Mike Lee

Mike Lee: Obama is a “Day Late and a Dollar Short” on Budget

Mike Lee

This was an eventual week in Washington as both chambers each passed their own budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. This shouldn’t be a big deal. The House has done its duty, passing budgets in 2011 and 2012. However, the Senate had not, until yesterday morning, passed a budget since April 29, 2009. And they budget they did finally pass never balances is loaded with $1 trillion in tax hikes.

In the weekly Republican address, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) explains why the Senate’s budget falls short on priorities and defies logic and he also slammed President Barack Obama for not submitting his budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“This week, the United States Senate finally took up its annual budget,” noted Lee. “This shoudn’t be news, but Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in four years. The President has again failed to follow the law requiring him to submit his budget by the first Monday in February.”

Lee added, “In what clearly falls into the category of ‘a day late and a dollar short,’ he announced that he wouldn’t submit his budget until the second week of April.”

“To Republicans, the budget isn’t just about dollars; it’s about sense: common sense,” said Lee. “A budget is the only way to end the non-sense of Washington’s out of control spending. Reckless government spending has laid nearly $17 trillion of debt onto the backs of hardworking Americans.”

Senate Passes Its First Budget in Nearly Four Years

United States Senate

For the first time since April 29, 2009, the United States Senate has passed a budget. Early this morning, the Senate finished voting on dozens of amendments and gave final passage to its version of the budget — which never balances and raises taxes by $1 trillion — by a vote of 50 to 49.

It was mostly a party-line vote, 48 Democrats and two Independents, both of whom caucus with the party in power, voted for passage. Four Democrats — Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) — joined all 45 Republicans in opposition. It just so happens that every Democrat who voted against the budget is up for re-election next year.

Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Mark Warner (D-ND) are also up for re-election next year. Their votes in favor of the budget will no doubt be brought up by their opponents.

Negotiators from the House, which passed its budget proposal on Thursday, and Senate will soon meet in a conference committee to try to reconcile their vast differences. Because they’re so far apart — with the House wanting a balanced budget in 10 years, tax reform, and entitlement reform and the Senate pushing $1 trillion in tax hikes and an perpetually unbalanced budget — agreement on a budget for FY 2014 looks unlikely.

Mike Lee Will Push Amendment to Prevent Gun Control Measures

Mike Lee

Just came across this action alert via Gun Owners of America:

We realize it’s short notice, but we wanted to alert you that, later tonight, Senator Mike Lee of Utah intends to offer an amendment to the budget resolution that would prohibit any gun control legislation which does not have a 2/3 vote in the Senate.

We know, we know. We would prefer to prohibit any and all gun control, even if it had 100 votes.

But if the Lee amendment is passed, the practical effect will be that gun control can never again pass the Senate.

The Senate is expected to vote on a package of gun control measures next month. While it will not include the Assault Weapons Ban due to a lack of support, it will include background checks for private gun sales.

Gun Owners of America has provided a pre-written e-mail for Second Amendment supporters to send to their Senators. You can also contact yours Senators directly by calling their offices.

Sen. Mike Lee’s Speech at CPAC

Mike Lee at CPAC

In case you missed it, here’s video of Sen. Mike Lee’s from CPAC with the full text below. I sat down with Sen. Lee earlier this week for a discussion about his role in Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster, the push in the Senate to defund ObamaCare, and much more. You can check that out here.

Here’s the full text of Sen. Lee’s speech:

Up in the Pacific Northwest two brothers, Billy and Bobby, decided that they would sell apples. They set up a small fruit stand on the side of a busy road then drove their old pickup out to the farmer’s orchard, where they purchased a truckload of apples at a price of one dollar an apple. They returned to their stand and began selling their apples –for the head-scratching, bargain price of… one dollar an apple.

Justin Amash Shouldn’t Run for U.S. Senate

Justin Amash

Justin Amash first won my favor with his staunch adherence to the Constitution, and he further impressed me by taking government accountability and transparency to new levels.

With every vote he casts posted to his social networking profiles, Amash is actively and openly accountable to his constituents. I wish my Congressman were more like Justin Amash. I wish every member of Congress were more like Justin Amash.

Amash is, without a doubt, my favorite politician in Washington, and now there are rumors that he could be trying to move into the Senate. While I love the thought of Amash joining Senators Paul, Lee, and Cruz in the Senate, I don’t think Amash should run for Carl Levin’s soon-to-be-open seat in the Senate.

Amash was challenged for his House seat last cycle by a self-funded Democrat. His campaign was rushing for last-minute fundraisers to put him over the top for Election Day. Fortunately, the challenge from the left was not as much of a challenge as they anticipated, and Amash was able to return to Congress.

Amash doesn’t yet have the statewide name recognition (and the reputation that’s sure to follow) necessary to win in a statewide election. If he’s still at the point where he’s - as the incumbent - concerned about a Democrat with a pile of cash, he’s not ready to be running for a seat in the Senate.

Beyond that, he’s not exactly loved by the GOP leadership back home, and he’d have to spend a lot of his money to get through the primary election cycle. Primary elections can be brutal and expensive, and they’re usually followed by a tough general election as well. Without being a household name, Amash won’t likely be able to “Money Bomb” his way through the election process.

And it’s also worth noting that winning Michigan isn’t exactly a foregone conclusion for Republicans.

Justin Amash is “Certainly Open” to a Senate run in 2014

Justin Amash

Last week, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that we would retire as the end of his current term. As I explained on Friday, this leaves a door open for Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who has been solid on fiscal issues and civil liberties, to make the jump to the Senate — and it looks like he may actually do it. According to The Detroit News, Amash is indeed weighing his options:

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a young firebrand in the lower chamber who has championed a Ron Paul-style of libertarian politics, said Monday he is “certainly open” to a run in 2014.

“Frankly, we can’t afford to nominate another unelectable establishment Republican,” Amash, R-Cascade Township, told The Detroit News. “History shows they don’t appeal to moderate and independent voters.”
Amash, 32, said a traditional establishment candidate cannot win the Senate seat. Posting explanations for his votes — including those that buck the GOP leadership — on his social media pages, Amash said he has enjoyed grassroots support to join the race.

“I don’t think any of the names that are being tossed around have quite hit the spot for most Republican voters or for most voters in the general election,” Amash said. “People both within the Republican Party and within the general electorate are tired of the pro-corporate welfare, anti-civil liberties Republican. I think we need to stop running on the past.”

Chatting with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Mike Lee

“[T]he powers of government must be restrained. They’ve got to be restrained in terms of what they do in administering government programs, they need to be restrained as far as how much money they take from the American people, and they need to be restrained in terms of how much they interfere with the liberty of individual Americans.” — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Back in 2010, conservatives trained their focus on Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who had positioned himself over the years as a big government Republican. Bennett had backed billions in corporate welfare for private companies, including the TARP bailout, and supported a healthcare proposal that was considered by some to be worse than ObamaCare.

Bennett was unable to gain enough support during the 2010 Utah GOP convention to win the nomination, setting the stage for a primary between Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee.

Lee would go on to edge out his primary opponent thanks to his strong constitutional and fiscally conservative message and support from grassroots organizations, and he easily defeated his Democratic opponent in the historic 2010 mid-term election.

Carl Levin’s Retirement Leaves an Open Door for Justin Amash

Justin Amash

Yesterday, Carl Levin (D-MI), who has served in the Senate since 1979 and was one of key figures behind the indefinite detention provision in the NDAA, announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014:

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who has been a force for progressivism in the Senate since 1979 and made his mark in recent years as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, will not run for re-election next year, likely setting off a political avalanche of interest in the seat.

Levin, 78, released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he made the decisions believing “I can best serve my state and my nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us … in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.”

With Republicans having some modest success in the state in the 2010 mid-term, when Gov. Rick Synder was first elected, and taking control of the state legislature in the most recent election, there could be a door open to take control of this seat in 2014. Among those who may find interest in the seat coud be Rep. Justin Amash.

Rep. Amash, who has cast himself in the mold of Ron Paul and explains every single one of his votes on his Facebook page, has been one of the most vocal defenders of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. He has taken on his own party’s leadership and remained popular in his district.

Sen. Paul’s Filibuster a Win for the Americans who Believe in the Constitution

Tea Party Movement

The Washington Examiner reached out to Amy Kremer, a friend and chair of the Tea Party Express, and myself yesterday to ask if the Obama Administration finally responding to Sen. Rand Paul on the issue of drone strikes against American citizens on American soil after his 13-hour filibuster was a win for the Tea Party movement:

Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor has rallied the fledgling Tea Party movement from a months-long slump and highlighted the schism between those brassy conservative newcomers and their Republican Party elders.

“What a night,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said after Paul’s filibuster, which began Wednesday about noon and ended about 1 a.m. Thursday. “He has definitely energized the base in a way that it hasn’t been energized in a long time.”
Until Paul’s appearance, the Tea Party’s popularity appeared to be waning. Republican leaders pushed Tea Party lawmakers to the sidelines during budget negotiations with President Obama. After a very successful 2010 election, the Tea Party took a beating in the 2012 contests. And pollsters found that fewer and fewer people were affiliating themselves with the movement.

But Paul’s filibuster attracted huge support on social media sites, from conservatives and liberals, and some believe it could mark a comeback for the movement.

“This is a big deal,” said Jason Pye, editor-in-chief of UnitedLiberty.org, a libertarian blog that follows the Tea Party.

VIDEO: Mike Lee, Ted Cruz Defend Civil Liberties

There has been a lot of attention paid to Sen. Rand Paul’s brilliant, 13-hour defense of the Constitution, which is now available online at CSPAN. But I wanted to share videos of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), both of whom, like Sen. Paul, became champions of civil liberties in the United States Senate.

Below are some clips from yesterday of Sens. Lee and Cruz discussing the issues with President Obama’s drones program, the DOJ white paper that made the case for drone strikes on American citizens on American soil, and the constitutional ramifications of the policy.

“We have a standard [of an imminent threat] that is so broad, that is so malleable, that is so easily subject to so many varying interpretations, no one can reasonably look into this and decide who the government may kill with a drone and who the government may not kill with a drone.” — Sen. Mike Lee

“I would note that your standing here today like a modern Mr. Smith goes to Washington because surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile. And my only regret is that there are not 99 of your colleagues here today standing with you in defense of the most fundamental principles in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, namely that each of us is endowed with certain unalienable rights by our creator and that first among them is life, the rife to life and the right not to have life arbitrarily extinguished by our government without due process of law.” — Sen. Ted Cruz

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