The Republican primary in California’s 7th Congressional District will be one of the races worth watching next year as a retread, big spending ex-Congressman and a fresh-faced fiscal conservative square off for the right to challenge Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA).
FreedomWorks, which bills itself as a grassroots service center with more than 6 million members, is the first conservative group to get involved in the race. The organization’s PAC endorsed Igor Birman last week, becoming the first candidate they’ve endorsed in the 2014 election cycle.
“The choice is clear, Igor Birman is the only conservative in the race, and he will be a clear voice for common sense fiscal policies and a return to limited government in Congress,” said FreedomWorks PAC in a release announcing the endorsement.
Birman is running for the Republican nomination in CA-07 against three other candidates, including former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA), a big spending Republican retread.
“We have a long campaign ahead of us,” said Birman, who served as a senior staffer to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), in the release. “But with the backing of voters who want to see a return to limited government here in California and groups like FreedomWorks PAC who are fighting for limited government in Washington, I am confident we will have the support and resources we need to win the 7th Congressional district next year.”
Opponents of the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance apparatus are organizing a rally to remind elected officials the violation of Americans’ civil liberties through the collection of their phone records and Internet metadata.
StopWatching.Us — a coalition of more 100 groups, including the ACLU, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Digital Fourth, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreedomWorks, Mozilla, and reddit — plans to stage the rally on October 26th in Washington, DC, where organizers will present Congress with petitions containing the signatures of more than 569,000 people who are opposed to NSA spying.
“On Saturday, October 26 — the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act — thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to proclaim: Enough is enough. Stop watching us,” StopWatching.Us said in the announcement of the rally.
“We are demanding a full Congressional investigation of America’s surveillance programs, reform to federal surveillance law, and accountability from public officials responsible for hiding this surveillance from lawmakers and the public,” the organizers added. “And we will personally deliver the half million petition signatures to Congress.”
Editor’s note: Rep. Tom Graves has announced seven additional co-sponsors to his proposed spending measure, according to a post on his Facebook page. This brings the total to 66 co-sponsors.
Just days after introducing a measure to delay and defund ObamaCare for the upcoming fiscal year, Rep. Tom Graves’ office announced more support from House Republicans for his proposal.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) were forced to delay a vote last week on a Continuing Resolution that conservative members of the Republican conference said would fund ObamaCare. Congress must pass and President Obama must sign a stop-gap spending measure by the end of the month, when the current fiscal year ends, to avoid a government shutdown.
Graves, a Republican from Georgia, introduced the Stability, Security and Fairness Resolution on Thursday. This proposal, an alternative to the strategy pushed by House Republican leaders, would fund the federal government a post-sequester levels, with the exception of defense and national security. More importantly, this measure would directly take on ObamaCare, pushing back the law until 2015.
“[O]ur plan will achieve fairness for every American by fully delaying and defunding Obamacare until 2015,” said Graves in a press release last week. “This approach builds upon the Obama Administration’s policy of delaying portions of Obamacare and relieves taxpayers of the burden of funding a program that is not being implemented.”
It looks like Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will have to go back to the drawing board if they hope to pass a measure that funds the federal government.
Facing backlash from conservative members of their conference, The Hill reports that GOP leaders have temporarily delayed a vote on a Continuing Resolution for the upcoming fiscal year that would fund ObamaCare:
House GOP leaders have delayed a vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown until next week.
An aide to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed the decision, which is designed to give GOP leaders more time to round up votes.
Leaders have been scrambling to gain 217 votes for their plan to fund the government through Dec. 15 while forcing the Senate to vote up or down on a measure to defund ObamaCare.
The plan has faced opposition from dissatisfied conservatives who argue it won’t actually lead to the defunding of the healthcare law. They are pushing to include language defunding ObamaCare in the resolution funding the government.
House Republican leadership has tried to push a cheap legislative gimmick in which they would pass a Continuing Resolution and a separate non-binding measure to defund ObamaCare. The thinking is that they this path would allow a vote to defund ObamaCare and avoid a government shutdown.
But if the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, didn’t first pass the measure defunding ObamaCare, they could still pass a clean Continuing Resolution that funds the unpopular law.
The libertarian philosophy is taking the Republican Party by storm, according to a poll conducted by FreedomWorks, a DC-based grassroots service center with over 6 million members.
With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and many other liberty-minded politicians gaining influence, libertarianism has generated new interest inside the Republican Party, much to the chagrin of the GOP’s political establishment.
Though still not a dominate view inside the party, there is no denying that the narrative inside the Republican Party has significantly changed. Moreover, libertarians have an opportunity upon which they can seize, if they’re willing to work within the system.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 41 percent of Republican voters hold libertarian views. Conventional wisdom is that many voters who are libertarian don’t know the word. But this may well be changing,” noted David Kirby, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Spiker in the report on the data.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 42 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the word ‘libertarian,’ and only 10 percent don’t know the word, compared to 27 percent who don’t know nationally,” they added.
And the term “libertarian” may still turn off some Republican voters, the basic message of the philosophy earns significant favor. The poll found that 68% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with the statement that “individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others, and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives.”
The legislative trickery being employed by House Republicans to avoid a showdown on ObamaCare funding has pushed conservative organizations to ramp up efforts to urge members to vote against an upcoming stop-gap spending bill.
It was revealed on Monday that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) would push a stop-gap, known as a Continuing Resolution, later this week as well as a separate resolution that would defund ObamaCare.
The latter resolution would allow members to say that they voted to deny funding to the unpopular law while avoiding a feared government shutdown, even though it will almost certainly be shot down by the Senate, sending a clean bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
But conservative groups are having none of this. The Club for Growth, which previously blasted the move, announced yesterday that they would key vote the rule under which the Continuing Resolution will be brought to the floor, urging members to vote “no.”
“For several weeks now, the Club has urged lawmakers to defund ObamaCare in the FY14 continuing resolution,” wrote Andrew Roth, vice president for Government Affairs at the Club for Growth, in an email to members of Congress. “Rather than fight to defund ObamaCare, or to even have an honest debate about it, House leaders have decided to go with a ‘smoke and mirrors’ strategy that avoids the issue. Therefore, we urge lawmakers to oppose the rule.”
The push from the Tea Party against the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) in Syria just got a little stronger.
FreedomWorks, a grassroots group with more than six million members, announced this morning that they are urging members of Congress to vote against the Syria resolution. They will also score the vote on their scorecard.
“Congress should be focusing on the red ink at home, not arbitrarily established red lines abroad. As a membership organization, FreedomWorks has been overwhelmed with requests to help activists express their voice in this debate,” said Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks. “A broad coalition of Americans, including the millions of grassroots activists represented in the FreedomWorks community, has already roundly rejected the Obama Administration’s rationale for bombing Syria. Congress ignores the will of the voters on this issue at their own peril.”
Kibbe said the vote represents the “‘insiders versus the rest of us’ dynamic” that is so prevalent in Washington, comparing the Syria resolution to the TARP bailout. He went onto note that the limited military strikes the Obama Administration is proposing may well turn into a costly, prolonged engagement.
“When they convene, Congress will consider short-term actions. They should also reflect upon long-term costs associated with those actions,” he said. “There is no guarantee that ‘limited’ military operations in Syria will lead to a ‘limited’ result. The costs of brinksmanship in an ongoing civil war are steep, and a collapse of state would fall in our laps. In other words, if we break it, we buy it.”
The August recess is intended to allow members of Congress a chance to go home to meet and talk with constituents.
Many members are taking the opportunity, scheduling a number of townhall meetings across their districts and states. Others, however, aren’t doing much to hear what people have to say.
With a number of issues currently facing Congress, including the push to defund ObamaCare, there is a contingent of representatives and senators who are trying to avoid discussing the concerns of constituents back home. Among them is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Though he has encouraged pro-immigration reform activists to target Republicans during their events during the August recess, Graham hasn’t scheduled a single townhall meeting to hear the voices of South Carolinians.
A quick look at Graham’s official Senate website yields nothing for the current break. There’s nothing on his official Facebook or Twitter accounts about any planned townhall events. In fact, the most recent townhall event or “Constituent Service Day” we could find was in the summer of 2010.
The House of Representatives will vote in the next two weeks on H.R. 2009 — the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act — legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that will prohibit the agency, which is under fire for wrongly targeting conservative groups, from enforcing ObamaCare.
In response to the IRS scandal, House Republicans are promising a series of votes on legislation to send a message to the embattled agency and to keep the Obama Administration playing defense as ObamaCare continues to collapse on itself.
“As we’ve seen in recent announcements from the White House, the Obama Administration is clearly unable to manage the implementation of its own health care law. We’ve also learned that the IRS is clearly unable to prudently and impartially enforce current law,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) in a press release from his office. “The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act is essential in preventing further targeting, abuse and harassment, as well as in ensuring Americans have access to quality health care.”
“It is thanks to the American people who have voiced their support for our plan and the more than 100 members of Congress who have cosponsored H.R. 2009 that we have this opportunity to take action,” he added. “I urge more of our fellow citizens to get involved, so together, we can continue to keep the pressure on Washington to keep health care decisions in the hands of patients, families and doctors, instead of the government.”
This past weekend, FreedomWorks, a free market organization with strong ties to the grassroots and Tea Party, hosted Free the People, an event that brought together thousands of people from across the country to hear speakers and receive activist training to utilize back home.
Among the speakers was Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). During his 11-minute talk, Cruz told the crowd about how he left Cuba as a teenager as Fidel Castro was beginning his “revolution” to come to the United States. He also explained that the consolidation of power by the executive branch today is all too reminiscent of what he experienced in Cuba and urged activists to fight for freedom.
“I grew up in Cuba under a strong military, oppressive dictatorship. So as a teenager I found myself involved in a revolution. I remember during that time a young, charismatic leader rose up, talking about hope and change. His name was Fidel Castro,” recalled Cruz. “And, you know, we all followed him. We thought he was going to be our liberator. As a result of being involved in the revolution, I was imprisoned, I was tortured.”
Cruz explained that he was able to get out of Cuba on a student visa. He got a job as a dishwasher and paid for his education at the University of Texas. But he went back to Cuba in 1959 after Castro’s regime had taken over and, he said, he got the shock of his life.