Recent Posts From Jason Pye
As noted yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has ruffled some feathers inside the Republican Party due to the strong stand that he took with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) against President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals.
The trio had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promising to filibuster any new gun control measures. While it started with just the three of them, the signatories to the letter eventually grew to 16.
During a FreedomWorks seminar last week, Cruz noted that he was yelled at by some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate because they looked like a “bunch of squishes” to constituents back home because they hadn’t yet signed onto the letter. Cruz told them that they had an alternative, in that they could vote to filibuster and “not be a bunch of squishes.”
Cruz’s remarks haven’t sat well with some Republican bloggers, including Jennifer Rubin, who writes the “Right Turn” blog at the Washington Post.
In a post yesterday, Rubin, whose credibility has come into question after she proved herself to be a hack for Mitt Romney, slammed Cruz, essentially calling him a “jerk” for giving this story in public.
With less than a week to go until voters in South Carolina’s First Congressional District head to the polls, Mark Sanford is getting some much needed last-minute help. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has gained notoriety and popularity among Republicans, and FreedomWorks PAC, a grassroots organization known for backing fiscally conservative candidates in primary races, both endorsed Sanford on Tuesday.
“More than anything, Washington needs strong and consistent voices for fiscal responsibility and liberty,” said Paul in the press release sent out by Sanford’s campaign. “Mark has proven during his time in office that watching out for taxpayers and holding the line on spending are his top priorities.
“What we absolutely cannot afford is someone like his opponent, who will be yet another vote for a return to the Pelosi speakership, for disastrous programs like Obamacare, and for more spending and debt,” he added. “I am pleased to endorse Mark and stand with him in this race.”
Paul is following in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who endorsed Sanford on Thursday.
FreedomWorks PAC noted only endorsed Sanford, but is also planning a voter outreach effort in the district this weekend.
During his press conference yesterday at the White House, President Barack Obama addressed some of the concerns being expressed by members of his own party in Congress about the implementation efforts of ObamaCare.
Chuck Todd of NBC News asked President Obama the concerns, noting that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) recently called the implementation efforts of the law by the administration a “train wreck.”
“Why do you think — just curious — why does Sen. Baucus, somebody who ostensibly helped write your bill, believe that this is going to be a train wreck?” Todd asked President Obama. “And why do you believe he’s wrong?”
Well, I think that any time you’re implementing something big, there’s going to be people who are nervous and anxious about is it going to get done, until it’s actually done,” Obama replied.
“The challenge is that setting up a market-based system, basically an online marketplace where you can go on and sign up and figure out what kind of insurance you can afford and figuring out how to get the subsidies — that’s still a big, complicated piece of business,” he added before slamming Republican governors who have declined to implement the exchanges, which is their right under the Supreme Court decision. “[E]ven if we do everything perfectly, there will still be glitches and bumps, and there will be stories that can be written that say, oh, look, this thing is not working the way it’s supposed to, and this happened and that happened. And that’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up.”
With whistleblowers claiming that Obama Administration officials are threatening them in order to keep them from talking to investigators, President Barack Obama is trying to avoid any discussion of the issue.
One whistleblower has information about the events leading up to, during, and after the attack. Another whistleblower has claimed that the military could have responded before the second attack, but that they were never called.
During the press conference yesterday at the White House, President Obama had nothing more to say other than he’s “not familar” with the claims and, essentially, that he’ll look into the allegations.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, isn’t buying the claim. He responded to President Obama’s comments in a statement made available on the committee’s website.
“A lawyer for Benghazi whistleblowers has publicly stated that the State Department is blocking her client’s ability to talk freely with counsel,” said Issa. “Over the past two weeks, I have sent four letters requesting that this Administration make information available about how lawyers – who already have security clearances and are representing Benghazi whistleblowers – can be cleared to fully hear their clients’ stories. I have yet to receive any response from the Obama Administration.”
With the recent failure of Manchin-Toomey in the Senate, a measure that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and online firearms sales, Politico reports that gun control advocates are looking to push the proposal through ballot measures in various states around the country, starting with the State of Washington:
After struggling to sway both state and federal lawmakers, proponents of expanding background checks for gun sales are now exploring whether they will have more success by taking the issue directly to voters.
While advocates generally prefer that new gun laws be passed through the legislative process, especially at the national level, they are also concerned about how much sway the National Rifle Association has with lawmakers.
Washington Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat who had sponsored unsuccessful legislation on background checks at the state level, said a winning ballot initiative would make a statement with broad implications.On Monday, proponents of universal background checks in Washington will announce their plan to launch a statewide initiative campaign that would require the collection of some 300,000 signatures, according to a person involved in the initiative planning who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the official announcement.
It appears that politicians from both sides of the aisle in Washington are beginning to beat the drums of war against Syria. With news that Bashir Assad, the country’s dictator, has used chemical weapons against his own people, there is increasing talk of intervention by the United States military. The question is what kind of intervention we’ll see:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Sunday said the U.S. should not rule out the use of American troops on the ground to end the violence in Syria’s civil war or secure the nation’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
“I don’t think you ever want to rule it out,” said McCaskill on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This thing has really deteriorated and it’s not really at a tipping point, so I don’t think you ever want to say absolutely not.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) who also appeared on CBS, however, disagreed and said he would rule out American boots on the ground.
“I would say no, I think we can take affirmative action… We’ve got F-22s and B-2s that can take out the anti-aircraft missiles that they have and they are very sophisticated.
“We don’t need to put boots on the ground what we need to do is enable their neighbors, the neighbors of Syria to bring some sort of peaceful resolution to this. We can do it through a no fly zone,” added Chambliss.
We’re learning more about what did and didn’t happened during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. According to a military special operator who spoke to Fox News, military support could have been on the ground at the consulate before the second attack.
“I know for a fact that C-110 CIF was doing a training exercise in the region of Northern Africa but in Europe. They had the ability to react and respond,” the unidentified special operator turned whistleblower told Fox News. “They would have been there before the second attack. They would have been there at a minimum to provide a quick reaction force that could facilitate their exfil out of the problem situation. Nobody knew how it was going to develop, and you hear a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of advisors say hey, we wouldn’t have sent them there because the security was unknown situation.”
“If it’s an unknown situation, at a minimum you send forces there to facilitate the exfil or medical injuries,” he added. “We could have sent a C-130 to Benghazi to provide medical evacuation for the injured.”
Last year, the Supreme Court issued a decision that was devastating to ObamaCare’s opponents. In a ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the High Court decided that the individual mandate, the very heart of the law, was constitutional under the taxing authority of Congress.
Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution — known as the Origination Clause — says, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Therein lies the rub. The Affordable Care Act — also known as ObamaCare — originated in the Senate, which is unconstitutional.
With the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, Matt Sissel, an Iraq War veteran, is challenging the constitutonality of ObamaCare on this basis. Over at the American Spectator, David Catron gives some details abut the case:
The media still seems shocked that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was elected last year with substantial Tea Party and grassroots support, is taking on the political establishment, even if it includes members of his own party.
Back in February, Cruz defended his style after many Senate Democrats criticized him. “I have to admit I find it amusing that those in Washington are puzzled when someone actually does what they said they would do,” Cruz told Reuters during a visit to a Texas-based gun manufacturer. He also gained some coverage over his questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was pushing the Assault Weapons Ban. And though he did cross a line during the confirmation hearing of then-Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, Cruz has been generally spot thus far.
But Cruz has raised eyebrows once again. During a surprise talk last week at the FreedomWorks summit in Texas, the freshman Senator explained that the grassroots activists are winning and criticzed “squishes” inside the Republican Party, pointing to the gun control issue as an example.
The Senate moved closer to passing the Internet sales tax on Thursday. The chamber had already started debate on the measure, dubbed the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” but the vote last week bypassed any hope of a filibuster. Some conservative groups are increasing their efforts in opposition to the tax.
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by Grover Norquist, presented the constitutional case against the Internet sales tax. The case is in response to recent comments by David French, a lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, who said, “The industry is evolving very rapidly, and the law today is a 20th-century interpretation of an 18th-century document that is holding back the entire retail industry as it adapts to 21st-century consumer preferences and demand.”
“The Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution affirms that states cannot tax across their borders. Physical presence within a state’s boundaries is required for a state to be able to tax a business, a consumer, or a sale,” John Kartch wrote at ATR’s blog in response to French. “The Constitution is clear: a person or business must be physically present within a state’s borders in order to be taxed. By suggesting the Constitution is outdated, Internet tax pushers align themselves with the rhetoric of far-left judicial activists.”