Mike Lee

Ex-Im Is The “Face of Cronyism,” Says Jeb Hensarling

Crony capitalism is America’s disease and the real problem with the modern perception of capitalism that most of the left likes to use against capitalism itself, without discerning between what voluntary trade and free markets can accomplish and what crony capitalism actually is all about.

It’s very easy to find perfect examples of crony capitalism in the age of President Barack Obama.

One of these perfect examples has been relying on taxpayer money to subsidize financial incentives destined to foreign companies that purchase U.S. exports: the Export-Import Bank.

The agency’s charter expires in 2014, making now the perfect time for opponents of crony capitalism to raise their objections to the agency’s upcoming congressional renewal. Heritage’s The Foundry talked to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) about the Export-Import Bank and why he thinks that the federal export-subsidy agency should not be allowed to stay in business.

Mike Lee says fight against ObamaCare is not over

Now that the debt ceiling has been raised through February 7 and the government shutdown has come to an end, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) used his official page to discuss the last crisis and bring the public’s attention to the fact that Washington is out of touch with the American people.

Lee stressed that the fight to defund ObamaCare might have seemed pointless to those who now regret that the Affordable Care Act was funded, and the debt ceiling raised as a result of a deal worked out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). According to the senator, this fight ended the same way ObamaCare began, “in a last-minute deal, negotiated in back rooms, then forced on Congress and the American people.”

“The Washington Establishment can’t bring itself to believe that this is why Congress has a poor approval rating – because Washington doesn’t listen to the American people. It ignores them. And when the American people can no longer be ignored, the administration shuts down national parks, blocks veterans from going to their own memorials, uses the IRS to target certain groups, and holds hostage critical funding for cancer research, low-income women and children, veterans’ health benefits, border security, and our National Guard.”

While some conservatives suggest that House GOP should have considered they did not have enough influence or bargain power to ensure that Democrats would go with their plan before pushing the fight to defund ObamaCare, Sen. Lee believes that “fighting against an abusive government in defense of protecting our individual rights and freedoms is always the right thing.”

Ted Cruz has been on the Senate floor for over 18 hours

Ted Cruz filibusters CR

“I rise today in opposition to ObamaCare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said yesterday at 2:41pm as he began a filibuster of the House version of the Continuing Resolution (CR), the stop-gap spending measure that Congress must past to avoid a government shutdown.

What has been billed as a “filibuster” isn’t actually a filibuster, as the motion to proceed on the CR will take place today regardless of what Cruz says. Nevertheless, Cruz has used his time — controlling the floor of the Senate for nearly 19 hours, the fourth longest speech in the chamber’s history — to express a multitude concerns about the 2010 healthcare law and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opposition to raising the vote threshold for changes to the CR to 60 votes (only 51 votes are currently required to make changes).

There is reason to feel optimistic on this Constitution Day

Back in 2004, Congress passed an amendment offered by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) to an omnibus spending bill to commemorate the signing of the Constitution and declare September 17, the day on which the document was signed by its framers, to be “Constitution Day.”

It’s ironic that a legislative body that frequently steps outside it’s limitations would pass a measure recognizing a document for which they have little regard. In the years preceding the creation of Constitution Day, Congress passed a number of measures that fly in the face of the intent and spirit of the Constitution and the rights protected therein.

But Constitution Day means a little more this year than in the past, given the renaissance the document has seen, particularly in just the past few months.

There are several examples from which we could choose to highlight the rebirth of the Constitution, such as Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster back in March or the defeat of onerous gun control measures, including expanded background checks and a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” that would have further infringed upon Second Amendment rights. But recent developments concerning the NSA and Syria are, arguably, in the back of most Americans’ minds.

FreedomWorks Hosts Defund ObamaCare Event

 Defund ObamaCare

FreedomWorks hosted a group of bloggers, social media stars, activists, and other liberty-loving folks at its D.C. offices this weekend to discuss the central issue we face today: Defunding ObamaCare.

Why Defund?

January 1, 2014 is the ObamaCare ultimatum. As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has stated: “On Jan. 1, the exchanges kick in and the subsidies kick in.  Once those kick in, it’s going to prove almost impossible to undo Obamacare. The administration’s plan is very simple: Get everyone addicted to the sugar so that Obamacare remains a permanent feature of our society.”

It’s crucial to use any constitutional resources at our disposal to prevent that from occurring.  Fortunately, the Constitution grants the House power over the purse.  This is the moment that the 2010 and 2012 Tea Party influx in the House needs to bear fruit.

The federal government’s fiscal year ends September 30.  Congress must pass (and the President must sign) a continuing resolution (CR) by that date to continue funding the federal government as of October 1.  As explained by Dean Clancy, FreedomWorks Legislative Counsel and VP of Health Care Policy, the key to the defunding strategy is that the CR is a must-pass bill to avoid a temporary slowdown of non-essential government services.  This is the leverage we have.  We cannot waste it.

How Do We Defund?

Chris Matthews: Ted Cruz is a “terrorist”

Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews has completely lost whatever little bit of sanity he had left. During a segment on Wednesday, the MSNBC host called Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) a “terrorist” because of his opposition to ObamaCare and increasing the debt limit.

“Ted Cruz is going after fellow Republicans for not supporting a government shutdown over ObamaCare. Let’s just say he’s a political terrorist on this one,” said Matthews at the beginning of a Hardball segment on the divisions inside the GOP, later lumping Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in the same category.

He wasn’t done there. During a discussion with former Obama strategist David Alexrod and Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, Matthews continued to single out Cruz, again calling him a “terrorist,” which clearly made his guests uncomfortable.

“[Cruz] just acts that way with that somber, indictive aspect, like this guy is the evil one. But I will say he’s a terrorist, because what the guy has done, basically, he says my goals are — is demolition,” said Matthews during a rant about the push to defund ObamaCare. “Blow up health care, blow up the continuing resolution. Bring the government to a standstill. And then make us forfeit on the national debt.”

ObamaCare Call Center To Keep Employees Under 30 Hours/Week

part-time jobs

ObamaCare’s employer mandate may have been delayed until 2015, but its disastrous effects on the price of labor are still being felt throughout the country.  Now we have a new prime (and hilarious) example of its inevitable market distortions.  Much of the budding bureaucracy being hired in a California ObamaCare call center inform eager entitlement-seekers how to access the new ObamaCare dole will be working under 30 hours/week.  Of course this hiring policy is designed to avoid, of all things, ObamaCare.

As originally reported in the Contra Costa Times and picked up widely by Eliana Johnson at NRO,  the California county and job applicants are less than pleased with the development:

Earlier this year, Contra Costa County won the right to run a health care call center, where workers will answer questions to help implement the president’s Affordable Care Act. Area politicians called the 200-plus jobs it would bring to the region an economic coup.

Now, with two months to go before the Concord operation opens to serve the public, information has surfaced that about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.

The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process — which attracted about 7,000 applicants — a “comedy of errors.”

Ted Cruz and Mike Lee Revive Efforts to Defund ObamaCare

 FreedomWorks

Remember when Republicans took control of the House in the 2010 election by riding the anti-ObamaCare wave and pledging to repeal and/or defund it?  What happened to that?

As I wrote last week, the repeal efforts have largely fizzled.  Then on Wednesday, the House again voted for a CR that doesn’t even touch the funding for ObamaCare.  The bill (HR 933, dubbed the “Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013,” would extend federal government funding beyond March 27 through the end of FY 2013 on September 30, 2013.  Congratulations to the Boehner/Cantor/McCarthy gang for refusing to use the House’s power to originate appropriations bills to any meaningful effect.

The CR passed despite valiant effort by  Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and Re. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to encourage Boehner and Cantor to support the defunding efforts.  The letter stated in part:

Standing on the Sidelines is Not an Option for the Freedom Movement

Below is the speech I gave last night at the FreedomWorks’ Spring Break College Summit at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, DC.

Before I get down to the crux of my talk this evening, I’ve gotta say, watching Senator Rand Paul’s epic 13-hour filibuster on Wednesday was nothing short of inspirational. For more than half a day, Senator Paul — aided at times by some of his colleagues, including Mike Lee and Ted Cruz — gave a brilliant defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and challenged the notion of perpetual war.

While Democrats in Congress have claimed to be champions of civil liberties, it was the Tea Party, led by Senator Paul, defending due process. It was the Tea Party making the case against a government that could arbitrarily kill its own citizens on American soil. And it was the Tea Party who was fighting against an extraordinary expansion of executive power.

The message got out there. Senator Paul gained some 40,000 new followers on Twitter and the social media service reported that over 1-million tweets were sent about the filibuster. Ironically, it was Politico that recently suggested that hashtags were no longer relevant. The hashtag, #StandWithRand, pretty much killed that notion.

C-SPAN confirmed that they had received viewership that was on par with events like the presidential inauguration. The filibuster also had the profound effect of gaining support from individuals and groups who aren’t typically fans of Republicans, including John Cusack, Van Jones, and Code Pink.

And not only was this a courageous stand against a President who has abused his authority, but it was also a rejection of the GOP’s past, and they’re losing their minds because of it. We saw that the next morning when John McCain and Lindsey Graham had a complete meltdown on the Senate floor.

Rand Paul, Tea Party Senators Stand Strong for the Constitution in Historic Filibuster

Rand Paul

“Epic,” “inspirational,” and “historic” are three words that best describe what I watched transpire on the floor of the United States Senate yesterday. At 11:47am, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) began his filibuster of John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, largely due to the lack of transparency from the Obama Administration on its drone program — specifically the targeted killing of Americans inside the borders of the United States.

The reasons that this gained so much interest was because it was an actual filibuster. This wasn’t a situation where Brennan couldn’t get 60 votes for cloture. Sen. Paul performed an old school filibuster, something that has become all too rare.

There was also another point that made this filibuster unique — Sen. Paul, along with several of his colleagues, spent nearly 13 hours talking substantive policy. There was no reading from a phone book or any other manner of time-buying tricks. Sen. Paul and others spent their time relaying a very pointed message about the Constitution, limits on executive power, and civil liberties.

For nearly 13 hours, Sen. Paul gave one of the most eloquent defenses of the Constitution that I’ve ever witnessed. He was joined at various times by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), both of whom spoke at length on the constitutional concerns over the policy.


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