Mick Mulvaney

House to vote on amendment to limit NSA funding

After some wrangling with Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment to the FY 2014 defense spending bill that would reinforce already existing limitations on the National Security Agency (NSA) will come to the floor for a vote as early as tomorrow.

This controversial part of the 2001 anti-terrorism law allows intelligence and law enforcement agencies to access third-party records pertaining to an investigation into criminal activity. News broke early last month that the NSA has used this authority under the PATRIOT Act to gain access to virtually every Americans’ phone records, even if they aren’t suspected of wrongdoing.

Just last week, it looked as though Amash’s amendment wouldn’t be approved for debate by the House Rules Committee. If House leaders kept the amendment off the floor, it’s possible that the entire defense spending measure would have been held up. This led to Amash and Boehner — the two have some rocky history — working together to forge a workable amendment that could be brought to the House floor for a vote.

Amash tweeted out his gratitude to Boehner for bringing the amendment out of committee and to the the floor for an up or down vote:

Has Mick Mulvaney Picked a Fight with Lindsey Graham?

During the campaign season before the 2010 elections, my dad (the administrator of a small private school) called me to say that a man running for Congress stopped in the office to talk with him for a few minutes. That man was Mick Mulvaney, who, as Dad noted, would be a substantial upgrade over long-time incumbent John Spratt.

I’ve kept an eye on Mulvaney the last couple of years since he joined Congress as part of the wave of new Republicans in the House. While I haven’t always agreed with Mulvaney, I have seen him take some stands I admired. He usually flies under the radar without stirring up too much controversy within the party.

The days of Mulvaney flying under the radar may be over soon, as he has been working to do what few Republicans dare to do: curb increases in defense spending.

Mulvaney was recently interviewed by The American Conservative about defense spending, specifically about his efforts with Barney Frank to freeze defense spending. Their amendment to the 2013 defense appropriations bill to freeze defense spending at 2012 levels passed the House and awaits action by the Senate.

When Rand Paul spoke at the Republican convention in August, he referred to the “sacred cows” that each party was going to have to kill in order to gain any ground on balancing the federal budget. The GOP’s sacred cow, without a doubt, is defense spending.

Mulvaney’s attempt to freeze spending isn’t exactly what we need, but it’s a good start to convince the warmongers within the party that we can, in fact, defend our country without exponentially inflating defense spending every year.

House Republican Leadership may have “twisted arms” to defeat conservative Mulvaney for Republican Study Committee Chair

House Republican Leadership

A top conservative Republican in the House alleges House Republican Leadership “twisted arms” to edge out conservative favorite Mick Mulvaney for the Chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee. Two-term Texas Congressman Bill Flores will lead the RSC, which serves as the conservative conscience of the House Republican Caucus.

As he left the closed-door meeting where Flores was elected, Idaho Republican Raul Labrador signaled “someone” in House Republican Leadership mounted a whipping operation for Flores, who beat Mulvaney 84 votes to 57 votes.

From The Hill’s account:

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said GOP leaders mounted a whipping operation that included phone calls to help Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) upset Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a Tea Party favorite, on the second ballot in the race for RSC chairman.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, another Texas Republican, was eliminated on the first ballot.

Asked what put Flores over the top, Labrador told reporters as he exited the closed-door elections: “It’s always leadership. When leadership gets involved in elections. [They] twisted arms.”

Labrador conceded he wasn’t exactly sure whether it was Boehner or someone else carrying water for Flores. “I don’t know who was leading it,” Labrador said.

Mulvaney to seek Republican Study Committee chairmanship

Mick Mulvaney

There’s already some jockeying for position for important roles in the next Congress. The National Journal reports that Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) will seek the chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus that has historically advanced fiscally conservative causes in the House:

Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina will seek the chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee in the 114th Congress, National Journal has learned, the first significant measure of internal campaigning amid a season marked by quiet, cautious jostling for positions in the next session.
Mulvaney, a sophomore lawmaker known for his sharp tongue and quick wit, has long been viewed as a favorite to succeed Scalise—partly because of his relationship with some of the founders, including Hensarling and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Mulvaney’s path to the chairmanship could be complicated, however, if the group’s bylaws are changed.

According to several sources with direct knowledge of the deliberations, the founders are considering a new system under which they would vet candidates and recommend certain people to be included in a caucus-wide vote—without endorsing anyone. Nothing has been finalized, sources cautioned, but the goal would be to avoid having the group’s leaders taking sides in divisive runoff elections.

Today in Liberty: Senate Dems outline Obamacare “fixes,” growth not keeping up with projections

“The American founders often referred to a ‘Liberty Tree.’ Our generation didn’t plant that tree - we didn’t grow that tree - we were simply handed it by the generations of Americans who came before us….Let us highly resolve not to rest until we have delivered to our sons and daughters a Liberty Tree that is just as healthy, a Constitution that is just as strong; and a nation that is just as free as those that our fathers and mothers gave to us.” — Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)

— Senate Dems finally rollout Obamacare fixes: After months of talking about the need for fixes to the law, six Senate Democrats have finally offered some specifics on how they plan to address at least some of Americans’ concerns. The biggest proposal is the introduction of a “Copper Plan,” which, they write at Politico Magazine, “will give consumers more control over their own coverage, spur competition and, most importantly, increase affordability.” Two of the Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), are up for reelection this year and are thought to be among the chamber’s most vulnerable members. Despite the push for fixes, the Heritage Foundation notes that most of the six “didn’t have strong initial reservations about the massive bill when Obama signed it into law in March 2010.”

Bipartisan Push to Prevent Phone Record Seizure Without Court Order

Associated Press

The Department of Justice came under fire this past week for its subpoena of Associated Press phone records without any notice to the news agency or targeted reporters. While Attorney General Eric Holder claims that the action was a response to a national security threat, it was actually part of the Obama Administration’s continuing war on whistleblowers and, as many see it, a shot directly at the free press, which is protected by the First Amendment.

The controversy has brought new attention on the need to protect Americans from this sort of government overreach. on Thursday, Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Jared Polis (D-CO) joined together to introduce H.R. 2014, the Telephone Records Protection Act, which would protect all Americans from this sort of government overreach:

House Conservatives Want Another ObamaCare Repeal Vote


House conservatives are once again making a push to repeal ObamaCare. While the effort is more symbolic due than anything thing else due to the fact that Democrats control the Senate, a vote to repeal would put vulnerable members in the House in a tough position and also give freshman a chance to say that they’ve voted for repeal:

House conservatives are clamoring for a floor vote on a full repeal of the 2010 healthcare overhaul, saying that freshman Republicans need an opportunity to tell their constituents they tried to scrap the law.

Frustration is mounting in the conservative ranks over the party leadership’s decision to bring up legislation that modifies but does not eliminate President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. The GOP bill, which shifts money to boost high-risk insurance pools, is facing stiff resistance, putting its passage on Wednesday is in doubt.

“The guys who have been up here the last two years, we can go home and say, ‘Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace ObamaCare.’ Tell me what the new guys are supposed to say?” second-term Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said Wednesday at a forum sponsored by the Heritage Foundation.
After two years in which House Republicans voted on a near-weekly basis to repeal part of or all of the healthcare law, the GOP leadership shifted strategy following Obama’s reelection in November.

Who’ll replace Jim DeMint?

Tim Scott

With Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) leaving the Senate to lead the Heritage Foundation, the speculation on who South Gov. Nikki Haley will appoint to replace him is already churning.

The dynamics here are interesting. Because of his willingness to raise taxes, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a likely target for primary challenge in 2014. Many names have already been tossed around, but a vacancy shakes that up a bit because Haley could appoint one of Graham’s strongest challengers to replace DeMint, taking a strong challenger out of the mix, or even pick a placeholder.

There was talk this morning that Haley could just appoint herself, but FitsNews has shot down that idea, explaining, “she would first have to resign the governor’s office, meaning that S.C. Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell would technically have to make that appointment.” And because the two apparently have a contentious relationship, McConnell appointing her would be unlikely.

Over at National Review, Jim Geraghty has a good rundown of names being mentioned as potential candidates to replace DeMint:

Governor Nikki Haley is going to have a lot of options to choose from in the coming days or weeks:

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