Mike Lee

#StandWithRand: Kentucky Senator may filibuster military strikes against Syria

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is floating the possibility of a filibuster against the resolution that the White House is working hard to push through Congress that would authorize the use of military force against Syria:

“I can’t imagine that we won’t require 60 votes on this,” Paul told reporters on an afternoon conference call. “Whether there’s an actual standing filibuster — I’ve got to check my shoes and check my ability to hold my water. And we will see. I haven’t made a decision on that.”
When it comes to Syria, Paul said he believes the best hope for defeating a resolution to authorize military action will come in the House. He reiterated his view that an attack on Syria would create more turbulence and danger in the region, and may not even disable the Syrian government’s ability to launch chemical attacks.

Back in March, Paul led a 13-hour talking filibuster of CIA nominee John Brennan, during which he and other senators — including Ted Cruz and Mike Lee — offered a substantive critique of the Obama Administration drones policy. The filibuster propelled Paul to the national stage, making him a formidable figure in the Republican Party and a rare conservative voice for civil liberties. He was able to change the narrative of the debate on drones and sway public opinion in a single stand.

Harry Reid once again calls Tea Party “anarchists”

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has gone off the rails again. During an interview Nevada Public Radio, the Senate Majority Leader attacked the Tea Party presence in Washington, comparing them to “anarchists” who want to destroy the government.

The host of the segment asked Reid about the “gridlock” in Congress and any way out of the legislative “standstill.” Reid called the current Congress the “least productive in the history of the country.” And that’s when he took the opportunity to slam the Tea Party.

“Who is the Tea Party? Well, understand, when I was in school, I studied government, among other things, and prior to World War I and after World War I we had the anarchists. Now they were violent — you know, some say that’s what started World War I, the anarchy movement — but they were violent,” Reid told KNPR. “They did damage to property and they did physical damage to people.”

“The modern anarchists don’t do that. That’s the Tea Party. But they have the same philosophy as the early anarchists,” he continued. “They do not believe in government. Anytime anything bad happens to government, that’s a victory to them. And that’s what’s happened.”

“We have absolute gridlock created by a group of people who represent few Americans. But it makes it extremely difficult to get things done,” he added.

Joe Biden: No More Rand Pauls and Ted Cruzes in Congress

Vice President Joe Biden is calling Democrats to action to stop grassroots conservatives from electing more Republicans in the mold of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY).

In a fundraising letter for the Democratic National Committee, first reported by Ed Krayewski at Reason, Biden wrote told prospective donors that a “group of freshmen senators are running the show in the Republican Party” and played up the possibility of a government shutdown over ObamaCare.

“Now these aren’t bad guys, but I want you to think about this: not only are they still trying to get rid of health care reform — they’re willing to use the entire federal government as a bargaining chip to get it done,” wrote Biden. “That’s what we’re dealing with in Washington right now, and it’s unprecedented in my lifetime.”

“Make no mistake — one thing we don’t need is to let the Republicans outrun us in 2014, and elect a bunch more people to the House and Senate who think, act, and vote the way Ted Cruz and Rand Paul do,” he added.

Biden’s comments are practically identical to a speech he gave during a recent fundraiser in Massachusetts in which he asked the crowd, “Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate?”

While already notable players given how they won tough primaries against establishment-backed candidates, Paul, Cruz, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) have emerged as the conscience of the Republican Party in the Senate, principled conservatives who are willing to take stands when leaders would prefer they toe the party-line.

Email privacy reform stalled in Senate


Legislation that would require federal law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant before accessing Americans’ emails has been stalled in the Senate due to an anonymous hold by an unnamed Republican:

An anonymous Republican senator has delayed a vote on legislation that would require police to obtain a warrant before accessing emails and other online messages.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) pushed for a vote on the bill before Congress left for its August recess. He secured unanimous support from Democrats, but at least one Republican objected to the bill, according to a Democratic Senate aide.

Leahy had hoped to fast-track the bill to passage with unanimous support, but the opposition means a vote will be delayed until at least September.

A Leahy aide said the senator will continue to work with Republicans to address their concerns. The Senate could pass the legislation without unanimous support, but it would take up valuable floor time to override a filibuster.

Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul talk liberty at YAL conference

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee

How awesome would it have been to be in the room for this? So much liberty and energy in one place. In case you missed it or haven’t heard, Young Americans for Liberty hosted an excellent roundtable discussion with Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul before a group of enthusiastic, young conservative and libertarian activists:

Sen. Ted Cruz gave a nod to the “wacko birds in the house.” Sen. Mike Lee, to cheers, said, “We’re not accustomed to that kind of welcome in Washington.” And Sen. Rand Paul could barely get a word in edgewise before “Stand with Rand” cheers drowned out everything else.

Paul, Cruz and Lee — three of the senate’s most vocal champions of a libertarian-leaning approach — appeared onstage together Wednesday night at a conference sponsored by Young Americans for Liberty, a Ron Paul-linked organization. There, to resounding cheers and catcalls, they made no secret of their issues with their GOP colleagues in the Senate as they made overtures to the youthful audience.
In a wide-ranging panel discussion at a hotel in Arlington, Va. that touched on issues including foreign aid (which received boos), the debt, Social Security and national security, the three senators were often as critical of their own party as they were of the Obama administration.

Here’s the video of the event:

Mike Lee defends push to defund ObamaCare

There has been significant push back in from the Republican establishment over efforts in Congress to defund ObamaCare. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has been leading the effort in the Senate to cut off funding rather than delay parts of the law, which could lead to a government shut down.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) panned the plan to defund ObamaCare, telling a talk radio host that it’s the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.” Karl Rove, who is no fan of fiscal conservatives, recently tried to stoke fear in Republicans, writing in an op-ed that a government shutdown could cost the party the House of Representatives.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Lee defended the push by fiscal conservatives in the Senate to defund ObamaCare, noting that it’s “not about liberal or conservative,” but rather “Washington versus everyone else.”

“[W]e always knew ObamaCare was going to be unaffordable. We now also know that it’s going to be unfair. The president has said that he’s not ready to implement this law. And because he’s not ready to implement it, he’s going to selectively enforce it,” Lee told Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday. “He is going to, you know, give a big pass to big business while simultaneously telling hard working Americans, individuals that they have to comply with these laws demands or else they’ll face stiff penalties under federal law.”

GOP Senators to Harry Reid: Defund ObamaCare


The battle over ObamaCare is heating up. Emboldened over the Obama Administration’s tacit admission that parts of the law are unworkable, a dozen Republican Senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday explaining that they would not support a Continuing Resolution that contains funding for ObamaCare.

“We view the Obama Administration’s recent decision to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate and eligibility verification for the individual exchanges as further proof the law is a failure that will inevitably hurt businesses, American families, and the economy,” said the Republican Senators in the letter. “In light of this admission, we believe the only way to avert disaster is to fully repeal ObamaCare and start over with a more sensible, practical approach to reforming our healthcare system.”

“[I]f Democrats will not agree with Republicans that ObamaCare must be repealed, perhaps they can at least agree with the president that the law cannot be implemented as written,” they continued. “If the administration will not enforce the law as written, then the American people should not be forced to fund it.”

The Republican Senators — including Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Enzi (R-WY) — noted that defunding ObamaCare is about “fiscal prudence” and “fundamental fairness.”

Government shutdown possible over ObamaCare funding

Embolden by the administration’s implementation troubles, including the recent delay of the employer mandate, congressional Republicans are ready for a showdown over ObamaCare — defund ObamaCare or shut down the federal government:

ObamaCare is at the center of a rapidly escalating fight that threatens to shut the government down this fall.

Senate Republicans, including two members of the leadership, are coalescing around a proposal to block any government funding resolution that includes money for the implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

But such a move is a nonstarter for President Obama and congressional Democrats. Republicans have tried this maneuver in Obama’s first term, only to back off later to the chagrin of Tea Party leaders.

This time, GOP lawmakers are emboldened by problems plaguing the administration’s ObamaCare implementation. But that zeal could put Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a tough spot. Both leaders have downplayed previous talk of shuttering the government.

The Hill reports that 64 House Republicans signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urging him not to bring a spending bill to the floor that contains funding for ObamaCare. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) pushed the issue earlier this month in response to the Obama Administration’s delay of the employer mandate.

Mike Lee: Young voters should focus on the national debt

As we head into the mid-term election, Republicans are still trying to figure out how to bring them back into the fold. During a recent tele-townhall, Sen Mike Lee (R-UT) was asked how he plans to reach out to young voters and others who don’t typically vote for Republican candidates.

There was once a time when Republicans did well with young voters. Just after the 2012 presidential election, in which President Barack Obama won 60% of voters under the age of  29, Jason Riley noted at the Wall Street Journal that both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush actually won the youth vote. Riley also pointed out that “George W. Bush lost young voters to John Kerry by only 9 points and lost them to Al Gore in 2000 by less than that.”

“It’s important to remember that young voters will bear a disproportionate share, a disproportionate part of the burden associated with our $17 trillion debt,” Lee replied. “It’s a tragic thing…that these days most of the debt that we have in our federal government has been accumulated before a lot of today’s young voters were old enough to vote and, to a significant degree, a lot of that debt was acquired before they were even born.”

“That isn’t fair. It ends up creating a really pernicious form of taxation without representation,” he continued. “You’re gonna have to pay something to the government that you didn’t ever vote for, and that’s a big problem.”

Mike Lee: Defund ObamaCare or shut down the government

Over the last week, the Obama Administration announced that it would delay enforcement of the employer mandate for one year and significantly relax eligibility verification for those who apply for subsidies to purchase health insurance coverage. And it likely that we’ll see more delays with ObamaCare as implementation efforts have proven to be difficult for states.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) says that it’s time to defund ObamaCare and, if necessary, shut down the government to prevent additional funding for implementation of the law.

In a statement from his office, Lee said that these delays are the “latest and most damning admission by the administration that ObamaCare was poorly crafted, remains unworkable, and, if implemented, will hurt American families, businesses, and our economy.”

“The only solution is to fully repeal ObamaCare and start over with a more sensible, practical approach to fix our health care system,” said Lee. “Short of full repeal, however, those of us who care about the health care and security of the American people still have a duty to act. If the president has decided he won’t enforce his law as it is written, then Congress should not fund any further implementation of it at all.”

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