This may not come as a surprise to you, but Public Policy Polling (PPP) has unveiled that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the least popular Senator in the country.
According to the latest PPP Arizona poll, Sen. McCain is unanimously disliked among Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The poll indicated that only 30% of Arizonans approve of his job in the Senate while 54% disapprove.
Among conservatives and libertarians, McCain could face major issues if he decides to run for reelection in 2016. During President Obama’s push for stricter gun control measures in 2013, Sen. McCain offered his support to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) gun control bill by voting for it and calling it a “common sense” law.
While many liberty-minded Republicans were standing with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during his 13-hour long filibuster (a move praised by Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike), Sen. McCain used his influence to put the public against party colleagues like Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and referred to them as wacko birds, a term that was later used by several liberty-minded republicans and libertarians in social media drives to show neoconservatives that the childish criticism would not discourage them.
The Obama administration has failed to reach its target audience. At least that’s the conclusion one can draw from two new surveys showing that a fraction of uninsured Americans have signed up for health plans on the Obamacare exchanges:
A pair of surveys released on Thursday suggest that just one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private health plans through the new marketplace have signed up for one — and that about half of uninsured adults has looked for information on the online exchanges or plans to look.
One of the surveys, by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., shows that, of people who had signed up for coverage through the marketplaces by last month, just one-fourth described themselves as having been without insurance for most of the past year.
The survey also attempted to gauge what has been another fuzzy matter: how many of the people actually have the insurance for which they signed up. Under federal rules, coverage begins only if someone has started to pay their monthly insurance premiums.
Today in Liberty: February jobs report, Rand Paul to speak at CPAC today, House passes $1 billion Ukraine aid package
“There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.” — Margaret Thatcher
— February jobs numbers above expectations: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 175,000 jobs were added in February, which is above expectations. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.7%. The labor force participation rate remained steady an anemic 63%. The December and January numbers were revised upward by a total of 25,000 jobs.
Energy issues will play a role in four key states that could decide control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, according to a new poll. Specifically, President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will weigh on voters’ minds.
The poll, conducted by Hickman Analytics on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance, found that more than three-quarters of likely voters in four states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina — “said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.”
More than two-thirds of likely voters in these four states support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) support construction of the oil pipeline. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), however, does not.
Whether or not these Senate Democrats support Keystone XL may prove irrelevant depending on what action President Obama takes. The poll found that voters in these four states would be less likely to support a Democratic incumbent if the White House rejects the proposed oil pipeline:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has endorsed Dr. Greg Brannon in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary and plans to campaign for the conservative candidate in the Tar Heel state later this month.
In a statement released this morning by Brannon’s campaign, Lee called 2014 a “critical year for conservatives,” noting that North Carolina will play an important role in this year’s mid-term election. He stressed the importance of electing candidates that will “work to restor[e] the proper role of government” and “forward positive, specific policy proposals to get America back on track.”
“Greg Brannon is dedicated to enacting a conservative reform agenda in Congress. He is willing to challenge the status quo and entrenched special interests,” said Lee in the statement. “And he has pledged to work alongside myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others in the Senate to change the way Washington works.”
Lee, a Tea Party favorite, has put forward a number of reform proposals in recent months, including pro-family tax reform and policies that would strengthen the middle class as well as create opportunity for the poor.
“Greg Brannon will be a strong voice for the people in the Senate and I am proud to endorse him,” Lee added.
The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) released a study earlier this week finding that Americans looking to purchase health insurance on the state and federal Obamacare exchanges would find higher premiums and less choice than plans available last year on private exchanges.
The findings in the study aren’t surprising given that Obamacare mandates a number of changes to health insurance, including minimum benefits and actuarial requirements, all of which result increase the cost of coverage. Though the NCPPR offered some insight into the higher costs consumers face, it didn’t offer much in real dollars being spent on health insurance coverage compared to 2013 plans.
eHealthInsurance.com (eHealth), however, has released data that does provide some insight into how much consumers are paying for off-exchange health plans compared to a year ago. Despite a multitude of promises that Obamacare would make health coverage more affordable, the eHealth study proves otherwise.
“As of February 24, 2014, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month,” the nation’s first and largest private exchange noted in a recent press release, ”a 39% increase from the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.”
The United States Senate rejected the controversial nomination of Debo Adegbile, President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, largely due to his defense of a convicted cop killer.
Adegbile is a controversial nominee because he filed a brief at the Supreme Court on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who killed a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, when he worked for the NAACP. The brief argued that Abu-Jamal’s conviction was invalid, according to the Washington Post, “because of racial discrimination in jury selection.”
Though the Senate did reject Adegbile’s nomination by a 47 to 52 vote, three vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection this year backed the controversial choice: Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
While it’s true that everyone is entitled to legal representation, even cop killers, this trio’s votes for Adegbile’s nomination may not play well back home.
One reason is because it shows their almost unquestioning support of President Obama. The other is because they cast a vote in conflict with the National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP), which opposed Adegbile because of his defense of Abu-Jamal.
President Barack Obama appears to have ignored the Democrats’ decision to pass on pushing through a budget and decided to make a move on his own.
Obama’s recently unveiled $3.9 trillion budget would raise more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years and increase spending $56 billion above statutory caps in the next year alone, which means that the President did not consider the spending caps both the White House and Congress agreed to last year before he decided to unveil his plan.
During a Budget Committee hearing yesterday, Sylvia Burwell, Obama’s White House Budget Director, seemed to struggle to answer Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) question regarding the president’s budget proposal. While Obama’s plan would increase spending, Burnwell refused to answer Sessions when asked whether the budget would allow more spending than what had been already agreed to previously when the President signed the Ryan-Murray budget.
According to the Budget Director, “there are some questions that are not simply Yes or No questions.” Her justification and defense of the new budget proposal ignores the budget already signed by the president. When asked if she wanted Congress to change the Ryan-Murray budget so that the increased spending proposed by Obama would then become a possibility, Burnwell also struggled to respond.
Already facing a difficult path to reelection in a red state, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) handed his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a soundbite that is likely to be played on the airwaves from now until voters head to the polls in November.
In an interview with NBC News, Pryor criticized Cotton for a “sense of entitlement” because of his military service.
“There’s a lot of people in the Senate that didn’t serve in the military,” Pryor told NBC News. ”I think it’s part of this sense of entitlement that he gives off is that almost as like ‘I served my country, therefore elect me to the Senate.’ That’s not how it works in Arkansas.”
Speaking of a “sense of entitlement,” Pryor, who never served in the military, currently holds the Senate seat that his father, David Pryor, held from 1979 to 1997. The younger Pryor was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1990 at the age of 27. He ran for and won the state’s Attorney General office in 1998 at 34. He’s served in the Senate seat his father once held since 2003.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is apparently getting a taste of what it’s like to be the subject of a C.I.A. investigation, and isn’t very pleased. It has partially come to light that the spies have been watching the committee, primarily over an investigation into the Bush administration’s interrogation and detention program in the wake of 9/11. Yes, it’s the long and expensive investigation into the C.I.A.’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” coming back to bite the committee.
It’s no secret that the C.I.A. was less than pleased with the findings the investigation, and when the Senate Committee managed to get their hands on a secret document that contradicted C.I.A. Director John Brennan’s contentions that their initial investigation was at least partially false, things started to get ugly. Like many other webs of intrigue in our government these days, one almost needs a scorecard to keep track.
1. The Senate Intelligence Committee engaged in an investigation of the interrogation and detention program. This cost taxpayers more than $40 million because the C.I.A. insisted that the investigation had to take place in a secure location, and all the material had to be reviewed by an outside contractor before it could be released to the committee staff.
2. The investigation found that the techniques like waterboarding used by the C.I.A. really didn’t yield a great deal of useful information. It certainly didn’t justify the use of those techniques, and placed the U.S. in a difficult situation when it came to foreign relations.