang of Eight" hopes to release its immigration bill on Thursday, before the senators leave D.C. for their home states. The Gang of Eight has been pressured by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who are concerned that the negotiations on the comprehensive immigration bill the Gang of Eight is working on have been held in secret. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said that when the bill emerges, he will consider holding one hearing on the bill. If no hearing is held on the bill, it will skip to the mark-up process, meaning that the Republican caucus and the American people will not have adequate time to assess and debate the merits and demerits of the bill before it proceeds through the Senate. Senators Grassley, Cruz, Lee and Sessions asked the four Republicans in the Gang of Eight to brief the Republican caucus on the bill's progress by close of business yesterday, April 8, but their request was ignored.
NFRW Capital Connection
Week of April 4, 2013
Recruiting Women Candidates for Office: 
 A Follow-Up
 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.
Indiana's School Choice Voucher Law
             Last week, in a 5 to 0 ruling, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld Indiana's school voucher program put in place two years ago by then Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.  The State law offers families up to $4,500 to attend schools outside of the public education system, coming into conflict with claims against it made by the public schools' teacher-based unions. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar Ohio program in 2002.
            The Indiana program is more ambitious than most, making all families eligible to apply for vouchers, not just low-income families or those with children in failing schools.  Middle-class families are eligible to apply for vouchers and vouchers are offered statewide, even to families living in areas with adequate public schools. Thus, all parents are able to choose where their children go to school, according to Republican Governor Mike Pence.
             In 2011, President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan was quoted as saying that education is "the civil rights issue of our time," so one would think the administration would embrace programs such as the Indiana law.  The opposite is true, however, where Obama has sought unsuccessfully to defund Washington D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarships voucher program, which is very popular with D.C.'s low-income parents. As The Washington Times claims, Obama "is dead set against any reform that might upset powerful public-sector unions." 
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
The Gender Gap in American Politics 
                               In their study, Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans' Political Ambition, Jennifer Lawless of American University and Richard L. Fox of Loyola Marymount University point out that "researchers have provided compelling evidence that when women run for office - regardless of the position they seek - they are just as likely as men to win their races."  The large disparity in male and female elected officials, they claim, is not the result of systematic discrimination against women but is simply due to the fact that women do not run for office.     
             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
                 Last Thursday, declaring that Democrats who reject the goal of balancing the budget are out of step with the American people, House Speaker John Boehner reminded all that balancing the budget had been a major accomplishment for Republicans in the 1990's and Congressman Paul Ryan's recent House budget does
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. 
Capital Connection
NFRW News for the Week of March 22, 2013
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.   
                     Over the past few days, Jean has come under vicious attacks from negative push polls, false mailers, vile and disgusting tweets and most recently an Omaha City Council colleague displaying a derogatory t-shirt about Jean.  Both the t-shirt and the tweets were "some of the worst" examples of sexism in politics that Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, has ever seen.  "This is just really beyond the pale and quite disgusting," said Walsh.
                        Nebraska U. S. Senator Deb Fischer and former Governor Kay Orr have both rushed to Jean's defense and, according to Senator Fischer, decry the "vile attacks" she is facing. Former Governor Orr describes the attacks as "both vile and dishonest" and calls for all conservative women across the country to answer the call to action by being willing to put a stop to such derogatory campaign tactics. 
                          The Omaha World-Herald recently published an article illustrating the savage treatment Jean has been receiving as a conservative female candidate trying to become the first female mayor of Omaha in city history.  Jean's campaign points out the difficulty female candidates can encounter when outrageous, sexist claims are made against them.
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. 
Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-WI) Releases Budget: Talking Points

  • The new Ryan budget will cut spending by $5.7 trillion over 10 years, instead of over 25 years like his budget last year. 
  • Ryan dispensed with the Congressional Budget Office's current budget baseline, which assumes a certain amount of spending based on spending in the past. The reason Ryan calculated his own budget baseline on which to form his budget is because the CBO baseline assumes spending for war and disasters will be reduced; Ryan did not want to make that assumption because he does not think spending on war and disasters will be reduced in the coming years. 
  • The Ryan budget reduces the top tax rate from 39.6% to 25%. 
  • The new Ryan budget increases defense spending, but not as much as his last budget. 
  • The Ryan budget reduces farm subsidies by $31 billion.
  • It ends government funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • It caps Pell Grants at $5,645  for 10 years.
  • To read the Ryan budget, clickhere

Sequester Cuts Have Begun, Life Continues

           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, 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.
March 12, 2013
National Federation of Republican Women
Urges Federal Government to Tackle Immigration Reform
Adopts Resolution Calling for Guest Worker Program, Legal Status for Minors
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 more information about the NFRW, visit
March 9, 2013
National Federation of Republican Women
Calls on President to Reinstate White House Tours
Adopts Resolutions on Immigration Reform, Religious Freedom
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.
For more information about the NFRW, visit
February 26, 2013
An Update on Wasteful Spending in Washington from the
House Majority Whip's Office
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:

  • Reduce Improper Payments: In 2011, by its own estimates, the federal government made $115 billion in improper payments. These are instances where people receive benefits or payments they are not entitled to receive or for which proper documentation hasn't been provided. 
  • Reduce Duplication: According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, the federal government administers 94 federal initiatives to foster green building; 15 significant financial literacy programs across 13 agencies; 173 STEM education programs across 13 agencies; and 47 job-training programs. Consolidating these programs would improve their effectiveness and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
  • Reduce Government Waste: The federal government wastes billions of taxpayer dollars every year, including:
    • Free Cell Phones: This program cost $2.2 billion in 2013 alone.
    • ObamaCare Promotion: The federal government spent $51.6 million last year promoting ObamaCare and paying public relations firms.
    • IRS TV Studio: The IRS has a full-service TV production studio which costs $4 million annually to operate.
    • Vacation Getaways: The 183 Conferences paid for by federal agencies over the last several years cost taxpayers more per attendee than the infamous October 2010 GSA conference in Las Vegas, NV.
    • Property Maintenance: The federal government spent $1.7 billion in 2010 to maintain property that is not in use or underutilized.
    • EPA Grants to Foreign Countries: The EPA has given more than $100 million in grants to foreign countries over the last ten years.
    • Pay to Play Video Games: The National Science Foundation spent $1.2 million paying seniors to play "World of Warcraft" to study the impact it had on their brain.
    • Smoke Up! The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $47,000 on a cigarette smoking machine that holds up to 40 cigarettes at a time.

          The President would raise your taxes for the second time in eight weeks, rather          than consider these bipartisan alternatives:

  • Reduce Medicaid Loopholes: By reforming the Medicaid provider tax, we could save at least $9.8 billion.
  • Increase Medicare Means Testing for Upper-Income Earners: By asking the upper-income to pay more for Medicare, we could save approximately $20 billion.
  • Make Federal Retirement Match the Private Sector: By updating the federal employee retirement system to more closely track with the private sector, we could save approximately $21 billion.
  • Require the Return of Over payments: By requiring that individuals return over payments for exchange subsidies in ObamaCare, we could save approximately $44 billion.
  • Eliminate Slush Funds: By eliminating the Public Health Slush Fund in ObamaCare, which Democrats have supported reducing, we could save approximately $10 billion.
  • Require Food Stamp Eligibility: While ensuring those who need food stamp support get it, we can save approximately $26 billion by simply requiring recipients prove eligibility.

U.S. Troops Forced to Turn to Civilian Suppliers reported last week that a civilian military depot in California, TroopsDirect, a non-profit organization with one full-time employee, says service members in Afghanistan "are increasingly strapped for basic equipment."  TroopsDirect states that
           "An Army unit slated to deploy to Afghanistan to clear  roadside bombs has asked ... for 30 special vests  designed to carry armored plates because, according             to the unit's commanding officer, the Army will only outfit half of his 60 members with those vests."
           While the unit already has armored plates necessary for protection, without the vests to slip the plates into, the troops have no way of cloaking themselves with the necessary protective armor. 
            TroopsDirect has also told of similar circumstances in which medic packs were sent to a Marine Special Operations unit that had been "issued stuff that was ineffective for a medic out in the dirt tending to the wounded."  Last month, TroopsDirect heard from the commander of an Army mortar unit outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan, who had been issued such worn-out ear protection that troops were having their eardrums blown out by weapons percussion's and were bleeding from their ears.
            Defense Department budget constraints are the reason cited for the failure to supply all troops with necessary equipment according to one unit's sergeant.  Another sergeant under the company commander of the vest-needing unit was told that "there was a budget issue tied to this."
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
President Obama Waiting to Pounce on Immigration
This weekend an anonymous Obama administration official leaked the White House proposal on immigration legislation to the USA TODAY. According to theUSA TODAY, the plan creates a new class of visa for illegal immigrants who are residing in the United States called the "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa, and allows them to embark on an 8 year process of becoming a US citizen. Further, businesses would have to implement E-Verify, the system for checking the legal status of workers, within 4 years. The White House proposal does not include a guest-worker program and remains mum on how to handle enforcement specifically. 
          This proposal comes on the heels of a Senate Judiciary hearing last Wednesday, where Chris Crane, the president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council 118 of the American Federation of Government Employees testified that the Obama administration is forbidding ICE agents to enforce immigration law. According to Crane, "if an alien is arrested by local police and placed in jail, again, ICE agents may not arrest them for illegal entry or VISA overstay. New policies require that illegal aliens have a felony arrest or conviction or be convicted of three or more misdemeanors." As CNSNewspoints out, some of the ICE policies Crane is alluding to are grounded in a June 2011memorandum sent out by ICE Director John Morton that said the goal of the agency is to rout out illegal aliens with criminal records, but not all illegal aliens. 
          The White House proposal does nothing to quell fears that the Obama administration is not concerned with enforcement of immigration laws or serious about border security. As the Obama administration is not enforcing current immigration law, there is no reason to think that future enforcement provisions, even if passed by Congress, will be adhered to by this administration. 
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.  
Febuary 14, 2013
What You Need to Know About the Sequester: 

  • 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.

          This analysis was compiled from the work of Michael Tanner for National Review Online (Don't Fear the Sequester), Donna Cassata from the Associated Press (The nuts and bolts of the sequester), The Wall Street Journal (The Unscary Sequester, andPanetta Orders First Concrete Sequester Steps), and Susan Jones for (Sen. Rand Paul: The Sequester is a Pittance). Also, see the latest CBO report on the sequester here
NJFRW President Appointed by Governor Christie to Superintendent of Election in Passaic County, New Jersey
The National Federation of Republican Women congratulates Sherine El-Abd, President of the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women on her appointment by Governor Christie to the post of Passaic County Superintendent of Elections. Virginia Rutledge, 1st Vice-President will serve out Sherine's term as president until the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women convention at the end of April 2013.
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 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. 
More Hispanic Vote Post-Mortem       
Last month, Resurgent Republic came out with survey of Hispanics who voted in the 2012 election. Four of the top swing states- Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada- concluded that Obama held the majority for Hispanic votes in every state.  With each state leaning 60, 64, 75 and 70 percent respectively in favor of Democrats, it is no surprise that Romney received the lowest percentage of Hispanic votes as Republican candidate since the 1988 elections, receiving only 27 percent of Hispanic vote compared to Obama's 71 percent. The loss of the Hispanic popular vote contributed to the Republican's defeat. 
            In the four states that were polled each had an increase in Hispanic population from 2008--2012.  As Juan Williamspointed outin The Hill this week, Republicans "can play to short-term resentment of immigrants among aging white conservatives or they can try to persuade the current base of the party to take the long-view and act in the best interests of the GOP's future." It is clear that conservatives have been taking the wrong approach on how to grab hold of the ever increasing Hispanic vote.  
February 13, 2013
CONTACT: Lisa Ziriax
405-596-3873 or
National Federation of Republican Women
Applauds Rubio's Vision for America
U.S. Senator Gives Powerful Republican Response to Obama's State of Union
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rae Lynne Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), issued the following statement in support of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's response to the State of the Union address:.
“In stark contrast to President Obama, Senator Rubio laid out a vision for America in which its citizens, not the government, are the driving force behind a thriving economy and increased opportunity for the middle class. Instead of getting bogged down in statistics and numbers about the looming budget crisis and the flagging economy, Rubio delivered a simple message about economic growth and opportunity, and in doing so, demonstrated a clear and powerful difference. Now we must choose. Do we want an America in which a bloated government continues to over-tax, over-spend and over-reach, or do we want an America in which government plays a limited role and citizens are free to pursue their dreams?”
February 5, 2013
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;
2)      The Sandy Hook shooter used guns that had been legally  obtained under strict gun control laws;
3)      The Sandy Hook shooter could have killed as many children with pistols as with his 'assault rifle;'
4)      According to FBI statistics, 90 percent of gun homicides are committed with handguns and only five percent with rifles; and
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.
While Dreher admits to having "no problem in principle with gun regulations, up to a point," (e.g, banning guns for felons and the mentally ill, banning large capacity clips) he does point out that the vast majority of American gun owners use guns responsibly and the conversations regarding gun control cannot be driven by emotion.  
Affordable Health Care A Thing of the Past
Research from the Republican National Committee shows that "the Obama administration adopted a strict definition of affordable health insurance on Wednesday that will deny federal financial assistance to millions of Americans with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by employers."  (Robert Pear, "Federal Rule Limits Aid to Families Who Can't Afford Employers' Health Care Coverage," The New York Times, 1/30/13).  Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Loise Radnofsky explains the decision "means some low income Americans whose employer-plan premiums are beyond their means won't be eligible for the main perk of the law" as Obama pedaled it to Americans before and after the 2012 elections.
           IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix what's being called "a glitch" in the administration's overhaul law (The Associated Press, 1/30/31). The Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University has reported that they can "see kids falling through the cracks" as access to affordable family-based coverage is blocked.  Hailed as "a very significant problem" by the organization Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days, that organization called for repair of the law through legislation and not the administration's regulatory process.

          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 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,", 01/14/12).
January 29, 2013
Overlooked Role of Senator Kerry in
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,
Training for Treason, the Harmful Agenda Behind Education for Sustainability, as saying that "We need to change ... a whole set of beliefs and values, and those come from culture, from religion, from social, economic, and political structure ..."  
            Green Out! states that the plan of Senator Kerry's effort is to use public education as a tool to train students to adopt Second Nature's mindset.  Senator Kerry's co-founder Cortese is again quoted as saying "U.S. Senator John Kerry and I started Second Nature ... because we felt that we needed a massive change in mindset.  And we needed to work on higher education because higher education trains all the professionals in society and the people who are leading all of our institutions, all the future K-12 teachers.  They train all, and also set-the-kids-up, for our framework for learning."
             As the mission of Operation Green Out! is to stop the misuse of public education to politically indoctrinate America's children and to stop any plan to pressure students and scare children "into compliance" out of fear of environmental claims, Operation Green Out! warns against the objectives of Senator Kerry's Second Nature organization which it believes includes using public education to change cultural, religious, social, economic and the political structures of our nation to match its own goals.  Operation Green Out!  raises its concerns as the agenda of the next Secretary of State is questioned in Senate confirmation hearings. 
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: 

  • "Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
  • Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
  • Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
  • Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation's workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers."

          Riding on the wave for immigration reform, President Obama spoke in Las Vegas today about the issue and the White House released a fact sheet on what the administration is looking for in an immigration plan. To read President Obama's fact sheet, clickhere. To read the entirety of the "gang of eight" proposal, clickhere
Texas Federation of Republican Women
Adopts Immigration Reform Resolution
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
Billion in Obama's First Term
           A recent report by the American Action Forum found that in President Obama's first term in office, the total cost incurred by businesses from federal regulations has been $518 billion, a figure which includes the cost of proposed rules, final rules, and interim rules, and is more than the combined GDP of Norway and Portugal. By tracking every proposed and final regulation that appears in the Federal Register, the AAF compiled its report which is summarizedhere.

  •  While Obama's Administrator of the White House office of Information and Regulatory affairs, Cass Sunstein, may argue that regulatory rescission saved businesses $2.5 billion last year, any savings were negated by the $236 billion in new regulations that were proposed and implemented.
  • Last year the White House disregarded its obligation to publish an accounting of regulations in April and October of every year according to the Regulatory Flexibility Act. A spring edition was never released and the fall edition was put out in December. The White House also failed to report new paperwork burdens on businesses as a result of these regulations by not releasing the Information Collection Budget. The White House also never released its "Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations."  
  •  AAF points out that while many assume the Environmental Protection Agency is the "sole driver of new burdens," the "top two proposed rules in 2012 and top final rule this year were either energy or fuel conservation rules." 2013 awaits five new conservation rules.
  • In the past four years, the projected cost of proposed and interim regulations has been much lower than the actual cost of the final regulation except in 2011, when regulations on the whole were curbed. In 2009, the projected cost of proposed and interim regulations was $921 million, but the actual cost was $83 billion. In 2010, the price of heavy regulation was $104 billion more than projected. In 2011, the actual cost of regulations was $144 billion less than projected, but in 2012 the cost of regulations was $195.2 billion more than projected.
  • In 2012 alone, White House officials instituted regulations costing businesses $236 billion. 
  •           These are just some of the AAF findings in the report Piling On: The Year in Regulation. To learn more about this issue and to see the graphs and charts AAF composed on the 2012 Top Proposed Rules by Cost, the 2012 Top Final Rules by Cost, the 2012 Top Regulations by Paperwork Burdens, and the Industry Regulation Index, which breaks down the financial burden these regulations impose by industry and year, check out the AAF report.

Obama's First Term by the Numbers
     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:

  • $25.4 Trillion: Projected federal debt in 2022 due to Obama's binge spending (Office of Management and Budget, 7/27/12).
  • $16.4 Trillion: Current national debt (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $9.2 trillion: Amount Obama's FY2013 budget would add to the debt through FY2022 (OMB, 7/27/12). 
  • $5.8 Trillion: Added to the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $2.6 Trillion: True cost of ObamaCare once fully implemented (Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Report 1/6/11). 
  • $1.75 Trillion: Annual cost of federal regulations (Small Business Administration, September 2010). 
  • $1.18 Trillion: Total cost of Obama's first stimulus with interest (CBO, 1/31/12).
  • $1.17 Trillion: American debt held by China (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $1.090 Trillion: Federal budget deficit for FY2012--Fourth Highest in U.S. History (CBO, 10/5/12). 
  • $833 Billion: Price tag of Obama's first failed stimulus (CBO, 8/23/12).
  • $820 Billion: Amount of taxes in ObamaCare (CBO 3/13/12). 
  • $518 Billion: Amount of regulatory burden since Obama took office (American Action Forum, 1/14/13). 
  • $447 Billion: Price tag of Obama's second stimulus (The White House, 9/8/11).
  • $236.7 Billion: Amount of regulatory burden in 2012 (American Action Forum 1/14/13).
  • $188 Billion: Taxpayer funds for Fannie May and Freddie Mac (ProPublica, Accessed 10/10/12). 
  • $28.5 Billion: Outstanding government investment bailouts of the auto industry (Treasury Department, 1/10/13). 
  • $24.3 Billion: Amount government expects to lose on bailouts of auto industry (Treasury Department, 1/10/13). 
  • $535 Million: Stimulus loan to the failed solar company Solyndra (The Oakland Tribune, 11/4/10).
  • 46.2 Million: Number of Americans receiving food stamps (Department of Agriculture, 1/4/13).
  • 22.7 Million: Americans unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13). 
  • 12.2 Million: Unemployed Americans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13). 
  • 2.6 Million: Unemployed workers that have given up looking for work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13). 
  • 757,000: Unemployed veterans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 226,000: Unemployed post-9/11 era veterans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 89,000: The number of stimulus checks sent to dead or incarcerated people (The Wall Street Journal, 10/7/10).  
  • $53,224: Your share of the national debt (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13). 
  • $18,804: Increase in your share of the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 45,696: Pages of new rules added to the federal register during Obama's first two years in office (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011).
  • $15,500: Annual cost per household from federal regulations (Small Business Administration, September 2010). 
  • 61%: The amount by which new offshore leases for oil and natural gas drilling has declined under Obama (, 10/19/12). 
  • $3,065: Amount of increase of average cost of family health care premiums since Obama took office (The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012).
  • 7.8%: The current unemployment rate, which is the same as when Obama took office (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for women has increased from 6.9% to 7.8% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).
  • In December 2012, the unemployment rate for women spiked from 7.6% to 7.8% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).
  • Since Obama took office, the African American unemployment rate has increased from 12.7% to 14.0% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).
  • In December 2012, the African American unemployment rate increased from 13.2% to 14.0% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13). 

           To access the full list, click here
January 3, 2013
CONTACT: Lisa Ziriax
405-596-3873 or
National Federation of Republican Women
Congratulates Speaker Boehner on Reelection
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rae Lynne Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), issued the following statement regarding U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's reelection today.
“The National Federation of Republican Women is pleased to congratulate Ohio's John Boehner, who has won reelection as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for a second term. Speaker Boehner is to be applauded for his continued leadership in Congress fighting for smaller government, fiscal responsibility and greater government accountability, and, in his reelection today, winning what NBC News calls the 'overwhelming support of the GOP.' The NFRW looks forward to supporting and working with Speaker Boehner and all of the newly-elected Republican leaders in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.”
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 more information about the NFRW,
November 1, 2012
Support Republican Women Candidates This Election Day 
 The NFRW website has been updated to include a page of all the Republican women candidates running for federal and statewide office. Republican women are running for a broad range of offices, including Delegate, Public Commissioner, Corporation Commissioner, State Auditor, Railroad Commissioner, Secretary of State, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and Lieutenant Governor.  
Go to our page to see them all and find links to their campaign websites in order to learn more about them as individuals and their races. There are 68 Republican women running for federal and statewide office this year. Of these 68, 47 are running for the U.S. House of Representatives and 6 are running for the U.S. Senate. Republicans want to retain the House and hopefully take the Senate this election season. Republicans need to take 4 seats in the Senate for a majority. If 4 of these women get elected, Republicans will have a Senate majority for the first time since the Democrats won the majority in 2006. 
For additional information on these women candidates, check out the American Center for Women and Politics. You can also find the link on the NFRW website under the Campaign and Elections tab in the Digital Resource Library. 
October 25, 2012            
              Florida Federation's DC Project                      Releases New GOTV Videos           
      On the heels of the latest presidential debate, which brushed on the topics typically thought to be "women's issues" such as abortion and contraception, the Florida Women's DC Project unveiled a powerful video that speaks to the real concern of women focusing on the economic disaster they are living through every day across America, according to Dr. Imogene White, Chairman of the project. The videos appeal to women of all walks of life by drawing notice to a universal concern: the health of the American economy. 
    Since 2009, women have taken the biggest hit in the rising unemployment crisis, losing close to 70% of the millions of all jobs lost. African Americans and single women's unemployment rates are especially alarming. One in two college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. In response, the Florida Women's DC Project also released radio PSA spots in targeted Florida areas that strive to educate women about the alarming statistics they are facing. 
    The Florida Women's DC Project videos can be found by following these links: 
"Women Trust Republicans with Their Votes This November"
"Women Vote Like the Future Depends On It"
Women in the Work Force - Obama's Failed Policies
        The House Republican Conference reported on October 24th that under President Obama, the percentage of American women in the workforce is at its lowest since 1992.  The government's Bureau of Labor Statistics adds that, since Obama took office in 2009, the number of unemployed women in America has increased from 5 million to 5.45 million.
        The labor force participation among women is the lowest it has been in 20 years.  According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 57.6 percent of all women in America are in the workforce, the lowest level since October 1992. While Obama continues to tout his record of focusing on women, his failed economic policies have actually driven more than 4 million women out of the work force.
        Unemployment among women of all walks of life has steadily increased because of the failed economic policies of President Obama.  Unemployment among single women is now 11.2 percent. Unemployment among African American women is now 11.6 percent.
        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
        In the wake of the Obama administration's condemnation of the Romney campaign's immediate statement on the Benghazi attack, NFRW member Catherine Jayne's letter to the editor of the Washington Times was published. In her letter, Ms. Jayne pointed out that "in the aftermath of the savage attacks on the U.S. embassies abroad and the tragic loss of American lives, the media has criticized GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's condemnation of the Obama administration. The Obama campaign even expressed shock that 'Gov. Romney would choose to launch a political attack' at this time. Yet after an attack on the U.S. base in Afghanistan claimed nine American lives in 2008, candidate Barack Obama seized the opportunity to denounce the George W. Bush administration." To read the whole letter, click here.  
October 18, 2012
Democrat Efforts to Vilify Romney's
'Binders Full of Women' Comment Show Desperation
Romney Demonstrates Impressive Record of Hiring Women for High-Level Positions
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rae Lynne Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), issued the following statement regarding efforts by Democrats, following the Tuesday presidential debate, to malign Mitt Romney's response to a debate question in which he gave an account of his initiative, as governor of Massachusetts, to hire qualified women for top-level cabinet positions.
“Out of sheer desperation, Democrats are doing their best to manufacture a controversy surrounding the phrase 'binders full of women' because recent polls show they are losing women voters in droves,” Chornenky says. “Governor Romney has a stellar record of hiring women for top positions in state government, and the Obama campaign and Democrats cannot deny this. So, in an effort to change the subject, they zero in on an innocuous phrase and try to repackage it as something sexist and offensive. This is essentially what they have been trying to do all year with the so-called 'war on women,' and it simply isn't working. Women voters aren't buying it.
“On the issue of equity in the workplace for women, President Obama has failed to lead by example. Earlier this year, we learned that the Obama White House paid its female employees an average of 18 percent less than its male employees in 2011. Former Obama aides have come forward claiming that the 'good ol' boy network' is alive and well at the White House, with President Obama neglecting to bring women into his inner circle of advisers. Questions about pay inequities at the Obama campaign and at the Democrat National Committee have also surfaced. How's that for equity?”
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 more information about the NFRW,
October 11, 2012
Get Out the Vote in the Last 25 Days Before the Election

     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

  Volunteer to participate by going online to
and clicking on "Victory With Palladian View" in the upper right hand corner.  
   Together, Republican women can effectively organize the grassroots to positively impact the election and take back our country.
September 19, 2012
Obamacare and Predatory Federalism: Talking Points on the Role of State Exchanges in Obamacare
nfrw medical pic
 Michael Cannon, the director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and former domestic policy analyst for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, has done extensive research on Obamacare and has been watching its implementation. The following talking points are adapted from his various articles, papers, and a Capitol Hill briefing, cited below:

  •  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, is like a stool that stands on three legs: the pre-existing condition provision, the individual mandate, and the premium assistance tax credits hold up the law.
  •  According to section 1311 of Obamacare, states "shall" create exchanges in order to receive the tax credits for low to moderate income people. The law restricts the tax credits to those exchanges created by the states because the credits were meant as an incentive for the states to create the exchanges.
  • According to section 1321 of Obamacare, in a state that refuses to set up an exchange, the federal government creates an exchange for the state; however, the law states 6 times that the tax credits are only for those exchanges created by the states.
  •  Several states have been adamant about not creating the health care exchanges, namely Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed setting up an exchange in his state in May of this year, and Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire (a Democrat) also vetoed the initiative in his state. Check to see how your state is handling Obamacare's exchange provisionhere.
  • Employers who fail to provide what the federal government defines as "essential coverage" to employees are liable to a tax as high as $3,000 per employee. However, if a state refuses to set up an exchange and the federal government sets one up for that state instead, according to the letter of the law, the employer does not incur the tax. States that do not set up an exchange are not subjecting their employers to the tax. 
  •  In order to close this state-exchange loophole in the law, the IRS disregarded Obamacare's statutory language on May 18, 2012, by declaring that the tax credit will apply to the federally created exchanges. This is an illegal action by the IRS that will increase deficit spending tremendously.
  • After the Supreme Court's decision in June upholding Obamacare, the law can be overturned by administrative action or by the Congressional Review Act. Contact your Governor today and urge him or her not to create an exchange in your state!

 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 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. 
2.) Obama's bleak economy has caused educational opportunities to vanish and strained the family budget.
3.) Four times more men than women are getting jobs.
4.) Hispanic women are the fastest and largest growing poverty group in America. 
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 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 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!
National Federation of republican women
September 12, 2012
National Federation of Republican Women Stands
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.
For more information about the NFRW, visit
National Federation of Republican Women
Acclaims Romney's Vice Presidential Selection
'Ryan is an Excellent Choice for the Women of America'
ALEXANDRIA, Va.Rae Lynne Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), issued the following statement regarding Mitt Romney's selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.
"The women of America should applaud Mitt Romney for choosing Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. Ryan's razor-sharp intellect, his bold, decisive leadership on the federal budget and the economy, his willingness and courage to tackle our nation's most difficult problems, and his Reagan-like ability to communicate ideas and solutions with the American people make him the perfect vice presidential candidate for this watershed moment in our history.
"Women, who have been disproportionately devastated by President Obama's economic policies, should be particularly encouraged and excited about Ryan's presence on the Republican ticket. Survey after survey show that women are most concerned about the economy, unemployment, and the lack of job opportunities, and how the bleak economic climate is affecting their families. By selecting a proven leader like Ryan as his running mate, Romney has solidified his commitment to getting our nation's fiscal affairs in order and putting us back on the economic path to prosperity. All Americans will benefit from a Romney-Ryan administration."
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 more information about the NFRW,
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