Jason Pye

Recent Posts From Jason Pye

Seriously?: Vulnerable Senate Democrat refuses to debate foreign policy with Republican opponent

It’s stories like these where you wish you could have been a fly on the wall in the room while this decision was made. Apparently, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) refused to talk about foreign policy in an upcoming debate with his Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Well, not only did Pryor’s campaign refuse, they lied about, to boot:

Senator Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) declined to debate foreign-policy issues with Representative Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) when they meet next month.

“The campaign for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor said last week that it had not rejected any topics from being included in the only debate agreed to so far by the senator and his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton,” a local media outlet reports. “But an email obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday showed that Pryor’s campaign had rejected the inclusion of foreign policy in the debate sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.”

In the e-mail, the debate moderator tells the Cotton campaign that “Pryor folks rejected adding ‘foreign policy’ to the list of topics for the Fayetteville Chamber debate.”

There are a couple reasons why Pryor is probably skittish on the issue. First, the mid-term election is shaping up to be focused on foreign policy, given the tensions with Russia, the deteriorating situation in Libya, and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. There’s also the administration’s ongoing training and armament of Syrian rebels who are involved in a bloody civil war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Democrats have found their scapegoat, and it’s not Barack Obama

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is falling faster than Usain Bolt can run. The latest poll from The New York Times and CBS News shows his foreign policy numbers in the tank, dropping to the lowest point of his presidency. His numbers on the economy haven’t really moved much this year, either. Meanwhile, the GOP’s favorability rating — once in the cellar — has almost pulled even with Democrats.

Yet, Democrats seem to be looking for a scapegoat who isn’t named Barack Obama. Sure, many party faithful will concede that this White House is a drag on Democratic House and Senate candidates. And they acknowledge that President Obama’s approval ratings could cost them control of the upper chamber.

But, in politics, everything rolls down hill. And, according to a recent report from Politico, it appears that a scapegoat has been identified in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who has led the Democratic National Committee since May 2011:

Senate Democrats are going to wait until after the election to authorize military action against the Islamic State

Senate Democratic leaders

Senate Democrats have decided to punt on a resolution authorizing military force against the ISIS until after the mid-term election, handing a blank check to President Barack Obama to act unilaterally in the interim:

“We’re going to take up the construction of a new authorization for the use of military force. It’s long overdue,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

The authorization would focus narrowly on ISIS, likely bar the deployment of ground troops and set a one-year time limit on military action.

The plan to vote on a resolution specifically authorizing strikes against the extremist Sunni group could help reassure liberal Democrats nervous about supporting a measure that authorizes President Obama to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria.

Durbin announced the roadmap at a Democratic leadership press conference shortly before the chamber was scheduled to vote on a government funding measure that included the so-called Title 10 authority to train the rebels.

Why are Senate Democrats waiting until after the election? Well, they don’t want to do anything to upset their base, some of whom could stay at home because of dissatisfaction with what they could see as the party getting the United States into another Middle Eastern quagmire. If some leftist Democrats stay home, it could further endanger the party’s already slim chances of holding onto the upper chamber.

It’s time for some accountability: House of Representatives passes Audit the Fed bill

The House of Representatives passed, by an overwhelming margin, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 24), a measure that would require a meaningful audit of the United States’ central bank.

There was some question whether House Republican leaders would bring the measure to the floor for a vote, but, thanks to grassroots efforts to encourage members to cosponsor the bill, its popularity couldn’t be ignored. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which had gained more than 218 cosponsors, passed the lower chamber in a 333 to 92 vote.

“For the past 100 years, the Federal Reserve, a quasi-government agency, has acted under a veil of secrecy – controlling our monetary policy and thus, our economy. While in recent years, the Fed has been granted a greater role in overseeing the regulation of our financial system, current law specifically prohibits audits of the Federal Reserve’s deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy,” said Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who introduced the measure in January 2013. “This lack of accountability and transparency has led to grievous consequences — and it must end.”

Obama marks Constitution Day by referring to our constitutional rights as “privileges”

Today, September 17, is Constitution Day. Spearheaded by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), Congress passed a resolution in 2004 as rider to an omnibus spending bill setting aside this particular day to celebrate the ratification of the Constitution, the document that provides the framework of the federal government and the rights protected under the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in the last several years, perhaps because of the polarization of political opinions in the United States as well as attempts by presidents from both parties attempts consume more power for the executive branch. The revelations about the National Security Agency, efforts to censor speech, expand gun control laws are just the tip of the iceberg of attempts to trample the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

In his presidential proclamation marking Constitution Day, President Barack Obama offered some insight into how he views the Bill of Rights. “Our Constitution reflects the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society,” Obama said in the release. “It secures the privileges we enjoy as citizens, but also demands participation, responsibility, and service to our country and to one another.”

Given that this White House is known for its expansive view of executive power, the fact that President Obama views these fundamental liberties to be “privileges” isn’t too terribly surprising. After all, President Obama treats the legislative branch — which is supposed to be a co-equal branch of the federal government — as an afterthought as it arbitrarily changes statues and even refuses to enforce laws.

Those Obamacare enrollment numbers are about to dwindle: 360,000 customers threatened with loss of subsidies

Health insurance companies have already reported alarming attrition in the numbers of purported enrollments since the first open enrollment period ended in April. Their problems may get worse in the next two weeks. The Obama administration is ready to pull the plug on subsidies to as many as 360,000 Obamacare enrollees because they haven’t verified their income:

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Those who don’t confirm their income levels could lose their tax credit and face higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Back in late June, the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that there were some 2.6 million data inconsistencies in Obamacare enrollments. This figured included more than 960,000 inconsistencies involving income through the federal exchange. Some of the inconsistencies may have been resolved or there could have been duplicates that were weeded out to get to the lower, more current figure.

The victims’ families deserve transparency: Barack Obama should declassify the 28 pages of the joint inquiry into 9/11

It’s hard to believe it has been 13 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, a day in which nearly 2,977 people lost their lives at the hands of 19 radical Islamic militants doing the work of al-Qaeda and its founder, Osama bin Laden.

Americans know the story of what happened and the massive intelligence failures that led up to the attack. But there is some information in a 2002 congressional report that the Bush administration and, now, the Obama administration don’t want the public to see.

At issue are 28 pages in the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (Volume I, Volume II), a report conducted by the House and Senate intelligence committees. The then-chairmen of the two committees, Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) , both of whom have since retired from public service, oversaw the inquiry and the report.

The Bush administration classified 28 pages of the report, citing national security concerns. Three House members, however, are working with families of the victims of the September 11 attacks to declassify these page, which, they say, details the Bush administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and ties elements within the Middle Eastern country’s government to the Islamic radicals who carried out the attack, as The New Yorker explains:

Here we go again: Barack Obama tells Congress he doesn’t need authorization to wage war

Well, it looks like President Barack Obama is going to bypass Congress to wage a military campaign once again avoiding the constitutional role Congress has in determining when the United States is at war.

President Obama told the four main congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — that he doesn’t need a vote in Congress authorizing military action against in Iraq against the Islamic State:

The president is expected to use [his Wednesday evening] speech to announce the expanded use of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, as well as his administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to confront the terror threat.

The president is also weighing the possibility of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, as well as asking the United Nations to pass a binding resolution requiring governments to prevent the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.
[…]
None of the four leaders present in the meeting mentioned the need for congressional action following the meeting, nor did they offer many clues as to what new strategy elements Obama might announce.

Voter fraud in Georgia: Two groups tied to Democrats are under investigation for forged voter applications

There’s some big news is coming out of the Peach State that implicates organizations tied to state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), a supporter of Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter, the Democratic Party of Georgia’s nominees for U.S. Senate and Governor.

Third Sector Development, founded by Abrams, and its subsidiary, the New Georgia Project, have allegedly forged voter registration applications, forged signatures, and told voters that they have to re-register. The two organizations focus their efforts on minority engagement. According to WSB-TV, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office subpoenaed records from the two investigations after receiving numerous complaints:

In a memo sent to county elections officials, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in recent weeks his office has “received numerous complaints about voter applications submitted by the New Georgia Project.”

Kemp wrote, “Preliminary investigation has revealed significant illegal activities’ including forged voter registration applications, forged signatures on releases, and applications with false or inaccurate information.”

A spokesman confirmed Kemp’s office was contacted by officials in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Henry, Bartow, Butts and Muscogee counties.

About time: House of Representatives condemns Barack Obama’s Taliban prisoner swap

The House of Representatives slammed President Barack Obama early Tuesday evening with the passage of a resolution “[c]ondemning and disapproving” of his administration’s failure to notify Congress of the release prisoners as required by law — in this case, five Taliban leaders — from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

The measure passed largely along party lines in a 249-163 vote, but 22 Democrats broke ranks to rebuke the president, with just two months to go before the midterm elections.

The executive branch is required by the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act to notify Congress at least 30 days before transferring prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. A Government Accountability Office report found last month that the administration violated the law by not adhering to the requirement.
[…]
The resolution further states that the exchange hurt the administration’s relationships with lawmakers. The text says that “these actions have burdened unnecessarily the trust and confidence in the commitment and ability of the Obama administration to constructively engage and work with Congress.”

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